10 stand-out sustainable building projects in Gloucestershire in 2022

As we head towards the end of 2022, we shine the spotlight on some of the Gloucestershire’s stand-out sustainable developments this year, in partnership with county architects Roberts Limbrick.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
An innovative project has created what is possibly Gloucestershire's first BREAAM outstanding offices as it modernises Spirax Sarco's Grade II listed Charlton House in Cheltenham.
In partnership with Roberts Limbrick  |  robertslimbrick.com
Roberts Limbrick

Roberts Limbrick is a practice of over 100 architects, designers, and creatives with a base in Gloucester and a national presence. Its portfolio boasts an extensive range of projects in the public, commercial and residential sectors, from innovative office spaces to affordable homes and state-of-the-art education facilities. Its architects create spaces at the heart of communities, using their knowledge of how people interact with places to make a positive impact in every design.

From new school and college buildings to new-build and refurbished office space creating fresh business hotspots and major new retail units, Gloucestershire has been a busy place in 2022.

SoGlos has teamed up with Gloucestershire architects Roberts Limbrick to take a closer look at some of 2022’s stand-out building developments and drew up an eclectic mix of 10, each with with a eye firmly on sustainability.

Forest Green Rovers Eco Park Stadium

An artist's impression of the all-wooden Zaha Hadid Architects environmentally friendly design for Forest Green Rovers FC proposed football stadium in Gloucestershire.

Forest Green Rovers Football Club's plans for a new football stadium near junction 13 of the M5 motorway was the talk of the Five Valleys for a spell, not least because of a bumpy journey through planning.

The Nailsworth club's owner Dale Vince’s ambition could never be doubted – a £100 million project designed by renowned London name Zaha Hadid Architects.

Neither was Vince going to ask for anything other than a radical and environmentally friendly design. He's getting just that with an all-wooden stadium powered by sustainable energy sources. Preliminary work is already underway

The University of Gloucestershire’s ‘Debenhams campus’

An artist's impression of the forthcoming transformation to the former Debenhams' building overlooking Kings Square, Gloucester.

Taking over an historic building with a radical proposal and a change of use is not often met with such fanfare as the University of Gloucestershire’s plans to convert the listed former Debenhams department store and art deco building in the centre of Gloucester overlooking King’s Square.

The retrofit project is already underway. Its aim is to achieve a building which meets today’s energy standards, makes the most of natural daylight and delivers low carbon design features and technologies including intelligent building systems for heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting.

Hartpury Agri-Tech Centre

Sitting atop of the hill looking back across the incredible Hartpury campus, its Agri-Tech Centre is helping create incredible links between the university and college and business.

Plenty of developments have been afoot at Hartpury University and Hartpury College as the fast-expanding institutions attracts more and more students and one of those projects (opened in March 2022), was its £2 million Agri-Tech Centre.

The centre was built to offer fresh support to the agriculture industry through ‘a new commercial membership package that offers unparalleled resource and support to innovative tech companies nationwide’.

The aim was also to achieve a building with renewable energy generation of not less than 15 per cent, using technology including photo-voltaic panels for electricity and solar hot water generation. Other low-impact design features include intelligent lighting controls, variable speed fans and pumps to reduce energy consumption, heat recovery units, mains water leak detection and rainwater harvesting.

Cheltenham Prep School

Cheltenham Prep School 's nursery at its Bath Road site in Cheltenham.

With all the headline-grabbing projects across Gloucestershire, some managed to pass by almost unnoticed. Cheltenham Nursery School is one of those no more; a dedicated facility at Cheltenham Prep School off Bath Road that has achieved eco-build status.

Its stunning glass-frontage looks out onto an enclosed, landscaped child-friendly garden and play space, providing a modern, inviting and comfortable environment for its very youngest children.  Details of note include the building's sustainable cross-laminated timber structure that embodies less carbon than a steel frame while providing the same durability. Architects Roberts Limbrick designed this one. 

Spirax Sarco's headquarters

Home to Spirax-Sarco Engineering since the 1940s, the Grade II Listed building has been reimagined as a headquarters for the FTSE 100 firm.

