Passivhaus Affiliate

University giants battle for largest UK non-residential Passivhaus

The University of East Anglia, and the University of Leicester both have large non-residential Passivhaus schemes under construction that are both striving to create exemplar sustainable schemes. Here is a quick comparison to see how things are shaping up.

University of East Anglia: 

The Enterprise Centre


University of Liecester:

Medical Teaching Centre


 3,400m2 consists of the following:

  • 200 seat lecture theatre

  • teaching rooms

  • exhibition space

  • offices which will act as a hub for up-and-coming ‘low carbon’ businesses. 



12,836m2 consists of the following, capable of accommodating 2,400 staff and students:

  • teaching rooms

  • academic offices

  • dry lab research facilities

  • support spaces


TFA: 2793.60 m2


TFA: 9655 m2


Timber frame with lime render and thatch cladding



Concrete frame with concrete panel cladding, curtain walling & brick slips

Predicited Costs: £8 million


Predicted Costs: £42 million

  • Championing low embodied materials that address lifecycle of materials, not just focused upon energy use of the building.
  • Utilising locally sourced materials and labour where possible.
  • Low carbon features include mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, triple-glazed windows, adaptable shading, photovoltaic panels and solar heating. 
  • Contribute towards reducing the University’s carbon footprint – passive design.
  • Takes into consideration future development of surrounding buildings.
  • Features that minimise its energy use, include a subsoil heat exchange system to pre-warm and pre-cool incoming air, heat recovery mechanisms within the ventilation system, and automated exterior window blinds to keep rooms cool in summer, as well as super-insulation, triple glazing and LED lighting throughout.

Key Team 

Client: University of East Anglia & Adapt Low Carbon Group

Architects: Architype

Main Contractor: Morgan Sindall

M&E, Structural, Acoustic Consultants: BDP Engineers

Landscape: Churchman Landscape Architects

Lifecycle Cost Analysis: BSRIA


Key Team 

Client: University of Leicester

Architects: Associated Architects

Main Contractor: Willmott Dixon

M&E: NG Bailey

Passivhaus Consultants: WARM

Structural & Civil Engineers: Ramboll 

Technical Consultants: Couch Perry Wilkes

Completion & certificaton due: May 2015


Completion & certification due: Sept 2015

Previous PHT story

UKPHC14 Presentation: Andy Barron

Previous PHT story

UKPHC14 Presentation: Jonathan Chadwick

Does Size Matter?

In regards to sheer physical scale, the University of Leicester's Medical Teaching Centre snatches the largest non-residential title, but is that all we should be measuring? In terms of the size of costs, the Enterprise centre has a much healthier bang for their buck in terms of costs per meter square. And if we go on to compare the largest potential sustainable legacy, we may lean towards the Enterprise Centre yet again with their commitment to utilising low embodied local materials and skills.

Both teams have a wealth of Passivhaus experience to draw upon. The University of East Anglia are being led by PHT Patron members Architype who have delivered many non-domestic Passivhaus schemes successfully within budget. The University of Leicester have a glut of consultants, such as Patron member Willmott Dixon, and standard member WARM.

25th November 2014

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