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December 2022

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Published on 14 December 2022

Protecting the environment and saving money

Four images, solar panels at Broadmeadow, The Lido, heat pump at Newton Abbot Leisure Centre and decarb work at Forde House

Up to £100,000 annual savings are expected from the multi-million-pound investment in the council’s leisure centres and Forde House offices aimed at reducing our carbon footprint by using more renewable energy.

Over the past year, a combination of old heating and lighting systems have been removed from Newton Abbot and Broadmeadow Leisure Centre, The Lido and Forde House and replaced with low carbon greener energy systems.

Some £3 million of grant funding has been attracted to help pay for the £7.5 million package of carbon reducing measures.

And in line with our Carbon Action Plan, we have bid for £310,000 more national grant funding to deliver a second phase of works at Broadmeadow by replacing its gas fired heating boilers with air source heat pumps.

The addition of Solar PV, LED lighting, battery energy storage and an insulated sports hall roof at Broadmeadow has been so successful that in the first six months of operations, the new systems have directly supplied 57% of the centre’s electricity demand, whilst the new storage battery supplied a further 6% through absorbing surplus off-peak generation.

Overall just 37% of the centre’s electricity demand was supplied from the grid and at a time when leisure centres across the country are struggling to stay open, the £6,800 reduction in our electricity bill for the same period was welcome!

We expect to make similar energy savings at Newton Abbot Leisure Centre and the Lido.  Although we have almost completed the installation at Newton Abbot, we will not be able to switch the new equipment on and use the new air source heat pumps until next year when a new connection is made to the national grid.

With the rising energy costs, the council anticipates that the new systems will save it up to £100,000 in a full year.

Executive Member for Climate Change, Cllr Jackie Hook praised the outcome of the leisure changes. “I am delighted that not only have we been able to modernise the centres but also been able to cut our energy costs by being increasingly self-sufficient.

“We are doing everything we can to get National Grid to provide a new electricity connection at Newton Abbot Leisure Centre so that we can enjoy similar financial savings while significantly reducing carbon emissions.”

Work is continuing at Forde House where gas boilers are being replaced with air source heat pumps, heat recovery ventilation upgrades, LED lighting, Solar PV, building fabric upgrades, energy management system upgrades, metering and power capacity upgrades.

The work, which has been expanded from its original brief and was delayed due to Midas going into administration earlier this year, is expected to be completed next year.