The Environment

We are in a climate and biodiversity emergency. Charitable Trusts and Social Enterprises play an important role in contributing to local climate change targets because they are driven by social justice with the public as their stakeholder.

Big splash in energy savings thanks to innovative pool system

Leisure centres in the UK have been thrown a lifeline thanks to a carbon-cutting scheme which is predicted to save one ‘valued community asset’ £10,000 annually.

Babergh District Council and Abbeycroft have benefitted from a decrease in energy consumption due to the installation of an innovative warm water recovery system at its swimming pool in Sudbury, significantly reducing its bills.

Welsh water treatment firm Pwlltec has conserved 2,000 tonnes of water and 47MWh in energy at Kingfisher Leisure Centre during the year-long pilot scheme, the first of its kind worldwide.

Instead of disposing of heated wastewater after it passes through the pool filters, the system recycles this supply while retaining its temperature, avoiding the extra cost of adding new water and warming it to the required temperature, using very little energy.

The installation has reliably maintained quality and public health whilst significantly lowering energy consumption and saving 15 tonnes of CO2 in its first year.

The Pwlltec team explained the technology clearly and concisely, while quietly operating it in the background with little disturbance to visitors.

Pwlltec director John Bostock said:

“It’s expected that we will receive our return on investment in less than three years, with the system needing very little maintenance as it is fully automated and can be operated remotely.

“In addition, the environmental impact of the scheme will be felt long into the future since the savings made can be re-distributed to ensure energy security across our centre, such as installing air source heat pumps.

“We hope its success will inspire more organisations to reduce waste in this way.”

“The recovery system is the first of its kind across the globe and we have been incredibly impressed with the results, which will help ensure community facilities stay afloat by reducing their carbon footprints.

“There is also potential for filter performance to be further enhanced at the centre, as lower energy use could lead to more frequent cleaning of the water, resulting in improved swimming conditions.”

John added: “Like with the traditional pool treatment, the system uses coagulation, filtration, and ultraviolet, so there’s no additional chemical procedure at work, and all bacteria is eliminated.

“The final product meets the industry standard when being fed back into the pool, whilst ensuring less new water is introduced, reducing chemical use.

“The technology doesn’t have to be limited to just swimming baths, and there is scope to expand into other commercial ventures such as hotel and gym showers as well as rainwater harvesting at centres like Sudbury.”

Pwlltec’s recovery system for commercial swimming pools has stemmed from its founders’ work on electrochemical treatment, developing the technology to initially remove metals from mine water runoff as well as treating agricultural waste.

Trovr project at Newmarket

West Suffolk has become the first council in the country to get behind an initiative to increase recycling and support local businesses.

The council has teamed up with Love Newmarket Business Improvement District (BID), The Guineas Shopping Centre, Abbeycroft, Eastern Education Group, Our Bury St Edmunds BID and Trovr to deliver four reverse vending machines; two in Newmarket and two in Bury St Edmunds.

Trovr uses a smartphone app to incentivise recycling through points-based rewards which can then be spent in local businesses. The goal is to increase recycling rates and reduce litter.

 

Trovr machine at Newmarket

Image L-R: Warren Smyth, Cllr Gerald Kelly, Natalie Robinson – Love Newmarket, Anthony Harvey – West Suffolk College.

COMPETITION

To celebrate Seriously Social and make a difference in the environment, we’ve teamed up with Trovr to give away a free 6-month family membership.

All you need to do for a chance to win is use the Trovr recycling machines and collect points from Monday 27 May – Saturday 2 June.

The more you recycle, the more entries into the raffle for a chance to win

The locations of the Trovr machines are:

  • The Guineas Shopping Centre
  • Newmarket Leisure Centre
  • West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmunds.
  • Bury St Edmunds Town Centre

T & Cs apply. Family membership is 2 adults 2 children or 1 adult 3 children.

Forest Schools and Healing Woods

tree of trees planting - howard primary school kids

Frank from our Explore Outdoor team has worked closely with schools on many projects to improve the environment and essentially help educate young people about its benefits and importance. One such example is…

in 2023, Pupils from Howard Community Academy in Bury St Edmunds planted a very special Silver Birch tree in their Healing Wood which they received, as one of only four trees gifted to Suffolk, from the ‘Tree of Trees’ constructed in the Mall last June for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The Tree of Trees was part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project and the organisers decided to distribute the trees amongst the participating counties in the UK, to locations where it was considered they could be viewed and enjoyed by as many people as possible, with the aim of making us all feel part of the same great project, in honour of the long reign of a loved and much-respected monarch.

The Silver Birch tree at Howard Community Academy was planted as part of their wider Healing Wood project, which now has over 300 trees with more to follow later this year, creating reflective spaces that the pupils, staff and community can enjoy for generations to come.

Alison Weir, Headteacher at Howard Community Academy said:

“It is such a fantastic opportunity to be involved with this great project. Our children have benefitted immensely from planting our Healing Wood, learning to care for their environment. We look forward to enjoying this tree for years to come.”

Frank Carn-Pryor, Sports & Outdoor Activity Officer at Abbeycroft Leisure, runs the Forest School sessions at the Academy and has worked with the school and Suffolk County Council to secure the Healing Wood and Silver Birch. Frank commented:

“It’s been such a pleasure working on this project as we see every week how much the children benefit and thrive from taking part in physical activity outside and learning to respect and care for their natural environment.”

Jonathan Culpin, CEO of Anglian Learning said:

“It is a great honour for Howard Community Academy to have received such an interesting and meaningful addition to their already brilliant Healing Wood. The positive impact that the woodland has had on pupil’s wellbeing and outlook towards caring for their local environment will only increase as it continues to expand.”

Frank and kids planting a tree