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Today, sustainable development is something that affects every aspect of human activities. Well-being is the goal of modern society and cannot be separated from the social, environmental and economic aspects of life.

Wellness and spa is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide. Swimming pools can now be seen in every city and in many private properties. This provides more opportunities for people to swim for good health, pleasure or competitive purposes.

Although the word “sustainability” is very common and popular now, it is still not used for swimming pools as often as it should be. Sustainability focuses on wholly integrating economic stability, the environmental and social issues with the aim of achieving a lasting outcome. One of these three objectives is very often compromised with the result that improving one of these aspects negatively affects the others. Modern smart technologies give us “no-lose” solutions. These solutions take all three aspects into account at the design stage.

There are different criteria for sustainability although the term is used with different focus and applications. The process of achieving sustainability must incorporate the knowledge and views of all stakeholders. In the case of swimming pools, engineers, owners (private, municipal and public), staff, users, etc. must be involved to achieve sustainability. The wellness industry needs to be environmentally responsible in addition to offering enjoyment and relaxation for people. It must be committed to the management and care of resources, on the one hand, and to the protection of the ecosystem, on the other. (Carew and Mitchell, 2008).

What are the factors for sustainable management of swimming pools?

Design and construction stage of the swimming pool

  • There are some factors that engineers need to consider when designing a pool and deciding whether to build an outdoor or an indoor pool, namely climate, site plan, slope.
  • Conditions such as wind and sun need to be explored with a view to energy efficiency which is a key factor for sustainability.
  • The number of potential users of the pool should be considered as this may affect the design, choice of equipment and pool installations.

Energy efficiency

In order to design a swimming pool according to environmental considerations, energy efficiency must be taken into account at the design stage together with the future operation and management of the swimming pool.

  • All the equipment should be well calculated and periodic checks should be carried out. Proper settings should be made such as water temperature when using the showers, etc.
  • Heating and ventilation systems are complex and their proper use is key. In the case of an existing swimming pool where energy efficiency has not been taken into account, retrofitting or renovation should be considered as an opportunity to reduce energy consumption and therefore costs.

Optimisation of water consumption

Operational procedures related to water consumption should be planned and carried out so as to reduce the amount of water used in filtration, cleaning, checking for leaks and water loss, etc., and comply with regulatory and legislative requirements.

Ecology and responsibility for environmental protection

Preventing and reducing the carbon footprint is a priority. Good governance in this sense is fundamental to the sustainable management of swimming pools. To achieve this, the use of chemicals needs to be correct and responsible in order to prevent the formation of dangerous compounds and their subsequent discharge back into the environment. Modern technology provides solutions that use completely harmless methods. These technological solutions reduce harmful waste and chemicals used in conventional pool maintenance.

Technical maintenance and prevention

Maintenance is of utmost importance for the safety and long-term sustainable management of swimming pools. It helps save electricity and water, reduces operating costs and provides greater comfort for users. Preventive maintenance of facilities is mandatory to achieve environmental and economic results. (Tamminen, 2007)

Security and safety

Microbiological water quality, surface hygiene around pools, showers and changing rooms are a serious challenge for safety and comfort. Microbiological requirements and water quality control methods are defined by regulations and laws that ensure strict public health. Strict water disinfection and cleaning rules are mandatory for the good operation of swimming pools. Their responsible application, implementation and control are the only guarantee for greater security and safety and good air quality. Excessive chlorine use deteriorates air and water quality and seriously increases pool maintenance and operating costs. Swimming pool users are a key factor in maintaining good hygiene, so they should be encouraged to shower before entering the pool and to follow the established rules.


When making decisions, we need to consider the environmental and social impacts and choose and use a more environmentally friendly and economical approach. These are key factors for the long-term sustainable operation of swimming pools.

Public swimming pools are complex facilities, so training the facility maintenance team is critical to sustainability.

What are the conclusions?

The aspects mentioned above demonstrate the economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable pool management. The direct social benefits associated with the use of swimming pools, the protection of the environment and the improvement of the ecology of swimming pools are the improvement of the quality of life of both users and workers around swimming pools and of society as a whole. Capital investments related to the economic and environmental optimisation of the operation of the pools reduce operational costs and lead to significant savings in the long term.

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