ENERGY STAR Score for Swimming Pools

The ENERGY STAR score provides a fair assessment of the energy performance of a property relative to its peers, taking into account the climate, weather, and business activities at the property. Stand-alone swimming pools are not eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR score. However, because swimming pools are a common energy-intensive amenity at other commercial building types (i.e., hotels and schools), the ENERGY STAR score does make adjustments to accommodate for the presence of swimming pools. The goal of the ENERGY STAR score is to rate the energy performance of the primary use of the building, not the swimming pool.

  • Technical Approach. An engineered model is developed to estimate the energy use for the swimming pool. This estimated energy use is subtracted from the building’s actual energy use, yielding an estimate of energy use of the building without a pool. This allows the building to be evaluated as though it does not have a pool.
  • Property Types. Heated swimming pools located inside or outside of a building can be entered for all property types and will be incorporated into the ENERGY STAR score for eligible property types. There are no calculations or adjustments for pools that are not heated, because heated pools use significantly more energy than pools that are not heated, and are more likely to have a noticeable effect on energy use for the whole property.
  • Adjustments. The swimming pool model is based on engineered assumptions regarding basic energy requirements for swimming pools that includes:
    • Heating Energy. To account for maintaining a constant temperature while accounting for heat loss due to convection, evaporation, and radiation.
    • Pumping Energy. To account for energy associated with circulating the pool water.
  • Release Date. The model is updated periodically as industry standards for design and operation are updated and as better engineering data becomes available:
    • Most Recent Update: February 2009
    • Original Release: January 2004

This document presents details on how the ENERGY STAR score accounts for swimming pools. More information on the overall approach to develop ENERGY STAR scores is covered in our Technical Reference for the ENERGY STAR Score, available at www.energystar.gov/ENERGYSTARscore. The subsequent sections of this document offer specific details on the development of the pool model.

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