Winners of The Energy Efficiency Award at UK Pool & Spa Awards 2022

UK Pool & Spa Awards 2022

Energy efficiency Eco award for refurbished indoor pool hall in Hampshire

Aqua blue gains energy efficiency Eco award for refurbished indoor pool hall in Hampshire

Aqua blue designs in association with Love to swim Ltd and Polypool, received this very topical award at the UK pool & spa annual award ceremony in December 2022.

Never has this award been more apposite, than in these times of rising energy costs.

A combination of an air source heat pump, solar PV panels and the Polypool insulated pool system, combined with a state-of-the-art Heatstar air handling unit and a high-quality cover, has delivered the lowest carbon footprint possible for this pool hall.

Pool engineers, ‘Love to swim’ completed this work professionally and to the client’s satisfaction.

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Award Entry Details (UK Pool and Spa Awards 2022)

Possibly the UK’s Most Carbon-Neutral Pool

Energy Efficient / ECO Project Award

In late 2021 our clients purchased a large oil fuelled house which included an internal pool room containing a 1980s leaking mosaic tiled pool with dimensions 10.5m x 5.5m and nearly 2.8m deep, powered by an external oil boiler with environment management provided by a 30-year-old air management unit.

Generating green energy was prioritised by the clients in their first-year plans for refurbishing their new family home. This included the installation of a 45kW ground array for heating radiators and hot water, a 33kW solar PV (94 ground-mounted panels) and 40kW Tesla battery storage and Gateway for power management. The pool would be heated by a dedicated 20kW ASHP with buffer tank and a Heatstar Air Handling Unit providing the pool environment management.
Jake Fronda ( was engaged as the main pool contractor. The pool design was by Michael Cormacy of

The client’s requirements were for a slightly smaller, shallower leisure pool that maintained a 32C pool temperature with a corresponding (high) air temperature. The pool was to be useable 24/7 x 365; importantly, running costs were to be as efficient as possible.

The insulated pool wall by Polypool ( was specifically chosen during the design phase due to the unrivalled heat retention features, with the aim to utilise the thermal properties and efficiencies required to meet the client’s specifications. The resultant pool is 9.6m x 4.5m with a depth ranging from 1.1m to 1.5m.

The energy and pool systems were fully commissioned by late summer 2022. The pool is managed and controlled by a Propure Ultra Low Chlorine Treatment with an internet connection via Vistapool app. This allows Love2Swim to access and monitor the pool chemical levels, temperature, and filtration timings. In particular, utilising the mode which allows the end user to set the filtration hours and desired temperature, to which we can tune the pool to operate and its maximum efficiency. This also means that if the client is away, they still have access to control the pool, saving energy when required. All information is data logged on a handy graph that allows you to monitor and tune the heating and filtration times to reduce energy demands. The ASHP brought the pool up to its required 32C operating temperature a week after starting. The Heatstar AHU is maintaining the room environment (room temperature 31C) and humidity (60%) with fans running at 75% capacity. The Solar PV supplies energy to power the ASHP and GSHPs (x3) with spare capacity directed at the house and Tesla batteries. Any spare battery capacity is recharged as required utilising cheaper/overnight electrical tariffs.

Before photos

UK Pool and Spa Awards 2020

UK Pool & Spa Awards 2020.

East Anglia Children’s Hospices / The Nook nr. Woolwich

A new hospice for children with special needs See case study

Aqua blue were designers of this freeform hydrotherapy pool, with sensory experiences.
Including the latest filtration plant & energy efficient H&V system and were consultants on the pool hall design.

This project gained Gold standard for Outstanding swimming pool design in the UK Pool & spa awards 2020.

This striking hydrotherapy pool hall, was a key feature in the overall project which gained the following awards for the lead architects, Barefoot Gilles Partnership. Cambridge.

LABC East Anglia Building Excellence awards 2020
RICS Social Impact Award 2020

Shortlisted for the RIBA McEwan Award for Architecture for the common good.

Gained Bronze-
Considerate constructors award 2020 for Contractors, RG Carter Ltd, Norfolk.
Civic Community in Norfolk Award 2020 for Contractors, RG Carter Ltd, Norfolk.
Design and Craftsmanship Awards 2019 for Contractors, RG Carter Ltd, Norfolk.

