Closer to the Pool
Pool equipment manufacturer Hayward Pool Products states on their company Web site, "the closer the equipment to the pool, the better it will operate."
According to The U.S. Department of Energy, decreasing the length of the pipes allows for a smaller horse power pump to be used, thus decreasing energy cost.
Further from the Pool
In an article for Luxury Pools, an on-line registry for the pool industry, high end pool designer Paolo Bennedetti implies that equipment placement further from the pool is optimal. He states, "...when space is not a restriction, high-end builders place equipment where it is the least obtrusive and where sounds will be less likely to carry to bedrooms or entertaining areas. Some pool builders will even employ an underground vault to maximize the usable space and to further minimize any noise."
The industry standard suggestion is that the closer the pump is to the pool, the more efficiently it will run. Installing equipment further away is suggested for visual aesthetics and sound ambience. Therefore, equipment should be installed closer to the pool, yet hidden with an attractive shed, decorative wall or buried in a vault.