TAFE WA Murdoch

Celebrating an Icon

Issue 2: December 2017

Solar for skills: state-of-the-art Rheem Commercial solar system for TAFE WA



When TAFE WA decided to expand the specialist training facilities on its Murdoch, Perth campus, the consulting engineers, Hydraulics Design Australia (HDA) engaged Rheem Commercial from the early design stages.

“Based on our commercial expertise and longstanding track record, HDA involved Rheem Commercial in the schematic design stage of the project to go through the initial setup and plant philosophy. We were also able to determine the feasibility and cost benefits of different pre-heat options and additional boost requirements,” says Simon Avery, Technical Sales Manager, Rheem Commercial WA.

The brand new three-level building was central to TAFE WA’s investment in developing the very best vocational skills for its students. The impressive training facilities include eight hair and beauty salons, a simulated office, a virtual nursery and playgroup, computer laboratories and other learning areas. General facilities include a library, gym, café, student services, staff offices and meeting areas.


Zoning and design challenges


Working closely with Hydraulics Design Australia (HDA), the main challenge for Rheem was to help design a system that reduced greenhouse emissions, lowered the building’s power and gas usage, yet was still able to supply enough hot water for 400 or more students and teachers. Not only that, but the system had to be divided into four separate zones to comply with Green Star requirements and also different tenants.

The complex structure of the building with large open spaces, few structural walls or support columns and high raked ceilings also provided design challenges that needed to be overcome.


Advanced commercial solar hot water system


The final design consists of a solar pre-heat plant with 16 NPT solar collectors, 5 Commercial Storage 430-litre tanks and 8 Heavy Duty Gas 275-litre storage boosters. And the four separate zones all have their own separate gas booster plant.

Each zone was fitted with a hot water circulating pump and a pulse meter wired to the building management system to identify exact hot water usage and allow the costing to be divided between the different tenants.

Perth-based Precision Plumbing was the commercial plumbing contractor for the project.

“TAFE WA was extremely happy with the end result and continues to reap the rewards of such a cost-effective, energy efficient system,” says Simon. “And the installation includes one of the most impressive and advanced solar frames I’ve ever seen.”


For further information on this project or other commercial installation projects in WA, please contact Simon Avery, Technical Sales Manager, Rheem Commercial WA on (08) 9351 4226.