An important part of Places Leisure and Places for People

Responsible energy use

Our organisational strategy frames Sustainability as a core pillar where we want to lead the sector and our communities, delivering a healthier environment for current and future generations. Places Leisure and Places for People Group are committed to reducing our carbon footprint through innovative policies, driving behavioural change and raising awareness amongst our members. Between 2019 and 2023, Places Leisure have reduced our C02e footprint by 25.6% (saving 11,000 tonnes, equivalent to heating 2,600 homes), and we are continually implementing proactive measures that will drive forward our sustainability agenda.

We have been driving down energy consumption through responsible operational practices, seeing a reduction in gas and electricity usage by 19% in 2022/23 versus the previous year. Looking ahead to 2024/25, we are investing in new technology and working with our partners to continue reducing our carbon emissions.

Responsible energy use

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Gas and electicity

Everyone can make a difference to our gas and electricity usage. It is a team effort to achieve our goals, encouraged through the following:

  • If something is not in use, switch it off: This includes computer screens, catering equipment, lights and gym equipment.
  • Fresh air is your friend: We're using fresh air to cool and control temperature, before turning to artificial methods.
  • Reducing the temperature in our swimming pools: Just one degree cooler saves approximately 7 tonnes of C02 and 3,500m3 of gas per month!
  • Control heating loss - where possible, we encourage teams to use pool covers to prevent heat loss, in addition to closing/opening doors and windows in response to external temperature fluctuations. Plant rooms and areas of heat transfer will be insulated to minimise heat loss.
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Managing water usage is a key priority for Places Leisure, with measures in place to ensure we limit waste and only use as much as is strictly necessary to support our operations:

 - Reducing drips and overruns: Our teams check all taps and toilet flushings daily to ensure no constant trickles or drips contribute to water waste.

 - Optimising water use: We have reduced shower running times to 30 seconds as standard, with taps set to run in 15 second bursts to minimise excess use.

 - Cold water is good for you: We are investing in Cold Water Banks for the showers at our centres and research has shown the benefits of cold showers for our health!

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Efficient recycling and minimising single-use plastic usage is key to reducing our carbon footprint, achieved through the following:

 - Review the effectiveness of our recycling bins: We are working with our members to raise awareness of recycling best practice and help to ensure all plastic waste is clean to support recycling.

 - Incentivising our customers: Through awareness campaigns at our centres, we are encouraging customers to bring their own reusable drinks vessels to our cafés and use our water fountains for refills.

 - Changing our cleaning supply process: Working with our supplier partners, we have changed our cleaning chemicals and are purchasing in bulk so we can dilute these into reusable bottles/sprays.

 - Eliminating landfill: We are proud to be working with phs Group who share our commitment to sustainable waste management practices. Through their LifeCycle Strategy, phs are aiming to diver 95% of customers’ hygiene waste away from landfill, taking waste to energy recovery sites across the UK where it is used to generate electricity and exported to the National Grid.

Our vision for the future

Over the next five years:

  • Our leisure centres will make a year on year saving of 5% on gas, electricity, and water consumption (made up of 2% gas, 2% electricity and 1% water consumption).
  • Our leisure colleagues will reduce our business travel mileage by 10,000 miles per year.
  • We will reduce our consumption of single use plastics (SUP).
  • We will jointly work with our local authority partners to maximise the benefit of the Public Sector Decarbonation scheme and wherever possible move away from fossil fuels.

In addition, we are aiming to:

  • Have a carbon net-neutral building by 2025.
  • Split our waste into 60% recycling and 40% mains waste, and/or a reduction of 15% in weight.
  • Work with our partners to source funding for carbon reduction projects.
  • Reduce utility consumption YY by 5% through the adoption of good practices.
  • Find and embrace new technology and deliver this onto sites.
  • Ensure our policies and supply partners help us drive the removal of single use plastics and waste.
  • Ensure our company car and fleet vehicle are all electric when renewing.
  • Have a network of EV charging for our customers and fleet.
  • Allow our centres become more self-sufficient, withdrawing more from the grid through green technology, including wind, water and solar power.
  • Secure a yearly green investment fund of at least £1 million to reduce carbon.
  • Manage carbon reduction through lifecycle management best practice.
  • Ensure legal compliance with SERC, ESOS, DEC, TM44, Gas.