Queensland Pools and Outdoor Magazine caught up with Sean Lynch from Ecozen Pools and discussed the increase in residential pool and landscape design becoming eco-smart.

Have you noticed an increase in people wanting to incorporate environmentally friendly products and features into their pool and outdoor design? Why do you think this is so and how do you help your client's?

Yes, our community is more educated about the impact we have on our planet. With this awareness comes a responsibility to do our share to preserve our natural environment. When designing your pool and landscape space, clients want options to achieve their green design solutions.Clients are now asking: What can we do to make our pool and outdoor space more eco smart. My company was created to directly answer this question and make this application of green construction systems easy to understand and affordable to use. Ecozen Smart Pools are water wise, chemical free and energy efficient.Our pools save you time and money in maintaining your pool whilst also reducing both your chemical pollution and electricity usage from the grid. We offer our clients the Ecozen Smart Pool for the same price as one that still relies on heavy residual chemical use and outdated cleaning technology. By taking price out of the equation and making our Ecozen Smart Pools the same price as the traditional pool option we are meeting our goals of making green systems more easily accessible by the community.

What type of requests do you most commonly get from your client's?

A common request is how we can reduce our chemical use and ongoing maintenance costs on our new pool. We answer this by explaining the benefits of using fresh water pools to reduce chemicals and variable flow pool pumps to reduce energy use when operating the pool cleaning systems. The chemical free pools provide a fresh water pool swimming experience whilst also creating better water quality and a safer swimming pool experience for the family to enjoy.The low flow variable speed pumps used on water features and pool systems use less energy because they reduce the water flow when not required, which saves on electricity use without affecting the operation of the cleaning or water features. This is an easy option to incorporate into your new pool design which has a direct reduction in the electricity used each day in cleaning and operating your pool.At Ecozen all of our Ecosmart pools come with the fresh water systems and variable flow pumps as standard and we offer this at no extra price to make the application of these systems an affordable option for every family.

Is it easy for designers to incorporate environmentally friendly features into their design? Is it a lot more readily achievable now than the past?

Ecozen makes the application of an Ecosmart pool system easy to understand and simple to apply to every project at no extra cost. Our trained pool and landscape architects specialise in simplifying the technology options available and integrating them without any extra cost.The days of heavy chemical reliant pools and energy wasting electricity use are behind us. If i can design and build a pool with the latest in chemical free and energy efficient systems included for the same price an old pool version we have met our goal of making the application of these Ecosmart pools more accessible for every family.The recent availability of new fresh water sanitisation systems and eco smart energy efficient operating systems mean every client has the option to do their bit for the environment whilst reducing their ongoing running costs. This is a win win situation for the clients designing pools today. Ecozen Pools is committed to making the application of these systems easy to understand and affordable to apply on every pool.

What are the main features of a pool and landscape that are harmful to the environment?

The main feature of a pool that is harmful to the environment is the chemical use involved in maintaining a traditional pool. The heavy residual chemicals are not only dangerous to kids and pets when left around the home but also contaminate our environment and the natural waterways. When a traditional pool system is backwashed these chemicals are released into the stormwater pipes which flow directly into our creeks and waterways. These nasty chemicals such as chlorine, salt and hydrochloric acid kill marine life, plants and create a chemical imbalance in our ecosystem resulting in algae blooms and toxic levels of residual chemical build up on our beautiful coastlines and marine parks. In Queensland we love our coastal lifestyle and value the natural waterways available to us for use by locals and tourists alike. The beautiful rivers we have in our State and world renowned marine parks are not ours to destroy through needless chemical contamination but are our responsibility to protect for future generations.

Do you know any figures on how much water, energy etc a pool can lose each day? What is the worst cause of water, energy loss?

Simple methods such as fresh water pools will help reduce chemical use and its associated costs to zero. Low flow variable speed pumps also have a direct reduction on your electricity costs of up to 30%. By installing pool covers the water evaporation will also be significantly reduced saving water use from tanks. When heating pools/spas the use of thermal heat blankets will also reduce the time and energy cost in heating the pool whilst allowing the family to use the pool/spa all year.

Do you explain this to clients when you are working on their design with them and encourage them to try more sustainable products and features?

