The national awards keep piling up for Houghton-le-Spring Primary Care Centre in Sunderland with Constructing Excellence the latest to give it recognition as a pioneer of sustainability in the health sector.

The Care Centre already has a place in history as the UK’s first health facility to achieve a BREEAM outstanding rating and its list of accolades continued at the Constructing Excellence awards, where Houghton-le-Spring won the category ‘Best Sustainable Legacy’. It follows success at the recent Building Better Healthcare awards, where it won Best Innovation in Sustainability.

Houghton-le-Spring Primary Care Centre was built by Gateshead-based Willmott Dixon with its local authority efficiency partner Scape for NHS South of Tyne & Wear and attracted headlines last year when it became the first health facility to secure an ‘Outstanding’ rating under BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), the most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings.

Going beyond the Department of Health’s requirements to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating for new buildings, Houghton uses about 38% less energy that a standard building and is EPC A-rated.

Factors behind the centre’s super ‘green’ rating include renewable energy provided by 12.5 square metres of solar thermal panels to preheat domestic hot water, 350 square metres of photovoltaic panels and an 18m high wind turbine, while ground source heat pumps supply natural heat from the ground to the entire building.

It’s not the first time Houghton has been singled out for an award; it has previously won Best Sustainability Design at the Local Authority Building Control excellence awards.

Scape CEO Mark Robinson said, “Houghton is a fantastic example of what is possible with strong leadership from a client coupled with a ‘can do’ approach by both Scape and Willmott Dixon in meeting the very demanding but achievable requirements of BREEAM Outstanding.”

Health facilities are traditionally high consumers of fossil fuel energy, so Houghton was a chance for Willmott Dixon and Scape to demonstrate how it is possible to create a highly energy efficient community health facility that can be replicated across the UK.

Anthony Dillon, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the North said, “It’s been a true success story for NHS South of Tyne & Wear and has rightly won more national recognition. To help create something that is making such an important contribution to the future of sustainable healthcare facilities has given everyone at Willmott Dixon an immense sense of pride.”