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Renewable energy will heat leisure centres and museum

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A switch to renewable energy for heating and hot water at three big public buildings will help save the planet and replace ageing gas boilers ensuring the buildings are heated into the future.

Thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions from three of Stroud District Council’s biggest buildings will be cut when air source heat pumps are installed in place of ageing gas boilers.

Stroud District Council has been successful in bidding for a £4.7million grant from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and will add £700,000 to the project for the pumps at Stratford Park Leisure Centre and the Museum in the Park in Stroud, and The Pulse leisure centre in Dursley.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is initiated by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and delivered by Salix Finance.

The council’s Ebley Mill HQ and Brimscombe Port Mill have both been heated by water source heat pumps since 2022. This proposed move aligns with the council’s overarching 2030 Strategy to help the district become carbon neutral, and its objective to explore and progress projects for carbon reduction, as part of the Council Plan priority for the Environment & Climate Change.

An air source heat pump system is estimated to last for a minimum of 20 years and these three installations will reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 14,652 tonnes over that time.

Energy-saving measures including moving to 100% LED lighting and passive infra-red sensors, timeclocks, increasing the solar PV arrays, and introducing solar battery storage are being considered to help offset an increase in electricity consumption.

The buildings are expected to have to close for up to a month each but to minimise disruption, closures will be staggered, and quieter months aimed for.

“Our mission is to lead by example in the community, to help and encourage others to embrace renewable energy, and to make the changes now that are needed to equip our buildings for a low carbon future,” said Council Leader Catherine Braun.

Community Services and Licensing Committee Chair Chris Brine added: “We are doing everything in our power through our services, projects and policies to work with partners to reach our carbon neutral goal for the district.”

Salix Director of Programmes Ian Rodger said: “Congratulations to Stroud District Council on its successful Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme application.

“We very much look forward to working with the council on these exciting projects in buildings that are so well used by the community.”

The funding is initiated by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and is delivered by Salix Finance, the delivery body for the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) and the Low Carbon Skills Fund (LCSF).

The scheme provides grant funding to public sector organisations for heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from public sector buildings.

The council has resolved to add the decarbonisation of Stratford Park Leisure Centre and the Museum in the Park, Stroud and The Pulse, Dursley, to the capital programme and has authorised the Head of Property Services, in consultation with the Chair of the Strategy and Resources Committee, the Chair of Community Services and Licensing Committee, and the Strategic Director of Resources to procure and award the contract for the works.

The work is expected to start in May this year and be finished in March next year.

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