The old Piedmont pool served our community nearly sixty years; It can be hoped that the new pool will serve us just as long — until at least the year 2080. But what will the world be like in the year 2080? In particular, how will we be getting our energy, and how can the pool we build now anticipate this changed energy world? A pool facility that simply continues to heat and power itself with fossil fuel, as the old pool did, is out of line with the changes we must make to our energy sources to combat the most devastating effects of climate change.
Both the State of California and the City of Piedmont have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 80% or more below 1990 levels by 2050, with an interim target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. As our community begins to reflect on how to design the new pool, we need to consider how to minimize its GHG emissions.
A main decarbonization strategy in California is to electrify all appliances that currently run on natural gas, which is a fossil fuel (despite the gloss the gas industry tries to put on it). Using electric heat pumps and other green technologies instead of natural gas to warm the pool would eliminate the pool’s GHG emissions from natural gas usage; and, as California’s electricity mix moves towards California’s 2045 goal of it being 100% from renewable sources, GHG emissions associated with the facility’s electrical use would decrease over time, giving us a carbon neutral pool by 2050. We could perhaps get to carbon neutral even sooner by generating some of our own electricity from renewable sources (for example, solar).
At present, there are no cookie cutter models for designing an all-electric public pool, but we know of at least one other city (Mountain View) that is currently trying. With all the can-do energy, talent, and resources of the Piedmont community, we believe we can take on this challenge of designing and building an all-electric, energy-efficient pool, serving as a role model for other cities across the state and nation.