There are many ways to help your in ground pool be environmentally friendly. Some of the ways range from LED lights, solar heaters, all the way to using recycled concrete.
I like to use hayward lights as they seem to be attractive looking, and have shown to be reliable down the road. The old lights I used were incandescent light bulbs, and these are the energy efficient LED lights. I think everyone knows about LED lights now, but some pool builders still use the energy wasting incandescent light bulbs.
Efficient pool pump
The pool pump I recommend is Pentair variable speed pump . There are essentially three types of pumps. Single speed, two speed, and variable speeds.
The single speed goes 100% all the time. It would be like pushing down on the gas pedal as hard as you can all the time. This is great for circulating water and keeping your pool clean, but its overkill. It wastes energy, and money. These used to be a lot cheaper then the variables, but the initial price difference has gotten a lot smaller lately.
The two speed has two settings, usually like 100% and 70%. The pump runs at 70% unless you need to vacuum the pool. This is better then the single speed pump, but still wastes a lot of time.
The variable speed pump changes its usage to use only what it needs. So if a pool has a water fountain or water slide that is turned on, the pump will crack up the power, while if no additional features are turned on the pump will settle down to the lowest power while still maintaining a great water flow rate to keep your pool circulated (and clean).
This post does a great job explaining the differences between pumps.
Water evaporates and requires more water to be used. Water is getting pretty scarce these days. Obviously in California this is more important then in West Chester or Liberty Township, Ohio. But who wants to use extra water when they don’t have to.
The first cover is a automatic pool cover system. The cost is pretty expensive up front (usually 10k+), but its easy, and takes only seconds to open and close a pool. This cover will help slow down the process of losing water to evaporation.
If you don’t have 10K in your budget, or going for a free form pool I would get a standard “solar” cover. These help heat the water from the sun, and they also trap the water in as they are non porous.
After talking about the use of the free heat from the solar cover, how about a solar heater. A solar heater for Cincinnati needs to be located free of of shade and facing south usually on a roof. The pool works the same, but when the water comes to the filter to get clean, it goes through the solar system before going back to the pool.
When people doubt a solar heater for a swimming pool, I ask them to put a garden hose out with a nozzle. Turn the water on, and wait ten minutes. Then see how hot that water is just with a garden hose trapping the water. The solar heat is incredibly efficient, and super environmentally friendly.
Also a traditional gas or electric heater pump can be set up, in case you need to quickly heat your pool in the spring, cold fall, or even in winter.
I originally started “recycling” concrete because it is expensive to get rid of concrete that is torn out from old patios and dilapidated swimming pools. Instead of sending the old concrete to Rumpke or dumping it over a hill or as fill, I dump it in a big empty yard. On a rainy day (or winter) I’ll take a bobcat and break the concrete into tiny pieces and feed them through a 2″x2″ screed until all the concrete is under that 2″.
Now I cant use the concrete behind the pool as it doesn’t compact very good around a pool (and other reasons) I can use it as the final topping before concrete, or i like to use it as “fill” in the steps. There a is large area in the pool steps that can be filled with concrete, gravel, grits, sand, etc, but something.
I usually use recycled concrete to fill this space. This saves me money, but also is great for the environment as it re purposes the concrete.