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  • Jane Batchelor

UK’s greenest healthcare building on site in just 10 days

Community Health Partnerships (CHP) have met a key milestone for the new green Foleshill Health Centre in Coventry when the specially designed modular building was placed on site at the end of December. Arden Estate Partnerships are providing Development Management services for the project.

The centre, which will be the UK’s greenest healthcare building, is also quick to construct. The foundations were laid out, including all underground utilities, concrete poured, and the modular units placed onsite within 10 days in December. The delivery and installation of the 14 modules that make up the two-story building (620m²), were designed to fit the exact space. Installing the units took only two days, with the building now watertight.


Foleshill is the first healthcare building in the UK to be built to international Passivhaus standards. The team chose a modern method of construction due to the safety advantages, but also the high build quality compliments Passivhaus. The modules have been manufactured by Portakabin at its specialist manufacturing facility in York before being transported to site, installed and assembled. Portakabin is the market leader in modular construction and has specially adapted is modular building system to meet the Passivhaus standards.

The Foleshill site is a small area with buildings close by, so the team from Portakabin on site had to ensure each module was moved into position with precision, so that the ground floor modules sat on piles and all utilities connected.

The £3.3 million project is a partnership between (CHP) and NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The Foleshill Health Centre in Coventry will be a new, high quality facility for GPs, primary care staff, and patients who are currently using a temporary surgery on a car park. The new building will have five consulting rooms and two treatment rooms, serving an area of Coventry with high health needs.

What is Passivhaus?

The Passivhaus approach was developed in 1990, and over 25,000 buildings have been built worldwide. The key features of Passivhaus are:

  • Well-insulated walls, floors and roofs with no cold spots or drafts.

  • An efficient ventilation system with heat recovery and 100% fresh air, running very quietly.

  • A heat recovery matrix system to ensure low heating costs.

  • Triple glazed windows, that can be opened when needed.

  • Low energy lighting and appliances.



Passivhaus and CHP

CHP chose the Passivhaus approach for its sustainability, low running costs and health benefits. This will help meet targets set by Government for zero carbon emissions by 2050. This is a challenge given that the health estate makes up 4-5% of England’s carbon footprint, and 18% of provider estate predates the founding of the NHS. In addition, Passivhaus features mean the total costs of operation and construction are lower than conventional buildings over the life of the building, so there will be more resources available for healthcare delivery.

Passivhaus technology at Foleshill

The Foleshill building has heating via an air source heat pump; with no fossil fuel used on-site and photo voltaic (solar) panels to generate some of the energy for the Surgery. There is continuous fresh air with heat recovery, and windows can be opened as required. Fresh air circulating, as part of the Passivhaus technology, will be an important benefit during the Covid-19 pandemic. There will also be electric car charging points and secure cycle storage to encourage sustainable transport.

It is anticipated that the annual utilities running costs for Foleshill will be approximately a third of the cost of a traditional build, giving significant savings over the lifetime of the building.

Eugene Prinsloo, Developments Director for Community Health Partnerships said:

“It is always exciting to see a construction site breaking ground for foundations and a building taking shape. It was amazing seeing the Foleshill building appear in just two days. For the CHP team, this is an important building enabling us to prove the case for sustainable developments in the NHS.”
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