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Civic House



Completed 2022


£450 K


Agile City


Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (2017), Climate Challenge Fund (2018), Scottish Power energy Network (SPEN)(2019), Resilient Scotland (2021)


AJ Retrofit Awards 2023 (Finalist)
GIA Sustainability Award 2023
Scottish Design Award, Retrofit Silver Medal

Civic House, originally constructed in 1920 as a printing press, is now a workspace, venue and canteen that supports a community of people working across social, cultural and green enterprise. Funded by the Climate Challenge Fund and Scottish Power Energy Network’s (SPEN) Green Economic Fund, Collective Architecture was commissioned by Agile City to undertake the refurbishment and thermal upgrade of this early 20th century industrial warehouse located in the north of Glasgow. The core principle of the project was to create a leading example that demonstrated carbon reduction innovation as Scotland’s first retrofit ‘PassivWareHaus’.

Glasgow has demolished large numbers of industrial buildings over the past 50 years. It is estimated that approximately 75% of the existing building stock in the UK will still be in use in 2050. If we are to help mitigate the effects of climate change, we need to drastically improve the efficiency of our existing buildings. At over 100 years old, Civic House is a compelling case-study for the repurposing of a post-industrial building, contributing towards an energy efficient, low carbon and climate ready future, and improving our knowledge of how to upgrade the existing building stock.

In 2017, Collective Architecture was appointed by Agile City to facilitate an energy analysis and feasibility study to define the scope for retrofitting the existing building. Following a number of site visits and discussions with the client to identify key issues, the energy balance tool ‘Passive House Planning Package’ (PHPP) was used to verify space the heating demand before and after retrofit. Further to the completion of the study, it was agreed with client that a step-by-step retrofit approach and phased plan were to be considered in order to tie in with the client’s available funding.

Collective Architecture worked collaboratively with the client from the outstart to find cost effective ways of retrofitting the building to high levels of performance, in conjunction with funding applications. This has been a learning process for both parties. The client was keen to make the building an exemplar and this extended to becoming involved with the application of the airtightness tape themselves, in order to save on costs. The client was very hands on and a key part of pushing the potential for the building to be retrofitted to target EnerPHit standards.To define the long-term energy goal, Collective Architecture suggested taking a fabric-first approach, focusing on external works to reduce the energy demand and associated carbon emissions, using the EnerPHit standards as a design tool. This included the installation of an insulated panel system to the walls and roof and the upgrading of the doors and windows to Passivhaus standards. This would also improve the appearance of the property and make it more comfortable and cost-effective. The approach would also provide comfort and well-being for the building staff and visitors, whilst also improving air quality via mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.The community activities of the building are supported by the building’s sustainable development - which saw the building being deeply retrofitted, with the installation of a full Solar PV array on the roof - reducing heating demand to an absolute minimum via high specification insulation and heat-recovery systems, while also generating more electricity than it consumes over an annual basis. In essence the building can become one of many mini power stations of the future.

As part of the ‘whole systems approach’, the refurbishment of Civic House included:

- External Wall Insulation

- High performance doors and windows

- Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery System (MVHR)

- Air Source Heat Pump

- Composite Insulated roof panel system

- Photovoltaics Panels – roof array 50kWp

Now complete, the project aims to deliver a public learning programme that explores sustainability and inclusive city development to increase knowledge, develop new skills and drive local behavioural change. As a community-based workspace, the project aims to demonstrate that small actions can generate large-scale impact.

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