ECOPOOL+++: Developing a sustainable outdoor heated swimming pool
Keywords:outdoor heated swimming pool, solar energy, PCM heat accumulator, smart energy and water management system
The University of Algarve, in consortium with “Cristal Construções – Materiais e Obras de Construção Civil”, “Itelmatis Control Systems” and “Itecons – Instituto de Investigação e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico para a Construção, Energia, Ambiente e Sustentabilidade”, is developing a new concept of outdoor heated sustainable swimming pool, having a higher energy efficiency and lower environmental footprint. The main objective is to minimise energy and water consumptions, while assuring a comfortable temperature for the user, extending the utilization of the pool in the Algarve region, from the summer months, to at least 8 months of the year. In order to do it, different systems will be tested, including solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, inverted underfloor heating, heat accumulator exchanger with phase change materials and energy dissipating pipes. An innovative thermal insulation system will be included in the interior of the pool tank, together with a new system for the covering of the water plane. All these systems will be monitored and controlled by an industrial automation system that will communicate, via a programmable logic controller, using industry standard communication protocols, with a SMART platform, that will be in charge of the global operation's optimisation. This platform will support an intelligent and predictive control and monitoring module, that controls the automation system to maximize the energy usage of the renewable sources, while assuring the user preferences. One of the main outputs of this project is the construction of a smaller scale prototype of a swimming pool, with the characteristics mentioned above, in order to test and validate the proposed developments.