Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) air-cooled heat recovery systems from Daikin Australia installed at the RSL Club in Batemans Bay are meeting the design objectives of the new build.

The Batemans Bay Soldier’s Club, the local Returned and Services League (RSL) club occupies a site in the centre of town with sweeping views across the Clyde River. The largest of its type in the south coast region, the Soldier’s Club features a bistro, various lounges, auditorium, conference facilities and accommodation.

A $19.5-million state-of-the-art community services hub was built on vacant land at the rear of the club fronting Flora Crescent. Named ‘baylink’, the building brings together all of the Department of Human Services programs and services for the region under one roof including Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support and CRS Australia.

The building is also home to a number of other Commonwealth Government and State Government departments, and plays host to not-for-profit and local community organisations too. This unique grouping is an Australian first, achieved under the Australian Government’s Service Delivery Reform Agenda, and represents best practice in collaborative service delivery.

The baylink building project was first conceived in mid-2007 when the management of the Soldier’s Club responded to a Government advertisement seeking tenders for the construction of a 3,800m² commercial office building in Batemans Bay.

Working to guidelines provided by the Department of Human Services, the concept design was developed by Robertson + Marks Architects, who had previously completed a major redevelopment of the Soldier’s Club.

Wallis and Spratt consulting engineers were also engaged during the design phase to provide mechanical services engineering on the project. Among others, the guidelines called for an energy efficient design to achieve a minimum 4.5 star NABERS Energy rating, which was later changed to a 5 star rating. In 2008, the Batemans Bay Soldier’s Club was awarded the tender to build and then lease the building to the Department of Human Services.

Gary White, CEO of Batemans Bay Soldier’s Club said the base building was monitored and approved by the Department of Human Services throughout its construction, and they employed their own consultants and builder for the fitout process. Construction commenced in early 2010, with practical completion by October 2011. It was occupied and officially opened in May 2012.

According to Mr White, the department was seeking a building that was both aesthetically pleasing and also provided an outstanding work environment.

The striking and elegant exterior façade features significant glazing to promote natural daylight penetration across all three levels. The impact of solar heat gain has been minimised on the interior through carefully orientated solar shading. The large, open plan floor plate inside the building offers outstanding indoor environment quality, lighting and good airflow, the latter achieved through the use of Daikin Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) air-cooled heat recovery systems, in conjunction with outside air economy cycles on interior zones only. The system also features warm up, cool down and night purge cycles.

According to Philip Jang, associate director with Wallis and Spratt, the selection of the HVAC system was based on several considerations including site constraints, energy efficiency, capital cost and compliance with the department’s design brief. The VRV system’s design offered numerous advantages over alternative options.

Daikin’s VRV systems have the ability to provide cooling and heating operations simultaneously from the same condensing unit, requiring less plant equipment. VRV systems are also easier to commission compared to chilled water or heating water systems, provide for longer refrigerant piping lengths than standard split systems, and offer central control from one location, with the ability for remote monitoring if required. For a given capacity output, Daikin VRV also requires fewer condensing units than a conventional system, helping to reduce maintenance costs and the complexity of electrical switchgear required in the switchboard.

Jang said the physical dimension of the plant equipment was also critical on this project, as were the sound levels that had to comply with the design brief and local council regulations. Six rooftop mounted Daikin VRV condensing systems service the building, two units for each floor, with a total system capacity of 523.1kWr. To counter the effects of corrosion due to the site’s proximity to the ocean, coil treatment was provided on each condenser, and stainless steel used on the first metre of outside air ducts.

The ground floor has been designed with customer service in mind, and is devoid of the barriers, front counters and directional signage one might expect to find in a typical government agency office. Visitors are accommodated in specific waiting areas generously spaced around the entry, and private meeting rooms are provided for appointments. All of these areas are served by multiple ducted fan coil units. Separate ducted fan coil units service the ground floor’s interview rooms and Community Room with the fan coil unit operation triggered by motion sensors that also control the lighting in these rooms. Carbon dioxide sensors have also been used in these spaces to maintain the indoor air quality by controlling the outside air dampers.

The first floor is home to a Concierge Desk, as well as government agency staff. Featuring an open plan office design, this area is served by multiple ducted fan coil units, while the comfort control of the floor’s interview, training and meeting rooms features much the same design as the ground floor.

The second floor is home to the baylink Smart Centre and is served by multiple ducted fan coil units.

According to Jang, among the many considerations given to the final HVAC design in order to comply with the Department of Human Services design brief were building management, control and monitoring. The comfort conditioning system equipment performance data had to be available and in the format suitable for energy simulation programmes such as TAS and Beaver.

These requirements were met by utilising Daikin VRV systems on the baylink building project in conjunction with a Daikin Intelligent Manager System. This control system also allowed Wallis and Spratt to remotely review the HVAC system’s performance and operation during the mandatory NABERS 12-15 month period of energy monitoring. A VPN connection to the system enables Wallis and Spratt to provide regular reports and recommend any HVAC system rectification works required to the client, architect and NABERS consultant.

Since the building’s opening, the HVAC systems have performed better than modelled, with the building maintaining a 5.5 star NABERS Energy rating performance.

The Daikin VRV systems comprised of 17 x REYQ VRV-III Heat Recovery Units and 3 x RXS Premium Inverter Split Systems (Condensers); 44 x FXMQ Mid-Static Ducted Units and 3 x FXDYQ Mid-Static Ducted Units (Fan Coil Units); and 1 x Intelligent Manager III Control System and 1 x BACnet Gateway Interface (Controls).