Riversmeet Map

Riversmeet (Gillingham Community Leisure Centre)
Whole-Building Energy Efficiency Project

Location: Gillingham, Dorset
Project cost:
£325,176
Grant: £130,070.40
Estimated Savings: 195 tonnes of CO2e* / £48,000 per year
Equipment / Installer:
ESG – air-source heat pumps & controls, Pool ventilation improvements, Pool Sentry pool water control system, Electrical & mechanical commissioning work Electric Centre – 157 LED Bulbs
Ecocamel – 12 aerating shower heads

View Riversmeet’s case study here

Riversmeet is a community run leisure centre in Gillingham, Dorset.  The centre is managed by the Gillingham Community and Leisure Trust as a not-for-profit community asset.

In 2019, Riversmeet took significant steps to reduce the energy use and costs of their leisure facility by completely redesigning their pool heating and ventilation to be much more energy efficient using a novel heat pump system. They also installed LED lights and water and energy saving aerating shower heads.  Combined these measures will save the centre around 195 tonnes of CO2e a year and reduce their electricity costs by over 50%.

With sustainability at its core, Riversmeet had already taken steps to reduce its environmental impact prior to reaching out to Low Carbon Dorset.  One of these steps included changing to salt chlorination for their pool, this is now produced on site and drastically reduces transportation costs and emissions.  This new electro-chlorination technique generates no waste sludge or by-products and is a much more environmentally friendly approach.  They also invested in Vegware for their café and shop which has significantly reduced their waste from single-use-plastics and its associated emissions.

But as a not-for-profit organisation they were keen to reduce their energy use (and costs) further, with the aim of leaving a much more environmentally friendly, sustainable community asset to be enjoyed by generations to come.

As with many leisure facilities, Riversmeet’s swimming pool was the biggest drain on their energy and money.  With the help of a Low Carbon Dorset grant, the centre was able to invest in a novel holistic approach to pool heating and ventilation.  This approach was based on the principles of a system already installed at the Osprey Leisure Centre in Portland and involved the installation of new air-source heat pumps and controls, improvements to the pool ventilation system, and a pool sentry water control system.  This new approach to energy management will lead to huge carbon and cost savings for Riversmeet.

The pool was not Riversmeet’s only focus, they also recognised that a large amount of energy was being used to light the centre.  By replacing 157 old lights with LEDs, which use up to 90% less energy and last up to 20x longer, they will save around 5 tonnes of CO2e.

They also installed aerating shower heads which work by injecting air directly into the water stream so less water is needed to experience a powerful shower – which also means less water to heat. This cheap measure (only £35 a shower head) will save an estimated 3.5 million litres of water and 25 tonnes of CO2e a year!  A simple measure which can be easily replicated.

Riversmeet is an excellent example of the level of carbon and cost savings that can be achieved when a holistic whole-building approach to energy management is taken.

“The Covid pandemic has played a pinnacle part in not seeing as big efficiencies as expected as we have been closed more than open since putting in the new measures. In the clear 2 months of trading (September – October 2020) we have seen a 25% saving in water and a 35% saving in energy costs, but a 45% drop in the KW hours used.

“The issue is we are still not running at full capacity and changing rooms are closed but we as a team can see potential huge savings once the pandemic reaches a climax.

“These new initiatives will be a pinnacle part of our green mission and we are always looking at new ideas. At present we are in discussion with ESG to explore whether their system could manage more of the building’s energy, with the potential to save a further 10% in cost and potentially many more tonnes of CO2. We strive to become one of the most efficient sports facilities in the UK.”

Alan Waistell, General Manager – Riversmeet

*CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, is a term used to describe different greenhouse gases in a common unit. For any quantity and type of greenhouse gas, CO2e signifies the amount of CO2 which would have the equivalent global warming impact. And allows us to express a carbon footprint consisting of lots of different greenhouse gases as a single number.

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Photography on this site (c) DCC / Rosie Mathisen / Mark Heighes / Dave Penman / Andy Lyons / Gillian Thomas / Darren McCall