Shires House

Creating an exemplar in sustainability

Designing a new home for Watson Batty provided us with a unique opportunity to implement the cutting-edge philosophies which form the backbone of good environmental design.


The perfect testbed to demonstrate our long experience and in sustainable design and technology.


As the perfect testbed to demonstrate our long experience and in sustainable design and technology, our focus was minimising energy use, and, where possible, we specified recyclable materials.

To begin with, we were one of the first companies to install a geothermal heating and cooling system. This renewable energy source, with a predicated lifespan of approximately 40 years, is expected to help make a carbon saving of 30-35%. As well as this, the whole building has been thermally insulated to give extremely high U-values.

A rainwater recovery system is used for toilet flushing, significantly reducing freshwater consumption. During periods of dry weather, a mains feed is connected to replenish the tank, and any excess water is discharged into a surface water drain.

Not only naturally ventilated, the building makes extensive use of natural light. The majority of the 28mm-thick double glazing is north-facing, to improve both the quality of daylight and minimise solar heat gain. The glazing to the southern elevation has a 6mm natural-coated toughened outer pane that provides additional solar control. Where necessary, external brise-soleils have been specified, to provide an additional limitation to heat gain.

Client:Watson Batty Architects
Contractor:Lotus Construction Ltd
Value:£1.8m
Service: Architecture
Sector: Workplace