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Houghton Primary Care Centre, Houghton le Spring, United Kingdom

Friday 21 Dec 2012

UK first for sustainable health design

P+HS Architects 
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P+HS Architects completes first UK healthcare facility to achieve BREEAM Outstanding 

Winner of the Leaders in Sustainability Awards 2012, Houghton Primary Care Centre provides a holistic design solution for healthcare delivery which is fit for the future. This welcoming and accessible building operates efficiently and encourages participation and cross-discipline approaches to health and wellbeing. It successfully demonstrates that healthcare buildings – traditionally such heavy energy consumers – can successfully be designed to be future-facing.

With BREEAM Outstanding as the target from the outset, decisions relating to sustainability were considered early. This extended to the choice of site, the selection of an experienced team and the early appointment of a BREEAM Assessor to evaluate design options against BREEAM criteria. This strategy, and a commitment to value for money in life-cycle terms rather than lowest capital cost, provided an ideal platform from which to undertake some of the environmental approaches. Post-occupancy, Technology Strategy Board (TSB) funding is enabling building performance to be monitored against model predictions (38% running cost reduction).

Natural ventilation engineering consultants were introduced early. They provided a ground-breaking solution for ventilation, designing a bespoke 50m thermal wall constructed along the spine of the building which was awarded an innovation credit by BREEAM. Materials and sustainable technology life cycle costings were analysed and materials evaluated in consultation with the Green Guide to ensure their sustainable credentials, with the majority achieving A or A+ ratings.

Locally quarried stone was used and by specifying modular proportions - for example for the rainscreen cladding - the architects ensured that materials were used economically and wastage minimised. Other strategies contributing to the Outstanding rating, include PV and solar-thermal panels, green roof, ground source heat pump, wind turbine, rainwater harvesting and electric car plug points.

Looking ahead, ongoing performance studies, articles, case studies and site visits for the building will, it is hoped, assist in continuing to challenge convention and elevate sustainable building standards in our future health estate.

Steve Naylor, Head of Estates NHS South of Tyne and Wear, says of the project: “Our ultimate aim is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. The extended work at Houghton contributes to improved public health and reduced health inequalities as well as sustainable development."

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