Blackburn Rovers score in energy saving

Premier League football club Blackburn Rovers has cut its carbon emissions by 270,000 tonnes, saving it around £60,000 per year. A new commercial energy efficient condensing boiler, heat recovery ventilation […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Premier League football club Blackburn Rovers has cut its carbon emissions by 270,000 tonnes, saving it around £60,000 per year.

A new commercial energy efficient condensing boiler, heat recovery ventilation system and full replacement lighting system have been installed at the club’s Ewood Park ground following a comprehensive site audit.

Following the audit by Preston-based GB Energy, Blackburn spent £234,000 on an improvement programme which was part funded through a 0% business loan from The Carbon Trust.

Stadium Safety ManagerJohn Newsham said: “We have been actively pursuing ways of saving energy for the last five years or so and this project has moved us another vital step forward in our energy efficiency drive.

“Key areas for carbon savings were identified and it was surprising – and pleasing – to see the sizeable cost savings that were there to be had.

“The business loan made it particularly attractive as there was minimum capital risk for the club, only financial and environmental benefits. It has proved a win-win situation for us.”

A new computerised system enables Blackburn Rovers FC to control the heating and ventilation of most of the major rooms at Ewood Park at the touch of a button.

“I can set and adjust temperatures in any given room at any given time from the comfort of my office,” explained Mr Newsham. “It is all very impressive, but we are not standing still and we are now looking at other ways to further improve our energy management.”

Luke Watson from GB Energy said: “Energy efficiency is something that all businesses must address in line with the government’s Climate Change Levy. In addition, rising energy prices force businesses to look at streamlining their operational costs.

“New funding streams are being made available all the time and there are numerous grants which can be unlocked to fund projects of this type.

“The beauty of this project is that it’s been cost-neutral for Blackburn Rovers FC – the cost savings cover the loan repayments and after four years they’ll be able to reinvest those funds back into the club.

“We often find that the full benefits of an energy audit are overlooked. Environmental responsibility is of course a big driver but significant financial costs savings can be secured too. Blackburn Rovers FC is a great example of how energy efficiency need not cost the earth.”

Energy efficiency is not restricted to football’s top tier. All 72 Championship, League One and League Two clubs across England and Wales now have their funding from the Football Leagure Trust partially linked to improvements in environmental performance.

This has led to several successful initiatives across the country. Middlesbrough has fitted solar panels; Barnsley, Huddersfield, Sheffield United, Coventry, and Southampton have all carried out energy audits; Scunthorpe, Lincoln, and Ipswich Town have installed motion sensor lights; and MK Dons has fitted low energy floodlights.