Actis sustainable building

Sustainable building experts choose Actis for house overlooking St Michael’s Mount

A Cornish sustainable building specialist, whose work has included refurbishing the former home and studio of renowned artist Ben Nicholson, is midway through a new build project designed to make the most of views towards St Michael’s Mount.

Green Level, whose strapline ‘building with a conscience’ gives a clue as to its ethos, is hot on creating super energy efficient homes and using environmentally low impact materials wherever possible.

Its geographical location has provided it with the good fortune to develop and refurbish a number of homes in stunning settings – and its latest project is no exception.

La Mouette (The Seagull in French, a nod perhaps to St Michael’s Mount’s counterpart off the Normandy coast) sits on a south facing hillside near Penzance and enjoys panoramic views over Mounts Bay, a 42-mile sweep from Lizard Point to Gwennap Head – and the largest bay in Cornwall.

The three-bedroom detached house replaces a small bungalow which was demolished to enable its replacement to take advantage of the panoramic views. La Mouette was designed by Studio West Architects, with whom Green Level has worked on a number of projects. The practice has an impressive track record in designing highly energy efficient custom buildings which are sympathetic to the natural environment in which they are set. 

The master bedroom of the 2,200 sq foot steel timber framed property is on the first floor and will make the most of the stunning sea views, as will all coast facing rooms, thanks to the strategic use of massive glazing panels.

A polished concrete floor with underfloor heating will provide a heat store from solar gain created by natural sunlight to minimise energy use and the external walls will be finished in a mixture of cedar, render and aluminium.

With thermal efficiency high on the agenda Green Level is using three of the four Actis Hybrid products on the build – 185mm honeycomb insulation Hybris between the studs, insulating vapour control layer HControl Hybrid on the inside of the walls and insulating breather membrane BoostR Hybrid on the outside of the walls.

Green Level MD Daniel Lees explained: “We have used Actis on many other projects and have found it to be a highly efficient, clean and safer material to use, so these were deciding factors in Actis as a choice for an insulation product. As a company, we take great pride in our work and maintain the highest of standards on every project. So, it is important we use materials that can help us achieve this.”

Green Level’s reputation for creating low energy buildings has seen it work on some spectacular projects using the Actis system. Its recent renovation and refurbishment of Trezion in the marvellous sounding Salubrious Place in St Ives is one such example.

The three-bedroom detached former home and studio of Ben Nicholson, one time husband of sculptor Barbara Hepworth, has a separate two storey artist’s studio (once the workplace of the great painter), complete with balcony and wraparound terrace overlooking St Ives Bay.

Green Level is also using the Actis system on an ongoing cliffside project in Newquay and another Studio West Architects property in St Just in Penwith.