U+I U + i The Old Vinyl Factory Complete

The Old Vinyl Factory is a 150 acre site in Hayes, Hillingdon, where EMI manufactured records from the early 1950’s. The site is now being developed as a mixture of commercial, retail, education and residential premises and Vital Energi were appointed to deliver the complete energy solution for the project.

“Our aim is to marry the incredible architectural, cultural and industrial heritage of the The Old Vinyl Factory, with technological innovations and sustainable solutions to bring it into the 21st century. Working with Vital Energi to develop an efficient source of power for the site not only builds on that, but also provides a cost effective energy alternative for our residents and tenants.”

Richard Upton Deputy Chief Executive of U+I

Project Overview

The iconic Old Vinyl Factory development was formerly EMI’s vinyl pressing plant and during the 1960’s the factory produced legendary albums by artists including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd and employed approximately 14,000 people.

EMI moved its record production to a different site in Hayes in the 1970’s and the 17 acre site was purchased for redevelopment in April 2011 by Purplexed. Planning permission to redevelop the site for fully mixed use space was granted in 2013 and is being delivered by specialist regeneration and property developer U+I.

The  development will pay homage to the sites original purposes and the buildings will keep names such as ‘The Record Store’ and ‘The Material Store’. It will be a place for business, leisure and living and by 2019, Crossrail services will run from Hayes to the centre of London within 20 minutes.


The Challenge

The Old Vinyl Factory site in Hayes, London, presented itself as a perfect opportunity to aid the current housing crisis in the capital. U+I received planning permission to provide over 600 new homes, commercial space, creative office space, a research and design hub, a school and a 3 screen cinema for the £250m redevelopment.

Vital Energi's Solution

Vital Energi were chosen to design and install the 4MW energy centre in The Powerhouse to provide 9 separate buildings on the development with heat and hot water. 

The energy centre will contain a 50,000 litre thermal store, a 459kW CHP engine, six 927kW boilers and a 69m chimney. Additionally, we have designed and are installing the site wide district heating network which, when complete, will equate to approximately 1000m of series 2 insulated district heating pipework. The energy centre and heating network will supply 547 residential units and 22,000m2 of mixed use commercial space with heat and hot water and generate CO2 savings of approximately 396 tonnes per year. 

We will also be installing Hydraulic Interface Units and our vPro2 smart metering solution inside 189 dwellings at The Material Store residential phase which is being developed by HUB. Our vPro2 smart meter allows residents to see how much energy they are consuming whilst monitoring their carbon emissions and spend. Therefore, we will be contributing towards HUB’s goals of developing an ‘environmentally conscious scheme.’

Throughout the project, we have been required to liaise with multiple contractors and developers on site. We are one of two principle contractors and have worked alongside Charles Edward Ltd, the principle contractors for site wide civils work, including restoring The Powerhouse building where the energy centre is situated. 

Due to the considerable size of the plant equipment, extensive planning was required before installation could take place. First of all, the 50,000 litre thermal store was installed within the existing water tower of The Powerhouse after 6 weeks of planning. The thermal store was carefully craned into position in the original art deco water tower building designed by Wallis, Gilbert & Partners. Next, a 459kW CHP engine was carefully manoeuvred in and is encased in an acoustic enclosure to keep noise pollution to a minimum as The Powerhouse will also be home to a music venue and café. 

The most challenging aspect of the project was installing the 69m flue which took three months of planning and was installed in three separate sections. The Old Vinyl Factory site is situated within 3.5 miles of Heathrow Airport, therefore we liaised with the airport control tower for the duration of the planning and installation to ensure installation was safe and wouldn’t interfere with the air-traffic. The chimney was lowered through a circular hole in the roof of the building with only millimetres to spare. This was an intricate installation with no room for error and our high levels of planning and communication lead to a successful installation.


Vital Energi have demonstrated meticulous planning and installation of sizable plant equipment whilst communicating with the UK’s busiest airport to ensure the safe installation of the 69m flue. We have worked alongside U+I to deliver an environmentally conscious scheme which will provide heat, hot water and power to over 22,000m2 of commercial space plus over 540 dwellings.

The use of a CHP engine will benefit both the client and the residents as residents will receive an on-demand heat supply and the client will be able to export some of the electricity generated back to the grid. 


  • Original art deco buildings restored to house modern energy centre
  • Compliant with CIBSE guidelines
  • vPro2 units to monitor energy usage and spend
  • Careful planning to ensure safe & successful installation
  • Strong communication with all site contractors regarding difficult installations