Community life at the Greenhouse

COurtyard vegetable patch at the heart of The Greenhouse, Beeston

It stands proudly on the site of the former Shaftesbury House – but what exactly is lie like living at the eco-friendly The Greenhouse?

Well, residents of the pioneering low-carbon development in Beeston are prime examples of a new breed of individuals making sustainable living a part of everyday life.

In honour of Greenhouse’s  first birthday last year in Leeds the developer, Citu chose to honour ‘Green Champions’ within their community, to help illustrate that eco-living has come a long way.

With student teachers, trainee doctors, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals coming together, residents at Greenhouse are more than aware of their impact on society, and are consciously working together to ensure their impact on the environment is positive.

Greenhouse, which launched in October 2010, incorporates some of the most pioneering renewable technologies, from wind turbines and solar panels to ground source heating and recycled rain water, along with IPTVs that tracks individuals’ energy usage and monitors the cost on an hourly basis.

All of this makes it easier for residents to live a greener lifestyle but many residents go much further than this. They have built their own community and now service the Greenhouse Deli, maintain the free bike club, tend to the allotments, run the local pub quiz, organise a free-cycle trading club, and have even recently launched the Greenhouse Apart-Hotel.

Greenhouse Beeston
Community spirit: The Greenhouse

24 year old trainee teacher Thomas Graves has lived at Greenhouse since last October and plays an active role in leading initiatives at the backbone of the community. He said:

“Before moving to Greenhouse, I wouldn’t have really classed myself as ‘eco-minded’ as such, however I’ve always been aware of not wasting energy.

” Living at Greenhouse has made me more conscious of ways I can reduce my bills and of course my energy consumption – through simple steps like filling the kettle for the appropriate number of cups and taking shorter showers – we have a rule where we’re allowed in the shower for the length of one song, then it’s time to get out!

“One of the things I love about Greenhouse is there’s a real sense of everyone coming together.

“To me, there’s no point living here if you’re not going to get involved, so I’ve jumped at every given opportunity to take part in community activities.

“I help lead the maintenance of our allotments where we grow our own fruit and veg, some of which is given to the onsite deli, where I work to produce locally sourced, home-cooked meals for residents and office tenants.

“I have also recently got involved in a local pub quiz, which is a weekly gathering of both Greenhouse and local Beeston residents. I’ve never lived anywhere where there is a real meaning to knowing your neighbours, especially in the city centre, but Greenhouse has proved that this is possible – once you tell people where you live they often have a lot of questions, so that in itself is a bit of an ice breaker!”

Director Fraser Stride said:

“Residents are a mixture of young professionals and families and all are committed in their own way in making lifestyle changes. Some feel they have done that simply by moving here, but many people move to Greenhouse to be a part of something bigger and really get involved in the community elements at the development.

“We’ve seen a big surge of young professionals passionate about getting involved with what Greenhouse stands for, proving that contrary to popular belief the 20-30 somethings really do care about their environmental impact”.

Greenhouse residents have taken sustainability to a whole new level, by establishing a community which supports the clean energy generated by the high-spec technologies of the building, enabling them to lower their own utility bills and carbon emissions through forward thinking and a sense of responsibility.

These residents are leading the way for a sustainable future, challenging the age-old concept of the ‘eco-hippy’ and showing that today’s ‘green enthusiasts’ are urbanites choosing to cultivate allotments, buy locally sourced produce, enter car share schemes and cycle to work.

With a current running total of 30 awards Greenhouse has been heralded as ground breaking, and figures show that the solar thermal renewable technologies at work over the last year have generated over 36878KWH – this equates to energy capable of heating 27,226 showers.

Chris Thompson, Managing Director at Citu, said:

“Building a sustainable community was always one of the main goals of Greenhouse, and it’s fantastic seeing it come to life. Sustainable living is no longer something that can be afforded to be seen as a ‘quirky lifestyle choice’ – it needs to be something everyone understands, to really help reduce our impact on the environment.”

Greenhouse has 166 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments, 13,000 sqft of office space, Greenspace – the UK’s greenest conferencing and events centre – and an on-site Apart-Hotel. For more information about living, working or staying at Greenhouse visit or