An immediate return on investment

Monday, 21 March, 2016 | Supplied by: West Wallsend Swim Centre

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New equipment recently installed at West Wallsend Swim Centre, Lake Macquarie, will shave about $50,000 off operational costs and reduce water usage by up to 70% a year.

Lake Macquarie City Council’s Manager Leisure Services Brad Sutton said the centre has already seen cost and energy efficiencies since reopening in June this year.

“When we received our first energy bill since upgrading the centre, we were delighted to see that we have cut our energy costs in half,” Sutton said.

“We expect to reduce our water usage by up to 70%, thanks to a new ultrafine filtration system. This system, along with a new ultraviolet (UV) disinfection treatment, has also reduced our reliance on chemicals. Since the upgrade, the water sparkles and surpasses the government’s water quality benchmarks.

“The upgrade also involved the installation of highly efficient heat pumps that use thermal solar energy to preheat the water — offsetting running costs of the pumps. On top of this, a new air conditioning, dehumidifier and temperature control unit have provided staff and visitors a more ambient atmosphere as well as providing energy and cost savings.”

Sutton said pools — especially heated facilities — are typically resource-hungry, but there is now technology available that can improve the quality of water and reduce our reliance on the use of chemicals, power and more water.

“That’s why this is the first of our six swim centres scheduled for upgrades.”

Originally, the West Wallsend Swim Centre was set to undergo a standard upgrade to bring its circa-1970s plant equipment into the 21st century, but after the designers were faced with unforeseen issues, the council decided to use the extended amount of closure time needed to fix the problems, to revitalise the centre as a vibrant multipurpose leisure centre.

“Initially, the main purpose of the works was to ensure the facility met water quality guidelines released by the NSW Department of Health,” Sutton said.

“When the designers hit a roadblock early in the process, and needed to dig up the concourse among other works, the council decided to bring forward additional structural renewal work originally planned to be carried out over the next five years.

“Council invested $3.3 million on the project, which also involved refurbishing indoor rooms to allow for additional fitness and wellbeing programs that would increase efficiency and decrease operational costs, and revitalising areas such as the entry, reception and kiosk to improve the overall experience for visitors.

“The renewal works to West Wallsend will ensure the facility continues to meet anticipated demand into the future, uphold council’s commitment to reducing its eco footprint and be financially sustainable.”

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