Passivhaus Affiliate

RAD Building has Passivhaus ambitions

Following the footsteps of the University of Leicester and the University of Bradford, where both have successfully delivered a certified Passivhaus lab space, another University aims for a Passivhaus development.

RAD Building, University of NottinghamProposed RAD building: Image Lewis & Hickey Architects

The University of Nottingham has been keen to implement the Passivhaus standard for the Research Acceleration and Demonstration Building (RAD) due to its use as an energy research facility. The University has a core philosophy of developing buildings with Green credentials, including BREEAM, excellent & outstanding and LEED Platinum, but this will be the first aiming for the Passivhaus Standard. The decision to seek Passivhaus accreditation & BREEAM excellent status was led by the University of Nottingham’s Project Management Group.

The £7m newbuild scheme will accommodate 100 staff & students and consists of 2500m2 research facility on the Jubilee Campus providing laboratory, office and support accommodation for the UK Government Energy Acceleration Research Initiative (ERA). The design was developed by a multidisciplinary team and from the outset was focused on embedded sustainable principles including potential re-use of an existing borehole on the site.


The design solution adopted a split laboratory and office accommodation model with a central atrium space, providing main access and egress and key breakout hubs to each level, with a full height, feature ‘green wall’. The atrium also provides stack ventilation assistance to the active systems and acts as a collector for passive solar and occupant gains which are then captured through roof top plant at the atrium head. While sustainability is a very high priority for the scheme, it is deemed equally important to seize the aesthetic opportunity to provide a dynamic appearance with a unique identity consistent with aspirations of the ERA initiative and the design led context of the campus.

Lewis & Hickey Architects



The project will be construct with a ground bearing slab and steel frame with SIP system and curtain walling, aiming for a predicted thermal energy demand of 15kWh/m2.yr


172mm Kingspan SIP system with additional insulation


Pre-cast concrete unit deck with 300mm EPS insulation over


Screed over 250mm XPS insulation


Aluprof Passivhaus Certified thermally broken curtain walling

system and window system.


RAD building: The University of NottinghamProposed RAD building: Image Lewis & Hickey Architects


Key Team

Client: The University of Nottingham

Architect: Lewis & Hickey

M & E Consultants: Crouch Perry Wilkes

Project Managment: AECOM

Passivhaus Consultants: Etude

Contractor: Robert Woodhead Ltd

Structrual Engineer: BWB Consulting

Passivhaus Certifier: WARM

Although a Passivhaus first for many involved in the project, WARM & Etude are bringing Passivhaus experience, and Couch Perry Wilkes have previously been involved in the University of Leicester, Centre for Medicine which achieved Passivhaus accreditation.

Work on site commenced in February 2017 with completion due in Spring 2018.


Further Information

University of Nottingham

Lewis & Hickey Architects

East Midlands Business Link: £5.4m research facility to be one of the most sustainable builds in the UK - 6 April 2017

16th May 2017

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