The City of Ballarat has partnered with global aquatic centre expert, Beca, to determine the potential for the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre (BALC) to reduce its energy consumption and transition to 100 per cent renewables.
More than 625,000 patrons use BALC services each year in a comfortable, climate-controlled atmosphere.
The work involves using world-class computer modelling to understand how all forms of energy, such as electricity, gas, heat energy and airflows, are used in the facility and where energy losses are occurring. This will form the basis of a detailed Energy Efficiency Action Plan for BALC.
The plan is also set to include a detailed assessment of transitioning to electrified heat pumps using 100 per cent renewable energy to replace fossil fuel gas use.
Several other City of Ballarat facilities are also reviewing the potential of emissions-free heating systems as the gas infrastructure is approaching end of service.
Electrified heating systems also bring the opportunity to integrate with air-conditioning and ventilation systems to create further energy and cost savings while delivering the same level of comfort to patrons and staff.
The BALC plan is slated for completion by the end of August, after which the City of Ballarat will assess the plan and determine the next steps.
Managing temperature control and humidity within indoor aquatic centres is complex, involving the close control of heating and cooling, and flows of both air and water.
BALC uses about 80 per cent of the City of Ballarat’s overall gas usage and about 50 per cent of its electricity, whilst gas use at BALC contributes to about 1,700t of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
The City of Ballarat purchases 100 per cent renewable electricity through the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO), which is the largest emissions reduction project ever undertaken by the local government sector in Australia.
City of Ballarat Mayor, Des Hudson, said the City is committed to taking action to reduce emissions and working towards an environmentally sustainable future.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to mitigating climate change, our focus is on working towards carbon neutrality by exploring opportunities to reduce carbon emissions,” Mayor Hudson said.
“With the recent significant increase in gas prices, it is likely that transitioning BALC to electrified renewable energy sources will be a more cost-effective option for ratepayers.”