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South Tyneside - United Kingdom

Simple measures deliver huge energy savings


Temple Park Leisure Centre had the greatest electrical consumption of any building within the South Tyneside Borough. In July 2005, the leisure centre was consuming on average 315,000kWh of electricity per month, which equates to €303,125 (£204,120) per annum (at today’s cost averaged at €0.08/£0.054 per kWh).

Energy consumption was reduced by over 40% in the following 9 months. This was achieved by implementing and adopting simple and effective energy saving techniques. For example, occupancy lighting controls were fitted in areas that are not always in use, after-hours surveys were conducted to discover what equipment was being left on, and staff training was undertaken to encourage energy saving behaviour.

Temple Park Leisure Centre

Building details

Type of building : Leisure centre including leisure and learner swimming pools, diving pool, 3 x sports halls, 4 x squash courts, aerobics suite, women’s gym, multi-use gym, administration offices, restaurant, gymnastics block and bar.
Year of construction/ Floor area/ Operating hours : 1977 with an additional extension in 1986 / floor area 14,400m2 / operating hours 7:30am to 11:30pm Sunday to Friday, Saturday 7.30pm to 6pm.
Heating and cooling / measures installed Heating is currently provided by two 2.5MW gas-fired boilers (the Council is looking to replace these with a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant soon).

_ Cooling is provided by an external electric air-cooled chiller. Air and pool water are both circulated by electric fans or pumps.
Energy/CO2/Water label (before and after improvements if possible) A Display® certificate has not yet been produced for the leisure centre because gas consumption for all of the Council’s buildings is estimated, making it difficult to calculate actual energy consumption. The Council is currently working to resolve this issue.

Project Description

Aim To decrease electrical energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions from the Temple Park Leisure Centre.
Key points How energy consumption has been reduced to date

  • Inverters have been fitted to the majority of Air Handling Units (AHU). The inverters reduce full power from 100% to 80% giving an immediate energy saving of 20%. They also reduce the electrical frequency, thereby halving the fan speed of the AHUs so they utilise less energy.


Inverters fitted to Air Handling Units

  • Swimming pool covers are now fitted every evening. This reduces heat loss from the pools and reduces the humidity within the pool area. Therefore the temperature of the pools can be lowered (slightly) and heating and extraction within the pool area can be reduced.
  • A review of the Building Energy Management System (BEMS) was undertaken. The BEMS is a computer system that operates and controls the energy use time schedules for most of the areas within the leisure centre, ensuring the correct air temperatures and ventilation. This is an important area to review frequently, particularly if the use of the building or areas within it have changed. The review highlighted an area for major potential energy savings. Prior to the review, all of the air supplied to the leisure centre was fed in directly from outside and then had to be heated or cooled to the appropriate temperature as it supplied the rooms. The room extracts were then disposed of externally. The BEMS was reprogrammed to re-circulate useful air, thus preventing the loss of heated air.
  • An after-hours survey was carried out in March 2006 to see what equipment was running and to experiment with different equipment and lighting options to identify what could be shut down.
  • Lighting controls were fitted in areas where lights are constantly left on when there is limited occupancy, for example squash courts.
  • The main hall lights are now switched off when not in use.
  • Internal staff training was undertaken to ensure staff are aware of the issues surrounding the energy problem (costs and environmental).

_ Possible measures for the future

The Council is currently considering several further energy saving measures, particularly in terms of after-hours energy use. Some of these ideas were outcomes from a second after-hours survey conducted in September 2006.

_ The following ideas are currently under consideration :

