Changing consumer preferences means that companies that reduce the environmental footprint of their commercial pumps will have a competitive advantage in the market. But there is another reason to go greener. There are options that can make pumps environmentally friendly, save money, and deliver the required performance, despite some companies, manufacturers, and operators considering sustainable pumps to be too expensive or not powerful enough. So let’s consider their options.
Firstly, noise pollution is a serious problem with pumps in general, be it in residential pools or in commercial uses. Gas-powered pumps with an internal combustion engine can emit noises powerful enough that hearing protection is required to be worn around them. Electric pumps tend to emit lower decibel levels, although there is always room for improvement.
Secondly, manufacturers need to consider the geographical location of many of their customers. Manufacturing location can have a huge impact on purchasing decisions. The shorter the distance the pumps must travel, the better it is for the environment. If a pump is manufactured overseas, it will have to be shipped to its country of destination, resulting in additional pollution through greenhouse gas emissions and packaging.
Lastly, and most importantly, pumps that run on electric power tend to be greener. Gas-powered engines are responsible for various harmful emissions including carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides, as well as fine particulate matter. What’s more, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that residential pool pumps alone use 9-14 billion kWh per year.
The flow of opportunities
In water handling, pumping can consume up to 85% of the energy used. According to ABB, improved systems with variable speed drives and high efficiency motors can result in energy savings of 25 to 30%. And this is just in water handling. Pumps are used in many more systems and applications. Improving efficiency by even a small percentage would dramatically cut the related CO2 emissions.
As an example of possible efficiency improvements by smaller segments, let’s looks at a special report by the IEA stressing that, if net zero targets are to be achieved by 2050, no new fossil fuel boilers should be sold after 2025. Heat pumps are considered a better, more environmentally friendly alternative to heating homes because they don’t generate heat, they simply move it from one place to another. (They are not ideal for every climate though as they’re not enough to heat a house in very cold temperatures.) Despite the higher upfront costs, they are cheaper in the long run as they are much more efficient, use less energy, and provide heat as well as cooling.
Efficiency is key
In the end, efficiency is the way forward. Energy-efficient electric pump motors have much less impact on the environment, and they are powerful enough for applications ranging from commercial, residential, and cleaning, through misting, pest control, and dust suppression, to pool and spa. Within the pool and spa markets, new tech should be employed when pumps need to be replaced.
We should all be searching for options that are more efficient and easier for consumers to operate and make changes. What’s more, if the more efficient pump motor is scalable, it might even be appropriate for industrial applications.