Manchester’s Tribe apartment blocks win worldwide recognition with BREEAM Award

Three Manchester tower blocks originally built in the 1950s have beaten off international competition to win the accolade of best residential scheme in this year’s BREEAM Awards.

Tribe New Islington, Tribe Ancoats and Tribe East Quarter in Ancoats, Manchester, were renovated based on a design by Pozzoni architects, and subsequently beat off competition from over 70 countries

The 13-storey blocks of flats were recognised for their sustainable features that aim to minimise the development’s carbon footprint and create energy savings for tenants.

Built by Rowlinson Constructions and BREEAM assessed by energy and sustainability consultants, Energy Council, the scheme was awarded a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating last year.

A number of sustainability measures were put in place throughout the refurbishment process, meaning that the development will offer a saving of approximately 28,000 tonnes of carbon over its lifetime.

The BREEAM Awards recognise the world’s most sustainable buildings and the 2017 shortlist included projects from France, Belgium, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, China and the UK.

“We are delighted that the Tribe scheme has been recognised on an international level at the BREEAM Awards,” said Andrew Smith, project lead and technical director at Pozzoni. “Achieving a sustainable development was always one of our top priorities for this project and a substantial amount of work went in to the refurbishment, so it’s fantastic to receive this prestigious accolade.”

The £17-million scheme, which created 192 new private rented sector homes in the city, was made possible due to the partnership between Manchester City Council, Homes & Communities Agency, Ancoats Residential Holdings and Rowlinson Construction.

David Chilton, development director at Rowlinson Construction, said: “Before the renovation work, the Tribe tower blocks had been empty since 1994, so extensive work was required to make them more sustainable, suitable for residents and to substantially reduce carbon emissions. We’re incredibly proud to have been involved in a scheme which has been so successful.”

The existing 1950s construction was transformed with a wrap-around thermally efficient façade, triple-glazed windows, LED lighting and centralised heating and hot water via a biomass boiler. These measures reduced internal water consumption by 25% and CO2 emissions by 65% compared to a new build apartment. The BREEAM Awards judges noted the strong commitment to sustainability from the client and project team and how the refurbishment had made the most of the existing materials and structure as well as creating opportunities for enhancement.

Each apartment has a heat meter which is connected to a wet central heating system providing a more efficient heat source than electric panel heaters which are common in many new apartment schemes. Thanks to this system, occupiers at the three tower blocks, collectively known as Tribe apartments, benefit from energy prices that are typically half those of electricity users.

Matthew Gibson, director at Energy Council, said: “Securing a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating is a huge achievement for any development but especially with old, redundant buildings which bring additional challenges. The Tribe scheme is testament to what can be achieved with a dedicated team and the use of innovative new technologies.”

As well as this latest award, the domestic refurbishment project also won ‘Sustainable Housing Scheme of the Year’ at the Housing Excellence Awards 2016.

The world’s leading sustainability rating scheme, BREEAM is used in 77 countries as a measure of sustainability for buildings and communities. More than 530,000 certificates have been issued under BREEAM on more than 24,000 projects around the world, and over 2.2 million buildings and communities are registered for certification.

With over thirty years’ experience, Pozzoni has built up an impressive portfolio of public and private sector developments including offices, industrial, education, retail, housing, leisure and care projects from its offices in Manchester and London.

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