Green light for UK’s greenest health building

NHS England has given the go ahead for one of the most energy efficient buildings in the NHS which will be the first of its type in the UK to be certified to the Passivhaus standard.

The Foleshill Health Centre building in Coventry will be a new resource for doctors and patients currently using a temporary GP surgery situated on a car park.

The £3.3 million development was created in partnership between Community Health Partnerships (CHP) and NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). CHP has already acquired the land on which it will be sited, on Livingstone Road, Foleshill, Coventry, and most of the cost will be funded by CHP from its capital programme. Coventry based LIFT Company, Arden Estate Partnerships Limited, is the Development Manager for the scheme.

The scheme reached financial close this week and will now proceed quickly, with an expected delivery date of April 2021. It will house a GP practice including five consulting rooms and two treatment rooms, which will serve one of the areas of Coventry with the highest health needs.

At a time when Covid-19 is in the news, this building will have a ventilation system that delivers air clean enough for an operating theatre to the whole of the building and all of the supplied air is fresh and filtered.

The development team at CHP chose the Passivhaus design approach for its health benefits and low running costs. Over the building’s lifetime Passivhaus enables the total costs of operation and construction to be lower than ordinary new buildings. This will make available more resources for healthcare.

The Foleshill building also avoids fossil fuel consumption on site, with heating provided by an air source heat pump. There will also be charging points for electric cars and secure cycle parking to encourage cycling. Photo voltaic (solar) panels on the roof generate some of the energy to be used in the building.

Modular off-site construction delivers high quality buildings that can be installed quickly. Portakabin is the market leader in modular, and the Portakabin modules have been specially adapted to meet the Passivhaus standard at Foleshill.

“This is a very exciting project which has taken a huge amount of effort to bring to a conclusion,” said CHP’s Chief Commercial Officer Malcolm Twite. “As the first health building development of its kind in UK we had to ensure that every option was thoroughly explored and evaluated prior to gaining national approval from NHSE. However, this now provides the opportunity to evidence the case for sustainable development and will make a valuable contribution to the Government targets of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050; no small challenge when the health estate makes up 4-5% of England’s carbon footprint.”

What is Passivhaus?

The Passivhaus approach was developed in 1990, and over 25,000 have been built worldwide.

Passivhaus is a building design and quality assurance process that delivers very comfortable buildings with remarkably low running costs. The key features of Passivhaus are:

  • Well-insulated walls, floors and roofs with no draughts and cold spots

  • An efficient ventilation system with heat recovery and 100% fresh air, running very quietly

  • Triple glazed windows, that are openable when needed

  • A quality assurance process that requires thorough attention to detail in design and construction to achieve comfort and energy savings over the long term.

Concept designed by Architects Tooley & Foster, the plans were carefully scrutinised by health care specialists in Coventry and at NHSE to meet rigorous NHS standards. The stage 3 design quality indicator (DQI) assessment gave the building very high marks. It is hoped that similar designs with a modular, Passivhaus approach can be used for future new healthcare buildings.

Project team members include:

Client: Community Health Partnerships (CHP)

Cost Consultant (Capital): Aecom

Cost Consultant (Whole Life): Aecom

Contract Administrator: Aecom

Architect: Tooley Foster Partnership with WARM: Low Energy Building Practice)

Development Management: Arden Estates Partnership Limited

Building Services: QODA Consulting Ltd

Principle Contractor: Portakabin Limited

Water Authorised Engineer: Hyrop ECS

Fire Adviser: Salus Approved Inspectors

BREEAM: NRG Consulting

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