Impact Stories

Engineering the Biggest Home Energy Savings

Pentair helped develop Energy Star standards for pool pumps, reducing pool energy use as much as 90%.

In the United States, it takes the energy of 20 medium-sized power plants just to fuel the pumps in in-ground swimming pools. Pentair’s variable speed pumps could reduce that demand by as much as 90%, but feedback suggested consumers would not be willing to pay the jump in equipment price — nearly two times that of the traditional pump.

A Bold Bet

Despite industry doubts of consumer adoption, Pentair believed pool owners would embrace the higher cost based on the tremendous energy savings they would receive — if they understood the long-term savings. So Pentair pushed ahead.

In 2005, Pentair introduced the ultra-efficient IntelliFlo integrated variable speed pump. This pump introduced flow control to the residential market, which reduces the pump’s speed and power use when unneeded.

Transforming the Market

But adoption would only come with understanding. Pentair backed the game-changing IntelliFlo with a vigorous educational outreach to the pool trade: not only demonstrating the long-term benefits of the new pump, but also outlining the business opportunity in new construction implementation, as well as retrofitting for the nation’s 5 million in-ground pools.

As a result of its foresight, Pentair maintained the industry’s only integrated variable speed pump for five years.

Setting the Standard

In 2008, to demonstrate the energy savings to consumers, Pentair began collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy and the EPA to develop a set of energy efficiency standards for pool pumps. The resulting Energy Star standards for pool pumps could reduce pool energy use by as much as 90%.

With its IntelliFlo products, Pentair’s pump line was already achieving this standard. Pentair has since added the Eco-Select designation to identify its pool products that save energy, conserve water, and minimize the use of harsh chemicals.

Today and Tomorrow

Since 2005, Pentair’s Eco-Select pool pumps have saved over 4.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), equivalent to the energy used by 147,000 homes in a year. Independent studies by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency have concluded the pumps can achieve up to $500-600 in energy bill savings per year — a total unmatched by any other home energy upgrade.

The IntelliFlo pump continues to evolve and update. The development of new models seeks to both push capabilities and create pumps for multiple price points. Beyond pumps, Pentair is constantly exploring opportunities to bring even greater energy efficiency to the pool through filtration, heating, and cleaning products.

Variable Speed, High Efficiency

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