An artist's impression of the new Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport, first released on 20th May 2022

Ambitions have been revealed to make the new Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport completely carbon neutral. 

The £73 new facility, which will replace the former Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, will see some of its electricity generated by a series of solar panels placed on the roof, which will supply zero carbon electricity throughout the year. 

The building’s systems will not use any fossil fuels for space heating, cooling, cooking or hot water. 

The new Marine Lake Events Centre is forecast to attract 515,000 additional visitors every year, creating 288 new jobs and creating nearly 60,000 overnight stays from conferences and events.

A total of £33.3million has already been secured through Southport Town Deal funding from the Government while the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority says it supports the principle of allocating up to £20m, from which the first £2.3m has been released to support pre-development work. 

Sefton Council, which is leading the scheme, has committed to £20m in prudential borrowing and continues to pursue other avenues of grant funding, through bodies such as Arts Council England.  

The council is very keen to make the new building as energy efficient as possible, including through: 

  • High performance fabric specification for the building 
  • Optimised passive solar gains while ensuring overheating risk is minimised
  • Reduce cooling demands through passive measures such as low g-value glazing specification and external shading
  • Reducing lighting energy consumption through high efficiency LED specification and automatic controls where suitable

In its planning application which was submitted in June 2022, an Energy Statement by CBRE said: “The building’s systems will use high efficiency air source heat pumps (ASHP) to provide space heating, cooling and hot water, with mechanical ventilation systems featuring heat recovery wherever possible. 

“Zero carbon electricity will be generated onsite through the installation of roof-mounted Photovoltaic (PV) arrays on the exhibition space and theatre. These will complement the all-electric design of the building by supplying zero carbon electricity throughout the year. 

“As the building’s systems will not use any fossil fuels for space heating, cooling, cooking, or hot water, the building will benefit from the ongoing decarbonisation of the national grid. This means that as the grid continues to decarbonise the operational carbon emissions of the proposed MLEC building will reduce; once the national grid achieves zero carbon generation this will in turn result in the MLEC becoming zero carbon in its operation.” 

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