LEISURE CENTRES in Gwynedd have succeeded in dramatically reducing their carbon footprint by 10% over the space of three years, saving more than 123,000kg in CO2 emissions in the last year alone.

Back in 2015, a pilot project was launched, which saw Gwynedd Council’s Energy Conservation Unit and 12 Leisure Centres work in partnership to try to reduce energy consumption.

This was done by appointing an energy champion within each centre, who would be responsible for saving energy within their building, with the support of the Council’s energy team.

So far, the project has involved replacing old boilers with more energy efficient combined heat and power units, installing sensors and upgrading lighting, improving insulation and much more.

The energy team also focused on changing attitudes and behaviours and encouraging staff to behave in a more environmentally friendly way.

Steve Smith, projects and quality officer for leisure, said: "Over the past three years, the leisure service as a whole has really committed to the project, and the energy champions have been proactive in saving energy within their centres.

"We have worked on the belief that no-one knows these buildings better than they do, and so their knowledge has been vital in identifying new opportunities to make further energy savings.

"We look forward to continuing to work together to reduce energy consumption even further in future.”

The project forms part of the Council’s Carbon Management Plan, which was launched in 2010 as part of its commitment to reducing the impact it has on the environment.

To date, the plan has reduced the authority’s carbon footprint by 34.5% and saved more than £4,000,000 in revenue costs. Its next goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2021.

"Leisure Centres generally take a lot of energy to run, especially those with swimming pools," Cllr Dafydd Meurig said.

"Our Healthy Living Centres in Gwynedd account for roughly 17% of the total amount of energy consumed by the Council, so supporting them to reduce their consumption not only has huge benefits in terms of our carbon footprint, but also our energy costs.

"We’re very proud of what has been achieved by this project so far; it’s a great example of how working together can create positive outcomes for everyone."