Aquatic centre Background reading
We do a lot of research on aquatic centres and transitioning them from gas systems over to high efficiency heat pumps. In the course of this research we have come across some very useful information that is invaluable if you are trying to piece together the best way forward for the design of a new centre or the retrofit of an existing centre. So start reading: it is a lot cheaper than calling a consultant for their opinion.
Measuring existing aquatic centres
There has been some very good work done on energy usage in aquatic centres in recent years. This work is worthwhile reading to give you a better understanding of other energy systems and centres that may be similar to your council’s centre.
Ironbark Sustainability- Getting wise about Cogeneration
Independent Consultant reports- high efficiency heat pumps
Alan Pears AM- Research fellow at RMIT Heat pumps- application to aquatic centres pdf
Aquatic cEntre energy Reports
The rise in gas prices in 2018 for councils in Australia resulted in councils revisiting the question:
‘HOW can we reduce the energy consumption of our aquatic centre’
Aquatic centres using gas as a heat source consume large amounts of energy with corresponding large maintenance bills. There are better alternatives to gas systems and we have been working with councils to evaluate the energy efficiency of these centres and where savings can be made for existing and proposed centres.
We have also been working on some hypothetical ‘ultimate designs’ for aquatic centres with particular reference to the high efficiency aquatic centres that have been developed in Lunen and Bramberg in Germany by the Passivehaus Institute. These centres have been closely monitored since 2013 and the results are clear : we need to rethink the design of these centres, how they are powered and what sort of integration of energy systems can be achieved to drive energy costs down for councils.
It all starts with the data!
SmartConsult has now completed energy system analysis for St Albans aquatic centre (Brimbank Council), Richmond Recreation Centre (City of Yarra), proposed Clyde Aquatic Centre (City of Casey) and a four site review of centres for the Moreland Council. These case studies allow us to put firmer numbers around the energy usage of these centres and give councils clearer reasons to make long term decisions about where they are spending their money if they are aiming to ‘go off gas’ in the future. If you would like a copy of these reports please contact our office.
How an integrated system handles energy
This diagram shows the change in energy usage when a water heating system (gas) and an air conditioning system are integrated. The gas is fully removed and the integrated system has a lower electrical input. The added benefit is the surplus ‘cold’ produced by the heat pump can also be harnessed to assist with heat recovery and air conditioning.
These are round figures and do not take into account the inefficiencies such as discarding waste cold during winter. But overall, this is how the system handles the energy over a full year and is up to 70% more efficient when the systems are combined. These systems are not a ‘magic bullet’for aquatic centres and should be considered as part of an overall strategy for thermal efficiency, reduced maintenance in the building, thermal storage and optimising solar PV production.