A colourful makeover of Eden Council’s new home at Voreda House – transforming it into a net zero carbon building – is being proposed as the district authority looks to establish a new civic quarter in Penrith.
Planning permission is being sought to replace the existing concrete cladding with an airtight super insulated timber frame, to be produced by a local manufacturer, as part of a net zero carbon retrofit.
A design, access and heritage statement, prepared by Penrith-based 2030 architects Ltd, accompanying the planning application, states the proposed new style of facade would be “more varied and colourful than the existing building”, which was entirely appropriate within the context of the town’s conservation area.
“The creation of a new civic space adjoining Coronation Gardens and the creation of a ‘green’ wall further enhances one of the few areas of public open space in the town centre.
The building is conceived as a hub for community services and as such provides considerable public benefit,” says the planning statement.
It is set to become a “significant” development for the UK as Voreda House would become the first example of a Passivhaus-standard commercial retrofit for low and zero carbon buildings.
Existing gas boilers would be replaced by carbon neutral electric heating, used in conjunction with 100 per cent fresh air heat recovery ventilation.
The renovation would involve the demolition and replacement of external cladding, demolition of external stairs and the creation of an external service zone, together with an extension to its ground floor area to match upper floors.
Existing trees will be kept and a “living wall” would be created in one main facade of the building.
In addition, there would be nesting boxes for birds and bats.
“The design creates a major contemporary building in the town centre which celebrates the unique achievement in being able to perform as a net zero carbon building.
“It has been designed to compliment the buildings in its immediate vicinity as a response to the heritage assets and the context of the conservation area.
“In conclusion the proposed design is considered to make a positive contribution to the environment in all senses, improving an existing building to meet the challenge of climate emergency, enhancing its immediate environment, creating a healthy workplace, and creating a landmark building that Eden District Councll can be proud of,” the planning statement adds.