Cotswold stone warehouse becomes Enerphit hostel

The Barrel Store; once a warehouse, now a super-low-energy hostel: photo courtesy New Brewery Arts / The Barrel Store. Photography by Max McClure

This 150-odd-year old historic stone warehouse in the centre of Cirencester has been very carefully converted to create a youth hostel, providing much-needed budget accommodation in this pretty Cotswold town.

An Enerphit retrofit lifts the comfort way above the usual draughty-old-house-that-was-impossible-for-the-owners-to-heat that may be many people’s experience of UK youth hostels. Here at The Barrel Store rooms are  warm and well-ventilated, and energy costs for the management, exceptionally low.

The conversion posed some interesting technical challenges. The attractive stone exterior had to be preserved, so insulation needed to be internal. If done badly, internal insulation can create moisture risks within the fabric: the risk is that warm, moist internal air could find its way through the insulation, and condense near the cold masonry.

The designers therefore called in Greengauge Building & Engineering Consultants to devise a moisture-safe strategy, to ensure the building was looked after every bit as well as the guests.

Read about the building conversion, and the way these challenges were addressed, in my article for Passive House Plus magazine.