People and community

Solihull Community Housing (SCH) Biomass Heating & Overcladding Project

Project Details

All 37 high rises in North Solihull will benefit from this massive project and will have an improved visual appearance that will compliment the other regeneration activities taking place   in the area.  The project will also provide a much more efficient and cost effective heating and hot water system for residents in 26 of the high rises, along with a more comfortable home environment with controllable heating and better heat retention provided by the overcladding.  The work is being carried out by British Gas and there are two elements to it:


  • 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 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 at a total cost of around £12m
  • The majority of the costs will be met from the Community Energy Support Programme (CESP). SCH are funding the remainder from their Capital programme
  • Plus all homes within 26 high rise buildings will benefit from the new eco-friendly biomass system to deliver their heating and hot water
  • This is being almost entirely funded through the Government's new Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme

Project Timescale

  • The project is being carried out in 10 phases and is due to be completed by March 2015