Green Is The New Black

Here’s a good way to save on our outta control electricity costs
BY: BRIDGET BURKE

Going green is here to stay. It is no longer just a fashionable trend to be mocked as yet another marketing fad generated by PR people cashing in on save the planet programs. It might be time to give up trying to fight or ignore the green movement; resistance is futile. You will be assimilated into going green by choice, coercion or force from your family, friends, neighbors, contractors, and community. Where do you start? Maybe the word solar is the only green concept you know.

Solar panels are to the green environmental movement as Marsha is to the Brady Bunch, an icon but in truth, just one option out of the group and maybe not even the most advantages one. So how can you suck it up and embrace going green without dropping thousands of dollars on expensive items like solar panels to start out?

Many green projects other than solar panels can offer significant energy saving opportunities. These may range from lighting renovations to underground  irrigation and grey water recovery for landscape use. As an example, let’s explore different swimming pool pumps available in Cabo. Sounds boring, yes? Yet, with limited initial investment, it can yield a surprisingly large cost savings!

Based on real world local data, provided by the energy consultants at Ecosmart Technologies based in Los Cabos, the electrical energy load of a swimming pool could easily add between 3,500 and 5,000 kilowatt hours per year. This shows up on your CFE (Mexican electric company) bill each month in a shocking manner.

Let’s look at one of the main reasons your swimming pool may be a bigger part of your energy costs than you think, and how you can save almost 80%. Your pool pump may be over sized for the job or it may be just a simple single speed pump, like they all were a few years ago.  Take for example a 1.5 horsepower pump, typical of an average size pool, operating 5.5 hours per day. This style of pump typically consumes 9.5 kilowatts per day.

Energy savings can be found by using either a 2-speed or a multi-speed pump at low speed for 8 hours per day, reducing your electrical use to 2.8 kilowatts per day, while still filtering the same volume of water. After all, pool filtering over longer periods is actually better as water movement prevents algae formation and tile staining. Like most things in life, if you slow down and take it easy, but work at a task in a steady manner, the results are as good or better than if you hit it at high speed.

In this replacement example, savings on your kilowatt usage for your pool  can be as much as 80%, and with local electrical rates around 20 Gringo cents per kw, this amounts to between $540 and $600 of savings per year. Installation is very simple, (read: cheap), and a variable speed pump can be had on the internet for about $1000. The biggest problem is getting it down here, (It’s about as heavy as an anvil so look into local purchase), and your local pool boy is going to have no idea how to program it to your best advantage. You’re going to have to sit down with the instructions and learn it yourself and do it for him.

If you purchase a simple 2-speed pump for a pool with simple filtering requirements, no spa features for example, these savings will pay for the new pump in less than two years. If you choose to invest in a multi-speed pump that allows you to adjust the pump speed and therefore the filtering rate based on pool use levels or ancillary features such as fountains and spa jets, these pumps will pay for themselves in a little longer, but honestly, except in extreme cases of pool emergency, you’re never going to need to crank it up. You will come to think of your pool pump as just another light bulb.