Carbon Footprint 'Project Zero'

Latest update from CEO Nick Leighton: “We were delighted to be invited, as an example of a forward thinking innovative tennis club who have embraced the environmental journey to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint, to host a “stop over” on the 8th July 2023 for the Ben Nevis to Big Ben Climate Change relay event – 32 days they ran, cycled, hiked, mountain biked, paddled, surfed, skied, swam and dragon boated the baton 2,661km from Ben Nevis to Big Ben!”

Read and watch more about this fantastic event and its media coverage here.

Running Out of Time visitRunning Out of Time visit - playing tennis!Running Out of Time visit - talking to the young playersRunning Out of Time visit

Latest update from CEO Nick Leighton: “We have just changed 3 sets of floodlights from the old halogen bulbs to LED. The resulting saving on energy use is enormous – a 70% reduction from 36kw to 10.8kw. It has also helped reduce our overall carbon footprint by some 5%.”

Our project vision

Our aim at Halton is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2029.

What does carbon neutral mean? The carbon we are emitting as a club is the same as the levels of carbon entering our club. This cycle means we as a club are being more climate conscious.

In our endeavours towards carbon neutrality we utilise the skills of external expert companies for both advice and implementation.

What have we done so far to achieve our goals?

In 2014 we began our carbon neutral journey:

  • We measured our carbon footprint as well as energy consumption  to see just how much carbon we were emitting as a club. This allowed us to develop a baseline so that we can measure our continuous improvements.

  • The review of our carbon footprint consisted of our operations these include but are not limited to our airhalls 10 outdoor floodlit courts 7 floodlit mini courts and therefore we as a club were placed in the heavy usage category with annual bills of over £60k

  • We started with lower level work to limit disruption to the club changing led lights across the site this led to lower running ongoing  costs. We also converted our 2 airhalls, containing 7 courts.

The key data

2014 100%
2019 72%
2022 33%
Projected by 2030 3.5%
  • In 2014 we were producing 282 tonnes of co2 this is shown in our 100% 
  • From 2014 to 2019 we reduced our carbon footprint by 28% 
  • By 2019 our co2 emission had drastically reduced to 121 tonnes
  • From 2019 to 2022 we managed to reduce our carbon footprint again to 33%
  • In 2021 as part of our energy efficient project  we embarked on further investment in all 6 of our main outdoor  courts containing our floodlights by increasing the number of led bulbs this involved switching our 2000 watt halogen bulbs to 900 watts. As a result of this change it led to a further energy reduction of 70% and a 57% carbon reduction in comparison.  In 2022 this investment was finally completed and already we can see the improvements the project has made to our aspirations of net zero
  • In 2022 we estimated a drastic decrease again due to our efforts to convert our halogens to LED not only in the domes but also our 6 outdoor courts. This energy efficient project led to the overall equivalent of 35 houses worth of energy being saved since 2014
  • In 2023 we purchased a new “high tech” engine for one of our domes to trial its efficiency – originally estimated at 30% reduction in usage has in fact  reduced our energy consumption by over 50%
  • In Feb 2024 as a result of the above success, we purchased a second new efficient engine for our other dome which has reduced our energy usage.
  • In April 2024 we installed 73 Solar panels covering the gym roof; it has an ROI of just 4 years, and the equivalent CO2 impact of planting 50 trees per year over the next 20 years.
  • In 2025 we plan to install a ground based Solar array and invest in battery storage.
  • The overall impact of these changes and the £120k investment so far is significant in our journey to be carbon neutral and by 2030 we estimate our realistic carbon emission could be reduced significantly to just 10 tonnes.

To achieve this we first had to understand and measure all the energy sources at the Centre – we are a busy site with multiple buildings utilising 2 different incoming electricity mains and 3 different sets of LPG gas tanks around the site, not to mention 4 boilers!

With our 2 airhalls (comprising 7 courts), 10 outdoor floodlit courts and 7 floodlit mini courts it was obvious that we were in a “heavy” user category with an annual bill of over £60k. We started the journey with a push to reduce waste and attack any low hanging fruit. Investing in LED lights across the site was identified as an obvious target with the added benefit of much lower ongoing running costs.

We employed external experts to educate us and help plot the journey ahead with energy efficiency initiatives and better understand of the technology available. Between 2014 and 2019 we managed to reduce our footprint by an amazing 28%, rising to 33% by April 2022. Whilst Covid has slowed our progress over the past 2 years, in 2021 we embarked on a further investment in our floodlights to use more LED bulbs – switching our 2000w halogens for 900w LEDs across all 6 outdoor courts. The energy reduction will be 70%. This investment was completed in April 2022. Overall we think a saving of 27% has been achieved on our electricity bill since 2014 (sadly of course this has been more than swallowed up by price increases!)

So what's next?

Our ambition is to keep sustainability at the top of our agenda – especially future proofing financially viable indoor tennis.

With all these changes, how does this impact you?

As we continue to embark on this journey without a true end, our aim is to change our culture and way of thinking so that all of these changes promote and lead us as a club into the future and that  these improvements become the norm. Whilst being integrated into our everyday activities and ever growing projects here at Halton.

And finally, a message from our Chairman

Halton Chairman, John Walker

Chairman, John Walker

“I was so pleased to introduce the vision of embarking on a journey to becoming carbon neutral at HTC some years ago. It’s great to see the progress being made by the team under Nick Leighton’s leadership with a reduction in our carbon footprint of over 30%.

I have been fortunate to lead a number of organisations over the last 30 years on this journey to a better and sustainable business model. Creating and working on the objective of environmental sustainability has been surprisingly good for economic performance due to the way it has made these companies more attractive to new customers as well as improving human and economic capital.

I believe we can build HTC to be the first truly carbon neutral sports facility as well as delivering superior value to our members, customers, creating a brilliant environment for personal growth.”

Our Carbon Consultant, Karl Walker

Karl Walker

Our Carbon Consultant, Karl Walker

Karl is our carbon guru, the Director of Carbon Free Group and COO of Power Transition.

He is a sustainability/energy entrepreneur providing organisational and project planning, strategy and implementation with over 20 years of expertise in major infrastructure, planning, building design and construction. He led the green agenda for the UK’s most sustainable public building. Brent Civic Centre achieved six Sustainability Awards including; Edie Sustainability Leaders Award, 2013, the RIBA Regional Sustainability Award, 2014 and the BREEAM Mixed Use Award, 2015. Karl advised on Bank Station Upgrade, Crossrail and HS2 and also developed the Phase 1, sustainability strategy for the £4 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel, whilst at AECOM.

Karl is a director of the Carbon Free Group (CIC) and a shareholder of Brakkn Ltd, an energy campaign consultancy and social enterprise (B Corp) specialising in transitioning homes and business to low carbon and renewable energy.

Read Karl’s full biography here

If anyone is interested in knowing more about what we are doing or have some interest or expertise in participating please contact Nick Leighton.