Passivhaus Affiliate

Gloucestershire youth hostel aims for EnerPHit

A youth hostel project is due to start construction imminently; when completed in Spring 2016 it will become the largest Passivhaus scheme in Gloucestershire.

The 14 new bedrooms will host parties of school children as well as providing accommodation for those attending courses and workshops run by the building owner, New Brewery Arts. The new youth hostel building will add an additional revenue stream for the charity, and protect the long-term viability of the project.


Existing building currently used as a theatre. Photo credit: Potter and Holmes Architects

I originally pitched the idea of the Youth Hostel to the Trustees as a way of creating a sustainable future. It has been funded mainly through grants from The Arts Council and The Mrs K D Winstone Trust, as well as through private donations. The Passivhaus status will be a bonus and hopefully the success of our project will be a pilot for more projects like this in the future.

Ali Russell, Centre Director for New Brewery Arts

The internal layout is of a generous entrance hall with a top lit winding oak staircase lined with ash boarding with a common lounge and kitchen to one side at ground floor level, and to the other laundry, linen store, disabled persons adapted bedroom and shower room and other bedrooms with 30 bedspaces at first floor level. The scheme aims to acheive EnerPHit certification and involves:

  • A complex & challenging servicing installation, due to the proportion of rooms requiring water supply and ventilation being very high.
  • The construction will be within the existing envelope of the stone building. A highly insulated air tight timber structure will be inserted with accommodation at ground and first floor levels and the plant in the roof void. 
  • The external walls are being insulated from the inside with a build-up of wood fibre insulation products, which allow the building to “breathe” and thus reduce the possibility of the vapour build-up and condensation.  
  • The existing roof coverings are being retained, and rigid insulation boards are being applied between and under the existing rafters to meet the required levels.  
  • The existing lower ground floor is being filled and the new ground floor slab will float on a thicklayer of insulation board which will be turned up at the edge of the perimeter of the slab to remove cold bridges.
  • The scheme has been developed in close consultation with the YHA and includes maximum privacy for shared accommodation rooms and minimal sound transmission between bedrooms.


Ground floor plan. Hover over image for elevations. Photo credits: Potter and Holmes Architects


The building will be certified under the Enerphit scheme. The particularly challenging aspects of this project have been the design of the wall and roof insulation. Budgetary constraints meant a wholesale replacement of the roof would not be possible, and the new, thicker insulation had to be fitted internally, complicated by the need to upgrade some of the structural timbers.

Toby Cambray, Director, Greengauge Building Energy Consultants

Predicted U-values:

Wall insulation system - 0.2 W/m2.K

Roof and floors - 0.1 W/m2.K

Windows - 1.0 W/m2.K (centre pane 0.52 W/m2.K).



Key Team

  • Architects: Potter & Holmes Architects 

  • Main Contractor: DJP Construction 

  • Passivhaus Consultants: Greenguage Energy and Services Consultants

  • Structural Engineers: E&M West Structural Engineers 

  • Quantity Surveyors: Broadhursts Quantity Surveyors

  • Certifiers: WARM 


Further Information

New Brewery Arts

2nd July 2015

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