Radiators ‘ideal’ for Extra Care renewable heating systems

Two major ‘extra care’ developments by Southway Housing Trust in Manchester are seeing radiators paired with ground source heat pumps, to provide heating for over 55’s who are moving into brand new apartments which may be their homes for life. And whilst some are surprised that the latest heating technology is being paired with traditional radiators to provide heat to each apartment, Southway Housing Trust has done its homework and made that decision based on a number of sound principles that other developers are sharing and following this example.

Gorton Mill House in Gorton and Dahlia House in Burnage are rapidly taking shape on brown field sites in Manchester with the aim of providing zero carbon sites. Gorton House is being built on the site of the old Gorton Mill and prior to building work taking place, local archaeologists moved in to examine the site, resulting in a number of 18th century artefacts from the mill being found and now preserved in display cases in the new building for posterity.

Southway Housing Trust has taken the decision that wherever possible, none of its future new build properties will have gas as the source of heating and hot water and is 100% sold on renewable heating and hot water systems for its residents in the years to come. Equally, for its ‘age friendly’ umbrella properties, it is keen to provide homes that feel as ‘normal’ as possible for older people, with heating systems that look and feel as close to those they have had in previous homes even if the technology that drives them is renewable and cutting edge. The modern Compact radiators from Stelrad offer part of that familiar feel for residents and whilst the ‘driver’ of the heating system is a shared loop ground source heat pump that has twelve boreholes drilled deep into the ground alongside the new building, each of the 106 apartments in Gorton Mill House has its own heat pump in a cupboard in the apartment with a 220 litre stored hot water cylinder – and most residents will not even be aware that it’s not a traditional heating system in their home.

The main contractors for the developments are Rowlinson Constructions Limited and the heat pumps being installed are Heliotherm Ground Source Heat Pumps being installed by specialist geothermal energy contractor Groundheat.

Unlike many extra care developments around the country, these two will be 100% social rental offerings – there will be no purchased or shared ownership apartments as part of a mix of tenancies.

It will have many communal areas that will be served by their own heat pump and radiator system to keep these areas warm and cosy for the residents. The facilities will include a commercial café, a hair, nails and beauty salon and a communal lounge area where residents can meet and share each others company if they wish.

Paul Maidment from Southway Trust takes up the story: “These developments are the results of a policy decision we have taken to utilise renewable heating and hot water systems in all our new build properties. But we are keen to provide equipment in our homes that are most acceptable to the demographic of the likely householders who live in our properties and we have thought this through very carefully. One major outcome of this was that we decided we wanted to utilise modern, efficient radiators to share the heat around our homes – because nowadays radiators are aesthetically pleasing and can be part of the décor rather than simply heat sharing appliances. They are familiar to most of our residents and moving into a new home with us, they will feel immediately comforted by the fact that even if the driver of the heating system is new, modern technology – it all looks and feels the same as the heating systems they have had in their homes before. We have also purposely selected simple heating controls so residents can feel in control of their heating rather than the latest technology controls that can be quite scary for people, particularly those who are not technology savvy. The ones we have selected especially for these developments work to a simple concept that if its cold you can turn the heat up and if it’s too warm you can turn it down. No having to understand the measurement of heat or the ability to use touch screen technology.”

“We’re pleased to be involved in these two new extra care facilities with Southway Housing,” says Stelrad radiator’s Chris Harvey. “We’ve been supplying our radiators to the Trust for many years and it was rewarding that the in-house maintenance and property care team were keen to continue that relationship alongside the renewable heating system that would drive the heating and hot water provision in the developments. We know that radiators are excellent alongside renewable systems if the radiators are sized properly for the areas they are being asked to heat and we offer designers and architects access to our own heat loss calculator and radiator sizing software free of charge on our website to ensure that the right radiators are selected for each room in a property – whether it’s an apartment and house or  larger multi-occupation building such as these extra care homes.

“We have developed a wide range of radiators that will ensure there is always a radiator that will do the job required – from our standard K1 and K2 panel radiators, through our recently expanded K3 range especially developed for renewable heating systems, to our sector leading low surface temperature range – ideal for properties in which older or more vulnerable people will be living. Keeping people warm is a matter of common sense and we’re happy to offer advice and guidance if there is a concern about which is the best way to heat a property. With the flexibility offered by the wide range of radiators in our portfolio, there is always a solution as Southway has found out.”

According to Paul Maidment, these two new developments will not be the last developed by the Trust and there are plans afoot to see more similar properties being built in the area to meet the very real demand for extra care facilities that can enable older people to live comfortably, knowing that if they find they need additional support to live comfortably they can receive it in their current home without having to move into residential care.

To find out more about how Stelrad radiators are fit for the future as heating systems evolve, head for the Stelrad website at www.stelrad.com. You can call for information on 0844 543 6200 or email [email protected]. Alternatively, you can also see regular updates from Stelrad on Twitter @Stelrad and Facebook @StelradRadiators.

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