eco tip Natural Pools: Swim Amidst Stones and Plants
Those spending time in their traditional home swimming pool this summer or taking the plunge to install a natural pool have healthy and cost-saving options. Saltwater pools are far better for skin, hair and lungs. Their use of sodium chloride reduces possible side effects from long-term exposure to the chlorine in traditional pools. Natural swimming pools may
employ alternative materials instead of concrete or fiberglass, plus aquatic plants, rather than harmful chemicals and completely mechanical filtering systems. They require no chemicals to maintain because they are self- cleaning, mini-ecosystems. According to Mother Earth News, the plants enrich the pool with oxygen, support beneficial bacteria that consume debris and potentially harmful organisms, and provide habitat for fish, frogs, dragonflies and other waterborne life.
Some owners separate plants from main swimming areas; others integrate them, creating a pond-like aesthetic. Ecohome, a Canadian sustainable
housing resources firm in Quebec, attests, “No further landscaping is required, as with a traditional pool, which can make the total finished cost of natural pools even more competitive. Moving water and the natural predators of mosquito larvae that will inhabit chlorine-free water will make natural swimming pools practically mosquito-free.” Whole Water Systems LLC, in
Idaho, concurs that natural pools deploy “systems that have lower maintenance costs than conventional pools.” For a traditional pool, an oxidation
system using a generator powered either by traditional electricity or ultraviolet light-capturing solar panels
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is a chemical-free way to keep water sanitized, reports Care2.com
. For greater sustainability and cost
savings for traditional pools, the UK’s Poolcare Leisure Limited suggests monitoring for leaks; using a cover overnight and during extended periods of inactivity to reduce water loss due to evaporation; and utilizing recycled glass in the water-filtering system to save 30 percent in energy costs. According to the Sierra Club,
covers also prevent pools from becoming a death trap for pets and wildlife and keep pool water cleaner to reduce pumping needs.
Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock.com
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