Green approach to thermal pool construction

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa has taken a unique approach to the construction of five new thermal pools to protect their much-loved Redwood trees, at an additional cost of more than $50,000.

They are also taking a sustainable approach to powering and operating the new pools, winning an award for innovation.

Pools on piles

Work is progressing well on the new pools which will sit among river boulder terraces and native gardens, on what is currently a grassed area next to the Rainbow Pools. Unlike all the other pools in the complex, these pools will sit on timber piles.

“We have a number of 90 year old giant Redwood trees near the complex and digging these pools into the ground could have damaged their root systems. That wasn’t an option so we’re carefully installing more than 280 timber piles for the pools to sit on top of,” explains General Manager Graeme Abbot.

This approach has added around 50-thousand dollars to the project’s budget, but it’s money well spent.

“It’s a small price to pay really. Our natural surroundings are a big part of what makes this place special, and we’re dedicated to protecting that.”

The new pools have been designed to offer a relaxing and natural experience.

“They’ll be a popular place for visitors to sit and soak in our famous mineral-rich waters, listening to the sounds of the water cascading down waterfalls, surrounded by native gardens and looking up at the towering Redwoods and, on a good day, a bright blue sky.

“Construction is already progressing well, and we hope to have the pools ready by October this year,” says Graeme.

Sustainable energy

The complex is also taking a sustainable approach to powering and operating the new pools.

“Half of the energy required to run the new pools will come from a heat transfer unit that will capture waste heat from our methane generator*. The pools are also designed to be super water efficient with no holding tanks. We’re pretty proud of this work.” 

* The new 65kw Capstone micro turbine generator converts previously wasted methane gas (from an old gas bore and a thermal deep water bore) into electricity. It is the only generator of its type in New Zealand and won
the Innovation category in the 2018 EECA Awards.

This development is aligned to Business Commitments 2 - businesses invest capital to grow, and/or to improve quality and productivity; 5 - businesses innovate to improve or upgrade their offering to enhance the visitor experience; and 11 - businesses contribute to ecological restoration.