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Health Centre

The new Foleshill Health Centre is the first Passivhaus building for the NHS. It provides a healthy comfortable interior, with filtered fresh air throughout and much lower than average running costs. Detailed life cycle costing shows that this Passivhaus building will save the health system nearly £0.45m in operating costs over the 25 years after construction.

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Foleshill: a proof-of-concept project

We were challenged to balance costs with Passivhaus certification performance. The project managers were challenged to demonstrate that low carbon higher capital cost buildings could be afforded by the NHS. Client Community Health Partnerhip’s Chief Commercial Officer noted “As the first health building of its kind in the UK we had to ensure that every option was thoroughly explored and evaluated prior to gaining national approval from NHS England”. Collaboration and determination succeeded.

The Passivhaus standard was also challenged by project scale (619m2 2-storey) creating a high external surface/floor area ratio - addressed by increasing external insulation. The mechanical ventilation with heat recovery required by Passivhaus had to be separated into independent systems per treatment room, allowing variable air flow rates according to activities. These types of measures drove costs up - making the design and Whole Life Cost model work harder. NHS’s utility cost inflation figure of just 1% per annum stressed proving financial benefits even though the carbon emissions model was a project triumph.


We have a calculated a 9% reduction in capital costs for a typical NHS health centre over its first 25 years, with energy savings yielding a 2.5% reduction in life cycle costs, rising to 8.6% over 40 years. With annual energy consumption just 31kWh/m2 GIA, compared to 98kWh/m2 for an equivalent traditional build health centre.

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