In the heart of Manchester’s city centre, the 40m tall Tower of Light is a striking new landmark that is a visual reminder of the city’s new heating and electricity network. The new network is a 2km underground network of pipes that provides energy to some of Manchester’s most famed buildings. The low-carbon heat and power will help Manchester secure its goal of becoming zero-carbon by 2038 at the latest.

Located in the Civic Quarter, the tower itself will act as a chimney, enclosing the low-carbon energy centre. Made up of nine sections – called ‘drums’ – each one measures 4m wide, 6m long and 4m high, with a 1.8m crown section. The energy generated in the centre is then distributed through the network of underground pipes serving locations such as the Manchester Central Convention Complex and Central Library.

The striking structure has been designed by ground-breaking architects Tonkin Liu, and developed in collaboration with Arup. The lace-like design has been achieved through incredibly light and thin single-surface structures. To underpin the low-energy credentials of the new energy centre, the design and structure provide the strength, rather than relying on a surplus of materials.

During dark hours the Tower of Light is illuminated to make a feature of the landmark, as well as remind those living, working and visiting Manchester of its important presence. SEAM Design were appointed to create the lighting scheme, which has been fulfilled with a significant number of LED solutions from leading lighting manufacturer Tryka.

Consistency and uniformity of the lighting throughout the project was crucial. All luminaires needed to colour match in light performance. The superior quality and reliability of Tryka’s solutions made them the clear choice for the Tower of Light.

The Tower of Light is illuminated with Tryka’s Aura5 RGBW(27k) some with cowl accessories, Aura7 RGBW(27k) and Aura7 Inground RGBW(27k). Tryka’s Lita Mini Spot has also been specified. All of the luminaires are on DMX protocol and controlled by a Pharos Architectural Controls LPC2 and TPC.

The Tower of Light is an inspirational project as it visually signifies Manchester’s move towards becoming a carbon-zero city. To mirror this, the tower itself has to deliver the highest levels of energy efficiency.

Being specified in this stand-out project is a testament to Tryka’s solutions. The company is thrilled to have been installed in such a high-profile project that will no doubt improve Manchester’s reputation for being progressive even further.

The scheme is expected to save an initial 1,600 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. Additional buildings will be added to the network over time, making the energy centre even more efficient.

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