Private home owners now account for 80 per cent of total pool heat pump sales in Kenya, previously the preserve of hotels in the country. This is according to statistics by Kenya’s leading water and energy solutions company Davis & Shirtliff. Nairobi, the East African region’s economic powerhouse, also has one of the continent’s greatest concentrations of swimming pools.
Thousands of wealthy home owners in Nairobi’s upmarket residential areas of Karen, Lavington, Westlands and Muthaiga have spent upwards of KShs 1.5 million each building swimming pools so they can swim at leisure and enhance the luxury of their homes.
Construction is between Sh7 million to Sh9 million
With the various developments that have taken place over the years, swimming pools now come in a plethora of guises and have also become more affordable. For example a standard commercial pool is 25×12.5m in measurement and the estimated cost of construction is between Sh7 million to Sh9 million for Masonry with +25% added for reinforced concrete.
It is possible that in the next few years, swimming pools will become a crucial add-on in developments and property developers in urban areas will struggle to sell or lease properties that do not offer or will have to offer them at much lower prices. With a bullish property market it is expected that in the near future swimming pool construction will accelerate and add to the estimated 10,000 pools that already exist.
The irony is however that despite the temperate climate, an unheated pool in high-altitude Nairobi is for most of the year too cold for the average Kenyan to swim in. New methods of pool heating have evolved over the years with the traditional methods of pool covers (blankets) and electric heating elements being thought of as effective but in the case of pool covers, cumbersome and unsightly. Heating elements are also exorbitantly expensive to run.
Modern technology has addressed some of these concerns with the most popular methods of pool heating currently being energy efficient heat pumps and more recently, invisible liquid pool cover. Pool heat pumps also enjoy a high co-efficient performance.
Solar heating panels are a simple but effective way of harnessing some of the sun’s heat in order to reduce the amount of energy required from the heat pump. The panels are mounted in a sunny area and all the water circulating from the pool is pumped through them before passing into the heat pump.