True Green

             ©2009 WaterShapes. Reproduced by permission.
Building pools and other watershapes to reduce their energy or chemical usage while also
taking advantage of rainwater or ...
clients’ ambitions to make them as effi-        will save them money once the system           of reliable options and pri...
vesting system – but it’s always possible to     pool can be used and is so integral a part   transferred to our watershap...


                                               Covers are essential components in our
chloramines odors, gr...

marks, we’ve been able to achieve re-           to filtering runoff. This has led us at      ing applies to recommen...

We’re strong believers in finding recycled options for use in nearly all
phases of construction. In many cases, for ...
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Oct09 Eco Friendly Article


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Oct09 Eco Friendly Article

  1. 1. True Green Improving your Moves ©2009 WaterShapes. Reproduced by permission.
  2. 2. Building pools and other watershapes to reduce their energy or chemical usage while also taking advantage of rainwater or recycled construction materials isn’t rocket science, notes watershaper Jamison Ori. But it does require thinking differently about the fundamen- tal nature of watershapes as they relate to environment – and even more so, about how you approach clients when it comes to addressing their increasingly ‘green’ inclinations. By Jamison C. Ori I t comes up almost every time: Our clients tell us they want to increase the energy efficiency and overall environmen- tal friendliness of almost everything they plan to do with their homes, landscapes and watershapes. It truly is a “green revo- lution,” and, as is true of most clients, they’re looking to us for guidance in what can be accomplished. From our perspective at Rosebrook Pools in Libertyville Ill., this trend kicked into high gear about three years ago – not sur- prising at a point when gas and other fuel prices started to soar. We’re proud of the fact that we saw this coming and had,for about five years already,been considering and implementing eco-con- siderate features into our watershaping and landscape work. In doing so, we took many of our cues from the U.S. Green Building Council, the organization that oversees the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process. The council has nothing in its program that applies directly to swimming pools or other watershapes, but it wasn’t particularly difficult to translate a range of their recommen- dations for home construction into our approach with pools and spas. Developing Market Why go to all that effort? For years now, swimming pools and other watershapes have been tarred by environmentalists as being bad for the planet. And that’s putting it mildly: Sometimes the negative rhetoric is extremely harsh and like- ly has damaged the image of swimming pools in particular among some consumers. We took those criticisms to heart, because we know that in- stalling and operating watershapes involves consumption of electricity, water, chemicals, fossil fuels and other natural re- sources. And while we know we can’t say that our pools are 100 percent eco-friendly, we know we’ve done our best to meet our ©2009 WaterShapes. Reproduced by permission.
  3. 3. clients’ ambitions to make them as effi- will save them money once the system of reliable options and prioritize them cient as can be. is operational. when speaking with clients. The best approach,as we saw it,was to Better yet, we’ve self-consciously been accept reality while also defining ways in installing these systems for nearly five Green Ways which pools could be produced that years now, so we know how they per- Let’s get down to some specifics, start- would reduce their environmental foot- form over time – a depth of direct ex- ing with hydraulics and circulation – the prints. In so doing,we developed a menu perience that impresses our more so- heart of any watershape system. of options clients can use according to phisticated clients, many of whom The plain fact is, every watershape cir- the nature of the design, the scope of the come to the process with ideas of their culates water – and thereby consumes work and the extent of the budget. own and a curiosity about what we’ve energy. For 20 years now, voices in the With energy consumption, for exam- learned in developing efficient systems. pool industry and elsewhere have strong- ple, we’ve long known that