Saving Energy Saves Pool
Stonehurst Plantation in Augustine, Fla.
toneHurst Plantation, a beautiful community in St. Augustine, Fla., was built with a large swimming pool and a wonderful play pool area that was the No. 1 attraction for some homeowners in the community.
Unfortunately, a plumbing leak led the play pool feature to be closed for almost a year. When General Contractor Andy Chance of The Chance Building Group Inc. was tasked with fixing the problem, the Home Owners Association (HOA) also asked if the amount of electricity required to operate the play features could be reduced. It currently totaled more than the electricity needed to power the rest of the entire community center! Getting the play feature of the pool up and running quickly and finding an energy-saving solution would both keep the community happy.
The play feature pool consists of a bridge with a slide, an 8-foot-tall mushroom water feature, two water cannons, a water bucket dump, water sprays and a raised pipe with a 4-inch open end that arcs water six feet down. The play feature sits in the center of a 30-foot-diameter pool with a depth of about 20 inches. The pool area itself is 656 square feet with a perimeter of 93 linear feet, and holds 3,116 gallons of water with a surge tank holding 724 gallons. All the water features on the play feature are supplied water from one 15-HP pump, which produces approximately 1,400-plus gpm (gallons per minute).
Each water feature is controlled by individual valves on the discharge side of the pump. The water features consume different amounts of water to perform their objective. The largest water feature, the 8-foot-tall mushroom, consumed approximately 695 gpm (about half of the pump's output).
As luck would have it, this mushroom was the feature that had a broken line—somewhere underground between the pump and the feature, and had to be valved off. But after valving this feature off, the 15-HP pump was still operating at full capacity for the other, smaller water features. This was causing stronger water flows and pressures at the other water features and still consuming a huge amount of electricity.
The HOA had a strong complaint that the play feature pump was the most costly electrical device to operate for the entire amenity center—even over the perimeter lighting and baseball field lighting. The HOA also complained that for the past three years, the pump had to be rebuilt during or at the end of swim season.