Energy
Duncan Anderson – team power

Faced with rising energy bills, South Downs Leisure CEO, Duncan Anderson and his team decided radical change was needed


For years we’ve been trying to reduce our impact on the environment by taking measures most will be familiar with, such as installing PIRs and LEDs, along with signs to ask staff to switch machines and lights off. While this was a nice effort, it wasn’t having the long-lasting or required impact for the future.

In November 2021 I was introduced to Dr Amanda Turner who specialises in geology and the environment and after talking with her in depth, it was clear we both had a drive to reduce our environmental impact.

While some people had in the organisation had already bought into the fact that change was needed, not all members of staff were on this sustainability journey, so we devised a plan we hoped would significantly change the culture of the organisation.

Firstly, Amanda trained 50 key staff in environmental awareness over four sessions which involved them conducting audits of their own sites and I wrote a sustainability development strategy, focusing on the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

We then devised – and linked – one-year and four-year development plans that recognised it was vital not only to focus on driving down utility costs, but also to look at how the organisation supports communities and staff in terms of their wellbeing and approach to sustainability.

To build knowledge in the team, 12 staff members signed up do a TQUK Level 2 Certificate in understanding environmental sustainability – a six week course looking various principles, including sustainable communities, development, energy management, transport, waste management and the social responsibility of business in relation to sustainability.

The impact of change
We started to see a great deal of office talk about both the six week course and the sessions delivered by Amanda and this got people thinking about what they needed to do, both at home and in the workplace.

We also kept the momentum going by ensuring there was investment in all areas of the three Ps. For example, we purchased some electric bikes for staff to use to travel between our sites and reviewed all lighting, spending in the region of £75,000 on more LEDs and PIRs. We also promoted things we’d already done, such as installing solar power at one of our leisure centres.

After four months we put together a sustainability working group and sent them on a tour of the Rampion Wind Farm in the English Chanel to learn how the marine ecosystem has regenerated around the turbines, as no dredging is allowed. We sent the same group on a trip to our recycling plant to prepare for our next initiative, which is reducing waste.

Start at the top
To drive leadership of the initiative it was decided that all board decisions had to be taken in light of the three Ps, in the same way they would consider other important areas of the business, such as our financial, health and safety and equality impacts.

With so many of the team on board with this project now, we’ve seen daily staff suggestions for improvements and when we’ve made changes, these have been embraced and welcomed.

One of the biggest impacts has been in our utility bills when comparing 2019 with the first six months to 2022, during which time we’ve seen a reduction of 25 per cent in gas and 17 per cent in electricity. We expect to reduce our gas by the year end 2022 by over a million kWhs and our electricity by close to 500k kWhs.

By focusing on people, planet and profit, we believe we’ll encourage people to work for our organisation and for customers to remain members, in the same way people support organisations such as the National Trust and the Youth Hostel Association – because it’s a good cause.

The most recent good news is that we’ve been shortlisted for two local awards and a business award for sustainability and working with the community.

I’ve worked in the leisure industry for 30 years and have never seen a project that has engendered such positive change in an organisation. We still have a great deal of work to do but with the team on board this will be a much easier ride as we enter some choppy waters.

Photo: South Downs Leisure

"I’ve worked in the industry for 30 years and have never seen a project that has engendered such positive change in an organisation" – Duncan Anderson

Splashpoint Leisure Centre

300 solar panels have been installed at Splashpoint Leisure Centre, supplying 98,000 kWh of electricity a year and reducing its carbon footprint by 27 tonnes of CO2e.

South Downs Leisure
Vision

• Make facilities carbon net zero by 2040, including pools

• Make dry side facilities carbon net zero by 2030

Mission

• Training team members

• Educating customers on our journey

• Avoiding greenwashing

• Minimising the use of fossil fuels

• Understanding the supply chain

• Considering the three Ps in all decisions

• Focusing on the wellbeing of staff

• Supporting the wider community

Achieved to date

• Over 300 solar panels fitted with BEC

• New pool cover purchased

• LEDs installed across seven more sites

• Eco cups in cafés to reduce disposables

• All disposables now plant based

• Introduced plant based snacks with paper packaging in cafés

• Reducing the temperature of pools

• Reviewing backwashing

• Diverting grey water from pools to flush toilets

Installed new kit, including

• Tap sensors

• Variable speed drives

• Ultraviolet pool technology

• Combined heat and power (CHP)

• Heat blankets on pipes and valves

A sustainability working group visited the Rampion Wind Farm Credit: Photo: Shutterstock/Raphael Ruz
The team visited a recycling plant to learn about waste reduction Credit: Photo: Shutterstock/Juice Flair
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2022 issue 10

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Duncan Anderson – team power

Energy

Duncan Anderson – team power


Faced with rising energy bills, South Downs Leisure CEO, Duncan Anderson and his team decided radical change was needed

Splashpoint Leisure Centre Photo: Wilkinson Eyre
A sustainability working group visited the Rampion Wind Farm Photo: Shutterstock/Raphael Ruz
The team visited a recycling plant to learn about waste reduction Photo: Shutterstock/Juice Flair

For years we’ve been trying to reduce our impact on the environment by taking measures most will be familiar with, such as installing PIRs and LEDs, along with signs to ask staff to switch machines and lights off. While this was a nice effort, it wasn’t having the long-lasting or required impact for the future.

