NEW pool covers have been installed at Charlestown Swim Centre to keep the water warm, even in winter.
"The covers act like a blanket to trap warmth and reduce overnight evaporation," Lake Macquarie City Council sustainability manager Alice Howe said.
Dr Howe said the new covers work with "heat banks" to keep the water temperature in the mid 20s.
She said the covers would help the swim centre reach its goal of keeping the 50-metre pool open all year. Staff presently close the 50-metre pool when temperatures drop below 18 degrees to remove the risk of swimmers getting hypothermia.
"The covers help to keep water temperature more constant, which means pools can stay open in the cooler months and warm up more quickly on chilly mornings," Dr Howe said.
Without the covers and heat banks, Dr Howe said the extra service would have cost $127,500 a year in energy and water bills. She said the project would save 500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and 1624 kilolitres of water consumption a year.
The project, financed through NSW government waste and sustainability improvement payments, will enable old covers at Morisset, Swansea, Toronto and West Wallsend pools to be replaced by the year's end.