Optimized Operation of Indoor Public Pool Facilities

Russ Landry, P.E., Di Sui, Tim Ellingson, P.E.

This project was intended to jump-start efforts to make cost-effective operational improvements in Minnesota’s 2,200 indoor public pool facilities. The primary objectives were to provide a better understanding of the savings potential associated with improvement operations of these facilities, and to develop technical guides for operators and utility program providers. The project’s findings also informed recommendations for Minnesota’s Technical Reference Manual.
Pools-Pumps-(3).pngCEE completed on-site surveys of 30 buildings with a total of 36 pools and 13 spas, including detailed follow-ups with six of these buildings. The survey and follow-up sites were chosen to represent common variations in pools, buildings and equipment types, as well as opportunities for energy efficient operations improvements. Drafts of the guide documents were provided to 12 technicians and 2 recommissioning providers for detailed feedback and revision prior to their finalization.
The project used the results to develop energy savings calculators and quality maintenance and operations guides for two different audiences: (1) technicians and (2) recommissioning providers. The team customized each document for its intended audience, considering existing knowledge of the equipment. We also evaluated the market acceptance and effectiveness of the guides through pilot testing with a variety of pool service technicians and recommissioning providers.

Summary of cost-effective statewide savings potential

*Values for no-cost changes were not added to the totals because the savings associated with this measure is mutually exclusive with the recommissioning audits (within the same building).
Key findings:

  • HVAC recommissioning-related activities show the largest potential for savings of both gas and electricity.

  • No cost control adjustments and liquid pool covers provide significant secondary opportunities for gas savings, whereas variable speed pool pumping provides about one-third of electric savings potential.

  • One-third of pool facilities that have large pools represent about two-thirds of the overall savings potential.

  • Liquid pool cover savings potential is fairly consistent across the population of small pools. However, CEE found that the applicability, nature, and potential savings for HVAC control changes, and variable speed pool pumping varies significantly from site to site.

CIP Recommendations

  • Recommission with CEE’s new guide: Use the Recommissioning Guide for Indoor Public Pool Facilities in Minnesota, developed as part of this project, to direct recommissioning efforts.

  • Simple rebate for pump VSD: Offer a simple prescriptive (or similar) rebate option for variable speed pool pumping.

  • Develop rebates for liquid pool covers with further verification: Consider offering pilot or custom rebates for liquid pool covers, with measurement and verification of the first few participants, before undertaking wide promotion of this technology.


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 for indoor public pool facilities and develop guides to help operators realize these savings.

Utility Implementation
The guides and aids in estimating savings make it easier for 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.

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.

FINAL REPORT: Optimized Operation of Indoor Public Pool Facilities

RESOURCE: Recommissioning Guide for Indoor Public Pool Facilities in MN 

RESOURCE: Operator's Guide to Energy Efficient Indoor Public Pool Operations

Project Description (PDF)