Burton Community Sports Hub

Renewable scheme contributing towards the community sports hub becoming a carbon zero facility by 2030, using ground source heat pump technology for underfloor heating and hot water for the new clubhouse, changing rooms and novel cooling for the gym.

28 t
Est. annual reduction in carbon
emissions (tonnes CO2 eq)

Est. number of people
who benefit directly

First BRFC game with the new stand open.
GHSP Plant Room during the final build.
Site overview of the clubhouse and first team pitch.

Our story

by Burton Community Sports Hub

A renewable heat scheme based on ground source heat pump technology for underfloor heating and hot water for the new clubhouse and changing room. The system will also provide novel cooling for the gym.

The result will be a low carbon facility which will be carbon zero by 2030 due to 100% renewable electricity in the UK and low operating costs providing a warm building for the community 7 days and nights a week. Burton Rugby Football Club needed a new ground with more than one pitch and outside the town centre, which was found and purchased by club members purchasing shares in 2007.

Planning for the new ground was obtained and for the old ground in terms of retail use. The financial crash in 2008 occurred and it took nearly 10 years before interest in retail began to come back. The new ground was developed in terms of drainage pitches and new entrance and some parking in 2016-2019 will the mini juniors moving to the new ground in Portacabin-type facilities.

The high-level design of the new clubhouse started in early 2019 and the goal of begin carbon neutral was embraced as part of that process. The study using funding from the Rural Community Energy Fund was carried out in the summer of 2019. The old ground was finally sold just before Christmas 2019. Detailed design started in January 2020 which initially included shower heat recovery, solar/battery and GSHP. The planning application included solar on the roof, however a value analysis process highlighted that the only technology which had a payback was GSHP and due to pitch constraints, a vertical borehole solution was decided in favour of the cheaper horizontal loop which required an area the size of one pitch and not drained, therefore not available for winter sports use.

Technically a sports facility with 8+ changing rooms has some challenges on the hot water supply. Instant supply of hot water to reduce wastage, temperature control of 60C in pipework to ensure Legionella control. On-off push button showers to reduce water wastage. Sufficient hot water in storage plus the make up rate of the GSHP to satisfy 36 showers.

The design also had an air conditioning unit for the gym for cooling, this was removed and replaced with a novel approach using the ground loop exit from the heat pump as the cooling source.

In summary the objective was clear, the funding was very tight and what was installed was robust technology which made operational sense. So far, it’s a great success and from 2021 to 2030 it will progress from 26% carbon to zero carbon for the whole complex's energy needs.
Could we have done more? Yes, but with more funding, but why waste funding when it does not provide a return? Energy funding needs to be channelled into technologies which are totally linked to the national goals. In our case all electrical power used in the most efficient manner with GSHP technology.

Our advice

Set your target high in terms of environmental improvement. Start early in the project and look for energy integration to maximise efficiency.

It is important to design the building around the energy not the other way round. Look for funding to professional specify the options they give you both scope and a professional document to find further funding. Make sure the capex and opex make commercial sense.

People on the project generally do not understand the detail of renewable technology. Communication is critical and make as simple as possible, GSHP is a fridge running backwards as an example.

Finally, these projects require Champions as they are not easy and require hours and hours of work particularly if finance is tight.

Our metrics

Carbon emissions savings excluding the grid benefit at 50% electricity.
Basis 0.2556 kg/CO2e per KWH of electricity.
Therefore 100% electricity 37.2 te of CO2/year.
Reduction with GSHP but excluding the Grid Benefits= 19.3 te of CO2 (52%).
Reduction with GSHP and Grid at 50% fossil fuels = 9.67 te of CO2/year.
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