there are a As we see it, actively embracing this ly advocated the use of hydraulic designs that make efficient use of this energy. Many of their recommendations are (or We offer our clients a wide range of options in at least should be) familiar to everyone by now, but they bear mentioning again full confidence that what we’re saying is reliable – in this context. Indeed, if you do absolutely nothing and not just green-tinged rhetoric we’ve cobbled else “green” on a pool design, you should at least be using properly sized together to help make a sale. pumps and plumbing. Time and again in these pages and elsewhere, we’ve been told that upsized plumbing and down- number of specific measures we can ap- trend rather than following behind it (or, sized pumps will save energy and our ply to reduce the amount of energy a wa- worse, resisting it) is all a part of making clients’ money – and the great thing is tershape consumes. Does this or any watershape and landscape design as so- that it’s fairly easy to do. other step make a design “green”? We phisticated as our client base. Just as it’s Yes, things can get complicated with don’t make that claim, but in a universe critical to understand art history, color multifaceted systems where a pool is joined in which the word “green” is overused theory,options in materials selection and by a spa, a vanishing edge, fountain jets and abused, we feel pretty good about the fine points of custom detailing, we and other details – not to mention ap- our program. see coming up to speed with environ- plications in which solar or geothermal And so we avoid the “green”label, opt- mental concerns as another requirement heating systems are used or you’re in- ing instead to appeal directly on the one of being completely professional. stalling the various filtration loops required hand to clients’concerns about preserv- The key is to consider the widest range for implementation of a rainwater-har- ing natural resources and, more impor- tant in most cases, saving them some money in the long run on the other. The fact that these two goals go hand-in- hand benefits everyone. Having done our homework and de- termined what we consider to be the best products, design approaches and con- struction techniques, we enter into con- versations with our clients in which we of- fer them a wide range of options in full confidence that what we’re saying is reli- able – and not just green-tinged rhetoric we’ve cobbled together to help make a sale. This progressive, proactive approach to environmental concerns has given us a tremendous advantage, even in what we all know is a tough market. It also helps that we work mostly with affluent clients who have the resources to invest in systems that conserve resources and, although they might cost more up front, ©2009 WaterShapes. Reproduced by permission.
  4. 4. vesting system – but it’s always possible to pool can be used and is so integral a part transferred to our watershaping. find ways to optimize performance and of the package that energy-efficient sys- For one thing, we insulate the pipes in achieve higher levels of efficiency. tem design is a must. all of our projects. Where they’re exposed, We’ve also found support in the form We generally start with a high-effi- we wrap them in two-inch-thick insulat- of the new variable-frequency-drive ciency fossil-fuel heater and really see ing foam; where they’re underground,we pumps – devices that make it possible to no excuse not to use one. But then, de- spray insulating foam to encapsulate them use a single, highly efficient pump to ad- pending on the client and the circum- in their runs and troughs – or use what- dress a number of different functional sce- stances, we can go well beyond the con- ever combination of techniques makes narios. Even here, however, there’s not ventional, sometimes using geothermal the most sense. much a sophisticated pump can do to systems in which the steady tempera- We also offer our clients the option compensate for bad hydraulic design. And ture of the ground below the frost line of having us insulate the pool shell. In we can’t be blinded by technology,either, helps maintain a baseline temperature doing so, we place two-inch-thick in- because there are instances in which a sys- that lightens the load on fossil-fuel sys- sulation board underneath and around tem’s needs are met perfectly well by less- tems. We’ll also deploy solar heating and the pool shell before shotcrete appli- expensive two- or single-speed pumps. have even gotten into