Showcase - ‘Smart’ pools to cut energy use and support the grid

Case studies of ARENA’s work in 2017-18 are provided in this section to demonstrate our purpose, performance and impact.

Case study
‘Smart’ pools to cut energy use and support the grid
  • Lead organisation:

    Pooled Energy

  • Location:

    Sydney, NSW

  • ARENA funding:

    $2.5 million

  • Total project cost:

    $5.0 million

  • ARENA investment priority:

    Improving energy productivity

  • Tech:


A novel approach to demand response is being explored by one of ARENA’s new projects in 2017-18. The pilot being run by Pooled Energy aims to slash the energy consumption of household swimming pools while reducing stress on the nation’s electricity grid.

Swimming pools are notoriously power hungry, with residential pools typically using 30 to 40 per cent of total household energy consumption. Under the Pooled Energy pilot project being supported by ARENA, the pools of up to 5000 participating homeowners are being made ‘smart’.

This involves connection to the internet and the installation of an intelligent controller that manages the pool’s pump and the dispensing of chemicals.

This allows the control system to not only monitor the pool’s water chemistry and temperature, but also the local weather, electricity prices and the state of the grid to deliver the best possible pool management system. An average pool’s energy use can be reduced by up to 50 to 70 per cent using this system.

In addition to providing a financial benefit to pool owners through reduced energy costs, the trial will also test the smart pool system’s ability to respond to requests from AEMO to cut or shift energy use during spikes in demand. If proven to be viable, the technology could reduce demand for electricity from the grid during peak demand by up to 3.7 gigawatts using Australia’s 1.4 million swimming pools. That is the equivalent of two Liddell-sized power stations running at
full capacity.