YWCA Victoria “Richmond House”, Richmond, Victoria

Project 2 of 8

Project Overview

Richmond House opened in 1973 and continues to be the largest gender-specific rooming house in metropolitan Melbourne. It was originally conceived to ensure the continuity of the YWCA’s traditional function of providing accommodation for young women who had to live away from home. Over the years, Richmond House has come to be home to a wide ranging population of women such as low-income workers, older and disabled women, and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The redevelopment of the property began in 2009/10 and was funded by the Social Housing Sector, Property Portfolio Branch, Housing and Community Building Division, Department of Human Services. Now complete, the development is looking better than ever before with excited residents already settled into their new homes.

Direct Energy was engaged by PlumbCo Plumbers, in conjunction with the builders, HTI Constructions, to provide the commercial hot water for Richmond House.

Installed System

There is one geothermal heat pump with a total capacity of 21 kW. This system is used to provide commercial hot water for the establishment, provided by 2 x 300 litre buffer tanks.

A total of 6 x 30 meter copper ground loops were installed and connected to the geothermal heat pump.

Commercial Hot Water Heating

The Geothermal Heat Pump pre-heats the hot water to a set point of is 40-45 °C before entering three gas-heated tanks which feed the water into the building.

Energy Savings

Energy costs and savings are an important part of any commercial hot water heating decision, and they are expected to become more important as energy costs rise.

GHPs cut energy use and operating costs. The savings in natural gas usage are expected to pay for the GHP commercial hot water installation within 5 years. Energy Price increases will shorten the pay-back period.

Geothermal Heat Pumps are noted for their reliability and long life. Warranties of 20 years on the ground loops and 5 years on the plant have been provided. The ground loops are anticipated to have a life of more than 50 years and the plant a life of up to 25 years or more.

Environmental and Safety Performance

Geothermal Heat Pumps are the best environmental option, considering:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions – 30% less than the alternative
  • •Quietness <50dB
  • • Aesthetics and security – inside or outside options available as GHPs do not require ventilation
  • Ease and safety of operation – thermostatic control of the GHPs
  • All GHP plant is either below ground or inside. There are no facilities exposed to weather or human interference.


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