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Ambitious largescale Passivhaus student accommodation plans for Exeter University are in the pipeline.

Clydesdale and Birks Residential Project. Image credit: University of Exeter

The University of Exeter’s ambitious Clydesdale and Birks Residential Project was, at the time of submission, the largest single planning application for a Passivhaus development in the UK to date. The project aims to  develop approximately 1,500 new student residences to the Passivhaus standard and to refurbish a block of 290 existing residences to the Passivhaus EnerPHit standard. A relocated office and welfare block is also to be built to the Passivhaus standard..

Key stats

New build units: 1500

Retrofit units: 290

Floor area: 49,821 m2

Planning permission: Outline achieved 2021

Project stage: Procurement phase and out to tender for a Design, Build, Fund and Operate contract, with an expectation that a Financial Close position will be reached the latter part of 2023

Construction start date: 2026

The scheme, at the University’s Streatham campus in Exeter, has been developed in response to a need for additional campus student accommodation on campus. The decision to go for Passivhaus as a building standard is in response to the University’s Environment and Climate Emergency Declaration and net zero programme of action.

Clydesdale and Birks Residential Project. Image credit: University of Exeter 

The Passivhaus proposals respond to the University’s Environment and Climate Emergency Policy Statement, and will result in a significant carbon reduction compared to traditional construction.

Peter Bilverstone, Senior Project Manager  University of Exeter


The project involves the demolition of the current Clydesdale and Nash Grove accommodation and Birks Grange refectory buildings. The existing Birks Grange Village residences will be refurbished to EnerPHit (Passivhaus retrofit) standard. The new buildings will range in height from three to eight storeys. The project has already been granted outline planning by  Exeter City Council.


Key team

  • Main contractor: TBC

  • Passivhaus Certifier: TBC

Exeter University Passivhaus student accommodation


UK Passivhaus Conference 2022

Hugh McCann, Director of Estate Services at the University of Exeter, will be speaking about Passivhaus at Exeter University  at the UK Passivhaus conference on 26 October 2022. Join us online or in person in Exeter.



Other Passivhaus Student Accommodation 

UWE Student Residences © Stride Treglown Architects Kings-College-Croft-Gardens. Image © Feilden-Clegg-Bradley-Studios Cranmer Road: 59 bedrooms across 2 buildings. Image © Allies and Morrison

UWE Student Residences

2250 bedrooms

Croft Gardens, Kings College 

60 bedrooms

Cranmer Road, Kings College 

59 bedrooms


Further information

Clydesdale & Birks Residential Passivhaus Project at the University of Exeter

Passivhaus for Educational Buildings

Previous PHT Story: Battersea Passivhaus high-rise underway -  3 November 2021

Previous PHT Story: Cambridge becoming Passivhaus student digs hotspot - 25 January 2021

Previous PHT Story: Could this be the largest Passivhaus Student Accommodation in the world? - 16th October 2020

7th October 2022

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