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Wed September 22 2021

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Oxford Uni brings Willmott Dixon another Passivhaus scheme

18 Aug St Peter’s College at the University of Oxford has handed Willmott Dixon an £11m contract to build a Passivhaus-certified student accommodation building.

The planned accommodation blocks at St Peter’s College
The planned accommodation blocks at St Peter’s College

The college housing block is  Willmott Dixon’s second Passivhaus contract award this month.

Two weeks ago the same contractor was signed up to build a £30m Passivhaus sports centre in Staines for Spelthorne Borough Council. [See previous report here.]

The St Peter’s College project is the construction of a pair of four-storey buildings to provide 54 bedrooms for college students. As well as meeting the ultra-low carbon Passivhaus low energy building (LEB) standard, the buildings include a podium garden with paved and planted areas.  

Willmott Dixon said that to achieve Passivhaus LEB standard, the design will follow a ‘fabric first’ approach to achieve low energy consumption and high occupant comfort, with a more relaxed target for space heating and airtightness, providing greater flexibility to the design of the building.    

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Master of the college, Judith Buchanan, said: "St Peter’s is a beautiful college, but it is compact. Being able to offer more accommodation for our students matters crucially. Oxford’s private rental market is extremely expensive in ways that hit the poorest hardest. This eco-friendly new development enables us to extend our accommodation offer to undergraduates in ways that are economically so important for them, while making a transformative difference to the feel of our whole estate."  

Richard Poulter managing director for Willmott Dixon’s Central South region said that the build would be “a template for future projects”.

Willmott Dixon’s Passivhaus experience includes the UK’s first Passivhaus ‘Plus’ primary school, Hackbridge Primary School, and the UK’s largest Passivhaus secondary school, Harris Academy, both in Sutton, Surrey.  It also built the George Davies Centre for the University of Leicester in 2015, another Passivhaus building.

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