At Ecozen our trained designers work with every client to ensure every option is explored in the implementation of our Ecosmart Pools. We offer the latest in technology from qualified professionals who want every family to have the option to apply these systems at no extra charge.I don't believe clients need much convincing to apply the principals of the Ecozen Smart pool. By making our pools the same price as traditional chemical reliant pools we have taken price out of the equation. Our pools are chemical free, better for the family's health to swim in and energy efficient to run, this directly reduces the costs and time involved in building and maintaining your pool.The green ethos is not as expensive as it may have been in years past and is accessible to every family today. The question I ask my clients is why would you build a traditional pool that is both more expensive to run and toxic to the environment and your family's health, when I can build you an Ecosmart pool for the same price and save you money in its ongoing operation.

What is the best way for clients to learn of environmental friendly designs/products?

Clients are more aware of the impact they are having and looking for ways to reduce their impact both during the construction and the pools ongoing maintenance. We offer informative easy to understand information about the options available to clients. From the design phase we research new technologies, materials and products that we can offer our clients. These include the fresh water systems, the improvements in reduced energy pumps as well as solar and water harvesting. During the construction phase we manage our sites in the most sustainable ways we can to reduce erosion and our general footprint on the site. We offer clients locally designed and built technologies where possible to reduce the reliance on overseas markets with their increased travel time, cost and associated pollution.By using local technologies and materials we are still using quality products whilst investing locally and reducing travel costs.

What are the benefits to people choosing more sustainable products and features?

The reduction price is the biggest advantage to going green, our Ecozen Ecosmart Pools are cheaper to build and cheaper to run. If price was your only hurdle in investing in green technology then we have overcome it with our Ecosmart Pools.The peace of mind knowing your children are swimming in fresh water as well as reducing your chemical use in your local environment is worth investing in our Ecosmart pools

What water-saving features do you recommend?

All Ecozen pool and landscape packages include options to use pool covers to reduce evaporation and thermal blankets to reduce heating costs. We also design and install rain water and solar harvesting systems. We recommend systems that directly save you money on your energy and water costs by reducing what you need from the community supply. Our rain harvest systems use tanks and bladders under decks to catch rain water and feed the irrigation systems and automatic pool top up devices. Our pools and landscapes are sustainable by not requiring any water from outside sources.

What energy-saving features do you recommend? - solar heating, lighting etc, please list them and explain each.

An Ecozen Ecosmart pool uses variable speed pumps that reduce your energy consumption on each pump you have. Our LED lights reduce energy use and have a longer operation life which reduces the energy use and replacement costs for bulbs. Our garden lighting systems we use are all low voltage and where possible directly solar powered. Our Ecozen pool and landscape package also include options for the installation of solar panels to harvest all the energy you need to run your pool and lighting systems. We can offer an energy positive pool and landscape package, if we can harvest more solar energy than the pool and landscape lighting systems requires, we can create a positive feed of harvested kw energy back into the home and grid.

Are there any types of pool construction materials which are better for the environment?

We design and recommend local products and materials as much as possible.If a product is able to be sourced locally we are supporting our local economy whilst also reducing the travel time and associated travel cost, fuel consumption and its residual pollution. Life Cycle Analysis is a method of calculating the true costs of something like a pool coping pave for example. The true cost of creating this paver includes everything in this paver's life cycle. This includes the manufacturing, the transport and the fuel pollution costs of getting this paver made and delivered to site. The bi products, labour and waste that is created in the packaging and installation of this paver on the pool is also a cost that is included in this example. Finally the ongoing maintenance of this product so sealing the paver, washing the paver and its eventual replacement and dumping costs, are all figures that go into calculating this pavers true cost.If we can use products that are built locally to higher green standards we are reducing some of these true costs of the material. New technologies and materials available require less chemical based cleaning and service maintenance. These options achieve lower energy usage and a longer use life on site, which reduces running costs, replacement charges and dumping into landfill.

What landscaping materials do you recommend?

Our qualified horticulturists, landscape designers and architects take the entire project into consideration when designing your pool and landscape project. Our holistic approach to your project is one based on sustainability to residential property development. We combine water wise plant design with site placement to reduce evaporation, watering needs and upkeep costs. The permaculture approach to our landscape designs utilises systems such as co-efficient planting for example. We plant plants and trees that benefit each other via natural pest control and water catchment. Our vision is to create sustainable self sufficient sites that provide all the water, energy, fruit and vegetable requirements a house needs. This is not always possible on a residential size block but every little bit helps. The ethos of think global - act local, is best achieved by starting in your own back yard

To find out more about what Ecozen can offer you in terms of eco-smart pool design and construction packages, call us on Free Call 1800 326 936.