The council came away with the top prize in the ‘Best Climate Action or Decarbonisation Initiative’ category at this year’s APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) awards.
The awards recognise and celebrate councils that have achieved excellent results in different service areas.
Using £6.8million in funding from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS), the council replaced Salt Ayre’s ageing gas boilers with a two-stage heat pump system, installed external LED lighting and upgraded glazing to reduce energy consumption.
A solar farm has also been built on the adjacent disused landfill site at Salt Ayre to generate electricity, which will then be provided to the leisure centre using a direct wire. Comprising nearly 3,000 panels, the solar farm is capable of generating enough electricity to fully power the centre during peak times.
The work has reduced the council’s emissions from natural gas by 35%, and along with a new green energy tariff, means Salt Ayre is now one of the first leisure centres in the country to become carbon neutral.
Councillor Kevin Frea, cabinet member with responsibility for climate action, said: “This award is richly deserved and is testament to the commitment and dedication of the project team and it’s wonderful to see that their hard work has been recognised nationally.
“Their work should serve as an example to the rest of the public sector of just what can be achieved by hard work and a ‘can do’ attitude.
“As a council we are working tirelessly to tackle the climate emergency and decarbonise our assets, and the work which has taken place at Salt Ayre is only the beginning as we strive towards our goal of being net carbon zero by 2030.”