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Solar panels installed at Geoff Moulder Leisure Complex

Sunny days are the best days at Boston's Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre - but not for the usual feel-good reasons.

Those blue-sky days are the ones when the readout on the centre's own energy production equipment gives manager Dave Horry the biggest grin.

Pictured: Building contractors with one of the 200 new solar panels installed on the roof of the Geoff Moulder Leisure Pool.

Dave told councillors and guests viewing improvements to the centre that the newly-installed solar panels are already pouring in free electricity, despite the dull wintry days.

But on sunny days the dials light up, and so does Dave. He said: "We've recorded 32 kilowatts already on a sunny day and the pools' main circulating pumps run on 11 kilowatts."

Pictured above: Wishing for sunny days - Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre manager Dave Horry, left, with visitors who enjoyed his guided tour of the improvements

The 200 solar panels on the roof, even on dull days, have been generating at least 12 kilowatts, running full circulation during the day.

Other energy efficiencies, including heat-retaining thermal covers for the two main pools, the flume and the children's pool and self-dimming lights have reduced the centre's electricity needs by 18 per cent during the day and 29 per cent at night. And that doesn't yet include the solar panels' contribution and compares the running, now, of two main pools with just one pool previously.

Dave explained the pool covers trap heat and reduce humidity overnight, reducing the need for air conditioning and dehumidifiers which sometimes switch off completely. The covers reduce evaporation by 90 per cent and save 40 per cent of heating costs.

The new lights use half the power of the old ones but generate twice as much light. They constantly measure light levels and dim or even switch off automatically when not needed.

Power saving can be as much as 80 per cent.

Attendance at the training pool, reopened last September under a partnership agreement with the Witham Schools Federation and Boston Amateur Swimming Club, has increased from an initial 380 young swimmers to 580 a week.

A total of 1,000 children now pass through the centre each week. An area has been earmarked for disabled swimmers and children from the John Fielding Community Special School.

A children's gym is now available and the main gym has been refurbished and some new equipment installed, attracting 2,200 members - an 11 per cent increase.

The centre has worked in partnership with the Primary Care Trust and the GPs referral scheme to promote "exercise, not pills".

During the school summer holidays when the training pool will not be used, it is to be refurbished.

Other improvement works have included new ramps and electric doors to the leisure pool and training pool to provide easier access for disabled people, new signage, refurbishment of the leisure pool changing rooms, toilets and flooring, redecoration of the leisure pool hall, new carpet to the front reception and new flooring to stairs and landing, re-coating of suspended ceilings and new double-glazed windows to the reception area.

Portfolio holder for leisure services, Cllr Yvonne Gunter, said: "The centre has improved dramatically and the increased attendances show it's appreciated. It's second to none with its new look and the staff are so welcoming and helpful. It's great to see so many young people using the pools."