Swimming Towards Sustainability: How to Reduce Energy Costs in Large Pools and Aquatic Centres
Large Pools and Aquatic Centres around Australia are hubs for recreation and wellness, but they often present Operators with substantial energy challenges. These facilities are among the highest energy-consuming assets for local governments, hotels, private schools, gyms, and Universities, with high gas and electricity use. As a result they are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, which must be addressed if Net-zero is a term meaning to get to zero emissions, there is no current standard on what getting to net-zero means. For governments a net-zero target is one that covers all scope 1 emissions in their jurisdiction. For business it usually covers scope 1 and 2 emissions, although some companies also include some scope 3 emissions. The Science Based Targets Initiative is currently working on a standard for companies. More emissions are to be achieved. However, addressing these challenges and transforming pools into models of low-carbon, energy efficient recreation is now a reality, thanks to the adoption of energy-efficient heat pumps, and some financial support.
Energy Challenges in Aquatic Centres and Pools:
Aquatic centres are energy-intensive facilities, demanding gas and electricity for a range of vital services:
- Water heating: Large volumes of water must be heated for the pools, air conditioning systems and showers to ensure the comfort of visitors.
- Indoor Climate Control: Maintaining a comfortable temperature and humidity in indoor areas necessitates heating and cooling systems.
- Filtration and Circulation: Pool filtration pumps are critical to ensure water quality and safety.
- Illumination: Indoor and outdoor lighting is essential for safety and functionality.
- Electrical Appliances: Various electrical appliances and equipment are in use for gyms, fitness rooms, administration and other areas.
Whilst many pools use gas for heating, the low water temperature needs, strong policy drivers to ‘get off gas’, Government grants, Environmental Certificate Schemes, and greater availability of heat pumps in the industry make them a great candidate for electrification.
Efficient Heat Pumps as a Solution:
To tackle these energy challenges, aquatic centres can transition from conventional heating systems to energy-efficient heat pumps. Installation of electric Heat Pumps, supported by contracts for purchase of Renewable Electricity, offer a sustainable and cost-effective solution:
- Reduced Emissions: Heat pumps align with emission reduction targets by reducing reliance on gas-based heating, and become powered by an increasingly renewable grid.
- Renewable Integration: Aquatic centres can leverage on-site renewable energy, like solar Solar Photovoltaic More panels, to power heat pumps, further reducing their carbon footprint.
- Enhanced Efficiency: Heat pumps for low-temperature water heating are highly energy efficient, delivering heating and cooling while minimizing electricity consumption, leading to long-term cost savings.
Financing the upgrade
Whilst heat pumps are a great solution, they are not without challenges. The three big challenges are
- Power supply capacity
- Finance for the heat pump and any related upgrades to related parts of the facility.
Fortunately there are mechanisms to help with the finance which include:
- A Government Grant for aquatic centres if you are a local Government (Community Upgrade Fund)
- Environmental Certificates if you are in Victoria or NSW (ESCs or VEECs)
- A Feasibility Study Grant if you are a private sector Small-Medium Enterprise (Subject Matter Expert More) with less than 200 employees
What is your next step and how can we help?
- Register a project for Energy Efficiency Certificates in NSW or Victoria
- Apply for a Government Grant
- Energy Audit of my facility
- Feasibility Study