May 22, 2012
| by Steven Castle
A pool pump is easily one of the biggest energy users of a home—especially during the hot summer season when it needs to run a lot.
You can save some ching by getting a variable-speed pool pump, but if you really want to control the energy use of your pool, you may want to look at a new product coming out from Attune RTD called BrioWave.
BrioWave connects to your pool pump to cycle it at different times, depending on the settings decided by the user and installer. For example, says Shawn Davis, cofounder of Attune RTD, a homeowner could decide to run the pump in BrioWave’s Economy mode and specify a savings level of 20 percent. If you’re in danger of not meeting that level, BrioWave can skip a cycle once a day to limit the pool pump’s operation. Temperature thresholds can also be set.
Davis says a year-long pilot with TXU Energy in Texas showed 40 percent savings on pool pump operations for those using single-speed motors.
Customers will also have web-based user interfaces where they can track the energy use of their pool pumps, adjust control parameters and get email alerts if something is happening with the pool, such as a filter or drain being clogged. A smartphone app is also in development.
Davis says the BrioWave system could be integrated into a home control system through a dry contact to control the pump, and that higher-end pool systems such as those from Jandy can be operated with BrioWave. Wireless ZigBee technology is also being included for smart meter connectivity.
One of the ways BrioWave saves energy is by targeting when to run based on outdoor air temperature—and this can be preset. “More sun hours contribute to algae growth and warm water,” he says. “Temperature has a lot to do with how you need to circulate that water. Everything reacts better on a higher flow rate.”
That doesn’t mean a variable-speed pump isn’t good, but with BrioWave, you can better control single and dual-speed pumps, the latter of which shift between high and low settings.
The first BrioWave product, the Model 175p, will be available in eight to 12 weeks at a retail price of $750, says Davis. Some functions, such as setting Economy and Swim modes, require a $65 annual subscription, as the energy usage and events schedules reside on a cloud-based server.
In the near future the system and interface will also be able to control air conditioning systems and shut them off so they’re not running at the same time as the pool.
That will be followed with a 325p product programmed to maintain your filtration system’s optimal flow rate, and can determine when a dirty filter needs maintenance.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates