20 November 2012 — Lend Lease has lodged a modification for the basement works at Sydney’s Barangaroo South to include key infrastructure for the centralised cooling system – which uses a harbour water cooling system.

Using a centralised district cooling plant with a harbour water cooling system is a key sustainability initiative for Barangaroo, saving both energy and water.

As well, using harbour water means the system consumes virtually no potable water compared to cooling towers, which require large amounts of water to reject heat.

The centralised cooling system at Barangaroo South will be the largest harbour water system operating in Sydney, designed to support the cooling systems of all of the buildings proposed in the precinct.

Once the development is complete and the buildings are fully occupied, the harbour water cooling system could save up to 100 million litres of water from the Sydney Water mains network each year.

At Barangaroo the harbour water will enter the cooling system at the Southern Cove and pass through a series of screens, filters and strainers to protect and filter out marine life and small organisms.

The clean harbour water will then be pumped through separate circuits to a number of electric chiller sets. The number of chillers used at any one time, and therefore the volume of water used, will be dependent on the cooling requirement, which in turn will vary on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis.

Once the water has passed through the cooling system it is all returned back into the harbour through a number of outfall pipes located below the water surface along the western waterfront of Barangaroo.

In performing its heat exchange function, the returning water will be at a slightly higher temperature than the ambient harbour water temperature – up to a maximum of seven degrees centigrade.

The 75W planning application documents are on public exhibition from 21 November 2012 until 14 December 2012 at the Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s Information Centre, 23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney or online.

The use of harbour water in cooling systems is not new for Sydney and has been operating for more than a century, predominantly as cooling systems for the early power stations at Ultimo – 1902, Balmain – 1903, Pyrmont – 1904 and White Bay – 1912.

The emergence of commercial air conditioning in the 1960’s led to a number of building based harbour water cooling systems being installed including at:

  • Sydney Opera House – Circular Quay
  • AMP Building – Alfred Street – Circular Quay
  • Park Hyatt Hotel – Circular Quay
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – Circular Quay
  • Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre – Darling Harbour
  • Star Casino – Pyrmont Bay
  • Power House Museum – Darling Harbour
  • Macquarie Bank Building – Shelley Street – King Street Wharf