Piscina and the new water culture

OCTOBER 2011

10-02-01Water, the source of health and well-being, is a vital but also scarce resource, meaning that it must be managed efficiently. The new water culture involves sustainable use of water, and increased use of alternative energies.

This trend will be reflected from 18 to 21 October at the International Swimming Pool Exhibition, the leading European event in the sector, which highlights the full range of products and services for private swimming pools, wellness and sports and leisure facilities.

Santiago González García is Architect of Naos 04 and an expert in the design of water and sports facilities. We talked to him about ideas and markets.

10-02-02

Sustainability and the use of alternative energies are setting the trends in architecture and design of swimming pools, spas and wellness…

Yes they are. High maintenance costs mean that energy-efficient systems are being sought in order to minimise environmental and economic impact. This is the criteria used in passive measures that directly affect architectural design (insulation, orientation, solar protection) and active measures (alternative energy, energy use).

What are buildings that can house swimming pools like?
We are moving towards eco-buildings, based on various green accreditation certificates (Certificació Energètica, Llegiu, Bream). These certifications cover the building as a whole, from the start of the architectural design, through the entire construction process, to the management system. For example, this philosophy includes the idea that water flows out of a building cleaner than it enters it, which means grey and treated water is used as much as possible and the possible replacement of chlorination systems by other environmentally cleaner technologies.

10-02-03Which materials have been applied recently?
Fully recyclable or compostable materials are in demand, i.e. materials that can be reused as a source for other materials. Manufacturers of ceramics, glass and timber are already standardising their new material according to this cradle to cradle philosophy. For example, PVC, which is impossible to recycle, will disappear and be replaced by another type of plastic, and a whole new world of research is opening up in this area.

Is Spain a good market for the sector?
The culture of sport in Spain, though it is at a very high level, is still in the development phase, so it is a market with future potential. You only have to look at countries ahead of us, like Germany, to see the distance that we have yet to travel. Now, in addition to the market for new sports facilities, there is also a market for the refurbishment and replacement of existing ones that have completed their life cycle, and which need new projects so that they can be put back in use.

After a period of strong growth, the market has been affected by the crisis in the past two years, not only in Spain, because despite its importance, sport is not one of the major public priorities.

How would you rate the Swimming Pool Show?
It is very good because we can see and compare the latest developments and the companies working in the world of water. Although the most recent shows have been affected by the crisis, the show is a crucial event for the sector.

GLORIA DILLUVIO