H2O Blankets, LLC - Natatorium Energy Conservation
OLD MODEL:  Dealing with nighttime evaporation after it occurs by ventilation & dehumidification
NEW MODEL:  Stopping evaporation at night before it occurs by covering heated indoor pools
WHAT'S OLD:  Building energy code compliance already requires blankets as "mandatory"    

WHAT'S NEW:  Making pool blanket deployment and retraction so much faster-easier-simpler
ENERGY EFFICIENCY is notoriously complicated to document.  We narrowed the variables between theory and practice by conducting a continuous 4-year evaporation study on 5 commercial pools.
CONCLUSION:  Utilities (gas-electricity-water-chemicals) consumption and costs from monthly bills are cut 50% using blankets on year round indoor pools.


         +   Energy Efficiency
        +   Water Conservation
              +   Business Sustainability*
                  +   Environmental Stewardship
                      +   Operational Productivity
                          +   Dehumidifier Demand
                               +   Maintenance Savings
                                  +   Financial Performance
                                                                  +   Code Compliance
  *Sustainable Business Model: 
    1)  Major energy-water efficiency goals
    2)  Major green-environmental goals
    3)  Financial stability
    4)  Capital payback  =  6-12 months
    5)  Utilities budget savings  =  50%/year
    6)  Slash corrosion repair-replacement costs
  • Energy blankets stop evaporation (energy loss & humidity gain)
  • Focusing on 70% of energy consumption which occurs at night
  • Yielding 50% year round utility savings
  • Changing traditional natatorium management practices
  • Bringing "Green & Clean" physics to the bottom line
  • Transforming the concept and handling of big pool blankets
  • Transforming a tough job into a fast, easy, value-added process
           ...WATER EFFICIENCY
Its about INNOVATION, PRESERVATION, CONSERVATION, EFFICIENCY for commercial natatorium operations  -  setting a unique standard for swim clubs, YMCA's, high schools, municipalities, universities  -  enabling substantial energy/water efficiency and cost savings for heated pools.  Benefitting environmental and budget concerns alike.
  • Gas or steam heaters heat pool water continuously year round, and it evaporates continuously.
  • Air conditioners work to equalize air and water temperatures to minimize evaporation.
  • Dehumidifiers work 24/7/365 to extract humidity.
  • All pools require lots of ventilation to purge chloramines, forsaking heat loss for IAQ.
  • All these systems consume lots of energy all year round  -  about 10X normal buildings.  Fighting the adverse effects of indoor warm water pools is hard work.  We have just made things simpler.
SIMPLE PHYSICS - Applying blankets stops evaporation physically (which increases at night), prevents humidity gain at its source, efficiently retains heat in the pool, reduces demand on mechanical systems (A/C and dehumidifiers), reduces utility consumption in half.
SIMPLE ANALOGIES  It's like shutting your front door when you leave your house in the winter to retain the heat inside.  Like wearing clothes clothes outdoors to reduce body heat loss & sweating (evaporation) winter or summer.  Like closing the oven door to retain its heat inside so the air conditioner in the kitchen is not cranked up to compensate for the loss. Like the logic of putting a lid on a coffee cup.
GUARANTEED CONSERVATIONUsing "H2O Energy Blankets" on commercial indoor pools improves operations in five key areas - energy efficiency, water efficiency, humidity reduction, environmental emissions, and financial impact.  Nothing else operators can do delivers greater value, greenness, energy savings, and cost reduction for natatoriums.
Using an H2O Energy Blanket saves energy, saves water, reduces humidity, reduces emissions, and saves money. Pools are well-known for their ability to recycle clean water, taking that efficiency thinking one step further.  Retaining and reusing heat, conserving resources, reducing the environmental emissions impact, and by using recyclable blanket materials.
WHAT WERE WE THINKING?  Some DOE guru from Washington came to see us at Dynamo Swim Club in 2001 to talk about EERE and their RSPEC program.  They wanted us to invest in solar thermal hot water pool heating and pool blankets.  The DOE software modelsuggested big savings.  By 2003, we jumped on board, made a big capital investment, and immediately realized big operating savings.  Experience taught us that blankets are much more important in the energy & financial equations than solar.  Granted, our solar panels are unglazed and less efficient, but with 27,000 square feet or 500 panels, a higher tech investment would have been cost prohibitive. Five years later, we have saved over $1.2 million.  Very green, very sustainable.
DOE modeling said 60% of savings would come from using pool blankets to conserve energy, 40% from solar free alternative energy generation, solar panels vs. pool surface area being equal.  However, we have found the savings ratio 70:30 in favor of blankets.  And substantially less capital. Energy blanket efficiency annually yielded over twice the returns of solar.
FACTS TELL THE STORY...  Here's a 4-year energy tracking report for Dynamo.  Brings the global energy crisis front and center for pool people.  Makes a huge difference for any natatorium's budget management, cash flow, and financial performance metrics.  Still our life-guards complained about the timing  -  having to reel blankets off at 5AM, then dragging them all back on at 10PM.  A very time-consuming task.  This dilemma got us thinking about making blankets easier  -  everybody knows they're a hassle, right?  So we did something about it.  We developed a practical, easy, fast alternative, no more hassle.  Life-guards love the new deployment & retraction system needing only one big lightweight blanket to cover a whole pool.  Instead of two guards taking 45 minutes, it now takes one guard 60 seconds.
