Brentford Leisure Centre gets low carbon makeover

Images above: (left to right), Charles Pipe, Energy Manager, Hounslow Council; Martin Rowden from Asset Plus; Hounslow Cabinet Member Cllr Samia Chaudhary and Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme Project Manager for LB Hounslow, Jason Ademola; new solar panels installed on the roof of Brentford Leisure Centre

Brentford Leisure Centre given upgrade to cut emissions as Hounslow completes first phase of borough-wide programme to decarbonise public buildings

Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre is one of 29 public buildings in LB Hounslow to be installed with low carbon-energy efficiency sources, which the council say will reduce carbon emissions by more than 3,000 tonnes each year, saving millions of kilowatts of gas and electricity.

The Council received £19m grant funding in 2020 from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. The completion of the first phase of installations in the borough has helped to make significant strides towards decarbonisation in LB Hounslow, in the attempt to move away from the reliance of gas/fossil fuel heating.

The scheme has seen 32 primary schools and 29 public buildings fitted with low carbon technologies. As part of the project, four of the borough’s leisure centres are now carbon neutral.

The project has seen a range of energy-saving measures ‘retrofitted’ at the schools and public buildings. These include air source heat pumps to replace gas heating boilers, solar panels to self-generate renewable power, energy-saving LED lighting and thermal insulation.

In 2019, Hounslow Council pledged to become a carbon-neutral local authority by 2030. These works are part of the council’s efforts towards that goal.

Images above: Cllr Samia Chaudhary poses beside near five new Mitsubishi CAHB heat pump; the heat pump control panel which shows how many of the automatic pumps are operational

Borough-wide savings of electricity upwards of 15 million kilowatts

Using these cleaner technologies to heat buildings helps to mitigate the use of costly fossil fuels, especially at a time of high global prices. The council says this will make public buildings cheaper to run, heat and cool, while supporting economic growth and jobs across the borough.

The measures in public buildings are expected to cut 2,099 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and save more than 11.5m kilowatts of electricity each year. The measures installed in the borough schools will cut 1,264 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and save more than six million kilowatts of electricity each year.

The BBC reported recently thousands of swimming pools across the country are at risk of closing due to skyrocketing energy bills. Heating the water in swimming pools contributes hugely to price increases, according to the nationwide fitness organisation UKActive.

Hounslow Cabinet Member Cllr Samia Chaudhary told The Chiswick Calendar on Wednesday (6 July) there are “no plans” for leisure centres to close in Hounslow. She said the energy efficiency measures are helping council-owned leisure centres to mitigate high energy costs.

“We’ve so far done 32 schools and 29 public buildings and eventually we want to do the rest of our public buildings. I’ve spoken today to schools and leisure centres and I think [energy efficiency measures] will be really helpful in reducing costs. We have no plan to close any leisure centre.”

Image above: Cllr Chaudhary and Martin Rowden pose with a water recycling machine which maximises the energy efficiency of the leisure centre’s domestic water supply

Project will produce “lasting benefits” 

Hounslow Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment and Transport Strategy, Councillor Katherine Dunne, said:

“We are delighted to have completed the first phase of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. Our borough is committed to rising to the challenges of climate change. This is a real milestone in our ambition to make every part of the Council’s operation carbon-free.

“The success of this scheme is a testament to the hard work and professionalism of the Council’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Energy team and a tribute to the great partnership working we have enjoyed with Asset Plus our delivery partner, Salix and BEIS.”

“This project will produce lasting benefits for our borough for generations to come. We are determined to build on this success and continue to move towards a carbon-free future.”

Based on the success of the project, Hounslow Council has been awarded a further £2.4m by BEIS to introduce carbon-cutting measures at a further 10 of the borough’s schools. Work is already underway on this latest phase and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

The funding for the scheme is being administered by Salix Finance on behalf of the Government’s Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. The physical work was carried out in partnership with Asset Plus, an energy infrastructure upgrades company.

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