Pool operating costs are a killer for council budgets, and indeed many existing pools are horrendous energy guzzlers due to their design. PIACF wanted to offer BCSC a proposal that would address the climate emergency and commissioned Negawatts, who specialise in efficient pool design, to create this report. We believe that our Council should be investigating every way to create highly efficient aquatic centres to deal with this emergency.
Whilst Phillip Island has ‘needed’ a pool for 30 years, we now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build something that by using good engineering and design, will save construction and operating costs whilst being environmentally sustainable. After all this will be an asset that will be with us for many years, so it is important that climate sustainability plays an important role in the design decisions.
And those benefits will accumulate every year and every dollar saved is better for us ratepayers!
Here is a summary of the energy-efficiency component of the idea we outlined in the proposal that we asked Council to consider.
The report (can be downloaded from here) contains much more detail, but the key design elements that determine how efficient an Aquatic facility is to operate are:
- Reducing glazing,
- lowering the heights of buildings and
- insulating at every opportunity.
Using these principles, the Fit2Swim swimming centre in Maroubra in Sydney uses less energy proportionately than any other swim centre in Australia, at this time.
Advances in technology mean that councils can accurately estimate the energy consumption of these centres before they are built. Providing energy targets in the design specification means that councils can monitor the progress of projects more closely during construction.
The efficiency of an aquatic centre (indoor centre) is measured by determining the energy usage intensity (EUI-kWh/sqm/year). This compares the floor space of the centre with the annual energy consumption. Measurements show that some Australian aquatic centres are using more than 18 times the energy per square metre than the Fit2Swim facility, which contributes significantly to the high running costs of most pools. The following graph below offers some comparisons to show this.
Including clear energy goals, using EUI at the design specification phase means that more efficient aquatic centres are guaranteed with the additional advantage that they are cheaper to build and operate! Why would BCSC consider doing anything less?
Less to build and less to operate – surely that’s a win-win situation!
There is a great deal of interest from many existing pool operators to retro-fit the type of technology recommended in the Negawatts proposal not only to reduce their operational costs but also to be environmentally friendly.
PIACF believes that our new aquatic facility should aim to be between 100-200 EUI and that this should be specified in the design brief given to the architects/consultants engaged for the project.