Two national organizations that influence energy efficiency programs around the country have taken an interest in pool pumps.
The Environmental Protection Agency has put pool pumps on its list of equipment as a candidate for an Energy Star designation.
An Energy Star symbol could significantly reinforce the market for variable- and two-speed pumps, said Michael Orr, executive director of business development at the Foundation for Pool & Spa Industry Education in Sacramento, Calif.
“[Energy Star] has a good reputation, so that will carry through, and customers won’t have that resistance to participating in it,” Orr said. “If you come out with an all-new program that nobody knows, then it’s an uphill battle to get it recognized.”
Currently, much of EPA’s financial resources are being used to refresh long-standing programs, and the agency is only in the preliminary stages with pool pumps, said EPA spokeswoman Katharine Kaplan. “Then, if resources allow, we will move on these products we scoped out and that looked attractive to us,” she said. “Included in that category are pool pumps.”
Another group, the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, also is exploring pool pumps. CEE is an association of U.S. and Canadian public utilities. The organization currently is hosting Webinars to inform about energy-efficient pool pumps, and several industry representatives have participated, including Orr, members of the Independent Pool & Spa Service Association and some manufacturers.
Boston-based CEE also is in the process of determining which efficiency levels are suggested to warrant rebates. Many utilities consult these recommendations when developing their own programs.
“Then, to help them run their programs, we develop a list of qualified products that … they can then use to administer the rebates,” said Eileen Eaton, CEE’s residential program manager. The association hopes to have the specifications completed by the end of the year.
“We’ve gotten a lot of interest and that’s why we’ve decided to dedicate resources in this area,” Eaton said. “I think a lot of people are excited to see this happen.”