Pool & plant room & H&V contractors, PSS Ltd, Banbury.

Aqua blue designs congratulate all involved in this prestigious project.


Childrens hydrotherapy pool design








Credit: Stephen Wolfenden photography


Images of The Nook pool project

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Another win for Aqua Blue Designs

Aqua Blue Designs triumphed for the 2nd year in succession in the UK Pool & Spa Awards.

The company was commissioned to design the new 13.5 x 6m indoor pool facilities for St David’s Holiday Park in Anglesey – an established holiday venue right on the beach at Red Wharf Bay.

The deck level pool included a jetted spa area opening from the pool at one end with water canon etc and a children’s pool at the opposite end.

Aqua Blue’s design included the heating and ventilation system for both pool hall and changing areas. We also acted as consultants to architects Arwel Davies Ltd on aspects of the building design relevant to this wet leisure environment.

Aqua Blue assisted with the tendering process and gave support through to completion and hand over last year.

This attractive addition allows bathers to swim close to and with fine views of the Irish Sea and to benefit from all the other on-site leisure and holiday facilities at St David’s.


Images of St David’s Holiday Park pool project

Commercial Pool Project of the Year 2017

Energy Efficiency Award 2017

London and Home Counties Indoor Swimming Pool Designs

Aqua Blue Designs are the original London swimming pool design company. We started in the London area and have been involved in many swimming pool and pool hall designs in the capital and its suburbs.

One of Aqua Blue’s most successful projects was a basement lap pool and sauna in St John’s Wood, London.

With its magnificent houses and some of the largest gardens within a couple of miles of central London, Hamilton Terrace in St John’s Wood is known as one of London’s finest addresses.

This 20-metre basement lap pool has a sense of simplicity whilst making a strong architectural statement. The use of colourful lighting creates a distinctive and contemporary look.

The project included all plant, heating and ventilation services. AB Planning & Development Limited were consultants to the design team with respect to critical aspects of the pool hall.

basement pool design

A Successful Year in Review

2016 was one of the most successful years on record for Aqua-Blue Designs.

© Peter Landers Photography

In January, we collected two prestigious industry awards at the British Pool & Hot Tub Awards (BISHTA). These annual awards are the UK’s number one wet leisure industry accolades.

The awards were presented to Aqua-Blue Designs for their joint entry with fellow SPATA member David Hallam Ltd. Their joint entry pool won the Gold Award in the Residential Indoor Pools over £200,000 category. It went on to win the overall Pool of the Year award.

Chris Hayes, Managing Director of both BISHTA and SPATA, commented:

© Peter Landers Photography

“We set a high standard for our judges from across both the pool and spa industry to score each entry on visual impression and technical merit. This means that an award won at the British Pool & Hot Tub Awards is very well deserved, and ownership of at least one award stands as a strong endorsement to consumers of the standard of work a winning company offers”.

Aqua-Blue were also consultants to the architects Sanei Hopkins Ltd (lead architects) on some specialist aspects of the building design.

In October, we won a Silver Award at the UK Pool & Spa Awards. These independent awards showcase the very best of the companies involved in the provision of

UK Pool & Spa Awards 2016

UK Pool & Spa Awards 2016

water leisure in the UK.

The award was presented in the category of Residential Pool of the Year for our Elliptical Mosaic Private Pool project in conjunction with Albert Holliday & Sons.

Swimming pool design and the specialist design of pool buildings, which Aqua-Blue specialises in, is a challenging remit. The company’s principal, Michael Cormacey, is a long-standing member of the Institute of Swimming Pool Engineers. By attending ISPE meetings, SPATA meetings, trade seminars and presentations, he is able to keep up to date in this changing industry.

New Wet Leisure Facilities St Davids Holiday Park

Aqua blue designs were recently commissioned to design new wet leisure facilities for St David’s Holiday Park in Anglesey and to be consultants to the design team regarding wet leisure aspects of the new pool hall.

This project included a 13 x 6.5-metre deck-level leisure pool with a hydrotherapy bay and kids pool attached.

