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Brimbank City Council builds first zero emissions aquatic centre

Brimbank City Council

Brimbank City Council will receive up to $1.53 million in federal government funding from ARENA (the Australian Renewable Energy Agency) to build an integrated energy system for Australia’s first zero emissions indoor leisure and aquatic centre in Melbourne’s west. 

“We’re aiming for this project to demonstrate the first all-electric aquatic centre in Australia,” Brimbank Mayor Cr Ranka Rasic said. 

“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.” 

The project will deploy an integrated energy solution that will be installed within a newly constructed building. Key renewable energy and enabling technologies include a four-pipe heat pump system, to provide simultaneous heating and cooling. This includes water-to-water heat recovery that will provide whole-of-facility heating for all spaces – including pools and showers. 

The aquatic centre is part of the new $60 million-plus Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre, which Brimbank is building in Keilor Downs to replace the former St Albans Leisure Centre. 

Shifting away from traditional gas boilers used at other aquatic centres, the centre will also install an 88 kilolitre above-ground thermal energy storage system, 500 kW of solar PV 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 Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre will be designed to achieve a “6 Star Green Star” rating. The 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 is both technically and commercially feasible. 

The project will help build a case for water-source heat pumps to be implemented in other emissions reduction initiatives and directly benefit local communities, ARENA CEO Darren Miller said. 

“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.” 

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