Energy and Carbon

Energy consumption is the most significant contributor to a golf club’s carbon footprint and to its financial costs. The demands of heating, lighting and equipment result in an average energy burden of around £15,000 per year for a typical golf club.

  • Energy tariffs vary from one provider to another so it is wise to research a number of suppliers beforehand. It may be that one tariff is more suitable for the clubhouse that the driving range, so why not have different providers? Tips on getting the best energy tariff for your club
  • Unnecessary lighting can increase energy costs substantially. Consider whether lighting is actually needed, evaluate current light bulbs and fittings and always remember to switch of lights when they are not needed. More on lighting
  • Inefficient heating systems also add to energy costs. Consider installing a modern boiler and make sure that radiators aren’t blocked by furniture. More on heating
  • Insulation can make a huge difference and steps such as hanging heavy curtains and sealing gaps in floorboards to stop draughts, can be implemented quite easily. More insulation tips
  • The choice of appliances can make a big difference to energy bills. The Payback Calculator can be used to work out the payback time of purchasing new, more efficient equipment. Alternatively, energy saving gadgets can also be purchased to reduce the energy consumption of existing appliances.
  • How often are appliances left on or on standby in and around the golf club? Changing behaviour is important and can also lead to a significant reduction in energy use. More on behavioural change
  • Staff and members transport to and from the golf club adds to the carbon footprint of the club. Consider encouraging public transport use or carsharing schemes. More on travel
  • Maintenance vehicles also contribute to the golf clubs carbon emissions. Regular vehicle upkeep helps to increase fuel efficiency and, when purchasing new vehicles, give thought to choosing electric over petrol or diesel. More on maintenance vehicles


  • Meaning small scale generation of heat and power, micro-generation can be achieved by a number of methods which many golf clubs already use very effectively.
  • Ground source heat pumps absorb heat from the ground which can then be used to heat water and space in the clubhouse or other buildings. More on ground source heat pumps
  • Wind turbines can be used to charge electric golf carts or to power lights in the maintenance facility. Whether or not a wind turbine will be viable depends on a minimum average windspeed of 5 m s-1. More on wind power
  • Solar panels can be used to generate energy for water heating or for electricity. Either option will require a southern facing roof or wall that is not overshadowed by other buildings or trees. More on solar panels
  • Combined heat and power systems are able to generate both heat and electricity from the same power source. This is another low carbon technology but can be costly to purchase and install. More on combined heat and power

Biomass boilers are a great, sustainable heat source that many golf clubs now utilise. Fuel can be bought in or energy crops, such as miscanthus can be grown on the golf course. When grown on site, golf clubs may be eligible for funding from The Energy Crops Scheme (ECS).

  • Other funding may be available from The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provided by the government. An income of up to 7.6 pence for every kWh of heat generated by renewable methods.
  • Short rotation coppice (SRC) is a traditional method of harvesting biomass energy over short timescales and is also eligible for funding from the ECS. These wooded areas also provide great habitat for an array of wildlife. More on short rotation coppice
  • Alternatively, existing woodlands on parkland and heathland courses could be sustainably managed to provide a supplementary fuel source for the golf club. More on sustainable woodland management

Consider calculating the golf clubs carbon footprint. It is a useful way to identify which facilities and operations generate the most carbon emissions thus allowing solutions to be targeted and more effective. More on carbon footprinting