If you flew over the North Shore of Sydney, you’d see that it is well and truly dotted with swimming pools that are jam-packed full of families and friends enjoying a little recreation in warmer weather. Now also think about all of those children and teens taking part in swimming lessons and squad classes each week throughout the year.
You’d have to agree that swimming in public and private pools is a popular pastime for most. But how often do you stop to think about how clean the water is that you or your child is swimming in?
Even if it’s your own pool, unless you manually test the water you can’t be sure if the water is chemically balanced and healthy to swim in, and playing around with pool chemicals and filters can be dangerous and a chore. Thankfully, a new innovation Pooled Energy, which was actually invented on the North Shore, is set to change how families and swim centres check and filter their pool water.
Pooled Energy really does take the hassle out of owning a pool. Simply, once the technology is installed, you only have to empty the skimmer box and pool cleaner basket and do a semi-automated backwash every two months or so. There is no more need to take water samples, test the water, buy, carry, handle and store heavy, dangerous chemicals, determine how long to run the pool filter, replace broken down filtration equipment, and so on.
North Shore Mums interviewed John Riedl, co-founder and CEO of Pooled Energy to learn more about this fascinating technology.
Why did you start Pooled Energy and why is this product interesting to families with pools?
I am an Electrical Engineer by profession. While working around my home in Northbridge, I was reflecting upon how much energy and carbon was consumed by Australian swimming pools – about two big coal-fired power stations and about seven per cent of the Residential Grid – and just how low-tech most pools are.
Pool water management really had not changed much in the past 60 years and big improvements were clearly possible. I had already designed and tried a better, more effective and far more efficient form of filtration on an ornamental pool in my house and decided to extend and apply that technology to swimming pools. Some six years and $10 million later, Pooled Energy has developed a technology that, once installed, is simply managed on the internet.
This technology allows people to run a domestic swimming pool more healthily, more efficiently and in a more environmentally friendly manner than has ever been done before.
Best of all, there is no upfront net cash out and pool owners typically make substantial savings on operating costs: up to $1000 a year. It also improves the pool and the environment.
How can you offer a service that saves money?
The answer is technology. No magic, no steak knives, no hidden costs – just technology. What Apple did to mobile phones with the iPhone, we are doing to swimming pools.
Is it complicated to use?
No. It is automatic. The best technologies are the invisible ones that do what you want rather than needing you to tell them. This is one of those. You can override it using a smartphone app, but the best way to use it is to let it run by itself.
What about the electricity usage?
Did you know that your pool uses around 30 per cent of the electricity in your home? Most people don’t realise that pools are almost always the largest and most expensive single consumer of electricity in the house. Typically air-conditioning or electric hot water come next.
With the Pooled Energy system we often see up to 70 per cent energy reductions in pool operation, as well as substantial improvement in water quality and health. The Pooled Energy systems uses sensors and Intelligent Electronics to also minimise chemicals and equipment maintenance to save up to $1000 in pool operating costs a year.
How would children benefit swimming in a pool using this technology?
Knowing that your pool is chemically balanced and sanitised appropriately – with the right amount of chemicals to the kills the bugs – gives you peace of mind when your kids and their friends are swimming in your pool, especially the little ones with their inclination to infections.
Pool chemistry alters in as little as 30 minutes on a hot, sunny day and you really can’t manually keep water in good condition and safe. You need sensors and automatic control for that and that’s where Pooled Energy offers an advantage.
What does Pooled Energy offer households?
Pooled Energy is a technology company that also has an Electricity Retailer authorisation. Basically, we provide a bundle of household electricity, pool services, computer management and a major upgrade to your pool equipment as part of the package. Your savings are part of the package.
Each pool is different – we will review your pool equipment and replace any of the filtration equipment that is not operating well, and also add sensors, automatic chemical management, an Intelligent Pool Controller and a telecoms link, at our expense, back to our central computer in the Internet Cloud. That computer is connected to the Grid and the weather bureau so as to optimise your pool continually.
Your pool is then automated. We monitor your pool water chemistry and temperature using sensors, plus manage the chemistry of your pool to make your swimming pool water beautiful.
The constant monitoring and remote control of pumps and filters allows for the most energy efficient approach to pool management.
Are there any other benefits for the pool owner?
Definitely. As most pool owners would know, the equipment – the filter, filter pump, the dosing system, salt cell, filter media and more, have a finite life. The cost of replacing this equipment can run into thousands of dollars and never happens at a good time. Pooled Energy maintains this equipment at no extra cost. Pool chemicals are also provided, delivered and dispensed as part of the service.
Is there anywhere we can see Pooled Energy technology being used?
Yes, in residential pools right across the North Shore and the Eastern Suburbs, and at Aquabliss Commercial pools.
We were approached by Aquabliss Swim Schools during our technology development phase. We subsequently installed our equipment at the Aquabliss Pymble pool and now the school and its customers can see the difference in water quality and the current quality of the pool water on a computer monitor screen at reception. We believe this is a world first – the real-time display of the water quality means that mums can know what the water is like BEFORE their children get in.
For more information about Pooled Energy, visit the website or call 1300 364703.
So, tell us, would you ditch the ‘pool guy’ for a new technology that could make owning your pool much less stressful and costly? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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