some projects in cation and have learned from experi- That brings me to a point our experi- which a combination of all three ap- ence that this is a real energy saver ence has driven home time and again: proaches – fossil fuel, geothermal and when it comes to maintaining the de- All of the elements in a system are tied solar – are used to great effect. sired water temperature. together in ways that depend complete- Even more complex are systems in We also steadfastly encourage the use ly on the overall system and how it is which our watershape-heating systems of automatic covers, which offer a whole meant to function. As a result, it’s dif- are tied into a home’s heating, ventila- range of benefits when it comes to envi- ficult to isolate one element from an- tion and air-conditioning system and a ronmental sensitivity. Heat retention is other, develop and approach and feel heat pump is used to transfer energy probably the largest benefit for most of confident that it’s the smart way to go. from cooling the home into heating pool our clients, but reductions in evapora- Especially with hydraulics, the best so- water. Depending on the circumstances, tion and chemical use are right up there lution most often requires a systemat- we seek out the best possible solutions, as well, along with keeping leaves and ic, comprehensive approach. come what may. dirt out of the water and adding a layer Heating the water presents the same of safety to a project. sorts of challenges,depending not just on Finding Opportunities (Aesthetics are always an issue with where you work but also on system com- The approaches we’ve discussed so far covers, which is one of the reasons we’ve plexity. In Palm Springs, for example, are relatively conventional, but we’ve worked with our suppliers to develop heating might not be much of an issue at found others that are a bit off the beat- what we call our “extreme cantilever”ap- all, but in our highly seasonal market, en path – some of them methods we’ve proach, which allows us to install covers heating extends the period in which a spotted in home construction and have on pools of almost any shape. This will be the subject of an article on its own in a future issue.) Water treatment enters the eco-friend- ly picture as well. Let’s start with chlo- rine, which has, for whatever reason, be- come almost a dirty word among many consumers. At our firm, we are far from opposed to using chlorine and appreci- ate the many benefits it delivers,but we’re also sensitive to client complaints about In our climate zone, keeping the water warm and extending the swim season are major goals, which is why we insulate the pipes on every project we complete and also offer our clients the possibility of having their pool shells insulated – as seen here, with two inch- es of insulation board applied before shot- crete application. ©2009 WaterShapes. Reproduced by permission.
  5. 5. A B Covers are essential components in our chloramines odors, green hair and fad- energy-management approach. To keep ed bathing suits as well as their questions their use from placing excessive restric- about chlorine’s nastier byproducts. tions on shapes and design possibilities When the need arises, we easily shift (A), we’ve developed what we call ‘ex- our attention to any of a number of al- treme cantilevers’ – overhanging decks ternative treatment methods that either that enable us to install covers on pools streamline chlorine use or eliminate it with a variety of contours and edge con- altogether. Saltwater chlorine-genera- figurations (B). tion systems are certainly popular these days: Ironically, they offer just anoth- er chlorine-based approach, but they erally recognized. In fact, we’ve turned appeal to clients because they eliminate to these technologies in a variety of our the need to transport prepared chlorine most unusual applications (including products to the property and, when ad- pools for dogs and thoroughbred race- justed properly, keep the amount of horses) with great success. chlorine in the water to a minimum. Of course, the nutrient load in these In other instances, we’ve used ozone applications must be carefully consid- generators or copper/silver ionization ered, but that’s also true with pools for systems to provide “chlorine-free” wa- humans. It all comes down to proper ter, and experience has shown these sys- sizing and establishment of adequate tems to be far more effective than is gen- turnover rates: When we hit those ©2009 WaterShapes. Reproduced by permission.
