wikiHow to Green Your Pool

Having a greener pool doesn't mean encouraging algae growth! Greening your pool is about introducing a few easy but effective practices to home pool management that will cut down on both water and energy usage. Saving on costs and resources will help you to keep your pool going even when water usage is restricted.


  1. Image titled Cover the pool when not in use Step 1
    Cover the pool when it's not in use. A pool cover will reduce the evaporation of water in a pool by up to 97 percent.[1] It will also reduce chemical usage by 35 – 60 percent.[2] In addition, a cover specifically made for preventing heat loss at night keeps the pool water warmer, making it likely that you can swim for a longer period than just the really hot days. Choose a cover with an easy method for rolling it on and off the water.
    • Solar covers or solar blankets are an excellent pool cover choice. They can be rolled over a large roll and can be wheeled away when not needed.[3]
  2. Image titled Use the right kind of filter Step 2
    Use the right kind of filter. There are different kinds of filters you can use for a pool and not all of them are equal when it comes to their environmental impact. Prefer cartridge filters over sand filters; sand filters require backwashing to clean them, which can amount to 15, 000 liters of water wasted a year.[4]
  3. Image titled Automate the filter Step 3
    Automate the filter. The filter should only be working 6–12 hours a day for most home pools, so using a timer to ensure this is a great way to cut down on energy usage and usually pays for itself within the first few months of use.[5] As well as saving on energy, this will also reduce the chemical usage.
    • During winter, only operate the filter for two hours per day.
  4. Image titled Solar heater will heat your pool Step 4
    Heat the pool using a solar heater. For a warm pool, use a solar pool heater in combination with the solar pool cover to get as much free heat from the sun as possible. The solar heater is energy saving and will extend your swimming season considerably.
  5. Image titled Rainwater to top up Step 5
    Use rainwater to top up. When the pool needs topping up, try to use rainwater instead of mains water. To obtain your pool's rainwater supply, purchase a rainwater diverter that can be attached to a downpipe and go to your pool. Try to find one that filters out leaves and other debris and be sure to plan for returning overflow to the stormwater for heavy downpour times or the pool risks overflowing.[6] If you can afford a separate rainwater tank just for the pool, then do so as this provides an easy storage method and can be used on demand to top up as needed.
  6. Image titled Reduce the chemical usage Step 6
    Reduce chemical usage in the pool. If you can have a saltwater pool, you will be able to use less chemicals than a freshwater pool. Chlorine use can be reduced by using ozone and UV systems (cutting down chlorine up to 70 to 80 percent).[7] An ionizer can also help reduce the need for chlorine.
    • Keep the cover on the pool. This reduces the need for more chemicals.
    • Keep pool filters cleaned regularly.
    • Read How to lower chlorine in a pool for more details.
  7. Image titled Save energy with your pump Step 7
    Save energy with your swimming pool pump. Choose a smaller, high efficiency pump or a solar pump and ensure that the pump is the right one for the size of your pool. Operate an electricity driven pump during off-peak hours, use it less frequently and be sure to minimize the usage during off seasons. As with the filter, automate the pump with a timer.
  8. Image titled Clean your pool manually Step 8
    Keep the pool clean manually. Use skimmers and pool vacuums to keep the pool water clean. A cleaner pool means that the pool pump and filter don't have to work as hard. Also be sure to keep the pool's heating equipment clean too.
  9. Image titled Grow a windbreaker Step 9
    Grow a windbreak around the pool. Use native plants and shrubs (less water usage, less maintenance needed) and use this windbreak to help reduce the evaporation rate. Just be sure to situate plants away from where they can drop debris into the pool and don't choose plants that shed leaves and bark easily.
  10. Image titled Don't build or share a pool with your neighbors Step 10
    Consider not building a pool or sharing a pool with neighbors. If you are considering building a pool, why not consider not doing so. There are public pools and then there are your neighbors with pools already. And if you live in a friendly neighborhood big on community projects, why not get together and create a shared swimming pool resource that you all pay toward the upkeep and pitch in, as well as implementing all the eco-friendly pool keeping practices outlined here. Be sure to deal with the legalities of who owns what but unless you try, you won't know what's possible with neighborly goodwill and how wonderful to be able to share a fun resource with others rather than having the sole responsibility for its care alone!
    • If you do try to arrange a communal pool within a neighborhood, choose the pool with the most central location, of a good size and that can be accessed by all neighbors who are involved without disturbing the private amenities of the original owner. Deals may need to be done to trade land if private land has to be used and if the pool entrance area can be fenced off as an individual entry, so much the better; the legalities of access need to be dealt with tidily though, as well as any land trade deals, so do this through a good property lawyer for the peace of mind of everyone involved. Everyone else can drain their existing pools and plant gardens or gain additional land; you could even start a community garden or two.


  • Consider the many chlorine alternatives available on the market, including water purification tablets, robots and ionic mineral devices.
  • If you get your pool professionally cleaned, be sure to use a green pool cleaning service.
  • Some states have laws against diverting rainwater (on the grounds that it's a common resource, entering the aquifer), so check local laws first before putting in a line from your gutter to the pool.
  • If you haven't yet built your pool, plan for eco-friendliness from the very beginning. Start with the materials used to build the pool and then include solar heating, covers, and a solar pump as part of the design. Insulating concrete foam (ICF) is an eco-friendly option for pool building material, and other great eco-friendly initiatives include pool tiles from recycled glass and low VOC paints.
  • If you don't want a chlorinated pool, there are other choices such as saltwater pools and natural swimming pools, the latter also known as "living water" because they mimic local ecology.[8][9] While natural pools are expensive to put in, once they've reached an "ecological equilibrium", they need very little maintenance and no pool chemicals.
  • Off peak times tend to be between 6pm and noon weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday in the USA but be sure to check with your power supplier for precise details.


  • If you automate the running time of your pool algae can start to grow, running your pool for 24 hours a day, seven days a week is the best way to prevent algae.

Things You'll Need

  • Solar pool cover
  • Automation tools for filter and pump
  • Solar heater
  • Rainwater tank or pipe
  • Pool cleaning tools
  • Native plants and shrubs for windbreak
  • Green plans if building a pool
  • Shared pool resources if relevant/possible

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