14 Apr 6 ways leisure centres can improve their sustainability and save money
From the beginning it was clear Covid-19 would be a challenge for the leisure industry. Now, as doors reopen after a tough year, leisure centres face a slow return to normal as customers regain confidence. During this recovery, it is vital to keep costs low without affecting the experience for your customers.
Add to this the ongoing challenge of keeping emissions under control and things start to get complicated. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to save money and protect the environment. From simple everyday changes to more complex installations, ESS can help. After all, profitability and sustainability are not mutually exclusive.
Here are some ways your business could make lasting changes that are good for the environment and help reduce your expenses.
Monitor your heating bills
As one of the leisure sector’s largest costs, energy is a great place to start making changes. Leisure centre heating and ventilation use a lot of energy, especially in large open rooms like sports halls and gyms. There are also no specific legal requirements for the temperature of leisure centres.
Different facilities need different temperatures to keep people comfortable. Changing rooms are usually kept at 20-25 degrees while a gym might be as low as 12-14 degrees. Even slight changes here can make a big difference. Turning down the thermostat one degree can save a massive 13% on your heating bills.
Good energy management starts with proper monitoring. Installing smart metres will help you understand your usage, limit waste and be more efficient. Not only does it let you keep an eye on how much you’re spending but you can also track what effect your changes have on your everyday energy use.
Swimming pools can be a big drain on your energy. The water needs to be constantly heated, circulated and filtered. There are also many ways to cut costs here too. Installing Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) can reduce running costs by up to 50%. Controlling the flow of water through your pumps can help reduce strain on the system, and cut down on the power used.
Some leisure centres in Ireland and Europe have already started using more complex water filters to treat rain and wastewater for use in their swimming pools. This has helped them cut costs by up to 70%. While this sort of installation may need a larger commitment, it goes to show there are a lot of options available.
There are also savings to be made that don’t need new pumps or rainwater collectors. At ESS we can help you reduce your consumption by conducting a full water audit. This helps us identify any areas for improvement and make sure you’re getting the best rate possible from your water provider. Then we can continue to monitor your water usage to help improve efficiency and further lower costs.
Electrics and maintenance
Improving general operations and maintenance is often an easy way to improve sustainability. Even small changes like fitting LED light bulbs and automatic door closers can start to save a lot of power.
LED lights are cheap to run and very resistant to shock or vibration. They also don’t include any of the mercury or harmful gases found in filament bulbs, making them a far more environmentally sustainable choice. Not to mention, it is usually very simple to make the switch from filament lights.
7-day timers on plug sockets and movement-activated lighting in halls and corridors are also easy to fit. These simple changes make sure that you are not paying to power any areas that are not in use.
Generate your own power
Going beyond cutting your energy bills, you can even set up your own generation network. Onsite power generation is a realistic and even practical option for a lot of leisure centres. Installing solar panels and wind turbines can cut your power bills dramatically and, under the right conditions, make a profit. If you are using less power, it is likely because fewer people are using your facility. This means selling your spare energy back to the grid can help you make a profit even on quiet days.
This obviously involves more of a commitment than changing a few bulbs or watching your waste. This is why we recommend any business considering installing onsite power generators to get expert advice. At ESS we can help you explore your options and calculate the cost of building your own onsite generation system. And if you’re not quite ready for your own network we can help negotiate a better rate from your current provider.
Manage your waste
The cost of waste collection services can vary wildly and it is easy to end up paying too much. This will only become more difficult as leisure centres reopen with Covid precautions in place. With hand sanitiser, testing kits and masks likely to be a part of daily life for a while, the cost of waste handling is set to increase.
At ESS we have a lot of experience dealing with waste collection companies. If you’re overpaying for the service you receive, we can help negotiate a new deal. We also ensure that when waste leaves your business it is being handled safely and properly.
Putting recycling bins by vending machines or in changing rooms is another easy step. It helps you manage your waste properly and can have a knock-on effect down the line. Fewer recyclables ending up in landfills is a benefit to us all.
Get everyone involved
One of the most essential ways to cut costs is to make it a team effort. Reminding staff and customers to close doors, turn off showers and wipe down equipment can make a huge difference. All these minor changes in behaviour can make a significant difference.
We can offer a range of staff training sessions and help educate your colleagues and customers. Raising awareness of your commitment to energy efficiency is great for public relations. It also shows off all the work you’re putting in to stay green.
How ESS can help you
Reducing your consumption and managing your waste is a great way to lower your overall costs. According to YouGov less than 50% of business leaders know their energy costs or how to reduce them. Intelligent utility management is a great way to cut down on waste, harmful emissions and your energy bills.
Time spent digging through the data and chasing savings yourself is far better spent supporting your customers. At ESS our team have over 20 years of experience helping the leisure, education and healthcare industry manage their energy needs.
Starting with a free energy audit we can help you find ways to make vital savings. Your account manager will be with you every step of the way to ensure your business future is no longer at the mercy of rising energy costs.