Largest UK Passivhaus to be built

A new Centre for Medicine building in the East Midlands will achieve record levels of energy efficiency, says its designers

The University of Leicester’s new Centre for Medicine building is set to become the largest Passivhaus building in the UK when it opens during the next academic year. The university has issued a video which reveals the plans for the £42 million centre, how it will achieve the Passivhaus standard and how this could reduce the university’s energy bill for its new teaching and research facility by six times. Insulation and air-tightness are key facets of Passivhaus – which was developed in Germany in the 1990s – and to this end the new centre will deploy the latest heating, cooling and ventilation systems.

Paul Nesbitt, operations manager at construction company Willmott Dixon, explains: “The University of Leicester’s new Centre for Medicine will achieve Passivhaus accreditation which means it will be super energy efficient. We have super levels of insulation, all of the glazing will be triple glazed, and we have a 1.6km underground heat recovery pipe network which will effectively provide free air conditioning and temperature control to the building.

“I have built a number of schools and hospitals previously and this building, mainly because of its leading-edge design, will be ten times more energy efficient than a normal building.”

The Centre for Medicine will record a ‘-2’ energy performance asset rating, placing it in the ‘A+’ category and will have a green wall and roof. These will have a planting regime designed to attract insects and birds. External planting will also help to reduce the overall temperature of the building.

Dave Vernon, project manager at the University of Leicester, adds: “Users from the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology have been heavily involved in the design of the building and through our soft landing process are fully engaged in learning how to work in such an innovative building. Many of the myths surrounding Passivhaus buildings have been dispelled and users are now energised and excited about the imminent move.”

The centre will bring together academics, researchers, clinicians and students who are currently spread across multiple university sites across the city.

The university is investing £32 million into the project and is seeking to raise an additional £10 million through a fundraising campaign to complete the build.

Steve O’Connor, director of development, says: “We are grateful to our generous and committed philanthropic supporters and benefactors who have already helped to raise more than £2 million and get the appeal off to a flying start. The centre will help to meet the local demand for more capable and caring doctors and house applied research that will be in the vanguard of improved patient safety and the fight against chronic disease.”


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