Designing a greener future

Grosvenor’s latest retrofit sets the bar for eco-friendly listed properties.

The finished retrofit is impressive, but arguably more so was the determination it took to get the project off the ground. The Grade II listed former hotel first came on to Grosvenor’s books in 2008, but work couldn’t start for several years, explains Caroline Haines, the project’s Development Manager.

“This project incorporates a lot of intricate design details and sustainable technologies that we haven’t previously used,” she reveals. “But, on top of that, it’s listed and situated in a conservation area. We identified at the outset that we were targeting an ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM rating and knew that it would take time to work up the design and obtain planning approval for such an ambitious scheme.”

The team achieved planning and listed building consent for the project in May 2013, following a substantial planning period. Grosvenor worked alongside Westminster City Council and Historic England to identify the level of sustainable design that could be achieved while retaining the original features and heritage of the building. Work finally commenced in August 2014 and was completed this summer.

Grand designs

Alongside the rainwater harvesting tank, the property also benefits from triple glazing, a solar thermal panel and phase change material that retains heat during the day and releases it at night to regulate the temperature. The integrated smart home system also controls the lighting and front-door access, and displays a tenant’s energy use so they can keep track of their consumption.

“We have targeted a 75% carbon emission reduction on the property pre-development, which equates to a 45% energy bill saving compared to a normal specification,” says Caroline.

Energy savings will be monitored against a similar property that lacks 119’s pioneering features, on the same street. “We’ve had exactly the same monitoring equipment put into 125 Ebury Street, and both properties will be compared over a two year period to establish what, on an overall basis, the energy savings are,” Caroline explains.

It’s clear that careful thought and consideration went into every inch of this retrofit, right down to the splash backs in the kitchens, which are made from recycled bottles, and the sustainably sourced bamboo flooring.

“We wanted to source as much as we could from British manufacturers and British producers,” says Caroline. “In Apartment One, for example, all furnishings have been sourced within the UK; the dining table comes from Putney, the sofas have come from suppliers in Oxford and the headboards from Finsbury Park.”

It is hoped that the property will set the precedent for listed buildings across the country. “The idea is to understand which features have the biggest impact and to incorporate the elements that have really been a success,” Caroline explains. “Many of these sustainable initiatives are already being implemented on other projects, but we’re also analysing the newer, more innovative materials and showing that sustainable design can be integrated into listed buildings.”

Click here to learn more about the property.