Seven Sunderland tower blocks to be fitted with lifesaving sprinklers by Gentoo in £9million project

The largest project of its kind will see seven housing blocks have gas systems replaced in a move to also fit them with lifesaving sprinkler systems.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 7:51 pm
Updated Friday, 15th November 2019, 2:14 pm

Gentoo will install the sprinklers and ground source heat in 364 flats in Sunderland, with the work underway believed to be the biggest undertaking of its kind in blocks across the UK.

The Core 364 project is being carried out at a cost of £9 million and is being carried out with its regeneration partner Engie.

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

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Engie’s Andrew McIntosh, with Sunderland City Council Leader, Councillor Graeme Miller and Gentoo’s CEO, Nigel Wilson, with a groundbreaking drill at Gentoo’s tower blocks in Roker.

The locations to undergo the work are Church and Dock Street, Dame Dorothy, Zetland, Victor, Devonshire and Eglington Tower.

The move, which aims to maximise the fire safety of these blocks, comes as part of Gentoo’s announcement earlier in the year that outlined a new £300 million investment in its 29,000 homes.

The modernisation work will see it upgrade 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 which will take the number of Gentoo’s tower blocks with sprinklers to eight.

Gentoo’s chief executive officer, Nigel Wilson, said: “Gentoo is committed to providing safe and affordable housing for its tenants and I’m delighted to welcome the start of this important work, delivering real savings for our tenants and generating renewable heat for their homes.”

Sunderland City Council Leader, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: "Gentoo has a multi-million pound investment programme underway across Sunderland and 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.”

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.”