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Swimming teachers dive in to make £30,000 energy savings with leisure business

Making Waves eco-friendly pool drives down carbon emissions with modern technology

Nicola and Tom Mitchell, directors of Making Waves, wanted to create an energy-efficient swimming pool using modern technologies to ensure a comfortable environment for its users, as well as keeping running costs low.

Making Waves, in East Kilbride, is Scotland’s largest independent swimming school. The couple, both teachers in the organisation, had regularly travelled around 13 different pools providing lessons to all ages before deciding to create their own facility in an existing leisure complex.

After doing a lot of their own research, they contacted Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service for support.

Following initial discussions, a review of recommendations and options were shortlisted, including:

• Air dehumidification and ventilation system incorporating heat pump heat recovery

• LED lighting

• Filtration system incorporating AFM (Advanced Filter Medium) and variable speed drive

• Water efficient appliances

The couple wanted the swimming school to be as energy efficient as possible to help keep their bills low, but they were also keen to make it environmentally friendly, as well as providing a warm and safe space for learning.

Tom had done a lot of research, taking advice from a marine biologist to discover innovative ideas for their planned project, before they approached us to help them join the dots and bring their ideas to life.

Although there were no previous figures to run a comparison with as this was a new pool, using average numbers for a similar traditional facility, it was calculated that the couple could save more than £30,000 a year with a £110,000 capital outlay, giving them a payback of three and a half years.

Incredibly, the technologies they introduced are estimated to cut carbon emissions by 110 tonnes a year – the equivalent of driving an average car 272,953 miles, a journey that would take you to the moon and beyond.

With the support of a Scottish Government SME Loan, Nicola and Tom went ahead with the recommendations and are delighted with the results.

The technologies they have introduced not only lower their bills when compared with a traditional pool, but by installing the Dryden Aqua Daisy filtration system, there is less chlorine, making the pool a more pleasant place to be.

The pool now teaches around 1,200 children a week and the business employs 30 staff, including three of the couple’s five children part-time.

Nicola said: “The whole experience was great.

“We always wanted to do things as well as we could. We were driven by saving money and also the impact the business would have on the environment.

“My husband did a lot of research initially, he was very determined. But we couldn’t have gone ahead without the loan. We have been able to create a fantastic facility and we have been overwhelmed by what our customers have said about it.

“The heat is amazing – it is never cold.”

The ambitious couple are so pleased with the results of their first venture that they are now considering opening a similar swimming school elsewhere in Scotland.


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