Stour Centre

Decarbonising Stour's leisure centre by installing air source heat pumps, rooftop solar and other efficiency measures.

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.

Ashford Borough Council's story

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.

The Council partnered with Freedom Leisure to manage the long term operation of the leisure centre. It was important to generate carbon savings as part of the contract. Freedom's energy partner, Leisure Energy undertook a full review of energy use and developed a programme of works. Leisure Energy also assisted the Council to successfully apply for £1.7 million of funding through the government's Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. Leisure Energy managed the installation of the equipment. The biggest issue was getting the project completed to the funding criteria timescales.

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

Useful learnings from Ashford Borough Council

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 the council to 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 proved to be worthwhile.

A project board was developed, containing the Council team, 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 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.

Ashford Borough Council's metrics

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