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Leisure Energy helps Local Authorities with PSDS grant submissions

Leisure Energy has assisted 8 Local Authorities with the £1bm Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme grant submissions, helping to secure a total funding amount in excess of £17million.

They are currently in the progress of project managing the installation of new technology to modernise, improve and decarbonise 14 leisure facilities across the country to help meet the council’s net zero targets.

These works will assist with the Councils’ commitment of working towards their carbon targets by reducing annual gas and electricity consumption and lowering the buildings’ carbon footprint. In-depth energy surveys and technical details of the application were provided by Leisure Energy.

We are directly project managing 8 leisure centre installations and providing an

advisory role in-conjunction with Allliance Leisure for 5 of these projects.

One of these projects, which is currently nearing is completion, is at The Stour Centre in Ashford on behalf of Ashford Borough Council.

With the help of £1.74m from the grant scheme, Ashford Borough Council has replaced the ageing power plant at its flagship Stour Leisure Centre with a state-of-the-art system which will slash running costs, cut carbon emissions in half and provide a boost to bold ambitions to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030.

The existing inefficient gas fired heating plant has been replaced with high-tech air to water heat pumps, along with other improvements.

Working on behalf of the Council, Leisure Energy identified that the following issues would need to be resolved to lead to savings in both carbon emissions and costs:

• No renewable technology currently at the leisure facility.

• CHP was beyond economic life and oversized against requirements.

• Only two out of nine of the current boilers were operating fully but still not achieving the required 80°C temperature

• Chiller for the air conditioning unit was functioning inefficiently.

The solutions developed for the new equipment and technologies were:

• New air source heat pumps replacing 90% of the gas heating requirements.

• Replacement AHU fan motors.

• Low energy lighting and sensor controls. Almost 400 light fittings with specialist low energy lighting were replaced.

• New solar photovoltaic panels. An array of 598 photovoltaic solar panels were installed on the centre’s roof to provide electricity to reduce the amount of electricity from the grid.

• Pool pump motor upgrades. To ensure that the chemical dosing, filtration and flow rates are maintained correctly, two variable speed drives were installed to the teaching pool, and dosing controllers to the competition and leisure pools, together with an overall pool water quality control system.

• Building Energy Management System upgrade. The existing system was obsolete and was replaced with a Trend IAQVision system which incorporates smart controls for the ASHPs, PV inverters and motors. Built-in software and connectivity provides constant real-time monitoring of energy use, speed, torque and temperature which allows automatic diagnosis of HVAC system issues.

• Low Temperature Hot Water heat exchangers to interface with the existing heating circuits and pool water pipes.

• Replacement air handling unit (AHU) fan motors. Three sets of motors and controls within three of the air handling units in the facility were replaced with more energy efficient units.

The Stour Centre project saw the installation of various traditional sustainable technologies such as LED lighting, a huge solar array of nearly 600 panels and an insulated pool cover to replace outdated heating and lighting systems.

Novel energy-saving technologies were also installed such as the latest in motor innovation – Switch Reluctance Smart Motors in the air handling systems.

The quality of the swimming pool water has also benefitted from new smart chemistry controllers which means the right amount of chemicals and pump speed is automatically controlled.

The main carbon saving technology has been the move away from gas fired boiler to decarbonising heat in the form of Air Source Heat Pumps. These ‘suck’ the heat out of the atmosphere using it to heat the swimming pool water and the building.

Prior to the works, the centre’s energy costs were around £390,000 per year, with 1,196 tonnes of carbon emissions. The calculated benefits of upgrading the plant and other equipment were:

• Reduction of the Stour Centre’s annual carbon emissions by nearly 658 tonnes or 55% (the equivalent to the CO2 emissions from the annual heating of 243 homes).

• Energy savings of 40%, contributing to greatly reduced running costs.

• A significant contribution to the council’s goal of 100% carbon neutral by 2030.

These equipment and technological solutions which are project managed by Leisure Energy are currently being installed at several leisure facilities across the UK.

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