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Last reviewed: Mon, 07 Nov 2011

Frolicking in Refrigeration Water – The Heating of the Graham Condon Recreation Centre

It sounds impossible, doesn’t it, the idea of having fun in water from a refrigerator – but that is what is used to heat the pools at the Graham Condon Recreation Centre.

The recreation centre was built in a partnership between the Christchurch City Council and the Papanui High School with support from Northlands Shopping Centre.

The new centre features an eight lane, 25 metre indoor swimming pool, spa pool, learn to swim pool and a toddler’s pool. There is also a sports hall large enough for a full sized basketball court and a fitness centre.

Swimming pool at Graham Condon Recreation and Sport Centre.

Part of the heating for the recreation centre comes from the school boiler. This boiler was recently converted from coal to wood pellets, a renewable source of energy.

The balance of the heat required comes from the refrigeration plant installed at the Northlands shopping centre. There is a large facility on the roof providing cooling for the freezers and fridges located in the shop below. The refrigeration plant operates continuously and is a constant source of waste heat. Previously this heat was vented to the air.

In order to capture this waste heat, a closed water system was installed between the shopping centre and the recreation centre. The water absorbs heat from the refrigeration plant which a heat exchanger then extracts to transfer to the pool. The cooled water circulates back to the plant room to be heated again, in a closed loop. As the refrigeration plant is constantly in use, there is always heat available for collection.

Using waste heat from refrigeration to heat the water in the pools should reduce heating costs substantially.

Benefits of this project include:

  • Renewable energy source, wood pellets, is used in the boiler
  • There is a constant and steady source of waste heat from the refrigeration plant
  • The boiler plant is shared between two facilities, saving on plant costs for the new facility
  • The school shares the facility with the recreation centre, benefiting both the school and the community
  • Waste heat is captured and used in the pool instead of venting to the air
  • The facility saves substantially on heating costs

How can I use this concept at home or in my business?

  • Is it possible to swop from a fossil to a renewable fuel for heating or operating equipment?
  • Is there waste heat or coolth that I can capture to use elsewhere?
  • Does a neighbouring business have or need heat that is presently wasted?
  • Is there plant that can be shared, particularly if there is a day/night difference in need?

Authorising Unit: Energy

Last reviewed: Monday, 7 November 2011

Next review: Monday, 7 May 2012

Keywords: boiler, capture, exchange, heat, pool, recreation centre, renewable, renewable energy, swimming pool, waste, water, wood