South Shields firm scoops national award for solar-powered glasshouse

The award-winning Eco House.
The award-winning Eco House.

A South Tyneside energy specialist has scooped a top award for its part in the transformation of a derelict glasshouse in Northumberland.

The building – on a Georgian country estate in Northumberland – has been revamped into a modern solar powerhouse, with the help of Advanced Renewable Power (ARPower).

ARP finance director Maria Pittiglio.

ARP finance director Maria Pittiglio.

The company, which worked under strict planning guidelines, was one of five in the running for the Heating and Renewables Awards 2015’s Residential Retrofit Project of the Year.

Maria Pittiglio, ARP’s finance director, said: “This was an amazing and unique project.

“The end result is a property which combines the old, original glass house theme, with new functional energy-generating technology. This property has to be seen to be believed.

“An untrained eye may not distinguish the roof as solar because of the innovative flowing lines of the design and the incredibly technical, well-executed installation, which is perfect to the nearest millimetre from edge to edge.

It is wonderful to know that this superb project has won the national recognition it deserves

Maria Pittiglio

“We faced very strong competition, and winning this award is true recognition of the challenges around this unique project and of the skill and patience that was required to ensure that it is a truly great success.

“We are thrilled to have been involved in Eco House Northumberland and delighted to have won the award.

“It is wonderful to know that this superb project has won the national recognition it deserves.”

The company, which is based at One Trinity Green business centre in Eldon Street, South Shields, now hopes to go on to make it a double success for the same project when it contests the Solar Power Portal Awards 2015’s Rooftop 250kw category in Birmingham, next month.

The firm’s work on the ECO House in Northumberland complemented the work of North Shields architects BrightBlue Studio, and its director Henry Amos.

ARP became involved in the eight-month scheme last November, fitting 100 same-size Solar Frontier thin film modules to the roof and brought added heat technology to its interior.

Eco House in Northumberland includes The Bothy, a workshop and accommodation block on the reverse side of the garden wall.

Mr Amos said: “The front of the glasshouse had just about disappeared and the smaller subsequent structure had a corrugated iron roof.

“It’s fair to say that the original had suffered very heavily.

“We worked hard to fully incorporate the 4.5metre-high garden wall as a spine through the building, with a very contemporary solution to the southern glass house, and a more intimate and quieter nuance to the north – the old Bothy.

“We had also hoped to incorporate the original foundation stones and vents, but in the end that was not possible.

“It was fun to bring a visually and literally energetic solution, and the glasshouse now feels very light and modern.

“There is a huge amount of history here, and stepping through the wall from the Bothy into the glasshouse and then into the adjoining garden, gives very different sequence of feelings and periods of history.”

ARP is a renewable energy company which designs and fits solar and renewable energy solutions to homes.

It aims, through installations of renewable energy systems, to help people to contribute to the European Commission’s Energy Policy to reduce carbon emissions as well as reduce energy bills.

For more information on ARP, visit