And finally… Leicester’s Centre for Medicine to become UK’s largest Passivhaus building

The University of Leicester’s cutting-edge new Centre for Medicine building is set to become the largest Passivhaus building in the UK when it opens during the next academic year.

In a new video issued by the University, plans for the £42 million centre, currently being constructed on Lancaster Road, are revealed, providing an insight into the environmental impact of the new building.

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.

The 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.

Paul Nesbitt, Operations Manager at construction company Willmott Dixon explained: “The University of Leicester’s new Centre for Medicine will achieve Passivhaus accreditation which means it will be super energy efficient. We have super levels of insulation, all of the glazing will be triple glazed, and we have a 1.6km underground heat recovery pipe network which will effectively provide free air conditioning and temperature control to the building.

“I have built a number of schools and hospitals previously and this building, mainly because of its leading-edge design, will be ten times more energy efficient than a normal building.”

The Centre for Medicine will record a ‘-2’ energy performance asset rating, placing it in the ‘A+’ category and will even have its own green wall and roof, representing the University’s commitment to the environment. The green wall and roof will have a planting regime specifically designed to attract insects and birds which will help pollination and to promote bio-diversity. External planting will also help to reduce the overall temperature of the building.

Dave Vernon, Project Manager at the University of Leicester added: “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.”

Acting as a hub to bring together, for the first time, the University’s leading academics, researchers, clinicians and students; currently spread across multiple sites in the city, the new centre will completely transform medical teaching and improve the lives of many patients in the region and beyond.

The University is investing £32m of scarce capital resources into the project and is seeking to raise an additional £10m through an ambitious fundraising campaign to complete the build. This represents the largest investment in medical teaching and applied research by any UK university in the last decade.

Steve O’Connor, Director of Development said: “We are grateful to our generous and committed philanthropic supporters and benefactors who have already helped to raise more than £2 million and get the appeal off to a flying start. The Centre will help to meet the local demand for more capable and caring doctors and house applied research that will be in the vanguard of improved patient safety and the fight against chronic disease.”

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