Optimized Operation of Indoor Public Pool Facilities

Russ Landry, P.E., Di Sui, Tim Ellingson, P.E. — Nov 2013

Project update

The project team is finalizing energy savings calculations. Preliminary results show significant savings from several site-specific opportunities, with one site saving $5,400 a year as the result of a simple control improvements and another saving $2,500 a year through the use of a pool cover. The energy saving calculations will help to develop recommendations for Minnesota’s Techincal Reference Manual.
Full project update

Why this research is needed

The energy use intensity for indoor pool areas is three times higher than most other areas within a building, but there are currently no comprehensive resources to guide technicians and recommissioning providers in the quality maintenance and operation of indoor pool facilities.  Furthermore, the majority of indoor public pools in Minnesota are in hotels, motels or multifamily buildings, which have been hardly ever reached through past recommissioning programs.  Service providers cannot always research the specialty equipment, develop appropriate monitoring methods, and perform specialized savings calculations to the degree needed to fully realize the energy savings potential in indoor pool areas.  There are also inadequate examples of field-proven, documented savings for pool area operational improvements for CIP program providers and technicians to draw upon for planning energy savings initiatives.  

Project process and expected outcomes

Staff have conducted field surveys and operator interviews for 30 facilities to define a common range of baseline characteristics for Minnesota indoor pool facilities.  Now the project team is in the process of recommissioning 6 test sites that were chosen to be representative of the characteristics and improvement opportunities identified in the field surveys and interviews.  Detailed monitoring of the pre-existing operations has taken place in the first half of 2015, and we are working with technicians to complete appropriate equipment and operations improvements at these 6 test.  We will continue detailed monitoring at these test sites through the end of 2015 to verify energy savings for the operational improvements.
The project will use the results to develop energy savings calculators and quality maintenance and operations guides for two different audiences: technicians and recommissioning providers. Researchers  will tailor each document to be used by its intended audience, considering existing knowledge of the equipment. They will evaluate the market acceptance and effectiveness of the guides through pilot testing with a variety of pool service technicians and recommissioning providers.  Feedback from these initial trials of guide use will be used to refine the guides.

This project supported in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources through the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) program. And with co-funding by CEE in support of its nonprofit mission to advance research, knowledge dissemination, and program design in the field of energy efficiency.


Project Info


Quantify the savings potential for energy efficiency improvements to the operations of indoor public pool facilities in Minnesota and develop guides to help operators and recommissioning agents realize these savings.

Utility Implementation
The guides and aids in estimating savings will make it easy for these savings to be achieved through existing CIP rebate programs, such as recommissioning and custom rebates, and will provide information that utilities can use to develop new prescriptive rebates.

Based on surveys completed at 30 facilities, 6 representative sites are being recommissioned with detailed monitoring of operational energy savings.  Training will be provided to 12 technicians and 2 recommissioning providers.

Non-Energy Benefits
A number of facilities will benefit from the prevention and/or correction of problems with air quality, comfort and accelerated building deterioration associated with moisture condensation.

CEE Contact:

Russ Landry, P.E.

Project Description (PDF)