COUNCIL bosses are expected to splash out on a new £600,000 energy efficient heating system for Stourbridge's Crystal Leisure Centre.

The Bell Street facility, which is owned by Dudley Council, currently has gas fuelled boilers, which authority chiefs say are past the point of economical repair, as well as a combined heat and power plant, operated under a soon-to-end contract.

A new open-loop heat pump is proposed as the most cost effective solution and comes with environmental benefits to boot.

The innovative system would use ground-water extracted via a bore-hole as a source of heat. Heat pumps would be used to boost the temperature to suitable levels, before the ground-water is returned.

For each KWh of electricity used, the system will be able to produce four to five KWhs of heat and the technology is low-carbon which would help the authority to achieve its ambition of becoming a cleaner, greener borough.

Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, Dudley's cabinet member responsible for leisure centres, said: "We are working towards creating a cleaner, greener borough and being more energy efficient in our facilities is an important part of this.

"Crystal Leisure Centre has had its current heating system for over 20 years and we are confident this new system will have a positive impact on the environment and will reduce some of our operational costs.”

The project is expected to cost around £600,000 and the council would receive a subsidy payment under the Renewable Heat Incentive, worth an estimated £126,000 per year.

Cabinet members are expected to approve the purchase at their meeting on Wednesday March 20.