1.  EVAPORATION...    is all about energy, environment, economics.  First fact  =  the same physics of evaporation principles apply indoors as outdoors.  Second fact  =  all indoor pools are heated year round.  Third fact  = you can virtually stop 97% of total heat loss by stopping evaporation using vapor barrier blankets covering the water surface.
2.  EVAPORATIVE COOLING...  is the same physics that cools a hot cup of coffee, quickly returning the liquid to ambient conditions.  Ten times more heat escapes through the evaporation process (liquid to gas phase)than it takes to heat up in the first place.
3.  STOPPING EVAPORATION...  seal the water surface, stop heat loss caused by evaporative cooling (i.e. enthalpy, heat of vaporization, thermodynamic equilibrium). Thermal insulation principles do not apply to evaporation, it's the vapor barrier that stops most heat loss required to transform a liquid to a gas.  Temperature equilibrium differentials are always greater at night, evaporation rates accelerate.  Dehumidifiers work twice as hard at night.  However, using blankets at night enables dehumidifiers to run at 10% vs. 100% without blankets.
Simply physics:   
Harnessing evaporation is a foundation
of energy & water conservation
unique to natatoriums
  • For an active indoor 50-meter competition pool, annual evaporation can be a startling amount  -  around 1.6 million gallons of water.
  • Each pound of evaporating water requires 1080 Btu's to transform from liquid to gas.
  • Each gallon takes out 8730 Btu's.
  • 50mtr pool  =  14 billion Btu's or 140,000 therms per year.
  • Using air conditioning and dehumidification reduce evaporation.  This decreases gas energy, but greatly increases electricity consumption.
  • Only energy blankets can slash utilitiy operating costs by 50%. 
PRACTICAL PHYSICS... Swimming pools uniquely serve as large storage vessels, and water stores heat very efficiently... as long as you stop the natural evaporative cooling (heat loss). Indoor commercial competitive pools at 80 degrees with high activity levels can generally lose 3"- 4" of water per week to surface evaporation, greater losses for warmer temperature water and air movement (ventilation). All pools require ventilation air flow for chloramine removal and replacement with healthy air. Evaporation volume increases in larger facility spaces and with air movement. Evaporation rates increase as outside temperature and humidity decrease.
Every degree of increased water temperature results in 10% higher evaporation or 10% greater energy consumption. Reducing relative humidity 10% in the space by means of dehumidification increases pool evaporation rates by over 30%.
"Green" is great is good, but it's really about economics. This is a slam-dunk, no subsidies required, pure payback under a year, saving half of normal energy & water consumption, end of story.
Commodity futures prices are what they are, up and down; hurricanes, droughts, climate highly unpredictable.  Supply and demand affects some, but this year's dire economy and degree-days are skewed.  Natural gas prices are currently way down, but electricity and water are going up.  Do costs really ever go down?  Only with efficiency and productivity.  One thing for sure, you can put a stop to evaporation, and that stops heat loss and humidity gain  -  the key factors in operating a natatorium.  H2O Blankets can cut utility costs in half year round, making you feel really, really green.  Do the math, this is the best investment a natatorium can make to reduce ongoing operating expenses.
OPERATING EXAMPLE...    Energy blankets with automated handling systems for most commercial pools yield a payback in the 6-12 month range.  By most measures, that is considered to be an outstanding investment.  Always more important are ongoing savings  -  50% of utility costs are removed from the operating budget every year.  This means an exceptional ROI. The average 50-meter pool can SAVE significantly:
                       ANNUAL SAVINGS
  • FINANCIAL     -   $100,000 to $125,000 per year
  • ENERGY        -   up to 60,000 therms per year
  • WATER          -   up to 2 million gallons per year
  • EMISSIONS    -   up to 350 tons of CO2 greenhouse gases
          10-YEAR PROJECT LIFE
             Financial       =    $1 million +
             Energy          =    600,000 therms
             Water            =    20 million gallons
             Emissions    =    3500 tons CO2
Above projection is for a 50mtr x 25yd pool.  Savings are relative to water surface area and water operating temperature.  Utility base costs will vary regionally.  Savings using energy blankets will generally be 50% of current annual costs. 
(Note: Add 10% for each degree over 80°F)
25yd x 30ft         =      2250 sq ft      =      $19,000
25yd x 45ft         =      3375 sq ft      =      $28,000
25yd X 60ft         =      4500 sq ft      =      $37,000
25yd x 25mtr      =      6150 sq ft      =      $51,000
50mtr x 25yd      =   12,300 sq ft      =    $101,000
USER ACCEPTANCE... Using a lightweight vapor barrier engineered textile (aquasynthetic), one single blanket covers the "whole pool"  -  even a 50-meter with bulkheads.  An innovative furler system deploys-retracts this blanket on 25-yard pools in 30 seconds, or 60 seconds on 50-meter pools.  Revolutioning the effort required for faster, easier, practical performance.
Productivity  -  pure time-labor efficiency makes it easier, faster, greener, saving big money.  It brings smiles to the faces of life-guards and pool operators  -  time & handling of traditional blankets on a 50-meter pool takes about 45 minutes for two skilled trained guards.  It takes one guard only 60 seconds with the H2O Energy Blanket system.  Do the math. 
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