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Mon June 14 2021

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Leicester Uni claims Passivhaus triumph

8 Mar 16 Leicester University’s new £42m Centre for Medicine has become the largest commercial building to be officially recognised as meeting Passivhaus standards.

Leicester University's Centre for Medicine
Leicester University's Centre for Medicine

The Centre for Medicine, designed by Associated Architects and built by Willmott Dixon, will record a -2 energy performance asset rating, placing it in the A+ category.

It will have a green wall and roof with plants designed to attract insects and birds to help pollination and promote bio-diversity. External planting will also help to reduce the overall temperature of the building.

The Centre for Medicine is said to be the largest investment in medical teaching and applied research by a UK university in the last decade.

Willmott Dixon operations manager James Elliment said: “This is a hugely significant project not only for the university and the region, but also the UK as a whole. Further to that it has been extremely exciting for us to work on such a landmark building.

“Delivering a Passivhaus on such a large scale is not without its challenges and we employed a number of energy efficient mechanisms to ensure that this standard was met. The building boasts many intelligent energy efficiencies including a ground to air heat exchange system, active solar shading and embedded soffit cooling which aids in the reduction of energy used within the building.

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“We have also installed solar photovoltaic panels on the roof, part of the roof is covered in wildflowers and the building has a green wall of vegetation – all contributing to the buildings sustainable credentials.”

Associated Architects director Warren Jukes said: “Achieving Passivhaus accreditation is a major achievement for a building of this scale and complexity. It is the culmination of five years’ work by our team and we are immensely proud to have delivered one of the lowest energy facilities of its kind in the country. What we have achieved has shown it is possible to meet the challenges of energy reduction while developing an estate. Its significance shouldn’t be under estimated as it is now a national exemplar and energy performance benchmark for future developments of this scale and complexity.”  

University of Leicester project manager Dave Vernon said: “Users from the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences & 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.”

Passivhaus Trust chief executive Jon Bootland added: “Delivering a Passivhaus successfully at this scale is very challenging and has been of great interest to all our members and industry experts. The project has been featured at the UK Passivhaus Conference at various stages of development and is a great example that closing the performance gap on complex large scale projects is achievable.”

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