Alton Castle is a stunning Grade II listed neo-Gothic building dating back to 1847. Today the Castle is a residential youth retreat centre, owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham and part of the Kenelm Youth Trust (KYT).
Ensuring a reliable, effective heating and hot water service at Alton Castle was essential to keep bills low for the Trust and comfort levels high for its guests. When the existing combi boilers and unvented cylinders began to fail, KYT were quick to consult with Lichfield-based Brownhill Hayward Brown Architects. Mellor & Mottram, specialists in heating solutions for Victorian buildings, prepared a specification for the boiler replacement and began work on the project. As Alton Castle is a listed building and a scheduled ancient monument, refurbishing its heating system was not without challenges.
Director Stuart Mottram of Mellor & Mottram explained: “The first obstacle on this project was access, as the plant room is situated in the basement of the building and entered via a narrow doorway. Flueing arrangements were also more complex due to the Castle’s listed status.”
Stuart recommended installing three Remeha Gas 220 Ace 160 floor standing boilers as the most appropriate solution to meet the heat demand in a compact footprint. “Reliability and energy efficiency were key priorities on this project, which was the primary reason for recommending Remeha boilers.” said Stuart.
To meet the need for an uninterrupted heating provision, the team installed temporary boilers while the works were in progress.
“An added benefit of the Gas 220 Ace boilers is their lightweight design and compact dimensions,” continued Stuart. “This helped us to overcome the space and access restrictions when lifting the boilers down two flights of stairs into the cellar area and then through the narrow doorways. The boilers are also supplied with integral castors for easier manoeuvrability, which meant that we could then wheel them directly into the plant room.”
As part of the project, new low loss headers were fitted to hydraulically separate the boiler and heating circuit, optimising boiler performance and the overall efficiency of the system. New associated pipework was also fitted, which Mellor & Mottram welded offsite.
To enable improved, control temperature sensors were fitted on each floor of the castle and connected to the flow and return connections. A suitable flueing arrangement also needed to be devised for the new condensing boilers. Stuart said: “The most straightforward solution was to use the Castle’s existing chimney. Working with Sigram Flues Systems, we scaffolded five storeys of the chimney, relined it with a Thermaflex liner, dropped the flue inside the lining tube and inflated it using steam.”
KYT are delighted with their refurbished heating system with the new Remeha boilers at its heart and are anticipating a welcome reduction in gas consumption and costs in the months ahead.
“They love it,” added Stuart. “Not only is the heating more efficient and effective, but it’s simple to control. We’ve set up the system to provide four-time settings per zone so that they can alter and adjust it themselves easily. This provides them with more flexibility to match building occupancy and demand, so that they can avoid unnecessary energy waste, and needlessly high heating bills.”