Home' Homes : Homes 2011 Contents 104 Scoop Publishing | WA’s Best Homes & Design 2011/12
pools are built to operate
the way Mother Nature
does, to clarify and purify
natural ponds. Through
in a planted area, natural
pools clean and maintain
themselves without the
use of chemicals”
Unfortunately, our love affair with pools is
not very sustainable. They rely on chemicals
and can lose up to three times their volume
per year through evaporation, splashing and
backwashing. Pool blankets, a requirement for
new pools, can reduce evaporation by up to 95 per
cent, reduce the amount of chemicals needed and
heat the pool so it can be used for more of the year.
A blanket and roller costs about $1100 – a good
investment even if your pool isn’t new. Variable
speed pumps are also now available, reducing
energy use (and the bill by about $350 per year).
Alternatives to the traditional chlorine and
salt systems include MagnaPool, which is low in
chlorine and rich in magnesium and potassium,
so the water is good for wellbeing and can be used
on the garden once diluted. Designed for energy
efficiency, it costs from $2500 more to install than
conventional systems or from $5500 for a retrofit. It
saves about $500 a year in running costs compared
with a salt system. There’s also the DeltaUV
system, which uses ultraviolet light to sanitise
the water. It costs less than $2000 and is easily
installed to turn on and off with the filter pump.
Then there’s the really green option - natural
swimming pools. They’re built to operate the
way Mother Nature does, to clarify and purify
natural ponds. Through biological regeneration
in a planted area, natural pools clean and
maintain themselves as a living organism,
without the use of chemicals or backwashing.
They use about 80 per cent less energy than a
standard conventional pool and the only water
loss is through evaporation. The system is living,
but that doesn’t mean swimming with frogs.
Bionova’s two-basin system means the pool can
be separate to the regeneration area and look like
a conventional pool. Or it can have an organic
look to blend with the biological regeneration
area. They can be built from about $70,000.
In Perth and WA we’re finally moving away
from the traditional double-brick method.
Alternative, environmentally friendly
construction methods are being adopted, often
with pre-fabricated materials. Highly thermal-
efficient Insulated Concrete Formwork systems
and Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are just
two examples of materials being used instead of
double brick. They have a thermal performance
about three times greater and are also more
cost-efficient because construction doesn’t
take as long using these newer materials.
This striking Broome home was built using
Formcraft Insulated Concrete Formwork
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