  • Further lighting controls including time controls, dimmers and daylight sensors ; replacement of some lights due to their age, cost of maintenance and energy consumption ; and removal of paint from roof lights to allow day lighting instead of 100% artificial lighting.
  • Heat recovery within the swimming pool to conserve and re-use heated air. A partition may be erected between the concourse and the swimming pool. This would prevent heat loss from the pool air (which averages 31°C) to the concourse, which should have a lower air temperature (around 22°C).
  • Programming of pool extraction fans so they are controlled via temperature and humidity, rather than running continuously.
  • Using controls for air-conditioning and heat pumps.
  • Using timers to turn off dispensing machines (e.g. drinks, sandwiches etc.) and electronic equipment (e.g. TVs, advertising boards) after hours.
  • Managing and coordinating cleaning staff to reduce after-hours energy consumption. The September 2006 survey highlighted the fact that cleaning staff greatly affect after-hours energy consumption, particularly in the way they work and move from area to area. For example, currently all areas remain lit until they have been cleaned. Cleaning staff work alone ; this takes more time and means that more lights and equipment are in use at one time. Energy consumption could be reduced if staff work together to clean the main areas. Significant savings could also be made if cleaning staff start earlier and clean areas which are finished operating first, allowing these rooms to be closed and locked.
  • Using renewable energy, such as solar thermal heating (for the pool), solar photovoltaic panels and CHP, to reduce carbon emissions.
Reason for inclusion as Shining Example Over a period of 9 months, South Tyneside District Council reduced the electrical energy consumption at the Temple Park Leisure Centre by over 40%. This was achieved using a two-step process. First, after-hours surveys and a review of the BEMS were conducted in order to observe how energy was being used, particularly after-hours. The next step was to reduce energy consumption by implementing simple energy saving measures, such as inverters and lighting controls, and by encouraging behavioural change amongst staff to conserve energy.

_ Work is continuing to see how energy consumption and carbon emissions from the leisure centre can be reduced even further.

Costs & Benefits

Costs & funding Funding was secured from the Carbon Trust and Salix Finance for this project. Funding was also provided internally by the Council.

_ The Carbon Trust is an independent company funded by the UK Government, which works with UK businesses and the public sector to cut carbon emissions and develop commercial low carbon technologies.

_ Salix is an independent company funded by The Carbon Trust to work with the public sector to reduce carbon emissions through investment in energy efficiency measures and technologies.

_ The inverters installed pay back in less than two years.
Benefits The leisure centre’s electrical energy consumption has been reduced by just over 40% from 315,000kWh per month to 180,000kWh per month. This equates to a saving of €129,940 (£87,500) per annum (at today’s cost averaged at €0.08/£0.054 per kWh). This saving is currently being offset by the energy price increase. CO2 emissions have reduced by 58 tonnes per month, which equates to an annual saving of 696 tonnes of CO2.

_ This exercise has proven to people within the South Tyneside Borough that energy can be saved if everything is questioned and not taken for granted.

Partnership details

Partners & role This project has required the Council to work with TAC Satchwell, the company that provided the Council with their BEMS and Nalco (Environmental Hygiene Services), a water hygiene company.

_ As mentioned above, funding for this project was provided by the Carbon Trust and Salix Finance.


Achievements Temple Park Leisure Centre once had the highest energy consumption of all of the Council’s buildings within the South Tyneside Borough. However, thanks to the energy efficient measures implemented and changes in behaviour, energy consumption at the leisure centre has now been reduced to below that of other Council buildings in the Borough.

_ The existing BEMS system is dated but it is reliable and it effectively saves time and money. An upgrade is currently being considered, which would allow off-site access to the BEMS via the internet and would therefore reduce the existing telephone line rental for internet use on-site. Internet-based access to the BEMS from any PC would allow trained personnel to amend settings without the complication of untrained staff on-site trying to over-ride the system. This proposal does have the downside that the person altering the BEMS would not be present within the leisure centre at the time, but it is likely that this would be outweighed by the benefit of improved control.

_ The Council is looking at incorporating meter reading into the BEMS to log weekly/monthly usage and to analyse trends to reduce energy consumption further. This will ensure that accurate energy performance certificates can be produced in compliance with the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

_ The surveys have highlighted the need to constantly review the plant and equipment to ensure that it is not operational after-hours. Walking around the centre in the early hours of the morning has shown significant rewards and should be a periodical task.
Lessons Learned One of the key lessons learnt from this work is that a BEMS is only as good as it is programmed to be. It is essential to understand how the plant operates most efficiently and use the computer system to control this. The plant also needs to be well maintained. It is important to remember that the use of buildings (and rooms within them) changes over time. Therefore the BEMS, energy efficiency measures and energy conservation behaviour need to be updated to reflect this.

_ Encouraging energy saving behaviour needs to be an ongoing task. No matter how keen staff are to save energy, other priorities tend to take over after a while. It is also important to accept that building management controls can fail.

_ Barriers to change such as statements like “It has always been done like that” should not be accepted and need to be challenged in order to find new ways of saving energy.

To know more



South Tyneside Council
Contact Robert Algie
Phone +44 (0)19 1424 7140

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