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Stroud District Council has completed a project for the design, installation and commissioning of water source heat pumps at the sites of two Grade II* listed, former woollen mills. The buildings are occupied as offices whilst the site at Ebley Mill also serves as the council’s main administrative headquarters.
The project was conceived to primarily reduce direct carbon emissions from two of the council’s major buildings, removing the reliance on heating the buildings from burning fossil fuels and to sustain the economic life of the historic buildings.

Historic Buildings containing traditional heating systems

Brimscombe Port Mill sits within the former Brimscombe canal port that is undergoing a major redevelopment, including the reinstatement of the Stroud water canal and the historic canal basin. The former woollen mill will be the only building retained as a part of that redevelopment and will form a prominent landmark within the completed scheme.

The existing gas boiler plant was located in a building due for demolition and although only some seven years old a suitable housing would be required should the boilers be salvaged and re-located. The boilers at Ebley Mill dated the building’s conversion to offices in 1989 and replacement gas boilers or alternative fuel sources for the space heating needed to be considered.

Strategic Context

As described earlier both sites required a solution to the replacement heating system for different reasons but prime in coming up with the solutions was the drive to reduce carbon emissions and reduce dependency on burning fossil fuels for providing space heating and domestic hot water. The buildings’ locations immediately adjoining the main river over which the council have ownership led to the decision to harness the latent heat from the river.

In both locations connections between heat pumps and external river collectors was relatively short whilst the only partial occupation of ground floor spaces enabled the formation of internal plant rooms housing the new heat pumps. The relatively limited alterations meant that neither Listed Building Consent nor Planning approval was required.

The council have adopted a 2030 strategy to achieve carbon neutrality and the decarbonisation of both buildings is an intrinsic part of that strategy.

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