Clare & Pembroke Houses

Clare & Pembroke

Solihull Community Housing (SCH) Biomass Heating & Overcladding Project

Clare & Pembroke Houses are two 15-storey high rise blocks located in the North Arran way area of Smith's Wood. They are next to what will become the new Smith's Wood Village Centre and high street.  These blocks were built in 1969 and each of the blocks has 60 flats. All of the flats currently have electric storage heaters which are inefficient and expensive to run.

Project Details

The project is being carried out by British Gas and there are two elements to the project:


  • Installing thermal cladding on the outside walls of the blocks to provide better insulation and give the blocks a fresher look, using the Rockwool Rockshield system which is a new insulation and is 90mm thick

Biomass Heating

  • Installing a new biomass heating system, to provide heating and hot water in each flat. This involves removing the existing storage heaters and replacing them with radiators. These will primarily be fuelled by wood pellets (biomass) and supported by a gas back up system
  • The use of this renewable energy source (wood pellets) arises from the introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
  • The new biomass boiler and gas back up system are housed in a new purpose built plant room external but in close proximity to the blocks
  • There will be no gas actually in the blocks only hot water
  • Using Biomass requires SCH to have a detailed management & maintenance contract to ensure certainty of fuel supply and maintenance of plant and equipment
  • SCH will effectively become the new energy provider for the residents in these blocks. All metering will operate on a prepayment basis
  • Metering, fuel supply and general administration of the system will be delivered under contract by British Gas. This contract will be for 2 years

Project Finance

  • All 37 of the high rises in North Solihull will benefit from the overcladding
  • All homes within 26 high rise buildings will benefit from the new eco-friendly biomass system to deliver their heating and hot water
  • The total cost of the works is £1.8m
  • £1.1m of this cost will be met from the Community Energy Support Programme (CESP). SCH are funding the remainder from their Capital programme

Project Timescale

  • The project is due to be completed by March 2015

This project will provide a much more efficient and cost effective heating and hot water system for the residents along with a more comfortable home environment with controllable heating and better heat retention provided by the overcladding.  The blocks will also have an improved visual appearance that will compliment the other regeneration activity taking place in the area.