This video, produced by the Office of Environment and Heritage, details the project, our involvement and the energy savings achieved.

Installed as a key component of the Riverina Highlands Building Energy Efficiency Project (RHBEEP), the geoexchange system replaced the existing air cooled central plant that was installed during building construction in the late 1970s.

Preliminary works commenced on the $1.18 million heating and cooling upgrade of the Council’s Riverina Highlands Building in early 2012. While the complete project included insulation, lighting upgrades, metering optimisation, solar PV and power factoring, the largest component was the air conditioning upgrade. This involved installing a geoexchange system to replace the existing air cooled central plant that was over 30 years old.

The preliminary feasibility and concept design, as well as the design and documentation of the geoexchange system was conducted by GeoExchange Australia. In total, 35 boreholes were installed to a depth of 92 m beneath the rear car park and 26 Ground Source Heat Pumps were installed to provide individual zone control.

The success of the project has seen Tumut Shire Council win a series of Local Government awards, resulted in energy savings of 80% and cost savings of over $215 000 per annum. The peak electrical load of the Building at the height of summer is now 75 % less than before works, with up to 40% of this attributable to the geoexchange system.

People have been astounded at the consistency of the building, you can walk from one room to the other and the temperature stays the same,” Environmental and GIS Officer of Tumut Shire Council and communications officer for the project, Joanne Spicer said.

It is such an improvement from the previous working conditions which were close to unbearable and all at a significantly cheaper cost.”

The largest portion of energy that was being consumed by the building was from the heating that was going on inside the building, which was ridiculously high especially when outside temperatures were either especially hot or cold and the use of geothermal energy has eliminated this excessive use and therefore made a clear difference,” Ms Spicer said.

Awards and Recognition

  • 2014 winner of the Climate Change Action Award
  • Finalist of AIRAH Award for Excellence, Best HVAC and Refrigeration Retrofit or Upgrade (National Award) 2014
  • State Finalist (Highly Commended) in the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Green Globe Awards
  • Finalist in the Local Government Management Association Excellence Awards for Excellence in Environmental Leadership and Sustainability
  • A recognition plaque from the Clean Energy Finance Cooperation (CEFC).

News coverage: 7 News broadcast

Feature Article: EcoLibrium Journal

Presentation: Small Council, Big Vision, Bigger Savings – AIRAH Pre-loved Buildings 2014 from Yale Carden

Presentation showing the incredible energy savings potential of geoexchange / ground source heat pumps for heating and cooling commercial buildings. This presentation was delivered at the AIRAH Pre-loved Buildings Conference in Brisbane, Australia in October 2014.

Titled Small Council, Big Vision, Bigger Savings, it takes the audience on the journey of this project from initial concept through to completion. It discussed both the incredible energy and dollar savings while also addresses the importance of the project team and their importance in delivering what was a truly great project.