Fresh $1.53m grant flows for Australia’s ‘first’ zero emission aquatic centre

Technologies that will be installed include a four-pipe heat pump system that can provide simultaneous heating and cooling, a thermal energy storage system, 500kW of solar and a heat recovery system

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Up to AUD$1.53 million (£0.8m) of funding has been announced to help build an integrated energy system for what will be Australia’s first zero emission indoor leisure and aquatic centre.

The funding, granted for the new AUD$60 million (£31.8m) Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre (BHWH) in western Melbourne, will support the deployment of an integrated energy solution that will be installed within a newly-constructed, highly-efficient building.

The key renewable energy and enabling technologies include a four-pipe heat pump system that can provide simultaneous heating and cooling, including water-to-water heat recovery that will provide a whole-of-facility heating for all spaces including pools and showers.

The BHWH, which will be designed to achieve a ‘6 Star Green Star’ rating, will also install a thermal energy storage system, 500kW of solar, a heat recovery system and direct digital control systems.

Any excess electricity required by the facility will be provided by renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs).

The efficient building and high efficiency energy system is expected to deliver an energy reduction of more than 80% compared to other traditional aquatic centres.

The latest funding has been announced by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) on behalf of the Australian Government for Brimbank City Council’s project.

Municipal aquatic centres are said to be the highest energy consuming and greenhouse gas emitting facilities managed by councils.

Brimbank City Council, along with many others, are adopting commitments to reach net zero emissions by 2030 or sooner and to transition away from gas, councils are looking to convert their facilities to an ‘all-electric’ equipment model, which can use greater amounts of onsite renewable energy and source any residual power needs from off-site renewable energy facilities, through PPAs.

Brimbank Mayor Cr Ranka Rasic said: “We’re aiming for this project to demonstrate the first all-electric aquatic centre in Australia.

“We are thrilled that this state-of-the-art centre will showcase best practice in sustainable design – while delivering first class aquatic facilities and preventative health, education and social services, all under the one roof.”

ARENA CEO Darren Miller added: “Leisure and aquatic centres have traditionally been some of the most energy intensive buildings for local councils to manage.

“Brimbank City Council’s project offers us the opportunity to demonstrate a pathway to using commercially viable renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies to achieve a carbon neutral facility that other localities throughout Australia can learn from and adopt.”