Adelaide Aquatic Centre: swimming in a current of change

Less energy, means lots more fun

As a forward-thinking city, Adelaide is actively pursuing a clean energy future. As part of this vision, the Adelaide City Council has completed an energy efficiency project co-funded through the Australian Government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP). The Adelaide Aquatic Centre is the City Council’s largest energy consuming and most carbon intensive site, and the Aquatic Centre project enabled a variety of energy efficiency measures to be implemented to reduce both carbon emissions and energy consumption. The energy saving measures have been delivered in combination with a range of other major upgrades and is contributing to building a sustainable, modern and invigorating future for the 45-year-old centre. “This extensive project combined energy efficiency measures, funded by this program, with pool retiling, improved disability access, and changes to the pool designs,” says Paul Smith, an Adelaide City Council Sustainability Advisor. “The improvements built on previous upgrades such as the new roof have resulted in improved comfort within the centre and an overall better experience for visitors. The project involved quite a complex process as much of the work was in public use areas, requiring shutting down one-half of the centre while the other remained open, and vice versa. However, much of the energy efficiency related works has been completed behind the scenes. “Facilities such as the Aquatic Centre are continually being developed and improved over time, but what can often be neglected is the upgrade of supporting equipment and infrastructure at the same time. A huge impetus for this project was asset renewal. We used the opportunity to upgrade much of the electrical infrastructure and pipework to transform the whole centre into an entirely modern facility.” Improving energy efficiency is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to reduce emissions. This, together with the broader facilities upgrade at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre, will result in a more comfortable and enjoyable customer experience overall. Reliable temperature control and improved water quality are just a few of the many benefits visitors can expect to encounter, while the energy savings will help Council to keep costs down. Leisure Facilities Manager, Gareth Dunne, is pleased with the results; already receiving much positive feedback from centre regulars, demonstrating that the enhancements are already attracting a positive response from the environmentally aware community. “Being such a large community facility, there is a real opportunity to promote the benefits by showcasing sustainable practice,” Dunne says. “Through capital improvement, success can be achieved not only financially, but also through our improvement in energy use.” The addition of thermal pool blankets to primary large water areas, installation of a new energy efficient boiler, and a heat recovery system that recycles heat lost in the center’s high roof space, are the main new energy efficiency features. A new filtration system has also improved the quality and clarity of the Aquatic Centre’s water, reducing the need for backwashing, which makes cleaning procedures more timely and efficient, reducing water consumption significantly. A large facet of work completed was focused on introducing a new building management system, which allows improved control over the Centre’s operation and is based on the number of visitors using the facilities. The system allows the building facility manager to efficiently regulate energy use, which translates to greater benefits for both users and the environment. “When visitors first walk in they will most likely notice the large thermal pool blankets,” Dunne says. “In the past, many customers asked why we didn’t have a thermal blanket system, now customers are commenting on the huge improvement in water clarity, as well as ambient temperatures being more comfortable. It’s a nice contrast to be using less energy, and having customers praising the initiative. They’re returning more often now that the facility has been upgraded.” The tangible benefits of this initiative offer great opportunities for further education on energy efficiency. The Adelaide Aquatic Centre can now actively utilise its working showcase to encourage the wider community to think about saving energy and water in a positive forward-thinking way. “With several thousand visitors walking through the centre doors each week, there is definitely an opportunity for us to connect and promote energy efficiency awareness,” says Paul Smith. “Visitors come from across the metropolitan area and beyond, including international visitors, and a wide range of school groups from junior primary right through to senior secondary; it’s a broad cross section of the community.” This is a valuable step in achieving long-term citywide carbon and energy targets. It is part of an ongoing carbon neutral and energy management plan for the City of Adelaide delivering energy and carbon savings across numerous council sites. Contributing to moving South Australia towards a prosperous clean energy future.   Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein This article was presented by the Adelaide City Council.

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