Award-winning artesian heating and cooling for Christchurch airport

Beca Pty Ltd
Thursday, 12 February, 2015

As part of Christchurch International Airport’s $237 million Integrated Terminal Project, engineering consultant Beca designed and delivered an innovative artesian heating and cooling system. The system helps the terminal building’s temperature to remain constant, improving the experience of the millions of passengers who pass through the airport each year.

Photo courtesy of Christchurch International Airport.

The essence of the system is the use of artesian water that flows beneath the city of Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains. Easily accessible through wells, the artesian water provides the airport with a cost-effective, long-term heating and cooling solution and an efficient, sustainable energy source.

Chillers, which act as geothermal heat pumps, provide both mechanical cooling and heating, and 12°C artesian water is used for direct cooling. The system enables artesian water to heat or cool the building, or do both, at any one time. It also has the ability to recover and redistribute heat energy.

The system has now received industry recognition, winning International Project of the Year at the 2015 CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) Building Performance Awards. Presented at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, the awards recognise engineering excellence in the built environment, with an emphasis on energy efficiency.

Justin Hill, Beca’s technical director and Christchurch building services manager, was in London to accept the award. He said the project “epitomises excellent engineering in almost every aspect of the design and construction” and believes Beca’s “holistic approach to the system design played a major role in the project’s success”.

“Cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency and future flexibility were high on the priority list,” added Hill.

The CIBSE award is just one of many that the system has won over the past year. It also won the Building and Construction category at the 2014 New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards and a Gold Award of Excellence at the 2014 ACENZ (Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand) INNOVATE New Zealand Awards.

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