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Road to net-zero – new ‘innovative’ schemes in Edinburgh and Leeds

Niche housebuilder Artisan Real Estate has raised the bar for sustainable development with the launch of an ambitious design framework geared to achieving low to zero-carbon city living. 

The developer will now incorporate a set of rigorous guiding principles throughout the development cycle, strengthening both its environmental and social responsibility whilst responding to the changing requirements of home buyers and local communities across the UK. 

Artisan says it is now applying the new design framework to new residential developments in key UK regional centres – including Rowanbank Gardens in Corstorphine, Edinburgh and Kirkstall Place in Leeds. 


The new framework will help define future development locations, with Artisan committing to the concept of '15-minute neighbourhoods’ in primarily brownfield city centre areas. It also sets out a radical blueprint for smart building design and the use of innovative technology to reduce energy usage and promote sustainable and community-focused low carbon living. 

Clive Wilding, Artisan’s property director, comments: “The environmental challenges which have been laid bare during COP 26 has accelerated the importance of changing the way we deliver new homes development.”

“Artisan is a niche developer which has always striven for improvement by creating a lower carbon footprint in the homes and buildings we create – not just in delivery but throughout their multi-generational lifespan.”

“As well as reducing urban sprawl by optimising the number of people living in well-designed, sustainable homes in well-connected locations served by public transport, we are also pioneering the application of new technology to eliminate the use of fossil fuels whilst vastly reducing energy consumption.”

This design philosophy is being applied to two of Artisan’s soon-to-be-launched regional developments – the 126 apartment Rowanbank Gardens in Corstorphine in Edinburgh and 263 new homes at Kirkstall Place in Leeds. 

The innovative approach sees smart, energy-efficient building design geared to achieving low to zero carbon developments – with an open and landscaped environment set to benefit general health and well-being. 

With no fossil fuels being used and both heating and hot water delivered through individual air source heat pumps, the developments provide smart energy-efficient design geared to achieving low to zero carbon ratings - with the added benefits of lower home-running costs. 

Rowanbank Gardens, in particular, has been designed to respond to the rapidly changing requirements of home buyers and the wider community post-pandemic. Apartments have been designed around an internal courtyard garden filled with fruit trees and communal planting beds and as well as a natural woodland area and play areas. And innovations such as green roofs ensure benefits of surface water retention, improved insulation whilst encouraging ecological biodiversity. 

Wilding continues: “Rowanbank Gardens in Edinburgh is a perfect showcase for the quality of sustainable development that Artisan is now committed to. At its heart is a sustainable design which reflects the demands of modern life, with buildings designed to minimise carbon footprint and maximise daylight.”

“Significant emphasis is also placed on the quality of internal space and light to create enjoyable home-working environments, whilst accessible gardens and landscaping promote health and well-being by making nature and well-designed outdoor space integral to the day-to-day living experience.”

“With Artisan’s Kirkstall Place development in Leeds, we are providing 263 family homes with large amounts of external space, providing a wide range of biodiversity.  All the homes have been designed to meet our low carbon, non-fossil fuel standards.” 

Artisan is perhaps best known for large-scale city regeneration projects like New Waverley, which has transformed the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town.

The developer is now applying the same values and philosophy which has guided the successful design and execution of New Waverley to its residential developments, setting it apart from other major UK homebuilders. 

“Remaining true to our urban regeneration credentials, at the heart of all Artisan’s developments is building a strong sense of place,” Wilding continues. “We are specialising in niche urban developments in the most exciting parts of the city centre, creating a high-value premium product for a wide range of homebuyers, including young professionals, families and downsizers.”

“Artisan now has an opportunity set a new benchmark for high-quality urban regeneration in sensitive city-centre environments – whether it be commercial, residential or mixed-use. Our track record across the UK has given us a strong understanding of the importance of high quality placemaking, which is at the heart of all Artisan’s developments.” 


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