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Modeling Swimming Pools with cove.tool
Modeling Swimming Pools with cove.tool

Modeling indoor/outdoor swimming pool for energy analysis with cove.tool. Natatoriums

Akshay Padwal avatar
Written by Akshay Padwal
Updated over a week ago

Indoor Swimming Pools

An indoor swimming pool (or natatorium) have a considerable impact on the energy consumption of the building due to it's requirements for ventilation, process load and humidity requirements. The mixed-use feature can be utilized and the following cove.tool parameters can be adjusted to model the indoor swimming pool for energy analysis:

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The pool enclosure must be designed with enough R-value and a thermal break to prevent surface condensation, and with a vapor barrier to stop moisture migration from the high vapor pressure of the pool space into and through walls. Supply air volume directed at exterior wall, roof, and glass surfaces must be sized to keep them above the space dew point to prevent condensation. The envelope properties can be easily customized based on the project requirements from 'Baseline Energy' page:


EnergyPlus documentation suggests most indoor pools require a minimum ACH of 6. This article shows how to convert the ACH values into CFM or L/s. After converting the ACH value into CFM or L/s, divide them by the total floor area of the swimming pool and input them into the 'Area Outdoor Air Rate (CFM/ft2)' input.

For example, consider the swimming pool area is 1500 ft2 with 15 ft height. The CFM/ft2 value in this case comes out to be 1.5 when ACH is set at 6.

If the spectators are considered for the project then the 'People Outdoor Air Rate (CFM/Person)' input should be customized.

//Process Equipment and Lighting

The 'Appliance Use' input should be used to account for the process equipment of the indoor pools. The project specific value is ideal for the analysis. The example uses the equipment value of 'Institutional' type from ASHRAE User's Manual for indoor swimming pool.

The Lighting Power Density (LPD) value can be edited from the 'Usage and Schedules' page based on the proposed design. The example uses LPD for an 'Exercise Center' from ASHRAE 90.1 2013 version for the project located in Atlanta, GA.

//Pump Energy

The energy consumed for pumping the indoor pool water can be simulated by editing the 'Pump Control Inputs for Heating and Cooling'. Read more about the pump control inputs here.

For energy benchmarking, the template can be set to 'Swimming Pool' from the '2030 Building Type' tab at 'General' page.

The other key inputs should be adjusted based on the project assumptions to perform accurate analysis.

Outdoor Swimming Pools

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The outdoor swimming pools can be taken into account by adjusting the pump control inputs and the process equipment wattage modeled into 'Exterior Lighting Power'. The process equipment load shouldn't be modeled in 'Appliance Use' in this particular case because the internal heat gains would be affected ultimately having an impact on building's heating and cooling energy consumption.

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