The extensive under-floor plant room includes the latest energy efficient Calorex Delta 6 air handling unit and two 1200 dia sand filters with semi-automatic chemical dosing and logging.

Finished for the 2016 season, this pool looks out straight onto the beach of Red Wharf Bay and has great views.

See more of the project here.

First Class Makeover for Trefeddian Hotel

Aqua blue designs were recently commissioned to produce designs for the total update of the pool hall at the Trefeddian Hotel in Aberdovey, West Wales.

The pool and pool building were over 40 years old and did not enhance the image of this first-class seaside hotel. Not only was the pool in a very sad state but the building was costing an unaffordable amount to heat and the changing rooms were uninviting.

An up-to-date heating and dehumidification system was installed, radically reducing heating costs to an acceptable level. The fully-relined glass mosaic pool with LED lighting and a deck level spa bath completed the updates. The highly accurate chemical dosing system with full data logging maintains high water quality, saves on operators’ time and this more extensive equipment required two separate plant rooms.

In line with the rest of this 4.5-star hotel, the Trefeddian now offers excellent wet leisure facilities where you can swim with dramatic sea views.

Building improvements by Graham Ottoway Builders Ltd
Pool improvements by CRF Swimming Pools Ltd

Aqua-Blue Designs bathes in glory at the British Pool & Hot Tub Awards 2016

© Peter Landers Photography

Aqua-Blue are celebrating after collecting a Gold SPATA Award and the SPATA Pool of the Year Award at the prestigious British Pool & Hot Tub Awards. The event was hosted by BISHTA and SPATA held on Sunday 31st January, at the Ricoh Arena, in Coventry.

The British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association (BISHTA) and the Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA) are the relevant trade associations upholding standards within the Wet Leisure Industry. Rebranded in 2015, the first SPATA awards were won in 1978 and the first BISHTA awards were won in 2008. These well-established awards are the UK’s number one wet leisure industry accolades.

The SPATA awards were given to Aqua-Blue Designs for their joint entry with fellow SPATA member David Hallam Ltd. Their joint entry pool won the Gold Award in the Residential Indoor Pools over £200,000 category sponsored by Golden Coast, then went on to win the overall Pool of the Year Award.

© Peter Landers Photography

Each year the SPATA award judges look for a winner of the Pool of the Year Award, that demonstrates excellence in design, construction, installation and innovation and they were very impressed with this pool.

This joint entry brings together the strengths of both companies creating a truly outstanding swimming pool. The pool displays an architecturally complicated design, mainly due to its shape. As the whole residence consists of curved buildings, this stunning shaped pool mirrors the concentric radial of the building, in total harmony with its surroundings and pushes the boundaries of design and installation.

The judges felt that this pool with its complexities makes a fantastic cutting edge swimming pool.

Michael Cormacey from Aqua-Blue Designs commented;

In over 30 years in this industry, this is probably the most challenging project from an engineering perspective, in reconciling the two straight cover rollers with a radius shape pool. We had the full co-operation of the architects and pool engineers and due credit to them. To take home a Gold award is a fantastic achievement and to have been awarded the 2016 Pool of the Year is extremely rewarding.

The main challenge on the pool design was the requirement for an automatic cover on a radius pool. This looked impossible at first but we never say no to something without exploring all options. We used two covers on the long side instead of the end (as normal, and the main obstacle was reconciling the two straight rollers with the curved chambers next to the pool without the cover fouling on the walls of the chamber. The two trapezoidal shaped covers emerge and gradually converge when they reach the far side of the pool.

Steve Hallam from David Hallam Ltd commented;

It’s a huge honour to be awarded Gold and the Pool of the Year award. The entries were judged by top industry professionals with exacting standards, so receiving this accolade means a great deal to our company and highlights the passion that our team puts into every project.

The awards event brings together BISHTA and SPATA to showcase the wet leisure industry with the best examples of design, construction, installation and innovation.

The awards evening is held alongside SPATEX, the UK’s largest Pool, Spa and Wellness Show, an event that sees companies from across the UK and overseas, gather to exhibit their finest products and services, along with promoting themselves and networking with colleagues. SPATEX is not only the UK’s largest but is also the longest running dedicated swimming pool, spa and wellness exhibition, holding its 20th-anniversary annual trade show at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry from 31st January to 2nd February 2016.


