Passivhaus Affiliate

UK's first Passivhaus NHS health centre closes in on certification

Health estate makes up 4-5% of England's carbon footprint. Foleshill Health Centre in Coventry is the first NHS building to pursue Passivhaus certification, striving to redefine healthcentre design in the UK. With certification due imminently, the award-winning building contributes to the NHS Carbon Footprint Plus ambitions, aiming to provide an affordable design framework that can be replicated at speed and scale across the whole of the NHS estate and the UK.

Foleshill Heath Centre, Image credit: Beth Walsh

 

Although Foleshill Health Centre was designed to cater for the expected 10,000 patients in the local Coventry area, the brief was developed with greater ambitions in mind. PHT members Tooley Foster have created a model which could be replicated for future healthcare buildings, with key aims to:

  • Provide healthy indoor environments to benefit patients and staff.
  • Improve energy-efficiency of traditional healthcare facilities.
  • Offer a financially viable solution over the building's lifecycle.

As a tried and tested standard with monitoring data spanning more than three decades, Passivhaus was deemed the robust and reliable route to meet this challenging brief. Through cost modelling, the design is predicted to save the NHS approximately £450,000 in operating costs over 25 years following construction.


 

Key Stats

Completion date: June 2021

Certification date: Awaiting certification

No. Units: 1

Treated Floor Area (TFA): 479m2

Construction type: Prefabricated SIPs

Foleshill Health Centre, Image credit: Beth Walsh

 

The entrance is marked by a dual-purpose timber structure, providing an interesting architectural feature and shading to the glazed waiting room. The remainder of the scheme has a simple form factor, housing five consulting rooms, facing mainly west for increased privacy, and two treatment rooms with accompanying waiting rooms and reception areas to the southeast.


 

Construction

Applying Passivhaus to a prefabricated modular design was paramount to the success of the project, not only in terms of speed but also due to the high-quality delivery that the methodology ensures. The off-site approach lends itself to meticulous detailing to achieve excellent airtightness levels, eliminating draughts and associated heat losses within the overall structure. This in turn decreases unnecessary energy usage, and therefore drastically reduces both environmental impact and energy bills.

Foleshill Health Centre © GB Partnerships

Wall

Prefabricated SIPs, mineral wool insulation
U-value: ? W/(m2K)

Floor

Raft foundation with reinforced concrete slab
U-value: ? W/(m2K)

Roof

Ply insulation standardised roof panel
U-value: ? W/(m2K)

Foleshill Health Centre, Image credit: Heavy-Duty Time-Lapse

 

This pilot project is pushing the boundaries of offsite construction within the public sector as well as the perceptions of that which can be achieved with MMC (Modern Methods of Construction). Foleshill is showcasing the flexibility of MMC and is a bold and brave step toward creating a legacy of buildings that will help the construction industry proactively tackle climate change.  

Lee Connolly, Head of Project Design and Engineering at Portakabin

 

Constructed in just 25 weeks, the scheme is made up of 13 prefabricated modules, each engineered off-site using a standardised SIPS panel system. Once transported to site, the prefabricated panels were assembled atop the raft foundation and reinforced concrete slab, and were then adapted to accommodate increased insulation to meet Passivhaus standards.

The structure was wrapped in external mineral wool insulation, with a rainscreen cladding. Polystyrene insulation was  implemented to join up external walls, ensuring a thermal bridge-free structure between walls and the ground. The roof features a ply insulation standardised roof panel with timber parapet. Amazingly the entire building became watertight in only 3 days!

 

Ventilation

Due to fluctuating humidity levels in healthcare buildings, implementing an effective ventilation strategy is critical to prevent the spread of viruses. A key design challenge was unifying the Passivhaus methodology with the NHS health technical Memorandum HTM03-01 ventilation rates, requiring specified air changes for specific rooms within all healthcare facilities in the UK. This was achieved by detailed room by room ventilation analysis to meet these stringent demands.

 

Foleshill Health Centre Consultation Room, Image Credit: Beth Walsh Foleshill Health Centre Treatment Room, Image Credit: Beth Walsh

 

The consultation rooms are ventilated at 30m3/hour/person according to Passivhaus guidance of 3 persons per room. The Treatment rooms each contain separate MVHR units with standard at 90m3/hour/person, with boost rate of 10ach (394m3/h) for treatment purposes and include manual controls for when minor surgeries are performed.

 

Foleshill Health Centre, Image credit: Beth Walsh

 

As the first step towards the NHS' aim to become the world’s first net-zero national health service, it is hoped that Foleshill Health Centre will revolutionise efficiency & comfort in UK healthcare design. With the first Passivhaus Hospital in Frankfurt currently nearing completion, we look forward to seeing how these pioneering schemes influence the future of healthcare design on the path to net-zero.

 

Key team

Project Client: NHS, Community Health Partnerships

Architects:  PHT member Tooley Foster

Main Contractor: Portakabin

Infrastructure consultants: PHT member AECOM

Certifier: PHT Patron WARM

Foleshill Health Centre © CHP

 

This is a very exciting project that paves the way for future sustainable developments which will make a valuable contribution to the NHS Carbon Footprint Plus target for net zero by 2045. Health estate makes up 4-5% of England’s carbon footprint, so it is vital to find ways forward to reducing this.

Malcolm Twite, CHP’s Executive Director, Property Performance



Further information

Community Health Partnerships: Foleshill Health Centre

Tooley Foster: Foleshill Health Centre

Previous PHT story: Is this the future of healthcare design? - 21 January 2021

Previous PHT story: The case for MVHR -29 April 2020

Delivering a net zero NHS

Passivhaus Frankfurt Hospital

4th October 2021


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