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Case study – Magdalen Road Studios

Brushing up community arts space

Magdalen Road Studios is an arts charity run for the benefit of the community. Following a comprehensive energy assessment, they discovered the potential to lower their energy expenses and their carbon footprint through the upgrade of their lighting and heating systems. The building was also very poorly insulated and therefore a cold and uncomfortable space to work in the winter.

The process of making improvements

The studio’s Workplace Energy Efficiency Assessment identified some key areas of improvements, including: LED lighting, insulation, and infrared heaters to make the space a more welcoming environment for artists and visitors.

7,345 kWh

predicted annual energy saving

1.72 tonnes

predicted annual carbon saving


predicted annual cost saving

If followed, the report showed that these recommendations would bring about significant improvements, with a predicted 7,345 kWh of energy saved every year – representing 1.72 tonnes of CO2 emissions, and £1,463 worth of energy bills.

Funded work

The work to replace the roof has increased the daylight by 30% through transparent roof-lights that defuse UV light. The previous roof was an asbestos uninsulated construction and leaked. Together with faulty drain pipes and guttering this had previously made the space very damp. 

The new LED lighting not only saves energy, but has three settings so artists can choose the type of light they want: white light, warm light, or daylight equivalent. Infrared heaters with sensors – which instead of heating the air, heat objects, surfaces, and people in a room directly – have also been added as suspended units from the ceiling, which allows the Studios to be heated flexibly depending on occupancy. 

The roller doors at the front of the building have been retained, but these and all the solid exterior walls have been insulated with 100mm of Rockwool, to improve the thermal efficiency of the building. The roof insulation minimises heat losses in winter, reduces heat gains in summer, improves comfort levels for visitors and reduces annual energy bills by reducing the amount of energy needed to heat the building.

A fire corridor and visitor route has been included in the building upgrade, which enables full wheelchair access to the individual studio spaces, without the previous inconvenience of walking through other studios.

The Studios is now at full capacity and has 22 artists in residence. 

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