The Art of Swimming Pool Design

The Origins of Swimming Pool Design

The “Great Bath” at the site of Mohenjo-Daro in modern-day Pakistan was most likely the first swimming pool, dug during the 3rd millennium BC.

Swimming pools have been around for more than five thousand years. However, it wasn’t until the mid 19th century that their popularity began to spread. By 1837 six indoor pools with diving boards were designed and built in London.

Swimming finally began to take off following the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, which included swimming races.

After the Second World War, swimming pool design and construction saw tremendous growth. This could be attributed to the fact that millions of people were given swimming training during the war, creating a greater interest in the sport.

Home swimming pools became popular in the United States and the publicity given to swimming sports by Hollywood films like Esther Williams Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) made a home pool a desirable status symbol. Mirroring the glamour of Hollywood, Los Angeles quickly became the “swimming pool capital of the world”.

By the 1970s, there were more than a million swimming pools in the United States, many of them private residential pools. Today there are ten times this amount, including 3 million spas and hot tubs.

Design Evolution

The uniquely landscaped walled garden makes this an ideal retreat or a perfect spot for entertaining.

The greatest change in pools and spas over the years has been in the area of design.

Contemporary pools run the gamut from pint-size plunge pools to competitive-length lap pools, round reflecting pools to freeform recreational pools, striking architectural pools with vanishing edges to naturalistic pools edged with rocks, waterfalls and lush plantings.

Pools can be designed to fit almost any budget, suit just about any size, and complement most architectural styles. They can be built indoors or out, with or without a spa, and accented with an amazing array of add-on features – from fountains and cascades to beaches, underwater benches, and massaging jets.

This 20-metre basement lap pool has a sense of simplicity whilst making a strong architectural statement. The use of colourful lighting creates a distinctive and contemporary look.

Technological advancements, new systems of construction and the increase in the number of private pools being built have seen a growth in the variety of style and types available. New materials, customer demands and design trends have also been influential in the development and updating of pools and their surroundings.

The prominence of the pool has increased too. Its use is now more regular, often accessed several times a day, and it is frequently utilised throughout the year, rather than just seasonally.

One of the most common developments in pool design is that it has become integral to a living space. Swimming pools and spas are frequently included as an extension of the home, and a feature that complements the house or building to which it inhabits. Pools are also being designed as part of the landscape so that they are integral or sympathetic to the land or garden in which they sit.

How We Design a Swimming Pool

With so many choices in pool and spa design, determining the needs of the end user is the most important starting point. The location, shape, size, depth and features of a pool are all determined by how it is intended to be used – whether for exercise, relaxation or recreation.

Pool shapes and sizes have undergone a metamorphosis, with angular boxes being replaced with softer outlines. These organic shapes are more adaptable and can maximise the area available within the restricted environs of an urban patio or basement. Freeform designs can also work in an awkwardly shaped area.

To complement the move toward organic shapes, there has been a shift to more natural colours for pool linings. More subtle shades of grey, green and beige are being chosen because they blend into the landscape and are less harsh and jarring in interior settings. There is also a trend away from solid colour. Instead, new pools are being lined with tiles or tinted concrete finishes.

Heath and Safety

Pool and spa safety must always be the most important design consideration where surfaces are hard and may be slippery. In the construction of a heated pool, spa bath or hot tub, there is the potential for water and electricity to meet. This lethal combination must be avoided at all costs, so the installation must be done using only recommended materials and by a qualified professional with expertise in pool building. All filters and vents should be protected with adequate guards to prevent mechanisms from coming into contact with clothing, fingers, toes or hair.

Child and animal-proof fences and pool covers are also useful. Not only do they effectively shut off or seal the surface of the pool, keeping the water safely away from direct contact with children, but the cover will also help to keep the water clean and conserve heat.

Getting in and out of the water may be difficult for children, the elderly or those with walking difficulties, but a gently sloping beach-type entrance will make access easier. Rails and handles on the sides of steps are also beneficial, as are gently graduated steps rather than a steep ladder.

