Chelmsford City Council

Council says new Riverside will be super-green

New artist's impression of Riverside Leisure Centre

Chelmsford City Council has just released the very latest artist's impressions of the new Riverside Leisure Centre - and it says the rebuilt complex is going to be one of the greenest and cleanest in the country.

New images show in more detail than ever before the outside of the centre, which is set to open to the public in April 2019 after 20 months of construction. Additional funding was granted earlier this year to improve the green riverside walkways and cycle paths around the centre, which can be seen for the first time in the new impressions.

The new leisure complex, which is the Council's biggest ever investment in the community, was rated 'Very Good' during an independent environmental assessment known as 'BREEAM'. That puts it in the top 25% of new non-domestic buildings in the UK.

Chelmsford City Council is adopting the government's 'Soft Landings' programme, which means that builders and contractors will stay involved with the project for some time after the practical work is completed. Architects Pick Everard and main contractor Kier will work with the Council for two years after the new complex has opened to the public, making sure that it isn't using too much energy and fine-tuning all its systems so they are energy-efficient during summer and winter.

A combined heat and power unit means that the new Riverside will generate much of its own electricity, at a fraction of the cost of buying it from an electricity company. The unit will also act as the main boiler. While generating electricity, it will also produce heat, which it uses to supply hot water for the pool, showers, taps and heating systems.

When the centre needs more power than the combined unit can provide, the cavalry will arrive in the form of modulating gas boilers which fire up to meet demand. Because the boilers are 'smart', they only use as much energy as they need at the time. They will often be working at less than full capacity, meaning they will last longer and won't waste energy.

Although the new Riverside is heated in an efficient way, visitors will be warm and comfortable - though if you look around the airiest and most open part of the centre, you won't see a single radiator. The main concourse and the walkways that cross it overhead all have underfloor heating, meaning they stay warm without any need to heat the air - perfect in an area close to the main entrance, where fresh air is coming in every time the doors open.

Smart sensors pick up on the weather outside and control the heating indoors accordingly, so there will always be the right amount of warmth for the conditions.

Even the lighting is efficient. These days, it is standard to use LED bulbs - but Riverside's lighting will also be intelligently controlled via sensors, depending on the levels of daylight outside. When rooms are not in use, their lights will automatically switch off. 

Councillor Julia Jeapes, Cabinet Member for Leisure, said, "The old Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre, which was built in the early 60s, was pretty inefficient compared to the buildings of today. Since it was built, man has been to the moon, invented the Internet and become globally aware of climate change!

"With the technology and knowledge we now have at our disposal, we have the opportunity to create a leisure complex that's as good for the health and fitness of our planet as it is for human beings. Thanks to clever engineering and great design, we are building a centre that can serve our city sustainably and cleanly for the next 60 years - and with beautiful landscaping and improved paths, we are also encouraging sustainable transport by helping people to walk or cycle to their activity of choice."

Keith Prendergast, director at the national property, construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard said, "We're excited to be working on the Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre which will offer the community a new sustainable facility for years to come.

"Riverside's impact on the environment was central to our designs, having utilised low carbon technology, airtight detailing and enhanced insulation in order to create a building which provide carbon reduction and efficient energy use for the life of the building.

"We are incredibly proud to have designed a building which has surpassed efficiency standards and look forward to seeing its completion in the spring."

Ian Gifford, Operations Director for Kier, said, “Working collaboratively with Chelmsford City Council, we are proud to be delivering the Riverside Leisure Centre which has been carefully designed to be as sustainable as possible. We are installing a number of energy efficient measures that will not only make the running of the building more cost-effective but it will also provide a greener legacy for the local community to enjoy for years to come.”

Find out more about the new centre at 

Monday 26 November 2018

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