Federal funding flows to zero emissions aquatic centre

By Melissa Coade

Thursday July 29, 2021

The indoor leisure and aquatic centre that will be zero emissions will be an Australian-first.
The indoor leisure and aquatic centre that will be zero emissions will be an Australian-first. (Tropical studio/Adobe)

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is backing an Australian-first project to build an integrated energy system for an indoor leisure and aquatic centre that will be zero emissions.

A total of $1.53 million is being contributed by the federal government towards the project in Melbourne’s central west, which is part of a build worth more than $60 million to construct the Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre

The federal funding is part of a $8.1 million bill to install an integrated energy system for the aquatic centre that will feature a four-pipe heat pump system. The system will be capable of simultaneously heating and cooling and use water-to-water heat recovery to provide heating throughout the complex, including in pools and showers

According to ARENA CEO Darren Miller, the project will be an example of how water-source heat pumps can be used to reduce emissions. He said he hoped the Brimbank build could be used as a case study for other local communities wanting to benefit from this type of system.

“Leisure and aquatic centres have traditionally been some of the most energy intensive buildings for local councils to manage,” Miller said.  

“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.”

The aquatic centre is being constructed with the goal of achieving a six green star rating, and its efficiency gains are expected to reduce energy use by over 80% compared with other similar facilities. Should the building require additional electricity, it will be delivered by a 100% renewable energy power purchase agreement.

Brimbank Mayor Ranka Rasic said the project would be the first all-electric aquatic centre in Australia and shift away from using traditional gas boilers.

“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,” Rasic said. 

An 88 kilolitre above ground thermal energy storage system will also be installed, with 500 kW of solar PV, a heat recovery system and direct digital control systems.


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