In November 2021 I was introduced to Dr Amanda Turner who specialises in geology and the environment and after talking with her in depth, it was clear we both had a drive to reduce our environmental impact.

While some people had in the organisation had already bought into the fact that change was needed, not all members of staff were on this sustainability journey, so we devised a plan we hoped would significantly change the culture of the organisation.

Firstly, Amanda trained 50 key staff in environmental awareness over four sessions which involved them conducting audits of their own sites and I wrote a sustainability development strategy, focusing on the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

We then devised – and linked – one-year and four-year development plans that recognised it was vital not only to focus on driving down utility costs, but also to look at how the organisation supports communities and staff in terms of their wellbeing and approach to sustainability.

To build knowledge in the team, 12 staff members signed up do a TQUK Level 2 Certificate in understanding environmental sustainability – a six week course looking various principles, including sustainable communities, development, energy management, transport, waste management and the social responsibility of business in relation to sustainability.

The impact of change
We started to see a great deal of office talk about both the six week course and the sessions delivered by Amanda and this got people thinking about what they needed to do, both at home and in the workplace.

We also kept the momentum going by ensuring there was investment in all areas of the three Ps. For example, we purchased some electric bikes for staff to use to travel between our sites and reviewed all lighting, spending in the region of £75,000 on more LEDs and PIRs. We also promoted things we’d already done, such as installing solar power at one of our leisure centres.

After four months we put together a sustainability working group and sent them on a tour of the Rampion Wind Farm in the English Chanel to learn how the marine ecosystem has regenerated around the turbines, as no dredging is allowed. We sent the same group on a trip to our recycling plant to prepare for our next initiative, which is reducing waste.

Start at the top
To drive leadership of the initiative it was decided that all board decisions had to be taken in light of the three Ps, in the same way they would consider other important areas of the business, such as our financial, health and safety and equality impacts.

With so many of the team on board with this project now, we’ve seen daily staff suggestions for improvements and when we’ve made changes, these have been embraced and welcomed.

One of the biggest impacts has been in our utility bills when comparing 2019 with the first six months to 2022, during which time we’ve seen a reduction of 25 per cent in gas and 17 per cent in electricity. We expect to reduce our gas by the year end 2022 by over a million kWhs and our electricity by close to 500k kWhs.

By focusing on people, planet and profit, we believe we’ll encourage people to work for our organisation and for customers to remain members, in the same way people support organisations such as the National Trust and the Youth Hostel Association – because it’s a good cause.

The most recent good news is that we’ve been shortlisted for two local awards and a business award for sustainability and working with the community.

I’ve worked in the leisure industry for 30 years and have never seen a project that has engendered such positive change in an organisation. We still have a great deal of work to do but with the team on board this will be a much easier ride as we enter some choppy waters.

Photo: South Downs Leisure

"I’ve worked in the industry for 30 years and have never seen a project that has engendered such positive change in an organisation" – Duncan Anderson

Splashpoint Leisure Centre

300 solar panels have been installed at Splashpoint Leisure Centre, supplying 98,000 kWh of electricity a year and reducing its carbon footprint by 27 tonnes of CO2e.

South Downs Leisure
Vision

• Make facilities carbon net zero by 2040, including pools

• Make dry side facilities carbon net zero by 2030

Mission

• Training team members

• Educating customers on our journey

• Avoiding greenwashing

• Minimising the use of fossil fuels

• Understanding the supply chain

• Considering the three Ps in all decisions

• Focusing on the wellbeing of staff

• Supporting the wider community

Achieved to date

• Over 300 solar panels fitted with BEC

• New pool cover purchased

• LEDs installed across seven more sites

• Eco cups in cafés to reduce disposables

• All disposables now plant based

• Introduced plant based snacks with paper packaging in cafés

• Reducing the temperature of pools

• Reviewing backwashing

• Diverting grey water from pools to flush toilets

Installed new kit, including

• Tap sensors

• Variable speed drives

• Ultraviolet pool technology

• Combined heat and power (CHP)

• Heat blankets on pipes and valves


Originally published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 10

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