Technologies: Heat pumps and solar PV panels
CARES funding: £79,920 capital grant
Location: Langtongate, Duns
Date completed: May 2023


Duns Swimming Pool is a rural swimming pool and leisure centre in Langtongate, Duns in the Scottish Borders. The Trust had ambitions to reduce its energy consumption through sustainable property improvements. This included installing a new insulated roof, low energy lighting, plant insulation and more. However, the Trust was eager to start its next steps of being net zero by implementing renewable energy sources to maintain and support its goal of long-term sustainability. This was important so the Trust could continue to give safe and accessible access to its facilities to the Duns community and the surrounding areas.

Project aims and objectives

The Trust took a holistic approach to making improvements as it knew that a single measure couldn’t achieve the best outcome and it was vital that any proposed measures would work with existing systems to meet the needs of those using its facilities.

The Trust applied for support from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) and received a grant of £79,920 to install an array of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Development officers from Local Energy Scotland supported the Trust throughout the application process and were available to answer any questions when needed. The Trust installed two air source heat pumps after receiving funding from the Scottish Borders Council. The new heating system and solar panels would supply enough power for its heating and reduce the amount of gas needed to heat the pool’s water. However, the Trust note that gas may be required to top up water temperatures during the winter months.

Two heat pumps outside Duns Swimming Pool

Outcomes and achievements

The solar PV panels were switched on in May 2023. The Trust said that “the system has generated a cumulative benefit of 50 Megawatts of electricity, which is estimated to have reduced the daytime consumption by approximately 50% while saving 10,000 kg of C02. A fantastic result!”.

This positive result will help the Trust and Duns Swimming Pool to have a long-term future in delivering health and wellbeing benefits to its community.

Lessons learned

The Trust’s spokesperson identified several lessons learned.

“The main lesson learnt is to take one step at a time. Managing contractors can be tricky, and so developing good relationships is crucially important. Having multiple trades working at one time was very challenging. However, with everything now up and running, the Trust is very happy with the outcome.

“It is useful to be planning the next phase while undertaking works. For the Trust, it is now clear that battery storage will capture the excess power generated during daylight hours to use overnight. That work will be the next project to be considered by the Trust, with the data collection from the system and the usage from meters now being undertaken to support understanding the likely benefits of this option.”

Published January 2024