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Located in the South Leeds regeneration area known as Beeston Hill & Holbeck, the Greenhouse Project is without question the most challenging eco-friendly refurbishment project undertaken to date in the UK. By addressing environmental impacts, economic regeneration and social inclusion factors, this development clearly has sustainability at its core.

The designers were given the onerous task of transforming a very dated, solid brick 1930’s art deco structure (known previously as Shaftsbury House, a common lodging for seasonal workers) into an inspiring, sustainable, carbon neutral development, providing 172 energy efficient 1, 2 and 3 bedroom eco-chic apartments that were not only extremely comfortable to live in, but inexpensive to run.

One of the key factors in this development was the design of the external wall insulation system which required a U-value of just 0.15W/m²K to enable it to achieve Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. This ambitious target would ultimately offer a 60% overall percentage reduction in carbon dioxide emissions over current building regulation requirements and result in a considerable increase in thermal comfort and significantly lower energy bills for residents.

The Wetherby External Wall Insulation System incorporating 130mm Phenolic insulation was the only system that offered enough flexibility for it to be used on a development of this scale where refurbishment and new build techniques needed to be combined and a modern seamless façade was achievable regardless of the building’s substrate.

Not only was the design of the wall areas critical but serious consideration was given to the areas where the system would interface with the new roof and other cladding elements, to enable the architect to achieve a watertight building envelope in as short a time frame as possible.

Although the majority of the building saw the insulation adhesively and mechanically fixed directly to the structure, the insulation solution for the internal courtyard area presented a serious challenge as large areas of steel frame infill panels also required insulating. This was overcome by the use of the EPSITEC Rail System which is the only UK accredited system to meet building guidelines onto steel frame structures. The combination of the EPSITEC Rail System along with the conventional rendered insulation system allowed the entire internal courtyard to be finished with the same striking aesthetical elements as the external façade, giving the building a truly seamless finish.