Leisure centre gets active in saving energy

Guto Williams, Caernarfon / Nantlle area manager; Ian Wyn Evans, Duty manager and energy champion; Councillor John Wynn Jones, Environment Cabinet Member and David Mark Lewis, the Council’s energy manager

The Arfon Leisure and Tennis Centre has reduced its carbon footprint by a remarkable 33% and delivered significant financial savings thanks to a number of improvements that have helped to make the buildings more energy efficient.


As part of Gwynedd Council’s Carbon Management Plan, the Leisure Centre in Caernarfon is reaping the benefits after having a Combined Heating and Power (CHP) unit installed. This system which efficiently generates heat and electricity at the same time has contributed towards a 63% reduction in electricity consumption along with an annual reduction of 156 tonnes of carbon emissions.


There has also been a 44% fall in energy use at the Tennis Centre, as a result of work to upgrade the building including the installation of solar panels to generate renewable electricity, along with the proactive attitudes of staff. As well as making savings with the CHP unit at the leisure centre, more efficient lights and sensors have been installed within both buildings and this has ensured that as little electricity as possible is wasted.


Councillor John Wynn Jones, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for the Environment who leads on the Carbon Plan, said: “To date, the Council has invested in four CHP units for Gwynedd leisure centres. It is wonderful to see that the system on the Arfon Leisure Centre site has helped to reduce its carbon footprint by 29%. 


“Our priority as a Council, as well as achieving financial savings and providing the best possible services for the people of Gwynedd, is to ensure our environmental impact is kept to a minimum.


“That’s why the Council’s Energy Team has been working with a number of leisure centres across the county with the aim of reducing carbon emissions. Recently, leisure centre staff received training on how to manage their building’s heating better themselves, and this is likely to lead to further significant savings in the near future.”


The leisure centre is also taking additional steps such as using a pool cover to keep in the heat while the pool is closed; a water management system which reduces the energy requirements of pumping chemicals into the water and controls the water balance; voltage optimisation unit and variable speed drives for motors; and a building management system which allows more effective management of heating and air conditioning. 


Guto Williams, Arfon and Nantlle leisure centres’ Area Manager for Gwynedd Council noted: “We’re encouraging staff to be more proactive when it comes to saving energy; to switch off any equipment that isn’t in use.


“Our aim is to get every member of the team thinking about the importance of saving energy and sharing ideas and examples of good practice. We’re extremely proud of the savings achieved – we were aware that the CHP would reduce our carbon footprint but we weren’t expecting to see such a dramatic improvement.”


This project is part of Gwynedd Council’s Carbon Management Plan. As part of the first phase of the project the Council succeeded in reducing its carbon emissions by 26% over the past five years, and there is now commitment to reduce carbon emissions by a total of 40% by 2021.