Freedom Leisure, one of the UK’s leading charitable not-for-profit leisure trusts that manages 29 leisure centres across Wales on behalf of Wrexham County Borough Council, Powys County Council and Swansea County Council, has embraced its commitment to protect the environment with a range of innovative measures to reduce energy consumption resulting in a massive saving in energy use equivalent to running a medium sized leisure centre with a swimming pool for 4 years. In the process, reducing carbon emissions by 395 tonnes, the equivalent of driving a car around the circumference of the earth 58 times.
The leisure trust has achieved these savings in all their leisure centres across Wales, including the large tourist attractions such as the LC Waterpark in Swansea and Waterworld in Wrexham which receive high volumes of visits throughout the year.
“Saving over one million kWh of electricity and just under one million kWh of gas over a twelve-month period doesn’t come easily,” says Angela Brown, Group Environmental & Sustainability Manager for Freedom Leisure who attributes a significant portion of the success story to the involvement and commitment of everyone involved.
“We have strived to engage with every single colleague, customer and stakeholder to ensure they are on board, both from an environmental perspective but also to ensure the sustainability of our much-loved leisure centres. We have effectively fostered a culture of awareness, transforming operational practices and behaviours to ensure mindful use of energy and resources.”
With a large portfolio of leisure centres comes diversity, all centres are unique in their age, size and energy efficiency profiles which has called for bespoke and group wide energy saving initiatives. At the forefront of all measures has been the need to ensure a healthy, safe and comfortable environment for the millions of customers every single year who use the centres to improve their physical, social and mental wellbeing.
Andy Harris, Freedom Leisure Regional Manager for Wales and The North said “Colleagues are encouraged to suggest energy saving measures and we have a suite of energy non-negotiables which we ensure all of our team are familiar with. For example, switching off lights, turning off equipment that is not in use and ensuring pool covers are in place when pools are not in use, even if this is just for half an hour in the day. We also have signage around all our centres so that our fantastic customers can help us make these savings as well, it’s very much a collective effort.”
With significant financial investment in energy savings over the past nine years, one of Freedom Leisure’s key objectives remains to continue to drive down emissions through the implementation of further energy saving measures planned for early 2024 such as PV solar installations, improved pool covers and enhanced ventilation systems in pool halls, which will result in a further reduction of over 400 tonnes of carbon.