Charlton House has been the global headquarters of one of Gloucestershire’s biggest employers, FTSE 100 firm, Spirax-Sarco
, since the 1940s, but the Grade II-listed Charlton Kings building ‘demanded a creative and bold confident approach’ if it was to remain in use.

The engineering firm appointed Cheltenham firm McLoughlin Planning and Gloucester architects Roberts Limbrick and the result is a modern, energy efficient and 'sustainable office' for up to 180 people, believed to be Gloucestershire’s first ever BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) ‘outstanding’ building.

Minster Exchange – otherwise known as the MX

An artist's impression of the MX in the centre of Cheltenham, a conference centre, venue and home to the town's Growth Hub and Cheltenham Festivals.

Possibly one of the most radical projects under construction in Gloucestershire. The exciting new 20,000 square feet of workspace in Cheltenham town centre, called MX, will become a melting pot for businesses (not least as the base for the town’s The Growth Hub business support team) and the arts (it will also be the new headquarters for the Cheltenham Festivals). 

It is 'radical' also because it involved bringing 46 pre-built bespoke modules to the site to make up the building, an approach said to deliver sustainability benefits including efficient production of the structure itself and effective energy control (as each was manufactured in a factory setting). Work is well underway.

The High School Leckhampton

Gloucestershire's newest secondary school, The High School Leckhampton.

Much public debate finally settled the decision to go ahead and build what is Gloucestershire’s newest secondary school, The High School Leckhampton. The £35 million project in one of the most sought-after school catchment areas in the county opened its doors to 243 year 7 and year 8 pupils on Monday 5 September 2022.

Run by Balcarras Academy Trust, it will eventually become home to 900 11 to 16-year-olds. Facilities include six science labs, 10 ICT suites, a music suite, drama studio and a 400-seat auditorium, sports facilities and solar panels to generate its own electricity and planting on the school grounds and in nearby fields, with a long-term commitment made to manage those habitats for the benefit of wildlife. 

Cirencester College’s Gloucestershire Digital Skills Centre

Inside Cirencester College's new Gloucestershire Digital Skills Centre

All the noise about cyber and associated investment might make you feel like Cheltenham is the epicentre of the sector in the county, but Cirencester College laid down a pretty strong card to prove exciting things are happening elsewhere too.

In May 2022 it opened the doors to its Gloucestershire Digital Skills Academy; a £4.48 million new development part-funded by money won by GFirst LEP, designed by Gloucester architects Roberts Limbrick and built by city construction company EG Carter.

The design met all current building standards with regard to u-values (which judge the heat flow through materials), insulation and ventilation requirements.

The Quadrangle Imperial Square

The new-look Quadrangle overlooking Cheltenham's Imperial Gardens.

Its doors are already open following a major refurbishment inside and out of what is one of Cheltenham’s landmark buildings.

Cheltenham firm SF Planning helped win planning approval for The Quadrangle office block in Imperial Square and some of its office space - 13,000 square feet on each floor - is already in use by the likes of Endsleigh Insurance, Bosco Pizzeria and The Artisan Bakery.

A full upgrade of the building, with an eye on sustainability, included the windows from AluK which were integral to the BREEAM Very Good Rating. All eyes are now on the much anticipated 4,500 square foot roof-top restaurant, The Nook.

ProCook's new headquarters, Gloucester

A bird's-eye view of the St. Modwen’s Gateway 12 Business Park off the M5 motorway at Quedgeley, home to ProCook.

The SGGBA 2022 double award winning kitchenware retailer ProCook was started 25 years ago by Daniel O’Neill and earlier this year announced a second year of 30 per cent-plus growth, taking turnover to £53.4 million and profits from £25.4 million to £36.6 million.

Its latest plans will see the firm – which already occupies more than 95,000 square feet of space across two buildings at St. Modwen’s Gateway 12 Business Park in Quedgeley – move its operations and 200 staff under one roof at the site with 167,000 square foot of office and warehouse space. Another project made possible with the expertise of Gloucester architects Roberts Limbrick.

Site-owner St. Modwen Logistics worked with Benniman Construction Group to deliver a BREEAM Excellent and EPC A rating, helping ProCook to achieve its sustainability targets, too. In October it announced it had also achieved the sought-after B Corp status.

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