The City of Ballarat to investigate transitioning BALC to renewable energy

City of Ballarat staff are working with global aquatic centre experts Beca to assess the potential of Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre (BALC) to reduce energy demand and transition to 100 per cent renewable energy.

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.

This plan will also 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 opportunity to integrate with air-conditioning and ventilation systems to create further energy and cost savings while delivering the same level 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 temperate 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. Gas use at the BALC attributes to about 1,700 tonnes 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 Cr Des Hudson said the City of Ballarat was 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,” he said.

“With the recent significant increase in gas prices, it is likely that transitioning BALC to electrified renewable energy sources will be more cost-effective option for ratepayers.”

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