Councils are taking up the challenge

Today I was reading through a report written by a consultant in Victoria  in 2019 to provide some insight into the viability of transitioning from gas to heat pumps. Some of the figures stated in the report jumped off the page at me as they were so misleading:

-the maintenance cost for heat pumps would be $70-80k per year
-the cost of installing the heat pumps was around 6 times the cost of a gas system installation
-a gas system would be required ‘as a backup‘ for any heat pump installation

I then picked up a report that Anton Borg has produced internally for the City of Greater Dandenong for the Noble Park Aquatic Centre. It is an elegant walk through of the issues surrounding heat pumps and how they can be used successfully in aquatic centres.

One of the sections is titled ‘Mindset Transformation‘.
That is a great description of what council staff are faced with in this transition as they need to:

-explain what a heat pump does to other staff
-determine the most suitable heat pump for their centre
-investigate what additional benefits can be accessed using a heat pump

You can read the Anton’s report HERE.

When I spoke to Anton this week he asked how we should be calculating the kWh/sqm/year figure. Are we including the whole building area? Do we just consider the wet exercise areas?

This is a very important question, as the figure that is produced is quite pivotal to any energy efficiency conversation. 

The new Passivhaus aquatic centre in Exeter in the UK will be completed around September. The designers and engineers have forecast the performance of the centre before they started construction and they use kWh/sqm/year as their key benchmark.

To achieve this, a model was created by Passivhaus to answer the question that Anton is asking.  At the end of the day, if a centre is using an excessive amount of energy, then adding on the energy used in the dry exercise areas does not deflect the needle much on that equation. Gyms take up a bit of space, but this figure pales into the shadows when we are measuring a large wet exercise area.

As such, you can simply bundle the whole centre together and use that combined figure. This is a good enough yardstick to provide a guide to whether the centre is excellent, fair or poor as a starting point for internal discussions.  

If you have not seen it before,  here is a good article about the energy performance of the St Sidwells Point in Exeter.

And a video walkthrough of the features of the centre. 

You can see more Passivhaus content on our Resources page. 


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