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Energy savings in Architectural Fountains

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Energy savings in Architectural Fountains

First, it should be clear that, contrary to popular belief, a lot of water is not lost in the operation of an architectural fountain, due to replacement of water lost by evaporation or spray. They work on a closed circuit, and once the tank or surge tank is full, the water we see moving (jets, waterfalls, etc.) comes from the same place to which it returns. However, to minimize the already low consumption of water in an architectural fountain, the following measures may be adopted: Read More

  • 1.- Installation of an anemometer: This is of vital importance in any fountain that has jets of a certain height, sprays, waterfalls, etc. An anemometer is a device like a vane installed on a pole or lamppost near the fountain, which measures the wind speed and determines when the architectural fountain's flow should be partially or completely cut-off in order to avoid splashing outside of the fountain as much as possible, and subsequent filling of the tank.
  • 2.- In dry deck fountains, it is important to prevent the back-flow of water into the pool through gutters and screens connected to the pool. It is essential, as well, to conduct a study of the location coordinated with the design of the fountain.
  • 3.- For any architectural fountain, consider reasonable distances between water jets and the edge of the pool, depending on their height (minimum recommended distance: equal to the height of the jet), and, above all, in elements especially sensitive to the wind, such as sprays. With this simple measure, in addition to avoiding loss of water through splashing, you also manage to allow programming of the anemometer so that the architectural fountain is in operation for more time, even when there is light or moderate wind.

Below, we will discuss some of the measures to minimize energy expenditure or actual power consumption (water pumps and lighting):

  • 1.- Frequency inverters: Their installation is recommended in both submersible and dry pumps, and offer a minimum energy savings of 10 to 15%, in addition to extending the life of the pump motors cushioning the impact of starting them. Additional savings can be achieved by using inverters to reduce the heights of the architectural fountain's jet, by operating the pump motors below their nominal speeds, and, thus, consuming less energy.
  • 2.- LED lighting, compared to traditional halogen lamps. The advantages of this lighting system are very well known: much lower power consumption, longer bulb life, etc.
  • 3.- Calculate the installation (pipe diameters, accessories, etc.) in such a way as to minimize power losses, and, thus, avoid installing more pumping power to overcome those losses. All the same, it is very important for energy efficiency to calculate the water pumps to function within good performance ranges so they are neither overworked nor over-sized (the best results are always in the middle of the power curve).
  • 4.- The design of the pump's air intake (dry or submersible), as well as proper maintenance of the architectural fountain, directly affect the pump's performance, since a pump that is overworked due to clogging of the air intake will consume more energy than it should. The grids must always be sized to have low water flow rates, as well.
  • 5.- Include an Astronomical Clock in the fountain's control box that determines sunrise and sunset times according to the geographical location. Thus, energy is saved by controlling when the architectural fountain's lighting comes on and off.

Finally, there is a type of water jet that, somehow, contributes to energy savings. If you want to have very high water jets, a "hollow jet nozzle" requires much less pump power to achieve the same heights as a traditional jet, since it requires less water, and the effect is practically the same.

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Guest Wednesday, 29 May 2024