Local leisure centre installs low-carbon heating, as COP begins


Thames Valley Athletics Centre (TVAC) broke ground to dig in their new ground source heat pump this week, working to cut their carbon footprint with local company MaidEnergy Ltd. The ground source heat pump will replace their 8 old gas boilers.  

MaidEnergy Ltd is a Community Benefit Society, a social enterprise run by volunteers with local members who invest money in shares to install solar panels on community groups’ roofs, and in other ways to cut their emissions and energy bills. 

‘We’re absolutely delighted to be doing our first low carbon heat project, particularly as the work’s being done while the nation hosts the COP26 world climate talks,’ said MaidEnergy’s Chair, Leah Robson. ‘Heating accounts for 37% of total UK carbon emissions, so we can’t hit our target and get to net zero unless we decarbonise our heating fast over the next few years. It’s great to be doing our bit locally.’ 

Thames Valley Athletics Centre between Datchet and Eton is an athletics track and field stadium, with an indoor athletics track, multi-sports hall, gym and leisure facilities. It’s a joint venture between the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and Slough Borough Council, and is run by Datchet and Eton Leisure.  

‘Our gas boilers were at the end of their life, and we really wanted to find a cleaner way to heat the building,’ said Karl Fenwick, from Datchet and Eton Leisure. ‘Partnering with MaidEnergy means we can get this new low carbon heating system without having to pay the capital cost up front.’ 

‘Taking action on tackling the climate crisis is one of our top priorities as a council. I’m delighted that a new low carbon heating system is being installed at TVAC, moving us away from fossil fuel heating sources’, said Cllr Donna Stimson, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.  ‘This partnership project is a wonderful example of positive environmental action.  I’m grateful to the members of the community who led this project, and to those residents who have invested their money into decarbonising the borough.

We hope people will enjoy using Thames Valley Athletics Centre even more knowing it’s even lower carbon now, with the ground source heat pump to go with its solar panels’.  

The scheme was made possible using the government Renewable Heat Incentive, which has now closed to new projects. ‘We’d love to do more low-carbon heat projects locally and we hope the government get round to replacing the Renewable Heat Incentive soon so we can,’ added Leah Robson. 


Contact MaidEnergy’s volunteer directors on maidenergy@outlook.com 

Notes to Editors 

1.       MaidEnergy cover Maidenhead, Slough, Windsor, Egham, Staines and the surrounding area www.maidnergy.coop 

2.     Ground source heat pumps use pipes buried in the ground to extract heat. It circulates a mix of water and anti-freeze around the pipe, which can then be used to heat radiators. The pumps which circulate the fluid are powered by electricity, which has lower emissions than gas. An explanation is available from the Energy Savings Trust https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/ground-source-heat-pumps/  

3.       The United Nations COP26 climate talks are hosted by the UK in Glasgow, 31 October-12 November. They aim to limit the world’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times.  

4.       The heat pump installer is Surrey company ISO Energy, experienced consultants and installers of low energy systems. 

5.       The survey and specialist advice are provided by the Low Carbon Alliance, a chartered surveying and engineering consultancy working to help clients reduce emissions from property, energy and transport.