When conservation meets the pool

 Eracle Sport Centre, Italy

Energy conservation in pools is a wide hot topic. We will discuss about it from many points of view starting from this interview dedicated to the existing scenario of aquatic installations in Italy and the solutions to make them efficient.

Each pool has very different features according to size, position and use, so it also has different energy problems and potential solutions. In this article we focus on public aquatic installations in terms of existing scenario - main power-related critical points, energy waste and management, solutions to solve it (rebuilding or restoring?) - and in terms of new works in order to understand how to build efficient and sustainable aquatic installations. To go more into detail, we have interviewed Giancarlo Fischetti, architect at Studio SdiA, who has 15 years' experience in design and technical-economic consultancy for sport installations.

Arch. Fischetti, what's the current situation of Italian aquatic installations from the energy point of view?

“Most aquatic installations were built in the last decades of the last century, i.e. when energy costs were not worthy special consideration and technological systems were used to provide internal wellness. The "outside" part should comply with aesthetic-functional parameters only. Today this is at the basis of the problems connected to energy consumption and emissions of polluting gases".

What are the main sources of energy dissipation in this kind of installations?

“I think energy dissipation is due to the lack of integrated design between technological systems and building technolgies used in the aquatic installation. Architectural aspects and environment size affect the overall energy dissipation in aquatic installations."

pool of eracle sport centre in Italy   photovoltaic panels

How does “power waste” affect the general management of an aquatic installation?

“Among different items of expenditure, energy absolutely pays a major role and it can affect up to 30%. Managers have started to work right on this issue by promoting building works aimed at reducing consumptions and fostering energy saving."

What are the main solutions to solve such situation, in terms of design, architecture and engineering?

“First of all a careful volume assessment must be done according to climate conditions and building position. Then proper systems of energy efficiency should be analysed and employed to improve efficiency of new structures, architectural elements and installations. Then different systems of micro environmental mitigation should be adopted. In the planning stage the different working phases must be simulated while taking into consideration the following operational management with the use of high efficiency systems and renewable energy resources. The building technology must help energy conservation and maximum performance optimization according to the rules in force."

eracle sport centre in Italy

What are the main steps to design a new efficient installation in terms of energy and management?

“SdiA Studio approached certified sustainable design by adopting the GBC protocol (Green Building Council) in the planning stage and the LEED certification system. In general, there are two principles at the basis of sustainability. On the one hand, design must guarantee a more efficient and sustainable management. In this sense, the following is essential: consumption analysis, thermal insulation, optimization of natural light, the use of materials with low environemntal impact, low maintenance costs. On the other hand, energy conservation must be guaranteed with the use of energy recovery systems: thermal exchange thermo-dynamic AHU devices, thermal solar panels, central control of temperatures, systems to reduce water consumption."

(All the pictures are referred to the eracle sport centre, in Italy. A project by SdiA architecture studio)

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