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Willmott Dixon goes Passivhaus for £36m school

27 Nov 17 Willmott Dixon is aiming to build the UK’s first Passivhaus school after landing a £36m contract from the London Borough of Sutton.

New Sutton Secondary School entrance
New Sutton Secondary School entrance

Having previously built the UK’s largest non-residential Passivhaus scheme, the University of Leicester’s Centre for Medicine, Willmott Dixon now aims to be the first company to deliver the same ultra-high energy efficiency standard for a secondary school.

New Sutton Secondary School will be a six form-entry school for 1,275 pupils and 95 staff. It is being built as part of the council’s masterplan for the London Cancer Hub (LCH), a new life science innovation cluster focused on cancer research and treatment located at the former Sutton Hospital site.

The school, which will be part of the Harris Federation, integrates secondary school pupils into the campus’s wider remit of scientific research and treatment to inspire pupils to forge a career within life sciences.

Procured via the London Construction Framework, Willmott Dixon is working with the architect Architype and quantity surveyor Synergy, with construction beginning before the end of the year and completion expected by summer 2018.

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Willmott Dixon said that opting for a Passivhaus design would provide ‘a healthy, optimised learning environment that benefits from the excellent air quality you get with Passivhaus standard buildings’.

Passivhaus requires a highly insulated building envelope, with U-values of 0.13W/m2/k.

Willmott Dixon recorded a UK Passivhaus first last year when its Centre for Medicine for the University of Leicester became the largest non-residential project to achieve the standard. That helped the university building record a ‘19’ energy performance asset rating, placing it in the ‘A’ category. Since completion, energy consumption is 80kWh/m², compared to 500kWh/m² at the school’s former home.

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