Project Description

UBC Aquatic Centre

The new LEED Gold Certified University of British Columbia (UBC) Aquatic Centre opened in March 2017. This modern competitive and recreational aquatic facility was designed and built by an expert team of consultants and contractors working with UBC and UBC Properties Trust.

The 8,000-square-metre (79,000 sq.ft.) facility includes a 50-metre pool, an 8-lane 25-metre pool for swimming instruction as well as lap and recreational swimming, a 3,700 sq.ft. shallow family leisure pool with warm water, geysers, lazy river loop and play features, plus a range of amenities such as a 34-person hot tub that is the first in BC to be fitted with an aquatic elevator, enabling seniors and the mobility impaired to appreciate the therapeutic benefits of this amenity for rehabilitation. The facility also includes a sauna, change rooms, concession kiosk, and multi-purpose rooms/wet classrooms to meet the needs of students, faculty, and the community.

The 50-metre pool is designed to both Canadian and international competitive swimming standards. Its movable bulkhead permits swimming competitions in both the 50 and 25-metre pools in the same orientation which allows for enhanced spectator viewing from the 460-seat spectator area.

Key sustainable features of AME’s mechanical design at this facility include:

  • Rainwater Harvesting System: Thanks to Vancouver’s wet climate, rainwater collected from the roof of the aquatic centre gets filtered and UV-treated for use in irrigation, toilet flushing and pool make-up. The facility’s 900 m3 cistern for rainwater storage collects about 2.7 million litres of rainwater annually. We believe this is the first institutional/commercial pool of this size in Canada that uses rainwater for pool make-up.
  • To provide better water quality for the swimmers, the leading-edge filtration technology implemented at this facility exceeds the local Health Authority’s requirement. While most pools traditionally use sand filters, UBC Aquatic Centre uses regenerative media filters which require less space than sand filters and remove material ranging from as small as 1 to 5 microns from the pool water which is much smaller and invisible, compared to the average 12 – 15 microns of material removed with sand filters. The more material that is removed from the water, the better the pool water quality, and consequently less chemicals required for treating the water. Regenerative media filters use a fraction of the water volume consumed by sand filters for backwashing, reducing water consumption by 92%.”
  • The new Aquatic Centre is connected to UBC’s District Energy System (DES) which provides building heating, pool water heating and domestic hot water heating, although the DES is not the only heating source for the building. The building has a chiller plant that provides chilled water for dehumidification of the natatorium and cooling for the administration area. The hot water by-product of the chiller plant – which normally gets rejected into the atmosphere – is reclaimed and injected into the heating loop that provides building heating, pool heating, and domestic hot water pre-heating. BC Hydro energy model results show that heat rejected from the chiller plant provides over 90% of the total heating demand for the building.
  • Two innovative features that provide enhanced air quality in the natatorium, and thereby a better experience for swimmers and staff, are:

i.     the trichloramine exhaust system which uses a modern approach in pool design to exhaust trichloramine from the perimeter of the pools;

ii.     the 100% outdoor air supply to the pool area with a displacement ventilation system.

  • The change rooms and basement pool mechanical room are designed with better air quality by way of a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) that supplies 100% outdoor air to these areas and reclaims heat from the exhaust to pre-heat the incoming outdoor air.
  •  Low flow plumbing fixtures reduce annual potable water consumption by 47%.