Palm Springs, California
Not surprisingly, hot places like Phoenix or Palm Springs have a lot of backyard pools. Warren wrote recently about their environmental cost in terms of energy and water, but a new life cycle analysis of all of the inputs and outputs, from electricity to water to pool chemicals, shows the true scale of the impact. And of course, the impact is worse in cities like Phoenix that have little water and coal-fired electricity.
The operating inputs are huge; in Phoenix, it amounts to 30,000 gallons of water per year, 22% of the household energy use, and enough chemicals that the evaporation of chlorine can cause local ozone problems.
Comparing the impact of the pool in terms of water, energy consumption and greenhouse gas generation, it is clear that the best place in America to have a swimming pool is Seattle, where there is minimal evaporation of water and clean hydropower running the pumps.