Willmott Dixon bags Passivhaus contract with University of Oxford

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Willmott Dixon has been contracted to an £11m Passivhaus project from University of Oxford’s St Peter’s College to deliver a new student accommodation building

The two new Passivhaus buildings will each be four storeys and provide 54 bedrooms for the college’s students.

As well as meeting the ultra-low carbon Passivhaus Low Energy Building (LEB) standard, the buildings include a podium garden with paved and planted areas, as well as enhancing the existing Canal House garden and links to the main college site.

To achieve Passivhaus LEB standard, the design will follow a ‘fabric first’ approach to achieve extremely low energy consumption and high occupant comfort, with a more relaxed target for space heating and airtightness, providing greater flexibility to the design of the building.

The St Peter’s College project is the latest to benefit from Willmott Dixon’s extensive Passivhaus knowledge. As well as the Spelthorne contract award earlier this month, the company built the £38m Harris Academy Sutton, the UK’s largest Passivhaus accredited secondary school.

It also delivered Hackbridge Primary School, the UK’s first Passivhaus ‘Plus’ education facility, which consumes only 75% of the 100% renewable energy it generates, selling the remainder back to the grid.

A template for future projects

Richard Poulter, managing director for Willmott Dixon’s Central South region, said: “Following the UN’s report on climate change, and with COP26 looming, we are looking forward to working with St Peter’s College to deliver a low carbon student residential building that will be a template for future projects.

“Using our extensive Passivhaus expertise, it will be in keeping with the college’s philosophy of ‘honouring the past, building for the future’, creating a wonderful environment for students to live in one of the UK’s most sustainable residences as they study at the prestigious college.”

The Master of the college, Professor Judith Buchanan, added: “St Peter’s is a beautiful college, but it is compact. Being able to offer more accommodation for our students matters crucially.

“Oxford’s private rental market is extremely expensive in ways that hit the poorest hardest.

“This eco-friendly new development enables us to extend our accommodation offer to undergraduates in ways that are economically so important for them, while making a transformative difference to the feel of our whole estate.”

The Passivhaus project comes just a week after Willmott Dixon was appointed by Spelthorne Borough Council to deliver a Passivhaus leisure centre.

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