The Conterie swimming pool has adopted solutions to deal with the energy crisis

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The Conterie swimming pool has adopted solutions to deal with the energy crisis

Faced with the energy crisis, many pools have been forced to close their doors. The cost of the energy required to heat and manage pools weighs in particular on the budget of nearly 4,500 public swimming pools in France. The La Conterie swimming pool in Chartres de Bretagne (35) has adopted solutions, including Purecontrol, to survive this crisis. Stéphane Chatenet, director of the Syndicat Intercommunal de la Piscine, explains to you the strategy initiated several years ago.

Faced with the energy crisis, we heard about pools forced to close. Can you explain the situation to us, and how these pools were able to come to this decision?

“We are coming out of two years of the Covid crisis, with several closures decided by the State. Some pools were already in a difficult financial situation. We were therefore strongly impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.

Now we have a very clear increase in the cost of energy. An element that was planned, of course. But that has been multiplied by the geopolitical situation in Ukraine, and exponentially. The situation is very simple: today it faces a multiplier of 2.6 on electricity, and 2.4 on gas for Ille-et-Vilaine. Elsewhere it is different, with sometimes higher amounts. To give you an example, we are going to pay 260,000 euros more next year in electricity if we continue to consume as much as this year.

It is impossible, because of course we are part of something collective. There are also schools to heat and light, nursing homes,... All communities have a set of services to the population that are all impacted by this increase. The sports part is only part of the energy shock.

“The cost of energy will make it impossible to operate as it is for many pools. 70% of swimming pools in France are gas-powered. The rest speaks for itself: the impact of gas prices will be extremely violent for certain equipment, and not all communities are rich communities. It is still a service to the population, so some equipment is also quite old. In terms of energy, it's a huge problem. Today we are facing situations that can vary greatly from one equipment to another, but which will be very difficult or even unbearable for some.”

For several years, your pool has already been part of a strategy to reduce energy consumption. What solutions have you put in place to overcome these challenges?

“Fortunately, the pool at La Conterie has been heated with wood since 2008. Above all, we secured its installation and operation. For 10 years, we have been improving energy consumption and water consumption. And last year, we started insulating all basement pipes, including water treatment pipes, and installing a system to recover lost calories. These represent small savings, but put together we hope to be able to cope with the crisis.
Since then, we have undertaken information campaigns with the media and have received a label [Pool of Tomorrow, Editor's note] so that users can identify the economical and ecological side of the pool. We also provide valuable information to elected officials, so that they can make appropriate decisions. A set of solutions will make it possible to have something.
For example, it is very important that we worked with Purecontrol. It is one of the important elements of our energy efficiency. Control allows us to better regulate our heating and to consume less electricity. Quite simply, to be in a solution for the future. You always have to be one foot in advance.”

Concretely, how is Purecontrol an energy efficiency solution for your pool?

“In 2017, Purecontrol looked for equipment that was already energy efficient in the Brittany Region. We accepted this operation, which consisted of creating a model and transmitting our data to Purecontrol so that they could feed the algorithm and develop analysis performances that are much faster than humans. As I always say, it happens in nanoseconds in a computer. Me, when I am on the second, I am very happy! So it has especially allowed us for 5 years now to significantly improve the heating of the pools and to analyze our treatment operations. And therefore to be a little more energy efficient. It is by using the wood boiler less and better that we face fewer breakdowns, and therefore we consume much less gas. We work safely and confidently with Purecontrol at this level. Artificial intelligence-based energy saving models are undoubtedly the closest to reality. I think a lot of people are going to understand the reality principle today, with this energy crisis.”

What are the benefits of the Purecontrol solution, and, more generally, of your approach over the past several years?

“We are now saving 10.9% of energy in the basins. With the Nordic basin, we know that we can reach 17% on equipment that had already saved a lot in terms of savings. We had reduced expenses by almost €80,000 per year. We already had this very energy efficient side, which allowed Purecontrol to go even further. We are very happy to have taken all these steps. When electricity will increase, so will the cost of wood, we are going to face not just an energy crisis, but a financial crisis. Paying attention to all this on a daily basis means ensuring a future. The people at Purecontrol are really supportive, because they have that approach as well.

If each establishment makes an effort in this area, we would be able to achieve collective goals for all sports facilities and communities. In the very short term, it is to have a set of solutions of which Purecontrol is a part. Knowing that Purecontrol is simple, we just have to connect a server to our pool computer systems. We hope to be able to continue to improve, and that we can finally get out of all these crises and that we can regain serenity.”

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