Chapel FM Arts Centre leads the way with innovative eco heating system

Picture showing heating system being installed
Photo credit: Chapel FM

The Chapel FM Arts Centre, located in the East Leeds community of Seacroft, has completed a £610,000 renovation and expansion project that has created a much improved community arts resource for the residents of East Leeds. The project notably includes an environmentally sustainable ground source heating system, putting the arts centre at the vanguard of forward-thinking, green technology in the region.

The ground source heating system was funded with the help of Biffa Award through the Landfill Communities Fund. In addition to being a positive and practical element in the building’s design, the system will also become a catalyst for Chapel FM’s work with young people and other participants from our community to use their broadcasting and the arts skills to explore ways of responding to the climate emergency in the years to come.

The new venue, set to open in the spring of 2021 (pending Covid-19 regulations), also features a community café, a large hall that will enable a wide-range of new arts and wellbeing offers, meeting rooms, outdoor seating and other features. 

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The implementation of Chapel FM’s ground source heating system was guided by LEDA, a Leeds-based firm that specialises in creating and delivering sustainable buildings. Jim Wild, LEDA director said of the project:

“Chapel FM’s new ground source heat pump is up and running, finally warming the newly-insulated performance space in the old hall, and the new kitchen. As well as a ground source heat pump to replace the gas boiler system, the scheme includes an acoustic mixed mode ventilation system in the hall that works silently and passively during performances and events. This is a much more economical solution than using mechanical cooling, that would have required additional plant and equipment, and that would have needed maintenance”.

Heads Together Productions board president and local city councillor Katie Dye said of the Chapel FM Arts Centre renovation:

“This is an exciting time for Chapel FM. As a local councillor and a teacher I know how important it is to be able to enhance the offer at the chapel so that more people have a chance to be involved in activities in this wonderful space. I am also impressed by the recognition of the climate emergency in the design of the building and its contribution to a greener Seacroft”.

The arrival of the new, expanded Chapel FM Arts Centre is the result of many years of planning that included extensive consultation with participants, community members, artists who use the space, third sector leaders and others.  The design of the expanded Chapel FM Arts Centre was developed by Nottingham-based architect Matthew Strong and the construction was done by Roebuck and Holmes, a family-run firm in Huddersfield.

Heads Together Productions founder and co-director Adrian Sinclair said of the project:

“We knew that refurbishing an old building to be sustainable would be a challenge, but it was important to all of us from the outset, we wanted to prove that it was possible, to be an example to the community. We worked with LEDA to design a brief, including the key presence of the ground source heating system in the most sustainable way possible. We are especially grateful to the Biffa Award for making this important element in our new venue possible.” 

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award grants manager, said:

“It is so important that we continue to invest in community buildings which are at the heart of their communities. Supporting the project to renovate the heating system at Chapel FM will ensure that the community has a fit for purpose building to use for years to come”.

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