Energy Optimisation Upgrades – Aquarena Aquatic Centre

Due to high utility bills and numerous issues around existing energy production, heating and control systems, Manningham City Council engaged Bridgeford Group to perform a Type-2 Energy Audit of Aquarena Aquatic and Leisure Centre. This Energy Audit analyses current and historical electrical and gas consumption by Aquarena Aquatic and Leisure Centre, and offers a comprehensive list of solutions to reduce consumption and carbon emissions and maximize savings.

Aquarena Aquatic and Leisure Centre is one of the largest recreation and aquatic facilities in Victoria, known for its world class aquatic facilities with heated outdoor and indoor pools, however, existing pool heating systems exhibited potential for increased energy efficiency. Through careful scrutiny of Aquarena’s pool heating requirements and site facilities, Bridgeford Group developed tailored solutions to improve reliability and energy efficiency of the Aquarena pool heating system, and provided additional opportunities to offset carbon emissions.

These solutions included:

  • Pool Zone Temperature Optimization: Indoor air temperature is adjusted to increase by 2oc to reduce water evaporation, chemical evaporation and potential condensation, reducing heating requirements
  • Pool Pumping Optimization: Installation of Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) to regulate and reduce power consumption for pool pumping infrastructure
  • Pool Covers: Installation of pool covers for all pools and spas to reduce thermal energy loss, water loss, and subsequently reduce heating requirements
  • Heating System Optimization: VSDs installed on heating hot water pumps to regulate flow and reduce pumping requirements
  • Demand Savings: Due to implemented solutions, Aquarena’s overall energy demand is decreased, enabling Aquarena to renegotiate a lower maximum demand tariff with energy distributor to cut costs
  • Insulating Pipes: Pipe insulation reduces heat transfer loss from heating systems to pools
  • DHWU Heat Pump Conversion: Natural gas-fired domestic hot water units are replaced with heat pump units, reducing reliance on natural gas
  • Boiler Replacement: Larger boilers are replaced with smaller boilers at much higher efficiency, improving redundancy and overall heating capabilities
  • PAC Unit Economy Cycle with Demand Control Ventilation (DCV): Implementing CO2 based ‘Demand Control Ventilation’ to modulate outside air dampers, reducing heating or cooling in low-occupancy periods

These recommendations, alongside an additional proposal for the installation of a combined 715kW of carpark and rooftop solar PV, enabled Aquarena to reduce its emissions by 45% and enjoy annual cost savings in excess of $350,000.

A key component when developing the plan involved ensuring that recommended upgrades and replacements aligned with operational lifetimes of heating and cooling assets, and that they were financially achievable by the organisation. Bridgeford group presented savings opportunities involving minimal outgoing expenses by Aquarena, alongside efficient savings payback within a practical time frame.

This project involved collaboration among several key contacts, including operational managers, facility staff, council representatives, along with a thorough investigation and understanding of facility operations. Bridgeford Group’s approach ensured that all energy saving measures are aligned to organisational Net Zero targets, and can be achieved and implemented by operational staff.