Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre, New Zealand

The Timaru District Council required an extensive, new indoor sports and aquatic centre built to replace the community’s existing open air swimming pool.

Aurecon provided the design of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning, domestic hot and cold water, sanitary plumbing and drainage, heat pump heat recovery, wood chip biomass boiler and fuel store, pool water services, lighting, power, data, security, audio visual systems and fire engineering.

A major challenge encountered was that the new centre had to be built over the existing facilities, whilst they continued to make use of the existing 50 metre outdoor pool.

The end product had to deliver value for money and provide the owner with a low cost operating and maintenance solution.

The Māori Park site is within a public park so consideration had to be given to the effects of noise levels and external lighting on the neighbouring open spaces.

All aspects of the design focused on the detailed requirements of a pool environment and optimising energy efficiency.

By incorporating run around coils, a heat pump system and passive convective and radiant heat recovery from plant and controls, the mechanical system recovers significantly more heat year round than other pools in its class. This is used to maintain the pool water, domestic hot water and space temperatures. A biomass boiler boosts this system when required, using locally sourced waste wood chip from the timber industry, making this an extremely low cost facility.

The energy saving move to use wood waste to boost heating of the pools is believed to be a first for commercial swimming pools in New Zealand’s South Island. Using the biomass boiler will save an estimated NZD60 000 a year in heating bills for the centre, which boasts three pools including a 25 metre training pool.

The project received a merit award in the Tourism and Leisure Property category at the 2013 Property Council of New Zealand Awards.

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