Miami Beach Leads the Way for Swimming Pool Energy Efficiency

Local pool companies make New Pool Energy Efficiency law a priority


Miami Beach, Fla.-With a new law mandating energy efficiency standards in Florida swimming pools a year away, Dade County has already become a model of pool efficiency thanks to the efforts of a handful of passionate, local pool professionals.

“Miami Beach is really ahead of the curve,” said Jeff Farlow, manager of energy efficient initiatives for Pentair Water Pool & Spa, Inc. and a founding member of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals Energy Efficiency Committee. “They’ve recognized that there is a less expensive and more environmentally friendly way to own a pool, and they’re embracing that.”

All Florida Pool and Spa Center in North Miami is leading the trend as one of the nation’s top sellers of a new variable speed pool pump that uses hybrid car technology to cut energy use by up to 90 percent. “Most Florida residents don’t realize that under the new law you won’t be able to purchase those inefficient single-speed filtration pumps starting in July 2011,” said Bill Parrish, service manager from All Florida Pool and Spa center, referring to a section of the 2008 Florida Energy Bill (House Bill 7135) that requires that all new residential pool filter pump(s and) motors rated at 1 horsepower and greater sold in Florida after July 1, 2011 must be capable of operating at two or more speeds.

“Why would you want to invest in a technology that is so inefficient that the state is effectively banning it? And what if that new single-speed pump breaks in two years? Do you want to roll the dice on whether you’re even allowed to fix it? That seems like a pretty big risk for a product that will cost you a lot more in the long run.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that Florida home owners can save an average of $880.00 a year by upgrading their pool equipment, roughly equal to the utility savings a Florida home owner can expect by purchasing an Energy Star-labeled home.  Pentair, manufacturer of the equipment Parrish recommends to his customers, estimates that replacing a conventional pump with its IntelliFlo variable speed pump will deliver savings of up to $2,121.00 by itself. The company says other potential efficiency improvements are available with LED pool lights, digital automation systems, high-efficiency heaters and heat pumps.

“Considering that the electricity savings from one of the new pumps will quickly pay for the investment, going green becomes an easy decision,” Parrish said. “If you need to replace a pool pump this year, the combination of energy cost savings and the new law make it incredibly hard to justify purchasing a single-speed pump.”

He explained that while the law does allow the installation of two-speed pool pumps, the savings available from premium variable speed pumps such as the IntelliFlo pump also make two-speed pumps a poor investment. Parrish said that this has been proven this with hundreds of customers. Some recent examples include:

  • Science teacher Margi Newman reports that her electric bills have been reduced by an average of $77.00 per month, or $924.00 a year, since installing the pump, not including a historically cold January. “As a science teacher, I’m constantly telling my students to understand how important it is to conserve resources. This was a teachable moment for me.”
  • In the four months prior to installing a variable speed pump, John Izzo’s electric bills were an average of $495.00 per month. Since installing the pump in May 2009, he has not had an electric bill of more than $357.00. The savings from that investment inspired Izzo to investigate further efficiency improvements this winter; including a new air conditioner.
  • Mechanical engineer Howard Goldberg was so skeptical of the savings Parrish promised that he looked up the patent on the equipment to verify its technical claims. Since installing a variable speed pump and LED pool lights in July 2009, Goldberg’s electric bills have been reduced by an average of $75.00 per month. “This will pay for itself in 12 to 18 months. I’ve even talked my neighbor into getting a new pump.”
  • In March, plumber Mike Pleasant received his lowest electric bill in 10 years. In the three months since installing the IntelliFlo pump his bills have fallen from $400.00 per month to $236.00, $238.00 and $212.00. “It’s opened my eyes and motivated me to do things differently in my business,” said Pleasant, principal of Papa’s Plumbing. “I used to tell my customers that ‘green’ equipment such as tank less water heaters weren’t worth the money. Now I recommend them.”

Did You Know?

Miami Beach pool owners are investing in technology to make their new pools more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

  • State standards for pool equipment energy efficiency will go into effect  July 1, 2011, effectively banning the sale and repair of certain pool pumps  and heaters in Florida.
  • Upgrading pool equipment can save more money than building a home to Energy Star standards.
  • One of the IntelliFlo pumps has an optional built in Safety Vacuum Release system ( SVRS) that senses drain blockage and automatically  shuts off the pump in seconds to provide an important layer of protection against entrapment.
  • UM and FPL agree that this pump does save the homeowner money.

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