Pooling our Energy Savings

  • Date: 12 January 2015
  • Category: Centre News
  • Author: Tom Gavran
Pooling our energy savings 664x363

We are very excited to announce that Darebin City Council and the YMCA have completed a significant project to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions at the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre. Through the installation of a gas fired cogeneration system and energy efficiency works, we estimate annual savings of around 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and around $50,000 in operating costs, including energy and maintenance costs.

This project received funding from the Australian Government under the "Pooling our Energy Savings Project".

Only 63 projects were awarded nationally out of several hundred submissions.

Council's Mayor, Cr Tim Laurence said "our successful grant application builds on the great work we have been doing for many years on our council facilities to minimise our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our operating energy costs. Targeting aquatic centres is a high priority as they have high energy consumption due to pool heating and long operating hours."

WHAT projects were undertaken?


This is a very exciting technology allows us to generate most of the site's electricity from cleaner natural gas, reducing the amount of coal-generated electricity we need to buy out of the main power lines. As well significant electricity bill savings, the waste heat from the engine is captured and used to heat the pools, which reduces the amount of natural gas consumption which would otherwise be needed.

Indoor and outdoor pool blankets

The indoor 25m pool and the 25m outdoor leisure pool (not the lap pool) have had insulated pool blankets installed. These are put on after hours to reduce evaporation and heat loss. Significant energy savings will result from this measure as less gas is needed overnight to keep the pools warm, and the ventilation system does not need to work as hard to remove the humidity out of the air. The seating area has been expanded with new benches installed at each pool and the pool blankets located under the benches. 

Lighting upgrade

Lighting throughout the centre has been upgraded to higher efficiency T5 tube or LED lighting providing greater reliability and reduced energy costs.

Ventilation system upgrade

Air-conditioning and ventilation systems have been upgraded. The most noticeable is the new system for the change room which includes new duct work to push the warm air down to make it a lot warmer in winter. The system features a state of the art heat recovery design which captures the heat from the exhaust air to pre-heat the cold incoming air. The gym system has been upgraded to use 100% natural cooling when the temperature conditions are suitable. Draught sealing and wind barriers at the front door reduce the cold winter draughts!

Solar Hot Water

A large commercial solar hot water system has been installed to provide the hot water for the change rooms. This system uses the sun to heat the water when it is sunny and uses high efficiency gas backup when there is not enough sun.

This project received funding from the Australian Government’s Local Government Energy Efficiency Program (LGEEP).

These projects not only reduce our operating costs but improve the enjoyment for all visitors.