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Wanstead rugby club earns national award win for innovative energy sufficiency system

PUBLISHED: 09:45 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:32 15 November 2017

Eton Manor RFC being presented their award by comedian Lenny Henry. Photo: John Roach

Eton Manor RFC being presented their award by comedian Lenny Henry. Photo: John Roach

Archant

Sir Lenny Henry has crowned a Redbridge rugby club the winners of a prestigious national award.

Eton Manor RFC chairman Gary Wood flanked by secretary John Roach and junior chairman David Tulip. Photo: John RoachEton Manor RFC chairman Gary Wood flanked by secretary John Roach and junior chairman David Tulip. Photo: John Roach

Eton Manor RFC were announced winners at the National Energy Efficiency Awards 2017 for slashing their annual energy bill by more than £17,000.

Judges voted the club first among the 24 Small Scale Projects in the running, for employing Wanstead-based renewable energy specialists Ground Sun to introduce a range of carbon reducing measures.

Chief Engineer Brian Connell quipped: “Our entry was up against some of the biggest players in the renewable energy sector.

“Our victory was the sporting equivalent of Japan beating South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.”

Eton Manor RFC being presented their award by comedian Lenny Henry. Picture: John RoachEton Manor RFC being presented their award by comedian Lenny Henry. Picture: John Roach

The measures included drilling a 120metre borehole to access an aquifer beneath the club grounds to fuel the clubhouse showers, toilets and new pitch irrigation system.

Up to 20,000 litres of water are extracted per day and routed into the club’s heat pump system through pipes installed in a 1.5m around the perimeter of the ground.

Clubhouse Manager Peter Findlay said: “Our bar staff used to wear ski jackets while serving. They now wear T-shirts.”

The borehole also enables the club’s three pitches to be watered throughout the summer to enable the grass playing surfaces to recover after heavy winter usage.

The improvements also include solar panels, LED lighting, and a specially designed ice storage system for cooling beverages.

Through these measures, the club estimates it will save more than £344,000 over the next 20 years.

Eton Manor Club Chairman Gary Wood said: “Our utility bills were crippling us. We couldn’t even afford to put the heating on in winter or water the pitches in summer.

He added: “I believe we have secured the future of our club and urge every club to at least have a survey done to see how much they could save.”

The energy reduction scheme is crucial to the survival of the club, which runs five senior teams, 13 junior teams, and three girls’ teams.

Commenting on Eton Manor RFC’s award triumph, the judges said: “The social benefit was very strong and convincing with the financial savings helping the local community.”

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