Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre shortlisted for sustainability award

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News release: 21 October 2013
Westminster Lodge
Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre in St Albans has been recognised for its sustainable and energy efficient design in a Hertfordshire-wide building construction competition.

St Albans City and District Council’s facility is shortlisted in the category, Most Sustainable Construction, in the Herts Building Futures Awards. The awards are run by Hertfordshire County Council on behalf of the Hertfordshire Building Futures Partnership. The District Council will find out if Westminster Lodge has won the award by the end of November. 

The Building Futures Awards celebrate new developments that demonstrate innovation, creativity and design excellence. The Most Sustainable Construction award recognises “new development in Hertfordshire that has made an exceptional contribution to environmental sustainability”.

Cllr Mike Wakely, Portfolio Holder for Sports, Leisure and Heritage, St Albans City and District Council, said: “Being shortlisted for this award is well-deserved recognition for the innovative design and construction of Westminster Lodge. I want to congratulate all those involved in the project, for their expertise and hard work. Great care was taken to ensure the centre is energy efficient and sustainable materials were used in construction to help minimise the building’s impact on the environment. A ‘Whole-Life’ design approach was used to ensure that future running costs remain affordable.”

Sustainable features include solar photovoltaic panels providing electricity to heat the pools, natural airflows to cool the building and harvesting of water for use in the facility.

The centre is located in Verulamium Park and opened in November 2012 replacing a previously ageing leisure facility.

It includes a 25m x 10-lane pool with 50% moveable floor, a 17m x 10m training pool with moveable floor and a confidence water area. There is also a four-court sports hall, a 200-station fitness gym, two exercise studios, a spinning (cycling) studio, a climbing wall and health and beauty spa. In addition, there is a crèche, children’s soft play area and café.

Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre is managed for the Council by Sports and Leisure Management Limited, trading as Everyone Active.

Councillor contact:
Cllr Mike Wakely, Portfolio Holder for Sports, Leisure and Heritage, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01582 764688

Contact for the media:
Ruth Boyer, Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819316 
E-mail: ruth.boyer@stalbans.gov.uk 


1. Westminster Lodge’s sustainability features include:

a. Energy 
  • A combined heat and power system (including photovoltaic cells) which generates electricity to heat the swimming pool and other parts of the building. Energy that is not required to heat the swimming pool is circulated to heat different parts of the centre. Surplus electricity is then fed back to the National Grid. 
b. Water
  • The impact on the local environment is minimised by the drainage system, which harvests and stores water to support all main areas of the facility. 
  • The swimming pool water is tested for cleanliness and quality throughout the day. The tested water is then used to feed the toilets, saving over 50% of toilet water usage.
c. Ventilation
  • Whenever possible, natural airflows are used to ventilate the building rather than air conditioning.
  • The climbing wall has an external air intake that provides natural ventilation for the reception at zero ongoing cost.
d. Building materials
  • All building materials were selected using criteria such as whole-life cost and sustainability. 
  • The beams used in the pool roof are constructed from sustainable and renewable Glulam (wood laminations glued together).
e. The floors of both swimming pools can be raised to different levels, increasing accessibility for users of different abilities. Raising the pool floor to the surface saves energy by retaining heat and eliminating the need for a separate cover.

f. The facility has been awarded a rating of Very Good from BREEAM. The BRE Environmental Assessment Method is the world’s longest established and most widely used method of assessing and rating the sustainability of buildings.

More information about Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre can be found on their website.

2. Hertfordshire Building Futures is a web-based guide set up by a partnership of Hertfordshire’s 11 local authorities. The guide provides practical guidance for professionals and the general public on how to achieve sustainable construction and design in new developments for Hertfordshire. The biennial Building Futures Awards scheme was established in 2009 to support the guide. It recognises projects that demonstrate innovation, creativity and design quality, and celebrates sustainable development in Hertfordshire. 

More information about the Building Futures Awards can be found on their website.