Golf clubs go green with biomass installations

The biomass boom is sweeping into the world of golf with two UK clubs investing in wood pellet boiler systems to reduce energy costs and enhance their sustainability credentials.

Windermere Golf Club in the Lake District and Taunton and Pickeridge Golf Club in Somerset have installed 100kW and 120kW biomass boiler systems respectively – both of which qualify for the Government’s Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which subsidises businesses that generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings.

The new boiler at Windemere has generated 41MW of energy in the first three months of its use and has already brought “considerable cost savings” for the Club. “We are very pleased to have the biomass boiler now in place and are one of three golf clubs in the county that have installed this system,” said Windemere Golf Club chairman Cliff Heath.

“Cutting costs and doing our bit for the environment are an important and on-going consideration for the club. Alongside the new boiler, we have fully modernised the old plumbing system in the club house, enabling a quicker and more efficient system and will shortly be replacing the existing lighting with low energy LED lights.”

Over a 24-year period, Windemere estimates the return on investment will average between £15,000 and £20,000 a year, taking the RHI scheme calculations into account. The Club has also adopted a waste-to-water filtration system and a zero-waste-to-landfill recycling scheme.

Revenue driver

Meanwhile, Taunton and Pickeridge Golf Club, which plays host to the PGA National 4BBB Championship alongside several county championship competitions, has installed two 60kW biomass boilers as an environmentally friendly and economic alternative to the Club’s previous oil boiler which was consuming an average of 15,000 litres of oil every year.

The financial benefits of the RHI scheme, alongside the savings from the reduced energy costs, means that the initial loan that Taunton and Pickeridge took out to pay for the installation will be paid back within five years and thereafter will generate an average of £22,600 surplus each year for the Club.

Taunton and Pickeridge Golf Club executive manager Mark Readman said: With the future of the club in mind, the low running costs of a biomass boiler system as well as the RHI scheme payments encouraged our decision to convert to biomass boilers.

The environmental credentials of golf have been put under the spotlight in recent years. One of the world’s highest profile and most inspiring sporting events, The Ryder Cup, is championing a comprehensive sustainability initiative developed specifically for golf tournaments, looking at the venues, the staging, and the lasting legacies of the event.

The Ryder Cup GreenDrive initiative, delivered in partnership with a number of local, national and international stakeholders, has become a leading example of sustainability in sports and events, with a dedicated steering group working to minimise energy consumed; achieve zero waste to landfill; protect and enhance the landscape and nature; and leave lasting positive environmental and community legacies, locally to internationally.

Luke Nicholls

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