California’s Quest for Energy Efficient Swimming Pools

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has taken steps to reduce energy consumption associated with residential pools. Starting in September 2025, all pool pumps sold in California must be able to connect to the internet and operate by default from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • These “smart” pool pumps will help shift electricity use to daytime hours when there’s abundant solar power, reducing strain on the grid during peak evening hours.
  • The estimated impact is significant: 1.25 million residential pools in California could collectively reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by half a percent.
  • While the smart pumps cost about $70 more than regular ones, users are expected to save around $100 per month by buying power during the day when it’s cheaper.
  • Additionally, users can earn money by allowing their pumps to shut off during high-demand periods.

This regulation, initiated by the California Energy Commission, is designed to contribute significantly towards the state’s ambitious 2045 net-zero emissions target by managing when energy is used more efficiently. Detailed under Executive Order B-55-18, which mandates the state to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

Executive Order B-55-18 was issued in California with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045. Let’s break down the details and understand how it impacts both residential owners and builders:

  1. Carbon Neutrality Goal:

  2. What Is Carbon Neutrality?

    • Carbon neutrality means achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.
    • It involves reducing emissions and promoting activities that remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, such as forestry and soil sequestration.
  3. Impact on Residential Owners:

    • Residential owners will be affected by measures aimed at reducing emissions from their homes:
      • Energy Efficiency: Residential buildings will need to adopt energy-efficient practices, such as using renewable energy sources and improving insulation.
      • Electrification: Transitioning from fossil fuel-based appliances (like gas stoves and water heaters) to electric alternatives.
      • Building Codes: Stricter building codes may require new homes to meet higher energy efficiency standards.
      • Transportation: Encouraging the use of electric vehicles and reducing reliance on personal cars.
      • Land Use Planning: Promoting mixed-use developments and walkable neighborhoods to reduce vehicle miles traveled.
      • Carbon Offsets: Residential owners may participate in carbon offset programs to balance their emissions.
  4. Impact on Swimming Pool Builders:

    • Builders will face changes in construction practices and regulations:
      • Materials: Using sustainable and low-carbon materials in construction.
      • Design: Incorporating energy-efficient designs and technologies.
      • Transportation: Reducing emissions during construction by optimizing transportation of materials.
      • Land Use: Adhering to land use policies that promote sustainable development.
      • Incentives: Builders may receive incentives for constructing energy-efficient and low-carbon homes.
  5. Challenges and Opportunities:

    • While these measures pose challenges, they also create opportunities for innovation, job growth, and a more sustainable housing sector.
    • Collaboration between residential owners, builders, and policymakers is crucial to achieving carbon neutrality.

In summary, Executive Order B-55-18 sets ambitious goals for carbon neutrality in California, impacting both residential owners and builders. It requires a collective effort to reduce emissions and transition toward a sustainable future 

How does this legislation affect builders and homeowners?

Let’s explore how swimming pool builders and owners can incorporate sustainable practices and comply with the requirements set forth by Executive Order B-55-18 in California.

Sustainable Practices for Swimming Pool Builders:

  1. Energy-Efficient Pool Equipment:

    • Builders should prioritize installing energy-efficient pool pumps, heaters, and filters.
    • Variable-speed pumps are a great choice as they consume less energy compared to traditional single-speed pumps.
    • Solar-powered pool heaters can reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
  2. Water Conservation:

    • Design pools with water-saving features such as automatic pool covers to minimize water evaporation.
    • Encourage clients to use pool covers when the pool is not in use to prevent water loss.
  3. Materials Selection:

    • Opt for sustainable materials for pool construction.
    • Consider using recycled or locally sourced materials.
    • Use non-toxic finishes and sealants to minimize environmental impact.
  4. Natural Filtration Systems:

    • Explore alternatives to traditional chlorine-based pool systems.
    • Natural filtration systems, such as biofilters or ozone generators, can reduce chemical usage and promote healthier water quality.
  5. Landscaping Integration:

    • Integrate pool design with landscaping to create a harmonious outdoor space.
    • Native plants around the pool can enhance biodiversity and reduce water needs.
  6. Smart Pool Controls:

    • Install smart pool automation systems that allow owners to control pool functions remotely.
    • These systems optimize energy usage and water circulation.

Compliance for Swimming Pool Owners:

  1. Regular Maintenance:

    • Owners should maintain their pools properly to prevent leaks and reduce water wastage.
    • Regularly check for leaks, repair cracks, and address any issues promptly.
  2. Energy-Efficient Practices:

    • Use energy-efficient pool equipment (as recommended by builders).
    • Set pool pump timers to run during off-peak hours to save energy.
  3. Water Conservation:

    • Cover the pool when not in use to prevent evaporation.
    • Monitor water levels and top up only when necessary.
  4. Chemical Management:
    • Follow guidelines for safe chemical use.
    • Use pool chemicals sparingly and dispose of them properly.
  5. Solar Heating:
    • Consider solar pool heaters to reduce reliance on gas or electric heaters.
    • Solar covers can also help retain heat.
  6. Landscaping Choices:
    • Choose drought-tolerant plants for poolside landscaping.
    • Native plants require less water and maintenance.

Remember that achieving carbon neutrality involves collective efforts. By implementing sustainable practices and adhering to guidelines, both builders and owners can contribute to a greener future for California12