£40m eco-friendly Riverside Leisure Centre opens its doors
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£40m eco-friendly Riverside Leisure Centre opens its doors

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A new £40m leisure centre built to include a number of sustainable innovations has opened in Chelmsford, Essex.

The Riverside Leisure Centre in Chelmsford has been awarded a 'very good' BREEAM sustainability rating, owing to its energy efficient design.

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.

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

“With its BREEAM rating, low carbon technology and airtight detailing, the new, modern leisure centre leaves minimal impact on our environment," said Keith Prendergast, director at infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard, who designed the building.

"We are very proud to have designed a building that provides an impressive gateway to the city centre and delivers a greener legacy for the entire community to enjoy for years to come."

Facilities at the centre include a 25m, 10-lane swimming pool with a moveable floor; a teaching pool; a toddler-friendly sensory splash zone and fun pool complete with flume.

There is also a health club with a 130-station gym floor and group exercise studios; an Ofsted-registered creche; soft play facility; accessible changing rooms; a spacious reception foyer and a café with terrace overlooking the River Chelmer.

Riverside Leisure Centre is Chelmsford City Council’s biggest ever single investment. Sport England contributed around £1.5m of Lottery grants for the projects.

The centre was officially opened by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent.

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A new £40m leisure centre built to include a number of sustainable innovations has opened in Chelmsford, Essex.