Greenhouse was built partly as a refurbishment and partly as a new build. The original structure, Shaftesbury House, was originally a lodging house and hostel for seasonal workers living in Leeds.
The site was chosen for development following confirmation that an aquifier existed 80m below ground. This feature enables Greenhouse to use a ground source heat pump to heat water for the central heating and domestic hot water.
In 2007 we broke ground on a complex demolition. The original building had 4 small internal courtyards, split by a central cruciform of accommodation. The first job was to take down this section, leaving the outer core of accommodation stripped back from its hostel interior, ready for a substantial re-furbishment. There were several logistical problems here, but these were overcome by craning a JCB over the existing structure, and then using remote control robots to take down the edges of the cruciform.
The building has a number of wind turbines which generate power for the residents, as well as 201m of solar thermal collectors which are used to heat wather throughout the complex. The facade has a foot of external insulation which keeps the building cool in summer and warm in winter.