by Robert Nemeth
Following the success of Worthing’s first Eco Open Houses event last year, a second has impressed just as much.
My column on the event one year back focused on the Lancing Beach Building – a huge eco-tistical shell of fun right on the Lancing beach. My visit this year was to an even bigger beach building – the newish Splashpoint leisure centre on the Worthing seafront. As usual, I wasn’t particularly interested in the standard brochure. It was the behind-the-scenes areas that caught my attention. Splashpoint did not fail to impress in that regard.
Splashpoint opened in May 2013 at a cost £18 million. Its sets the benchmark for what a new King Alfred in Hove should be looking to achieve. Our tour with efficiency specialist Matt Roberts started to the west of the slowly-tarnishing copper, glass and polished concrete structure above an array of pipes serving the building’s ground source heat pump. The arrangement is complex as the leisure centre needs to be simultaneously heated (pools) and cooled (gyms).
Beneath much of the building, and wrapping around the lower sections of the pool is a deep basement containing all manner of gadgets that keep this highly-efficient building in check. There are pipes, tanks, motors and control panels everywhere for a variety of cooling, heating, electricity-generating, air-conditioning and filtering systems. There are even huge bags that provide a home for the lane ropes that disappear down little holes at the end of the pool.
Having been involved with the campaign to get a new King Alfred for Hove from the beginning, I am embarrassed that Brighton & Hove City Council has done so little to get things moving. As such, I am certainly grateful to the Eco Open Houses team for showing the public what it is possible achieve in that regard.