Sunderland Aquatic Centre – CHP

Background – Sunderland Aquatic Centre

The Sunderland Aquatic Centre is a one of a kind facility located in the north-east of England, between Edinburgh and Leeds. It is one of the greenest Swimming centres in the country and also has the lowest carbon footprint amongst its peers. The fitness centre that is housed near the Stadium of Light, Sunderland Football Stadium holds a state of the art 50m Olympics style swimming pool and fitness centre facility. The centre is part of a series of regeneration projects in the area by drawing in both national and internal swimming competitions and improving the health and wellbeing of local residents.

This sporting facility utilises both energy efficiency measures such as collecting rainwater on the roof and insulation measures to make sure that heating is effectively utilised. In addition and pertinent to this section the facility uses an ENER-G CHP unit that provides both heating and power simultaneously and limits the facility’s reliance on the grid.

The CHP scheme for which the Aquatics Centre operates under a discounted purchasing scheme with a duration of 10 years. This means that ENER-G installs, finances and generates and then sells the energy back to the Aquatics Centre for a discounted rate.

Sunderland Aquatic Centre – CHP Unit Details

The CHP unit that operates on the site is a self-assembled 185kW system. Unlike convention heating and electricity, CHP on site maximises energy effectiveness and minimises heat loss. For example, conventional electricity comes through miles and miles of cabling, which wastes power. The closer the energy source to the demands, the less wastage for the transmission of electricity.

At the Aquatic Centre, the CHP unit heats the pool and also the building that houses this facility.

In total, if the unit is running 17 hours per day and utilises the heat produced, this equates to a total of £32k of savings on the energy bills per annum.

Business Partners Constructing the Sunderland Aquatic Centre

The project wouldn’t have been successful without the knowledge of business partners who all contributed to their particular area of expertise. Along with ENER-G who supplied the CHP unit, Balfour Beatty constructing timber beams; Laminated Veneer supplied by Wiehag and the main contractor being Arup.

Sustainability of the Sunderland Aquatic Centre

From the building design to the materials and power sources, all these inputs ensure that the Aquatic Centre leaves a sustainability legacy in the local area. The rainwater for example, falls on the roof when it rains; then it is harvested and filtered and finally treated for the use in the pool. All of this reduces the overall use of the water supply from the external water company.

Up to 3 years of operating, the CHP unit in the Aquatics centre has managed to reduce carbon savings of over 500 tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to planting just over 82k trees. This doesn’t take into account the additional energy efficiency measures talked about such as on insulation, building design, air circulation improvements and harvesting rainwater.