THE UK'S Largest
Passivhaus building

£42 million Centre for Medicine achieves record level of energy efficiency

The University of Leicester’s cutting-edge new Centre for Medicine building, built by contractor Willmott Dixon and designed by Associated Architects, has officially received Passivhaus Certification – officially making it the largest Passivhaus building in the UK.

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.

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.

A video issued by the University last year provides an insight into the environmental impact of the new 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.

Dave Vernon, Project Manager, University of Leicester

James Elliment, operations manager at Willmott Dixon, said: “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 efficiencies 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.

“We have also installed solar photovoltaic panels on the roof, part of the roof is covered in wildflowers and the building has a green wall of vegetation – all contributing to the buildings sustainable credentials.”

Warren Jukes, Director of Associated Architects, said: “Achieving Passivhaus accreditation is a major achievement for a building of this scale and complexity. It is the culmination of 5 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 said: “It is fantastic that the University of Leicester Centre for Medicine has finally reached Passivhaus certification. 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.”

Property Consultancy Bidwells, was appointed project managers for the project. Senior Project Manager Ian Wakeling, said: “This has been an exceptionally challenging project due to the complexities and the integration of the buildings control systems used to ensure that this building met the Passivhaus standards."

We are delighted that everyone’s hard work has ensured that this building has received the Passivhaus certification and created a truly exceptional learning environment for future students.

Ian Wakeling, Partner, Project Management

“The success has been down to the collaboration between the contractors, client, consultants and the contractor and his supply chain and the result is this new impressive building for learning which will serve the students’ needs for many years to come.”

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 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.”

Ave Vinick, Director of Development (acting) said: “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

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