3 November – A partially submerged heat exchange system planned for Sydney’s The Rocks district is expected to lower energy consumption without disturbing the heritage architecture of the area, according to the NSW Government.

Part of the Harbour Heat Exchange Project, the system will provide airconditioning and refrigeration for some of Australia’s oldest buildings using a battery of submerged heat exchange coils located within Sydney Harbour that would remove the need for cooling towers and boilers on heritage buildings.

NSW Minister for Lands Tony Kelly said that the system will cut existing energy consumption in the area by 23 per cent and reduce carbon emissions in line with the State’s long-term sustainability plans.

“The Harbour Heat Exchange project has substantial environmental, social and economic benefits that will significantly reduce a building’s energy and resource use and improve its Australian Building Greenhouse Ratings,” the Minister said.

“In total, the heat exchange system could deliver savings of at least 23 per cent in energy consumption compared with conventional cooling towers or boilers.

“The system would allow the water consumption of the buildings and the maintenance costs of the heat rejection equipment to be reduced by 70-90 per cent.

“The project is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to increasing the long-term sustainability of its precincts, including reducing carbon emissions in The Rocks by 8 per cent by 2020,” said the Minister.

Following extensive research, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority found the most feasible location for the coils is adjacent to the Overseas Passenger Terminal which is owned and managed by Sydney Ports Corporation.

Tenders for the design of the heat exchange system were issued yesterday and close 16 December 2010.