Stour Centre

Ashford Borough Council is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. In partnership with Freedom Leisure and Leisure Energy the decarbonisation of the largest carbon emitter is a big step in the right direction.

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

Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Decarbonisation of the Stour Leisure Centre, Ashford.
MD of Leisure Energy, Neil Bland with one of the air source heat pumps.
Aerial photo of the Stour centre, showing the ASHPs and solar panels.

Our story

by Ashford Borough Council

Ashford Borough Council have been investing in energy projects for several years to both reduce costs and reduce the Council's Carbon footprint. Paul McKenner, the Head of Corporate Property and Projects, has been championing these projects.

Ashford Borough council partnered with Freedom Leisure regarding the long term operation of the Leisure centre. as part of the contract, carbon savings were very important. Freedom's energy partner, Leisure Energy undertook a full review of the energy using equipment and developed a programme of works. Leisure Energy also assisted the Council with applying for £1.7 Million of funding through the government's new Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme which was successful. Leisure Energy then managed the installation of the equipment. The biggest issue was timescales to get the project completed to the funding criteria timescales.

The project consisted in removing the heating gas boilers and replacing with a decarbonised system based on Air Source Heat Pumps together with on site renewable generation from nearly 600 solar panels. other energy saving technologies such as pool covers, high efficiency motors and LED lighting were also installed both to save energy and also improve the customer experience for the renovated leisure centre.

Our advice

In July 2019, Ashford Borough Council committed to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Leisure Energy are a multi-award-winning consultancy specifically working in leisure centres. They had been working with Freedom Leisure to put together a winning operator bid for the renovated leisure centre to assist in improving the carbon footprint of the Stour Leisure Centre.

Leisure Energy successfully helped us apply for a public sector decarbonisation scheme fund of £1.7 million. Managed by Salix on behalf of the government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. the timescales and paperwork involved were time consuming, but choosing a professional consultancy to help us reaped benefits.

A project board was developed containing the Council team and also building operators and our energy consultants. The project was so successful that we are working with Leisure Energy again for a further application for two of our other council-owned buildings.

The one thing we might do differently is to plan the project better to make sure the design of the new systems integrates with the older systems seamlessly.

Our metrics

kWh of energy produced from renewables.
kWh reduction from gas boilers.
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