50-Metre Swimming Pool

 

Sir - Following the announcement by the Sports Minister, Jim McDaid, that tenders are to be invited for Ireland's first 50-metre swimming pool, I would like to suggest that a proportion of its heating needs be met by solar energy. A solar heating system would provide a clear demonstration of the Government's stated commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The use of solar energy for water and room heating is growing rapidly in Europe. The total solar collector area installed on Europe's roofs is now over 7 million square metres, and the industry employs over 10,000 people.

A common misconception about solar energy is that it won't work in Ireland because we don't get enough sun. However, the 400,000 or so Scandinavians using solar systems have no complaints, and we get at least as much sunlight as they do. To quickly raise awareness of the potential of solar energy in Ireland and encourage the development of a solar industry here, a high-profile project is needed. A solar heating system for the new 50-metre pool would be ideal. - Yours etc.,

Energy Research Group, UCD School of Architecture, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14.