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    Helping to revamp vital social housing in Greater Manchester, UK

    Fitzwarren Court is a 23-storey, 66-m-high tower block that soars over central Salford in Greater Manchester. The 135-apartment tower block, built in 1970, is managed by Salix Homes, a not-for-profit social housing provider. Barely five years ago, the block was destined for demolition until Salix secured funds for extensive improvements. As part of the renovation scheme, Ground Heat, an RSK company, was contracted to remove the outdated storage heaters and design and install a ground-source heating system that would reduce residents’ fuel bills and the housing association’s carbon dioxide emissions.

    The social housing provider has poured £7.5 million into the transformation of both the interior and the exterior of the building. The affordable and social accommodation apartments are vital for those trying to secure housing in a crowded city dominated by private landlords and skyrocketing rents.

    The heating system, engineered with Heliotherm in Austria, is a modified version of the SMS 1–6-kW system Ground Heat installed in a nearby tower block. We used a bespoke casing to encase the units in the cylinder cupboards of the apartments to improve the installation’s aesthetics. A firm in Chorley, UK, manufactured the casings.

    Ground Heat’s custom-designed 1–6 kW, inverter-driven, ground-source heat pump has a peak demand of 135 kW, which will drastically reduce the block’s power demand on the district network operator. Our system also results in carbon dioxide emission savings of almost 9000 t over the 20-year life of the heat pumps. The system’s unique, real-time 24/7 monitoring system transmits data via our web portal to a central server. If a fault is recorded, the system sends a text to a Ground Heat engineer who can correct most faults online, thereby drastically reducing callouts and the company’s carbon footprint.

    “We are delighted that our ambitious improvement and modernisation scheme is now complete. Residents can look forward to the future in their new-look homes. The refurbishment project cements our commitment to delivering the safe, modern and energy-efficient homes that everyone deserves,” said Sue Sutton, chief executive at Salix Homes.

    Ground Heat has also won the contract for another four tower blocks run by Salix Homes and has received £750,000 in additional funding for Salix Homes from the government’s Warm Home Front scheme.

    • Location: United Kingdom
    • Client: Salix Homes
    • Project status: Completed
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