The Barclays Premier League club’s on-going commitment to ‘go green’ has produced another great result with carbon emissions down by 270,000 tonnes, saving the club 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 Ewood Park following a comprehensive site audit by Preston-based GB Energy.|
The football club embarked on a £234,000 improvement programme which was part funded through a 0% business loan from The Carbon Trust.
John Newsham, Stadium Safety Manager for Blackburn Rovers FC  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 (including the corporate suites, the dressing rooms, the club shop and the enterprise and education centres) 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,” added 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.”
GB Energy, which provides auditing and installation expertise to businesses across the North West, secured a four year interest free loan on behalf of the club to fund the £250,000 installation.
Luke Watson from GB Energy said: “Energy efficiency is something that all businesses must address inline 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. “
GB Energy worked with local contractors C M Oxendale, Universal Cooling and Lumenata Lighting Design Ltd and the project was managed by Sarah Foster, now of Smartlink Solutions Ltd.
Mrs Foster said: "It has been a pleasure to work with Blackburn Rovers FC to reduce their carbon output and help them save thousands of pounds a year through increased energy efficiency.
"Through The Carbon Trust’s interest free loan scheme the cash savings will cover the cost of the four-year loan repayments. Once the loan period has ended the club will continue to make savings through increased energy efficiency and will therefore have extra capital to reinvest.
"Through such Government-backed schemes, businesses are able to access interest free loans to pay for energy efficiency projects, just as Blackburn Rovers FC has done, to help to save the environment and save money on energy for a lifetime."
Lumenata Lighting Design designed the new lighting scheme, which involved replacing halogen bulbs throughout the concourses, function rooms, bar and shop and with LED equivalents.
Director Paul Hindle said: “LED is a constantly evolving technology that is being hailed as the lighting of the future because it gives the brightness and sparkle of a halogen bulb while using only a fraction of the energy. It also gives the added benefit of a much longer life, so the maintenance staff will spend a lot less time replacing blown bulbs before each game."