The Cornish Climate: Swimming Pool Heaters & Our Environment

After a few weeks off from our usual activities, we all met at the home of Linda and John Reed to discuss how climate has changed Cornwall in recent years, what we can do to reduce our carbon emissions and how local recycling initiatives can be used to boost our Cornish ecosystems, making life easier for animals of all shapes and sizes.

Now that nights are getting longer our meetings take place a little later in the evening, so that we can make the most of the long evenings and also take part in a few interesting activities. We were instructed to bring along our swimming costumes and towels. Although many of us were hoping that a hot tub would be waiting for us when we were arrived, we found that what John and Linda had in store was a little colder, but a lot more refreshing!

The night began with Linda leading an interesting talk on holiday homes throughout Cornwall and specifically the use of the widespread swimming pool heating systems that are often left on for months on regardless of if they’re being used or not. Most Cornish locals are beyond raising an eyebrow at the endless swathes of holiday homes in our county, but the issue of energy consumption in these mostly empty homes is not something that we’ve talked about before.

Before asking us to don our swimming costumes, Linda asked how many of us owned our own swimming pools. Our group consists of a wide-range of people, but that night many of us were between our 50s-60s and there were more than a few sheepish hands being raised. We were then asked how many of leave our swimming pool heaters on a timer, rather than only turning it on when we needed to. Again, many more hands were raised with a few shy giggles.

Linda then explained to us the benefits of cold-water swimming and suggested that we try it for ourselves. By this point we had all twigged onto what was about to happen. We pulled on our costumes and prepared for cold dip in the Reed’s pool! The water was by no means freezing, but it did take a few of us a bit of Dutch courage to dip our toes in at first. After the initial shock, we soon found ourself acclimatising to the temperature and many of us were convinced that we no longer had a need for our pool heaters (at least in the summer!).

Once we’d dried off, we settled back inside with a few more drinks and had an open discussion about what else we could realistically do (besides dial back our pool heating options) to reduce our impact on the environment. Talking about recycling and using low-emission light bulbs is a little redundant with our group, but we’re firm in the belief that there is always more that we could be doing to help the environment and the animals that live alongside us.