Eco-Check: Off-field victory for sports clubs

The potential is huge: There are over 19,000 sports clubs in North Rhine-Westphalia, with more than five million members. Their buildings, many dating from the 60s, and their heating systems and showers are often anything but energy-efficient; this is bad for the environment and also for the club’s budget. Therefore, the state sports association in North Rhine-Westphalia, in partnership with Eco Check, is offering energy efficiency consulting designed to target the conditions in sports clubs.

Sports clubs are faced with two central, inter-related challenges. They need to solicit new members more than ever before and get rising operating costs under control. Addressing the renovation backlog in their buildings now may help in two ways: by reducing the major cost item which is energy, and, at the same time, by becoming more competitive (modern gyms with newer buildings and equipment).

Engine for progress:

  • great potential: 38,000 sports facilities in North Rhine-Westphalia
  • need for consultation at sports clubs
  • benefits for the clubs are already identified during the initial consultation
  • climate protection and increased attractiveness for members
  • an important tool for tackling the renovation backlog
  • further learning effects regarding climate protection at the clubs

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Photo: LSB NRW

Experienced consultants know what problems sports clubs are facing

The state sports association for North Rhine-Westphalia works with experienced consultants, who are experts in the field of sports clubs and climate protection. They know exactly what the usual weaknesses are in the buildings and in the heating and cooling systems; they are also able to identify the less obvious problems quickly. The consultants are provided with the consumption data in advance and then analyse the club facilities during an on-site inspection, which takes several hours.
The clubs receive a detailed report identifying possible solutions; in many cases, these are measures that will pay off within a very short time. The list of options is extensive; it starts with installing water-saving shower heads or switching to LEDs. The club would also be well advised to reject well-intentioned private donations, such as discarded energy-inefficient refrigerators. The consultants often find that the heating systems are wrongly dimensioned or outdated. Some clubs also engage in large-scale climate protection projects. One of them is the Emsdetten tennis club, which, apart from optimising its energy efficiency, has also installed a PV system on the roof of its indoor tennis centre.

Sports clubs can apply to participate through the state sports association for North Rhine-Westphalia. To do so, they have to register online at for the Eco Check. The state sports association covers the greater part of the consultation costs, so that clubs pay a maximum of 500 euros; a sensible investment, which is refunded by the state sports association upon implementation of the proposed measures.

Photo: LSB NRW

"Sport also shares responsibility for the preservation of our natural resources and for climate protection. The Eco Check is a wonderful tool in this regard. It identifies where resources are being wasted and provides the sports clubs with specific information regarding practicable improvement options”.

Achim Haase, staff advisor in the department of basic policy issues

Partners and sponsors

  • Landessportbund NRW