Eco-friendly leisure centre delivers green legacy for Chelmsford

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Riverside Leisure Centre - Chelmsford City Council’s biggest ever single investment in a community project - has officially opened.

Awarded a 'very good' BREEAM sustainability rating, the energy efficient complex replaces the old leisure centre, which was built in the 1960s and was outdated in terms of its design, facilities and energy efficiency.

The total cost of the project was £40m, which included contributions of £1.5m from Sport England and £3m from the Community Infrastructure Levy.

The new centre has been designed by Pick Everard to provide access to the widest possible cross-section of the community, improving access for elderly people and those with disabilities.

Features include a competition-standard swimming pool, teaching pool, splash zone and fun pool with flume, a 130-station gym, fitness studios, a creche, soft play facility, fully accessible changing rooms, a reception foyer and cafe with terrace overlooking the River Chelmer.

Smart sensors monitor the weather outside and control the heating accordingly. LED bulbs, which turn off automatically when rooms are not in use, are also controlled by sensors and illuminate the complex depending on the daylight hours.

The centre uses a combined heat and power unit to generate a proportion of its own electricity. As it does this, it produces heat, which is used to supply hot water for the pool, showers, taps and heating systems. If extra heat is required, modulating ‘smart’ gas boilers are used to meet demand. Underfloor heating throughout the ground floor provides efficient background heating and helps warm and dry the floors in the changing areas.

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