A Slovak manufacturer of ceramic swimming pools brings a revolutionary and ecological solution to the swimming pool.
The owner of this Slovak company “Compass Europe”, Zoltán Berghauer will provide more information about pool trends and the new concept of economical water usage.
When the new HYDRO ECO pool concept was established, he was part of it. The Founder tested this method for four years with his own swimming pool and was impressed and decided to introduce it to the market.
What made you to leave the water in the pool?
My background from early age is as a Zoo Technician and therefore nature is very close to my heart. I have a big garden where I usually spend a lot of time. The physical work around our yard, vegetable garden and our chickens is to me the best form of relaxation. As a true agriculturalist I have noticed the lack of water in the nature. For that reason it does not feel right to me, to keep changing the water in the swimming pool every spring. For that reason I decided to leave it inside and this year marks the 5th season with the same water. My engineering specialists provided the technical solution to my idea to be able to pass on this knowledge to other owners of swimming pools with all health and safety restrictions intact.
Before we get to the economical pool system HYDRO ECO, could you please explain to us what it meant to have a swimming pool in the past and what does it mean to have one these days? Are there any trends in the swimming pool business?
Ecologically speaking, the trend is toward pools that don’t need refilling on a regular basis.
I have been working with swimming pools for twenty years and I see significant technological change. In the past, an embedded swimming pool was rare, luxurious, and accessible for just “few chosen ones”. Now, the swimming pool is an inevitable asset for each family garden. The cost structure associated with pools has changed and the affordability of pools has improved substantially.
How has the swimming pool market reacted to this technological and affordability change?
Today consumers are able to afford them due to a wide range of prices and models.
It’s true that not every consumer can afford the Compass Ceramic swimming pool. But if you look at an inflatable swimming pool, which you have to store away over winter and take care of regularly and fill it up with water and continuously monitor the water quality and compare it to a Compass Ceramic swimming pool you will see that there is profitability in owning a Compass Ceramic swimming pool.
An investment in a swimming pool that is guaranteed to last 40 years, is more economical, not to mention how the garden actually looks like as well as increased value of your property.
When we started our business with swimming pools few years after the revolution, the modern swimming pool in Europe was a freeform type. Other types did not exist. The taste of customer’s architecture has changed and at the moment minimal shapes, which copy the line of modern houses, are preferred. We are the pioneers of minimal shape swimming pools. Thanks to the accentuation of design, we received two design awards, and are the only company in the world to have received these awards.
The current generation seems to embrace an “eco-bio” philosophy, where they want to have freedom and be independent. They are not interested in buying cars but instead sharing them, as an example. Given this movement, what are your thoughts on this generation investing in an expensive swimming pool? Will anyone want it at all?
Everyone is different and not everyone has to have or desires a swimming pool. Our community is divided into several parts where people think differently. The political preferences are diverse and we certainly have different opinions relative to owning a swimming pool.
Our target consumer are those who wish to have a eco-friendly swimming pool and from an ecological point of view we are eliminating unreasonable waste of water.
Our swimming pool concept HYDRO ECO, is a declaration of respect to nature and its resources. A responsible person cannot just relish the enjoyment without showing respect for Mother Nature and its resources. That is the way we are operating and we want to be an example for every owner in the future of an embedded swimming pool. In some parts of the Czech Republic and Europe refillable swimming pools are already prohibited. That is a strong argument.
Furthermore, our HYDRO ECO swimming pool can be used even in the winter season. We leave the water on the top to freeze and given the fact that our swimming pool is conic (it spreads out on the top), there will be no damage. As an added benefit during the winter, our pools can be used for ice-skating and other joyful winter activities, of course this can only happen with certain safety regulations.
How did COVID-19 affect the pool market? Did it even affect it? If so, how?
That moment when COVID-19 started, everyone wanted a pool to spend their free time in the comfort of their home and garden. The demand for swimming pools increased enormously and customers wanted to have them built and installed the next day. In general, this is not even possible because of production and delivery and installation realities. We worked hard to do our best to shorten to these timelines to a minimum. I can confidently say that we are able to deliver our swimming pools in a short period of time.
How long is that?
Usually it takes up to 4 to 8 weeks. However, we have to distinguish between the production and the installation scenarios. Those are two different things. The production is clearly about constructing the swimming pool itself and the installation is about embedding the swimming pool in the desired spot.
Our installation technology, without a concrete base, allows us to finish embedding it within 2 days. All the other work around it, like excavation work and others may vary due to the readiness of the construction side and its surroundings.
We were talking about trends in design and saving water. What improves the pools?
Design is design, that should never override the functionality and practicality of the product. Our system is called “self cleaning system VANTAGE®“ and it cleans the swimming pool by itself. With the possibility of working independently without human interference it has a big advantage to manual and automatic cleaning robots. Once you have it set up, you do not have to do anything else. Your pool is going to be clean all the time. This is how our technology helps us with the work around the pool.
The liquid in the swimming pool is still water, meaning H2O, or is there any other innovation?
Maybe not an innovation, but for water preparation, salt or mineral water are the primary products used. It releases chlorine, which desinfects the water. That kind of water is pleasant for your skin, is not agresive and people can swim underwater with open eyes, thanks to the low concentrate of salt, similar to a tear. Sometimes I hear arguments about salty water and the negative effects on the pool surface. My response is that it is not more harmful for the pool than over-chlorined water or a poor pH adjustment. Consistent water quality control is the keystone for a good condition of your pool. Even the temperature has a big influence for the quality of your pool surface.
Therefore some producers keep their guarantee for their pools for temperatures up to 28 degrees. Their surfaces won´t last with higher temperatures. Our special surface, we are proud to say, keeps it up to 33 degrees.
How did the COVID-19 crisis affect the pool market, in specific Compass?
The whole economy is suffering and during our conversations with banks their questions are the same: How much did you lower your production? How are you going to save money? They are surprised when we tell them that our production went up as well as the orders, so much that we work on weekends as well. So far COVID-19 has not affected us negatively, on the contrary we are thinking about expanding our production and hiring more employees.
How do you explain the growing demand for ceramic pools?
There are many factors for this and some of them were already here before the COVID-19 crisis. Every year we are experiencing hotter summers and the prediction for the summer of 2020 is suppose to be the hottest in the history of measuring temperatures. The fact that we are dealing with COVID-19, more people will be spending their holidays at home.
Since we can offer our clients the HYDRO ECO pool, there is one more reason, to choose a built-in pool, which will function with the same water over years and won’t waste this precious liquid, like other pools do. We offer HYDRO ECO through selected retailers from our dealer network.
May spare swimming do well!
The interview was published in Hospodárske noviny