Willmott Dixon is taking Passivhaus in the UK to new heights after being appointed by the University of Leicester, one the UK’s leading Universities, for the largest non-residential project to meet the ultra-energy efficient building standard.

The Centre for Medicine will be built to Passivhaus standards

Willmott Dixon will construct University of Leicester’s £42 million Centre for Medicine to Passivhaus standards, providing a super insulated six-storey campus that will be home to the University’s College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology departments. Covering 12,836 square metres, it will provide teaching rooms, offices, lecture theatres, dry lab research facilities and support spaces to more than 2,350 staff and students.

When complete in 2015, the Centre for Medicine will become the hub for leading medical academics at the University, bringing together cutting-edge medical research and education for the first time under one roof.

Last year, Willmott Dixon was appointed by the London Borough of Camden to build a 53 home development that was then the UK’s largest residential Passivhaus scheme. Now the company will work with Associated Architects to deliver the largest non-residential building by floor area to meet the Passivhaus criteria for a super-insulated shell that requires little or no additional heating other than that supplied by the occupants.

To achieve the Passivhaus standard, the Centre for Medicine has been designed to include features that minimise its energy use, including a subsoil heat exchange system to pre-warm and pre-cool incoming air, heat recovery mechanisms within the ventilation system, and automated exterior window blinds to keep rooms cool in summer, as well as super-insulation, triple glazing and LED lighting throughout.

Professor David Wynford-Thomas, Dean of the School of Medicine and Head of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology at the University of Leicester said: “This new Centre will give Leicester medical students probably the most advanced environment and facilities in which to study medicine in the UK.

“It will also act as a hub for the University’s research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of some of today’s major health problems, as well as housing much-needed research aimed at finding new ways to improve quality and safety in the NHS. As such, it represents a shining example of the University of Leicester’s ongoing commitment to “research-led teaching.”

Peter Owen, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the Midlands, said: “Passivhaus has been used on residential developments for a number of years and now its energy efficiency benefits are being adopted more widely. We are delighted to be at the forefront of this movement towards Passivhaus given our experience in Camden, which has been valuable learning for our team with the support of our in-house consultancy Re-Thinking. The University of Leicester’s Centre for Medicine will be an exemplar of modern construction methods, providing students and staff with a state-of-the-art, energy efficient learning environment.”