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RSPEC! Energy Smart Pools Software
Energy Smart Pools Software
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NOTE: Although this software is still probably the most accurate pool heating/saving software out there, it was programmed in 1993 and as such, as far as we know, will not run on any computer with a version of Windows later than Windows 98.

The U.S. Department of Energy has developed a computer software program called Energy Smart Pools. The program is designed to give pool owners an analysis of their pool's current energy consumption and project the potential savings to be realized by implementing a variety of energy management systems that Reduce Swimming Pool Energy Costs.


The Energy Smart Pools software is based upon recent DOE sponsored evaporation research, standard engineering principles, and accepted calculation methodologies. These studies were conducted by Colorado State University and involved both indoor and outdoor pools under active and passive conditions, yielding a new evaporation rate equation. The results of the studies were reported in ASHRAE Transactions 1998, V. 104: Research #4146, and Symposia DE-93-12-3, and, and the Solar Energy Journal, 1994, vol. 53, no. 1, p.3. The results can be used by pool designers and energy analysts to more accurately predict pool evaporation. A Summary of Results of All Pool Evaporation Rate Studies is presented in the Pool Evaporation Studies section of the web site.

DOE discovered that pool owners and operators had a difficult time evaluating pool energy management measures because pool energy use is often metered through the home or facility meter. It is therefore difficult to isolate the cost of pool heating. This is complicated by the fact that pool energy use is dependent on many different variables which makes manually estimated calculations difficult.

The Energy Smart Pools software uses hourly temperature and humidity data along with solar data to provide an accurate simulation of the heat losses and gains of a pool. Over 50 U.S. weather sites are currently available in the software.

The program is intended to provide annualized: Computer

  1. Simulation of energy costs
  2. Costs, savings, and payback of adding a pool cover system
  3. Costs, savings, and payback of adding a solar heating system

In addition to calculating pool heating energy use, it also provides pump energy use; and for indoor pools, ventilation, heating, and motor energy use. The software can also be used to determine savings from use of energy efficient motors, or high efficiency heating systems.


To be able to run the Energy Smart Pools software you need the following equipment, software, and settings:

  • Windows 95 or Windows 98 (It will not run on later versions).
  • A hard disk drive with a minimum of 15MB of free hard disk space


If you know someone who is interested in saving money on their pool operation, please pass along a copy of this fact sheet to them. Reproduction and distribution of this fact sheet is not restricted, but strongly encouraged.


The results shown in Table #1 are for several locations around the country and are based upon a set of generic pool input conditions shown in Table #2. Compare the size and conditions of your pool to the results from the Energy Smart Pools software program by choosing a location that most resembles your own.

To derive your estimate: Calculator

  1. Determine your pool surface area and divide by 1000.
  2. Find the location which most closely matches your climate.
  3. Multiply the number(s) shown for your location in Table # 1 by the factor determined in Step # 1.
  4. Adjust the results for the difference in fuel costs.

Example: A 16' x 30' indoor pool in Dallas.

  • 16 x 30 = 480/1000 = .48
  • .48 x $4468 = $2145 annual saving in heating costs
  • .48 x $1881 = $903 annual savings with a pool cover
  • .48 x $1641 = $788 annual savings with a solar system

You may also wish to compare the other conditions used in the examples to those of your pool. This will provide you with a further insight to your estimated cost.

This process will only give you an estimate. An actual analysis using the Energy Smart Pools software is strongly recommended before making any major purchasing decisions.

Table 1. Projected Pool Heating Costs / Savings

City Pool Type Annual Heating Costs Pool Cover Savings Solar System Savings
Atlanta Indoor $4,598 $1,919 $1,314
  Outdoor $490 $421 $417
Boston Indoor $4,695 $2,028 $906
  Outdoor $1,389 $790 $565
Chicago Indoor $4,698 $1,996 $978
  Outdoor $1,042 $693 $648
Dallas Indoor $4,468 $1,881 $1,641
  Outdoor $250 $191 $176
Denver Indoor $4,097 $1,819 $1,302
  Outdoor $1,408 $858 $730
Kansas City Indoor $4,584 $1,992 $1,251
  Outdoor $483 $393 $369
Los Angeles Indoor $4,739 $2,087 $1,517
  Outdoor $5,827 $2,615 $1,512
Miami Indoor $4,038 $1,549 $2,023
  Outdoor $2,615 $1,452 $1,174
New York Indoor $4,567 $1,966 $1,021
  Outdoor $951 $627 $582
Philadelphia Indoor $4,567 $1,966 $1,021
  Outdoor $951 $627 $582
Phoenix Indoor $3,630 $1,669 $2,208
  Outdoor $4,094 $2,011 $1,402
San Francisco Indoor $4,869 $2,091 $1,315
  Outdoor $1,826 $924 $518
Seattle Indoor $4,743 $2,034 $639
  Outdoor $1,756 $818 $395

Table 2. Input Variables

Outdoor Indoor Direction
Pool Surface Area 1000 1000 up
Pool Temperature 82� 82� up
Pool Activity Level low low up
Air Temperature site specific 82� down
Relative Humidity site specific 50% down
Wind Speed at Pool Surface site specific still air up
Annual Operating Dates May 20-Sep 5* year around up
Daily Operating Hours 9:00am-9:00pm 9:00am-9:00pm up
Heating System Efficiency 75% 75% down
Heating Fuel and Cost Gas $.50/therm Gas $.50/therm up
Solar Collector Area 750 sqft 750 sqft down

* Except for Los Angeles, Phoenix and Miami which were year around.

As is the case with any computer simulation program, the base case simulation results should be compared to actual pool heating costs, if available, as actual weather and operating conditions can be highly variable.


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This web site is posted here as a service by R. L. Martin & Associates, Inc.. This is a former U.S. Department of Energy program that no longer has any funding so the information is provided here as is.  There is no one to answer any questions anymore, but the site still contains very useful information.