A Sunderland housing association is spending £9 million on what is thought to be the largest such programme in the UK to replace gas in seven highrise tower blocks.
Gentoo’s project, codenamed ‘Core 364’ is replacing the gas with ground source heat pumps (GSHP) in 364 flats. But more than that, it is also set to install life-saving sprinkler systems.
The move, which aims to maximise the fire safety, will also see upgrades to the fire alarm and smoke detection systems in each of the blocks.
The programme is being delivered by Gentoo’s energy and regeneration partner, ENGIE. The company will manage all aspects of the project, working in partnership with contractor Kensa Heat Pumps Contracting, to install the new GSHP system.
“We have a great partnership with Gentoo and are delighted to help bring this innovative and energy efficient solution to all residents involved in this project,” said Andrew McIntosh, ENGIE’s regional manager.
“Our expertise in wide scale regeneration and energy projects will ensure this project is delivered effectively, providing North Tower residents with a modern heating system and enhanced fire safety features.”
Gentoo’s chief executive, Nigel Wilson, said: “Gentoo is committed to providing safe and affordable housing for its tenants and I’m delighted to welcome the start of this important work, delivering real savings for our tenants and generating renewable heat for their homes.”
Sunderland City Council leader, Councillor Graeme Miller said: Gentoo has a multi-million-pound investment programme underway across Sunderland and these safety upgrades are going to be welcomed by tenants, alongside greener and cleaner energy with lower bills. This is good housing practice at work with investments in safer and greener properties.”
Main Image: Andrew McIntosh, regional managing director, ENGIE (left) with Sunderland City Council leader, Councillor Graeme Miller and Gentoo’s chief executive, Nigel Wilson