Landmark council building undergoes energy upgrade

Project Overview

Opened in 1866, Rochdale Town Hall is an iconic Grade I listed building, located in the heart of the Lancashire town and featuring gothic architecture and stained glass windows. It was created by the famous British designer, William Morris.

Already used by the council for meetings, concerts, festivals and tourism purposes, Rochdale Development Agency (RDA), on behalf of Rochdale Council, looked at even greater ways to utilise the building by giving increased access to the public to previously unseen areas, such as former police cells. The RDA had to ensure the whole site provided a high level of comfort to visitors and staff, whilst reinstating the building to its former glory.

Rumours surrounding the building suggest that Rochdale Town Hall was regarded so highly as a landmark architectural site, that during World War II, Hitler ordered Nazi bombers to broadly avoid the town, as to protect this "priority acquisition."

Re-furbishing a Grade I listed building

Phase one of the re-development included replacing the existing nine floor-standing gas boilers, located in the plant room beneath the building. The boilers were over 35 years old and only four were still working, putting a great strain on the remaining working units. This, combined with pipework and radiators that pre-dated the boilers by many years, resulted in an unreliable and inefficient heating system.

Due to the location of the plant room below the building, access was limited. This restricted the council’s preference for choosing alternative renewable technology, so they chose the most efficient gas boilers available.

Viessmann trained installer JC Mills & Sons Ltd was chosen for the project, the company having worked successfully with the council on a number of projects previously. JC Mills & Sons selected six Viessmann Vitocrossal gas boilers for the heritage site, due to their small footprint, reliability and high efficiency. The installation took six weeks in total, which included removing the old nine boiler heating system, hiring a temporary plant room while building works took place, and installing the new efficient boilers. The Viessmann system is now providing over 1 MW of heat for the site, delivering the promise of reliable heating that can modulate to suit demand.

The direct-fired, low pressure system contains four 225 kW Vitocrossal 300 CT3B floor-standing boilers, while two 87 kW Vitocrossal 300 CM3 floor-standing boilers provide the hot water to two 800 L DHW cylinders. Three circuits distribute heating and hot water across the building into nine zones, which include offices, the Great Hall, the council chamber, registry office and a kitchen for the restaurant.

Delivering comfort and reliability as promised

Gerry Lee, Heating Engineer, at JC Mills said "Working closely with the council and English Heritage, we have drastically improved the heating system for this iconic building. We have now future-proofed the town hall’s heating against any further site developments, as we know the boilers can handle the demand. Since the installation, the council has commented on how reliable the system is, which highlights the time and care taken with this project from both JC Mills and Viessmann."

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