Gentoo and Engie project
Andrew McIntosh, ENGIE, with Cllr Graeme Miller and Gentoo’s Nigel Wilson at Gentoo’s tower blocks in Roker, Sunderland.
Rebecca Wayman

Major £9m project for 'life-saving' tower block features in Sunderland underway

A new project to install much-needed sprinklers and ground-source heat to 364 flats in Sunderland has launched.

This is said to involve what is thought to be the largest gas replacement in high-rise tower blocks in the UK.

The project - named ‘Core 364’ - is being delivered by Sunderland-based housing association Gentoo, with its regeneration partner ENGIE, as part of a £9m investment in the tower blocks.

Residents in Gentoo’s seven blocks are set to benefit from energy bill savings as a result of heating both their home and water with renewable heat.

Andrew McIntosh, regional managing director at ENGIE, said: “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.

“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.”

The move, which aims to maximise the fire safety of these seven tower blocks, will also see upgrades to the fire alarm and smoke detection systems in each of the blocks, as well as the installation of a state of the art sprinkler system.

ENGIE will manage all aspects of the project, working in partnership with contractor Kensa Heat Pumps Contracting, to install the new low-carbon ground-source heat pump system.

Sunderland City Council’s leader, Cllr Graeme Miller, added: “Gentoo has a multi-million-pound investment programme underway across Sunderland… 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.”

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