Kiwi ingenuity behind million-dollar upgrade of pools’ changing rooms

An innovative custom-made system that will recycle thermal water will ensure Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa’s changing rooms are warmer and drier than ever before.

The rooms are undergoing a $1 million upgrade – part of which involves a new system that re-uses the water for underfloor heating and to heat the shower water and air temperature.

The pools’ general manager Graeme Abbot says it’s recycling on a grand scale.

“Normally this water would go down the drain. Instead our team’s helped design a one of a kind system that will cut down our energy use and increase our visitors’ comfort.”

The new system will use 4-litres of water per second. It will run through pipes to heat the floor to a temperature of around 30 degrees, the same water will then be used in a heat exchange system to warm the shower water to 38 degrees and then used in radiators to heat the air temperature.

The pools’ operations manager Neil Wilson says the system was three years in the making and at one stage, energy consultants claimed it was impossible.

“We didn’t take no for an answer though. We went into the shed and created a prototype (about the size of a pallet) to show them it would work.”

Neil says the system is about making the most from the thermal water’s energy.

“Every drop of our thermal water fell as rain 180 years ago before being warmed by heat from the earth’s core and rising back to the bore. The waters are mineral-rich and precious so we’re always looking to ensure we use them efficiently.”

“This new system means we’ll be saving energy, heating our changing rooms more than ever before and not using a single drop more water,” says Neil.

Graeme Abbot suspects most people won’t realise how much work and kiwi ingenuity has gone into the new high-tech changing rooms.

“What they will notice though is how snug and dry our changing rooms will be. Everyone will be warm…right down to their toes,” concludes Graeme.