Aotea Centre

The Aotea Centre, designed by architect Ewen Wainscott and opened in 1990, is located in the heart of Auckland.

Managed by Regional Facilities Auckland, this multifunctional performing arts and events centre is home to New Zealand’s largest tiered auditorium, a black box theatre, function rooms, and BOX Café and Bar. The centre hosts a wide variety of arts companies including the New Zealand Opera and the Royal New Zealand Ballet, as well as events that include live music and large conventions that come to the city. As such, a reliable heating and cooling solution for this busy event centre was essential.

The Challenge

The phased development to refurbish the centre began in 2013 to include two theatres; the 2139-seat Kiri Te Kanawa (formerly the ASB) Theatre and the smaller 186-seat Herald Theatre.

The current phase, which started in 2018, focused on modernising the exterior and upgrading the interior with an open design and expansive foyers, while also updating the HVAC System to offer simultaneous heating and cooling for the best internal comfort.

The Solution

The new shared services central plant incorporates four Mitsubishi Electric Climaveneta ERACS2-Q-XL-CA Multifunction Heat Pump Chillers.

Simultaneous heating and cooling for year-round comfort

ERACS2-Q-XL-CA units can produce heating and chilled water simultaneously and independently via two hydronic circuits that do not require seasonal switching, guaranteeing optimal comfort all year round.

Each circuit works with a semi-hermetic screw compressor using R134A, two shell and tube heat exchangers shared by both circuits, a cold heat exchanger on the plant’s side as an evaporator when producing chilled water and a heat exchanger on the plant’s side as a condenser when producing hot water. A source side coil heat exchanger is also used to act as either a condenser or evaporator as required by the loads. As a result, it is an ideal alternative to traditional plants with a chiller and boiler.

Furthermore, each of the ERACS2-Q-XL-CA Multifunction Heat Pump Chillers has an integrated +2P 280kW high-temperature hot water module installed to serve the various Air Handling Units heating requirements and the domestic hot water calorifiers at 78°C, providing efficient hot water throughout the facilities, replacing the requirement for boilers.

Wide operating range for guaranteed performance in all conditions

The ERACS2-Q-XL-CA Multifunction Heat Pump Chiller also has a wide operating range, with guaranteed heating operation down to -10°C in winter and up to 46°C during summer in cooling mode.

Super-low operating noise for perfect occupant comfort

As this is a busy events centre with high occupancy levels throughout the year, operational sound levels were a key consideration. As such, the HVAC consultants selected the XL-CA version which features extra low noise operation with Class A efficiency for optimum comfort and lowest running costs.

ClimaPRO controls ensure simple optimisation and comfort management

The whole system is managed and optimised by ClimaPRO. This Mitsubishi Electric Climaveneta plant optimisation and control system is able to actively optimise the energy efficiency of the entire HVAC system through the management and control of each component directly involved in the production and distribution of thermal loads.

Project Specifications

Total Capacity: 6811kW

Chilled Water: 2767kW

Low-Temperature Hot Water: 2924kW

High-Temperature Hot Water: 1120kW

Outdoor Units

3 x ERACS2 Q XL-CA 2722
Multi-Function Heat Pump Chillers complete with onboard +2P 280kW High-Temperature Hot Water Modules

1 x ERACS2 Q XL-CA 3222
Multi-Function Heat Pump Chiller complete with onboard +2P 280kW High-Temperature Hot Water Modules


1 x ClimaPRO Plant Optimisation Controller


HVAC Consultant

Published: Thursday, 7 November 2019

Aotea Centre