Knox Leisure Works

Knox Leisure Works solar panels
Knox Leisure Works solar panels

The Knox Leisure Works in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs has been retrofitted with a large solar array.

Rob McCauley accepting the Clean Energy Council award from Rob Jackson
Rob McCauley accepting the Clean Energy Council award from Rob Jackson

The solar array and system was designed by RJM Sunpower; the Clean Energy Council has announced that Robert McCauley of RJM Sunpower has won an Award for Excellence for the “design and installation greater than 5kW Stand-alone power system”.

The goal of the project was to reduce total energy consumption by 55%.

An holistic approach for achieving a more sustainable facility was adopted, utilising a range of complementary measures.


  • 11.5kW grid-connect solar power system
  • UPS (uninterrupted power supply) battery back-up allows the cafe, offices, cash register, internal electric doors and gates and the staff room to keep operating during a grid power outage.
  • Double glazing in new buildings and retrofitted to existing buildings
  • Solar hot water is used to maintain pool temperatures
  • Roof insulation R5 rating
  • Variable speed pumps to conserve energy
  • 1400 square meters of solar heating for hot water
  • Solar hot water system using evacuated tubes for showers and sinks
  • High efficiency Helicoil gas boiler
  • Recycled water from the facility is piped to nearby ovals and back into the pool.


  • Project Manager: John Williams, Knox City Council
  • Design and installation of solar system: RJM Sunpower
  • AC 240v/425v: Adams eco Electrics was contracted to assist in the installation of the DC control equipment and design the AC 240v/415v requirements for the solar power system.


  • The system provides critical electricity to all essential service facilities in the leisure centre. The system has been tested and proven in operation to provide automatic change-over from grid electrical supply to battery back-up supply.
  • Water consumption has been reduced by 40%
  • Total energy consumption has been reduced by 47%, and is on track to meet the 55% reduction target
  • The additional $850,000 spent on sustainability content of this project will be recouped in 5.7 years.

See also