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Australian first for new Gold Coast Aquatic Centre recovery pool

Australian first for new Gold Coast Aquatic Centre recovery pool
September 5, 2014

Elite swimmers and divers at the newly refurbished Gold Coast Aquatic Centre are set to benefit from unique hot and cold recovery tubs.

Believed to be an Australia (and possibly world) first, the recovery tubs use an Accent Air water-to-water heat pump from Rheem Pool Heating (pictured below) that simultaneously heats the hot tub from the energy recovered from chilling of the cold tub.

Paul Stevenson from design consultant and aquatic engineering specialists Stevenson + Associates, which designed the system, explains “very little energy is wasted, as the Accent heat pump transfers heat from the cold tub to heat the hot tub.”

The system has been created so the tubs (both 2.2 metres in diameter and 900mm deep) don’t need their own water treatment plant, but rather utilise the huge capacity of the adjacent diving pool water to keep them crystal clean with fresh water on a daily basis.

When the tubs are in use, generally for a couple of hours each day, the water is kept clean by flushing with diving pool water; plus a heat exchanger ensures that the energy contained in the water from the hot or cold tub returning to the diving pool is then transferred back into the water coming from the diving pool and then entering the tubs.

It is this inter-relationship between the hot and cold tubs and the diving pool that is so unique.

As Stevenson adds “the benefits of this system are manifold. Not only does it have low energy use, but the water is of very high quality.

“It also means that the normal weekly emptying of the tubs isn’t required – plus there’s two less water treatment plants to install, operate and maintain. Unlike other systems, the tub water doesn’t have to be emptied, because it’s being constantly refreshed. Plus capital costs to install the system were also lower.”

The critical plant in this design is clearly the Accent heat pump. The unit was custom-designed by Rheem’s specialist heat pump engineers and contains twin compressors in a two-stage design to maximise energy efficiency and provide the flexibility of temperature control needed to complement Stevenson + Associates’ revolutionary design concept.

The heat pump for the athlete recovery tubs was one of eight Accent Air heat pumps provided by Rheem for the aquatic centre, which required systems to heat almost nine million litres of water. Heating was also needed for the existing 50 metre, 25 metre and diving pools, in addition to the new 50 metre competition pool, indoor learn-to-swim pool and a splash pool.

Following an open tender, Rheem was contracted by Trisley Hydraulic Services to provide the heat pumps, which were built to specifications provided by Stevenson + Associates.

A key requirement was to achieve lower energy and running costs, and a secondary requirement was for an ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and lower emissions.

Rheem Pool Heating National Sales and Marketing Manager Mark Crowther explains “it was crucial to achieve the high efficiency targets set by Stevenson + Associates.

“A significant challenge was providing the large capacities needed for this quantity of water in a highly exposed coastal position. The Accent Air heat pumps are purpose designed for Australian conditions; they’re made from full marine-grade aluminium, and the unit’s large solar collectors (evaporators) are treated with Rheem Cote anti-corrosion, which makes them suitable for the very close coastal location.”

The heat pumps also include Building Maintenance Control (BMS) capabilities. This enables the operators to control and interrogate the units in relation to a broad range of operating parameters, including checking operation, data logging of heat pump performance and monitoring temperatures.

The smart controller also enables the temperature of the water to be automatically adjusted during tariff changes.

Stevenson concludes “the controller is a really big plus.

“It means that as soon as the tariff hits high, the temperature of the water is automatically lowered by a quarter to half a degree and the heat pump turns off. And as soon as the tariff hits low, then the temperature of the water is bumped up and the heat pump begins operating again. It’s ideal for offsetting costs.”

For more information on Rheem Australia go to

Paul Stevenson from design consultant and aquatic engineering specialists Stevenson + Associates can be contacted on 02 9018 9189, E:,

Trisley Hydraulic Services can be contacted on 02 8566 3666, E:,






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