,At Paul Sadler Swimland, we have been looking for ways we can minimise our impact on the environment. Minimising our impact as an organisation on the environment is a key component of our Vision and Mission, with long term impact and sustainability underpinning all of the decisions we make.
We have taken some small actions over the recent years, such as drastically reducing our paper use and adding solar to some of our centres.
We have now taken more serious action, which involves a plan to renovate our existing swim schools and ensuring any new swim schools we build or are involved in, are built with energy efficiency and sustainability at the forefront.
The driver of this work has been a collaboration between our CEO Mark Cecil, Michael Cook from Hunt Architects and Derek Harbison from Negawatt (an energy efficiency expert). During the early stages of this collaboration, Mark, Derek and Michael spent time discussing that most aquatic centres built in Australia are very energy inefficient and what changes can be made to change this.
Most of the energy issues with Australian swim centres centres around the design and construction – where the centres allow warm air to escape easily in winter and allow hot air to enter during summer. This is designed to help air flow, but actually results in enormous energy use during winter to keep the centre warm, and very uncomfortable conditions during our hot Aussie summers.
The key principles Paul Sadler Swimland has explored since starting this collaboration are:
- How can we minimise the amount of warm air we lose from our centres?
- How can we minimise the amount of hot air that enters our centres during summer?
- How can we create an environment that is very comfortable year round for our swimmers and teachers in the pool and parents and team members on the pool deck?
We then needed to understand how our pools currently use energy, what we could change with our current locations and what we could do differently moving forward with new opportunities.
This work commenced at our Rowville location, where heat pumps have been added to drastically reduce the amount of gas being used to heat the pool water.
We have recently continued this work with a renovation of our Carrum Downs location. We focused on creating an envelope (the room our pools are in) that would give us much better control of the air in the building, (especially the way air exits and enters the building).
The works at Carrum Downs have included:
- Replacing the old roof with an insulated roof
- Replacing the air management system with a state of the art HVAC system
- Covering some of the windows that were causing heat to escape the building during winter and allowing heat to enter the building on hot days
The next step with this location is to add heat pumps to replace the gas heaters for the water heating, resulting in our Carrum Downs location operating 100% on electricity with zero gas consumption.
The final step will then be to add solar, where we are confident we will create a situation where our Carrum Downs pool will have close to net zero energy consumption.
The next pools where we will be completing energy reduction renovations are our Narre Warren and Hoppers Crossing pools. Our Hoppers Crossing pool renovation will include an extension where we are looking to add more family change rooms, a new pool deck floor and extending the office and staff room for our team.
We have also applied this low energy thinking and technology to our newest location in Altona Westgate.
The building of this exciting new location has included insulated walls, insulated roof and state-of-the-art electric air management and water heating systems. This location will not use gas and once we have added solar, we are confident that it will have close to zero energy consumption.
Paul Sadler Swimland Westgate will also feature less windows than an indoor pool would usually have in Australia, again as part of our low energy consumption design. We are confident that this location will have very consistent air, meaning it is comfortable for swimmers and parents all year round!
We’re proud of the work we have commenced in trying to minimise our environmental impact. We have other items in and around our pools that we will be trialling and introducing over the next few months and years that will all contribute to Paul Sadler Swimland being as close as we can be to carbon neutral.
If you have any ideas that you think could help us with this part of our vision, we’d LOVE to hear them!