If the pool is to be used by children, then it is advisable to have a graduated base or two-level pool, with one end shallow and the other end deeper for an adult swimming and diving. The shallow end will prevent children from being intimidated by the depth of the water and will also allow an adult to stand comfortably and securely beside a child while supervising them.

The health aspects of pools and hot tubs are also important. A swimmer is only lightly clothed, so the ambient and pool temperatures should be comfortably warm, especially for pools used by small children or the elderly who feel the cold more acutely than an active adult. People with sensitive skin, allergies or complaints such as eczema may find that regular or prolonged contact with pool chemicals can irritate the eyes and skin. Breathing problems can be affected by the chemicals in a pool, especially indoor pools where the chemical vapour lies above the surface of the warm water in the zone where you breathe in the air during exercising. Effective ventilation and judicious chemical control, augmented by more recent systems like UV disinfection will improve the pool hall atmosphere.

The Future of Pool Design

From recreational to rehabilitative use, from family fun to a focal feature in a home or garden, the variety of options when it comes to designing a custom swimming pool is endless. Additional options such as lighting/sound requirements, automatic or safety pool covers, automatic chemical closing systems, filtration/water treatment, environmental heating control systems, solar heating or ground source heat pumps all add to the mix.

For advice on innovative ideas utilising the latest technology available including energy saving ideas that will ensure that the running costs are kept to a minimum, call Aqua Blue to discuss your project.

Useful Links

SPATA – The Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association sets the standards governing the construction and operation of swimming pools, saunas and steam facilities. The association has an internationally-respected reputation for quality and can assist you in finding contractors, swimming pool designers, service engineers, trade suppliers, and retailers of pool equipment and ancillaries.

SPATEX 2014 – The Pool & Spa Show

Aqua Blue Designs took a day out to check out the new SPATEX venue at the Ricoh Centre, Coventry.

SPATEX is the UK’s largest dedicated event for the entire wet leisure industry, attracting pool builders and installers, retailers, designers and architects, distributors, general builders and manufacturers.

Director of Aqua Blue Designs, Michael Cormacey, commented:

What a pleasure to be able to simply drive in on an uncongested road system and park for free and walk straight in to the show. In that respect it was everything that Brighton is not i.e. ‘auto friendly’.

We were impressed with the straightforward layout of the exhibition hall and the helpful staff. More than one exhibitor had mentioned how user-friendly the hall is for unloading, setting up and breaking displays.

What a relief that there was a more representative balance of exhibitors instead of in previous years; a spa bath on every corner! Usually with the obligatory glass of vino! Hasn’t anyone told these people that the dehydration associated with drinking alcohol in a spa bath poses a serious health risk? (I quote Spata standards). They used to have a scantily clad girl in the spas and at 40 deg C there’s a health risk in that they say!

For indoor engineering, you can do no better than to speak to Engineered Pool Supplies, where John Scott offers excellent advice and a wealth of experience.

We were very impressed with Aquatrol’s stand, the expertise of the staff and their first class reliable pool chemical dosing systems which meet Aqua Blue Design’s exacting standards.

For finishes, the Mosaic Co Ltd offers an excellent range of mosaics at competitive prices and Dreamwork’s exotic mural was an eye-catcher. We found some interesting mosaics there.

Also very eye-catching was the Luxe Pool’s stand, with some really upmarket one-piece pools and swim spas. Available in a wide range of designs with stainless steel versions and deck level to boot. These small swimming pools were in a class of their own.

Helpful advice was received from Heatstar Ltd regarding some current Aqua Blue Designs air handling projects and also from the well staffed and interesting Certikin stand.

As Aqua Blue Designs are suppliers of the Rising Pool Deck walk on all-purpose pool cover, it was fascinating to see the Chameleon Powered Floor System (from Certikin).

This is a remarkable bit of kit and has a higher payload than the alternative system for which Aqua Blue Designs are agents. It serves the same purpose of allowing the customer to use his pool hall for other non-swimming events and keep dry. ‘Walk on water’ with Certikin International and Aqua Blue Designs!

If you’re looking for the swimming pool equipment, hot tub, spa and swim spas and equipment, saunas or other associated products and systems, SPATEX has it all. The next SPATEX takes place between Sunday 1 and Tuesday 3 February 2015.


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