Project description

The project involved building an innovative warehouse for The Wine Society in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. We created a 21 metre, double-height structure comprising a steel frame, composite cladding and aluminium roof sheeting, which provided a vast storage capacity for The Wine Society of up to three million bottles. The warehouse enables up to eight racks of wine pallets to be stored vertically, whereas standard warehouses only store up to five or six racks.
The warehouse was the first building in the country to use off-site construction techniques to create pre-formed wall panels of the energy-saving material Tradical Hemcrete. This is a mixture of hemp stalk and modified lime, which was used to create solid pre-formed wall panels fitted on site into a large frame to form the walls of the warehouse.

Responsible business



The raw hemp used in the warehouse’s insulation stores carbon dioxide (CO2) and releases oxygen into the atmosphere during its growth. During the lifetime of the building, the lime content in the walls and roof will also reabsorb the CO2 generated during their initial processing. The lime and hemp mix insulates the warehouse and regulate the heat inside. This helps maintain the building’s temperature when in use and will mean less energy is needed to maintain the desired conditions.
Other energy-efficient construction techniques include the use of Kalwall as an alternative to glass. Kalwall is a multi-layered fibreglass material which has a very low U-value (a measure of thermal insulation – the lower the value, the better the level of insulation) and provides natural lighting within the building, which further reduces electrical consumption. As wine is best stored at 13-16 degrees Celsius, the use of Kalwall – which lets in light but not heat – combined with Tradical Hemcrete’s insulating and thermal mass characteristics results in low energy costs while maintaining the best environment for wine storage.


Alterations took place within a functioning warehouse, so the project team ensured that disruption to existing business was kept to a minimum.


“Now that the project is complete I would like to formally thank you and the team for all your efforts in striving to achieve ‘Perfect Delivery’. The pre-tender design team were aware from the beginning that this was no ordinary warehouse. The need to keep our existing operation running, the super flat floors, the sheer height and specification and first use of Hemcrete must surely combine to make this one of the most complex warehouse builds on record! In all I would like to summarise that being part of the team has been a very pleasurable experience.”

Peter Styne
Operations Executive, The Wine Society


‘Outstanding Commitment to Adapt to a Changing Climate’ award - Hertfordshire Building Futures Awards