What links The Whitworth Art Gallery to a Manchester Football club?

11 08 2014


The Whitworth’s new earth tubes are the latest bit of kit being installed to boost our sustainability credentials, and part of the building project’s bid to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.  The ground-air heat exchanger takes advantage of the fact that the temperature of the ground, 1.5 to 2m deep, remains a relative constant temperature between 7ºC-12°C throughout the year.


Incoming outside air passes through an underground pipe system to pre-heat it in winter and to pre-cool it in the summer.  By using the embodied ground energy to pre-condition the incoming ventilation air, it is possible to improve the quality of the air inside the Gallery, as well as saving both costs and energy.

The biggest issue facing the construction team with the installation was sourcing the soil for the back fill around the tubes.  The required soil mix was based around a German specification, fairly new to us in the UK – one of the Ameon engineers explained the problem: ‘… we spent a good few days trying to source the same spec within the British isles – in the end It was right under our nose all the time.  Football grounds have heated pitches and use the mix of soil we required, so the soil the Whitworth’s project now has around the earth tubes, which are buried 1500mm down, is re-claimed soil from Manchester United’s football ground.’


Back-filling around the earth tubes with reclaimed soil from Man Utd

Back-filling around the earth tubes with reclaimed soil from Man Utd

So there you are – never did I expect to be using the words Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester United in the same sentence!




One response

11 08 2014
David Gelsthorpe

It is a shame that the Whitworth Art Gallery does not sit on a plate boundary like here in Iceland

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