Gallery: Historic UK Hostel Turned Into Super Green Residential Housing

The building was formerly a hostel built for seasonal workers in Leeds back in 1939. It has since been remodeled and updated into a eco residential complex.

The original Shaftesbury House was built in 1939, and it was considered revolutionary because it improved the standards of living for thousands of people during its time as a hostel. Over the years it fell into disrepair and abandonment, but was resurrected by Citu and renovated into an energy-efficient residential development. The developer remodeled the historic brick building and added an art-deco inspired topper to create 172 one, two and three-bedroom apartments in addition to a creative work space.

The renovated housing development makes use of many green building strategies including ground source heating and cooling, innovative heat exchanger to share excess energy amongst apartments, solar hot water panels, water-efficient fixtures, local and sustainable materials, tight insulation, British wool carpets with recycled underlay, and an innovative program that allows residents to monitor their energy and water usage from their TV. They can even monitor individual appliances to see how much money they cost to run.

A wind turbine mounted on the roof generates enough energy for the shared facilities, including communal lighting and elevators. Rainwater is collected from the roof and balconies to supply water for toilets and washing machines. The development also includes a free on-site gym, a deli, a community car club, bike storage, and plots of growing space nearby for residents to grow their own fruits and veggies.

Greenhouse is racking up the awards since it opened in the spring of 2010. The former Manager of Shaftsbury House has said “It is fitting that Shaftsbury House offered flagship accommodation when it opened in 1939 and that 70 years on Citu’s redevelopment into Greenhouse will once again see it as a flagship development”.

+ Greenhouse


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  1. breklund November 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I would appreciate hearing more about the wind turbine and its connection to the “shared lighting” – how does that work exactly? Does this mean that none of the residents have light bills, or does “shared” just refer to the common space lighting? Otherwise, the space looks amazing – what a fabulous inspiration for those of us in the U.S. interested in rehabilitation of existing buildings.

  2. The Modules at TempleTo... November 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    […] a ground floor parking garage, a bike garage, and a maintenance station topped with four stories of apartments and a roof deck. Thanks to a double-H layout, each apartment at The Modules has access to views and […]

  3. admin November 8, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    its such a great design, allowing residents to monitor their energy and water usage

  4. admin November 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    go green, hope this trend continues

  5. jillyt November 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    More envy — especially that bike room!

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