  6. 6. A marks, we’ve been able to achieve re- to filtering runoff. This has led us at ing applies to recommendations on use markable results in water quality with times to use reverse-osmosis and car- of recycled materials in the construc- chlorine-free approaches. bon-activated filtration methods to tion process – and there are huge op- treat water we capture from rooftops portunities here. In fact, we’ve found Cycling and Recycling or deck areas, all in the name of re- recycled options for just about every- Filtering the water is another area in moving the harmful contaminants this thing other than the shotcrete we ap- which we offer our clients various eco- water can carry. ply, including glass tile manufactured friendly options – with decisions de- Our clients are increasingly interest- using recycled glass as well as repur- pending, as always, on the application ed in these systems, which are devel- posed pavers, bricks, stone, architec- and the project’s specific requirements. oped simply by creating ways to chan- tural finishes and woodwork. We’ve For basic pool and spa systems,for ex- nel rainwater into cisterns or surge even found a source for reclaimed re- ample, we use either cartridge or di- tanks instead of sending it to waste. As bar and rebar made from recycled steel, atomaceous-earth filters. With the latter, we see it, our task is to process and fil- and there’s a company that makes cop- however, we set aside the diatomaceous ter that water before it moves into the ing and various hardscape materials earth and use a substitute coating prod- general circulation system, and both using a combination of recycled news- uct based on cellulose fibers: They are as reverse-osmosis and carbon-activated paper and cement. effective as diatomaceous earth with re- filtration have proved remarkably ef- We’ve found places for these materi- spect to filtration,but they share none of fective on that front. als in retaining walls, outdoor cooking its toxicity issues. In some cases, however, the harvest- areas, gates, planters and decks. Not only In recent times, our approach to fil- ed water is also used for irrigation – a does this make sense from an environ- tration has become somewhat more request we’re getting more and more mental standpoint, but many of these complicated as a result of including wa- frequently. In these cases, we back off products also have aesthetic virtues that ter-harvesting systems in our projects: from our drinking-water target and sim- simply cannot be reproduced using new In all of our pool and spa designs, we ply run the water through a standard fil- materials. As an example, we recently strive to achieve the highest water qual- ter. As always, the approach depends on built a beautiful pergola made using re- ity standards, so as a result we take fair- the specific situation. claimed architectural woodwork: It was ly aggressive approaches when it comes That same sort of situational think- expensive, but it’s truly an object of great ©2009 WaterShapes. Reproduced by permission.
  7. 7. B We’re strong believers in finding recycled options for use in nearly all phases of construction. In many cases, for example, we’ll use glass tile made from recycled material (A and B) and frequently reuse old pavers, bricks and stone in assembling our decks (C and D). When possible – C as seen in one of our pergolas (D) – we also reuse old wood. D means that the same person can stay on the job site longer and perform more than one set of tasks in that visit. This cuts down on the number of people trav- eling to and from each job site and re- duces the overall number of trips that one person might have to make in the course of a project. Coincidentally, this program has had the major added benefit of creating un- derstanding across multiple lines of how details in one type of installation influ- ence procedures in another. In addition, it prompted us to outfit our project man- agers with sophisticated cell phones that allow for communication via voice and e-mail: This lets them stay in touch about job status and scheduling issues in ways that eliminate wasted time and beauty because of the wood’s weathered systems and techniques and then making unnecessary trips. look and rich patina. them available to clients based on the na- If I had to boil all of this down to a pair Even when it comes to the most basic ture and scope of the project at hand. of words,“common sense”comes to mind. material of all – that is, soil – we find ways To be truly effective with such a pro- None of us in the watershaping realm to decrease our environmental impact gram, however, we’ve come to believe needs to reinvent the wheel to move in the whenever we can by using excavated that you have to incorporate a green at- right direction when it comes to environ- spoils to create berms or earthen con- titude into your overall thinking as a mental responsibility. Even though I’d tours. Instead of hauling this material company and use it in ways that reach never be so bold as to call our products away, we use it to lend changes in eleva- well beyond the products and systems “green,” I can say without hesitation that tion to a basic, local geography that is sold and installed. we do all we can to use today’s technolo- generally devoid of such features. We know, for example, that it makes gy in a good-faith effort to meet our clients’ sense from both environmental and op- desires to be as ecologically conscientious Beyond the Basics erational standpoints to have our crews as they can possibly be. As I mentioned at the outset, none of be on the job site for fewer stays over With continued technological pro- these available measures should come as longer stretches, which is why we’ve gress,advances in equipment and broad- revelations to watershapers (although I do crossed-trained all of our installers in er material options, we think that, as a think relatively few of us go so far as to in- multiple disciplines. Our rough-plumb- company, we’re more than ready to take sulate our plumbing). Basically,it’s a mat- ing crew, for instance, also handles our approaches to all-new levels as new ter of evaluating and packaging established rough-electrical installations, which possibilities emerge. ©2009 WaterShapes. Reproduced by permission.