The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced up to $1.53 million in funding to Brimbank City Council to help build an integrated energy system for Australia’s first zero-emissions indoor leisure and aquatic centre in Melbourne’s west.
Municipal aquatic centres are typically the highest energy-consuming and greenhouse gas-emitting facilities managed by councils. Heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) is the largest component of energy use at these sites, which have traditionally relied upon both electricity and natural gas as fuel sources.
The new $60 million-plus Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre will be designed to achieve a ‘6 Star Green Star’ rating.
The ARENA funding will help to build a 100 per cent renewable energy powered whole-of-facility HVAC system, underpinned by a four pipe (water:water) heat pump coupled with a thermal energy storage system. The building will deploy 500 kilowatts of solar PV, a heat recovery system and direct digital control systems.
Any excess electricity the facility requires will be provided by a 100 per cent renewable energy power purchase agreement.
The highly efficient building shell and high-efficiency energy system is expected to deliver an energy reduction of more than 80 per cent compared to other traditional aquatic centres.
The $8.1 million integrated energy system will demonstrate that a model combining heat pumps with renewable energy solutions will be both technically and commercially feasible to help increase this implementation by other local governments and businesses around Australia.
“Leisure and aquatic centres have traditionally been some of the most energy-intensive buildings for local councils to manage,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller.
“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.”
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 one roof.”