University of Leicester’s £42 million state-of-the-art Centre for Medicine achieves record level of energy efficiency

Willmott Dixon has achieved a contracting first with its £42 million Centre for Medicine building for the University of Leicester officially recognised as meeting Passivhaus standards – the largest non-residential facility to achieve this low energy standard in the UK.

It’s a major milestone for the university sector keen to reduce their energy costs alongside being more efficient on how they consume energy.

The Centre for Medicine, designed by Associated Architects, will record a ‘-2’ energy performance asset rating, placing it in the ‘A+’ category and will even have its own green wall and roof with a planting regime 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.

Bringing together the University’s leading academics, researchers, clinicians and students currently spread across multiple sites in the city, the new Centre will transform medical teaching and improve the lives of patients in the region and beyond.

The Centre for Medicine is the largest investment in medical teaching and applied research by a UK university in the last decade. The University has invested £32 million into the project and has launched the ambitious Centre for Medicine Appeal to raise an additional £10 million to complete the project. The Centre will help to meet the demand for more capable and caring doctors and house applied research that will be at the forefront of improved patient safety and the fight against chronic disease.

A video issued by the University here provides an insight into the environmental impact of the new building.

About Passivhaus

Developed in Germany in the early 1990s, Passivhaus is the fastest-growing energy performance standard in the world and is set to reduce the University’s energy bill for its new teaching and research facility by six times, due to the excellent thermal performance of the building.

A key facet of Passivhaus is a ‘fabric first’ approach to construction and as such the building is incredibly well insulated and air tight to prevent heat leakage through the windows, walls, floor and roof. Comfort for staff, students and visitors from the local community and beyond, will be maintained by a state-of-the-art heating, cooling and ventilation system.


Dave Vernon, Project Manager at the University of Leicester:

“Users from the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and 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.”

James Elliment, operations manager at Willmott Dixon:

“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 features 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."

Warren Jukes, Director of Associated Architects:

“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.”

CEO Jon Bootland from the Passivhaus Trust:

“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.”

Ave Vinick, Director of Development (acting):

“We are grateful to our generous and committed philanthropic supporters who have helped raise more than £8 million towards our target. The Appeal will continue well into 2017 and we will work closely with our Alumni and local stakeholders to generate the support needed to complete and equip this ground-breaking facility.”

To make a donation to the Centre for Medicine Appeal, or for more information, please visit