Energy performance and water usage of aquatic centres

Duverge, J 2019, Energy performance and water usage of aquatic centres, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Energy performance and water usage of aquatic centres
Author(s) Duverge, J
Year 2019
Abstract Aquatic centres are major community facilities that require large amounts of water and energy to operate. They are unlike any other type of building in terms of energy and water consumption, and can consume up to seven times more energy per floor area compared to an average commercial office building. To date, there have been insufficient studies examining the energy performance and water usage of aquatic centres worldwide, thus, causing a lack of information and research, and complicating understanding such energy and water usage markers. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the energy performance and water usage of aquatic centres. The research objectives are listed below:

1. Develop a guideline for the definition of aquatic centres in Victoria, Australia for the purpose of energy and water benchmarking.
2. Benchmark the energy and water consumption of aquatic centres by analysing the data collected from existing aquatic centres.
3. To investigate operational and building design features that will improve the energy and water performance of a sample aquatic centre by using building performance simulation.

By reviewing previous studies on energy and water benchmarks for aquatic centres and using industry-obtained data, this study emphasises how the lack of a clear definition for `aquatic centres' creates confusion when researching such consumption. The first section of this study proposes a definition of an aquatic centre by investigating those operating within Victoria through desktop research. Information from 110 aquatic centres was collected and used to establish various categories of these facilities based on the types and number of amenities they provide. This study next defined an aquatic centre as a community or public venue that provides at least an indoor swimming pool and three different types of amenities, including a gymnasium, sauna or spa, a cafe and a creche.

The second section establishes energy and water benchmarks for aquatic centres by analysing data collected from 22 aquatic centres using questionnaires and site visits. The main data used to perform this analysis included utility bills (e.g., gas, electricity and water) for at least 12 months, floor areas of the sample aquatic centres, types of amenities and occupancy data. Other architectural and electromechanical information such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, lighting types, glazing types and construction materials were also collected. A statistical regression-based benchmarking method was then used to identify the relevant correlations and significance of several variables such as conditioned usable floor area, gross floor area, water surface area and number of visitors in relation to the energy and water use of aquatic centres. This analysis indicated that conditioned usable floor area and visitor numbers had the strongest correlation and significance to aquatic centre energy and water consumption, respectively; however, no strong correlation was found between energy and water use. In addition, the energy consumption of aquatic centres ranged between 648 kWh/m2 and 2,283 kWh/m2 (conditioned usable floor area), while water consumption ranged between 11 L/visitor and 110 L/visitor. However, this method has limitations in understanding the influence of different control strategies, design and occupancy variables on the energy and water use of aquatic centres. Indeed, building energy simulations have been identified as an alternative approach to address such enquiry.

The final section of this study was to simulate such consumption data using DesignBuilder and EnergyPlus (version 8.7). DesignBuilder was used to facilitate the construction of the three-dimensional aquatic centre model, while EnergyPlus 8.7 was used to perform the simulations in relation to the complex interaction (evaporation) between water and air within swimming pool halls. An existing aquatic centre within the sample was used as a case study, which was then calibrated against the measured energy and water data (utility bills obtained from the aquatic centre) before undertaking a range of parametric studies concerning several energy- and water-efficient features, including solar heating for pool water using glazed collectors (15% reduction on the total energy of the aquatic centre), light-emitting diode (LED) lighting (3.5% energy reduction), pool-water and pool hall air temperature reduction by 1 °C (6.1% energy reduction), pool covers (3% energy reduction and 1.2% water reduction) and vacuum filters (20% water reduction). A respective 34% and 20% reduction in energy consumption and greenhouses gas emissions was achieved by combining several architectural and electromechanical features such as double glazing, insulation upgrades, air and water temperature reductions, pool covers, using high-density materials, glazed solar pool-water heating systems and LED lighting.

Overall, this study provides a significant contribution to the knowledge of energy and water usage in aquatic centres, as it is one of the first to propose a clear definition of an aquatic centre prior to performing further investigation. In addition, it also models the energy and water consumption of an aquatic centre using the indoor swimming pool module in EnergyPlus. A set of energy and water benchmarks for aquatic centres was also proposed, which can be subsequently applied for wider industry use. Together with the proposed definition, the proposed guidelines and the energy and water benchmarks, it is now easier for aquatic centres in Australia and worldwide to compare their energy and water use. Also, a step-by-step guide on how to simulate an aquatic centre using EnergyPlus is provided in this study. The results will be beneficial for not only future simulation of swimming pool facilities but for also to the aquatic industries.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Property, Construction and Project Management
Subjects Building Construction Management and Project Planning
Keyword(s) aquatic centres
energy and water benchmarking
indoor swimming pool
swimming pool building simulation
parametric studies
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Created: Fri, 08 Feb 2019, 11:06:44 EST by Keely Chapman
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