Houghton Primary Care Centre has attained the highest benchmark in sustainable design, while at the same time demonstrating that healthcare buildings – traditionally such heavy energy consumers – can meet the highest sustainability requirements.

The idea of the construction was to merge health and leisure services into a single building to facilitate simple, local and easy access to healthcare, leisure and recreational services. The building role is to encourage better wellbeing within the population, healthier lifestyles and therefore overall improved health.

P+HS claims their design solution is fit for the future, that it operates efficiently and is a welcoming building which encourages participation and cross-discipline approaches to health and wellbeing.

The architects worked with specialist natural ventilation consultant, Breathing Buildings, to research and develop proposals for an innovative heating and cooling strategy that would reduce running costs.

In addition to an efficient heating and cooling system, the building uses a range of renewable energy sources to reduce its carbon emissions. These include; PV and solar-thermal panels, a ground source heat pump, a wind turbine and electric car plug points.

The building is a rehabilitation centre aimed to cater for people who are well enough to leave hospital but need further support before returning home, and P+HS claim it has been successful in achieving this vision.

“The appearance of the building reflects this emphasis on wellness; there is nothing here that breathes the word hospital,” said the company.

P+HS worked closely with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) to achieve the highest design quality solution. A number of stakeholders were also involved and encouraged to review proposals and provide feedback. Stakeholder workshops were facilitated using physical models, 3D imagery and mock-ups to make the information as accessible as possible.

P+HS were able to obtain the impressive rating by choosing a suitable site and selecting a cohesive project team with BREAAM experience.

NHS South of Tyne and Wear head of estates Stephen Naylor said: “The NHS recognises the clear impacts climate change will have on human health. The work of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit and organisations like the BRE quite rightly make us question our priorities when commissioning and designing new buildings.

“BREEAM for Health is one of the few prescribed tools for environmental performance management used by the NHS and we were keen to explore the potential to achieve the outstanding grade at Houghton and for other future projects.”

Case studies and articles for the project have been widely published and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) feature it as an exemplar design. P+HS also say their design team have delivered several industry seminars, sharing information and lessons learned.

Ongoing Technology Strategy Board (TSB) funding has been secured to enable building performance to be monitored against model predictions, which are set at an impressive 38% reduction in running costs.

P+HS said: “The Houghton development will assist in continuing to challenge convention and elevate sustainable building standards in our future health estate.”

Excellent all round. Exemplary. They’ve unlocked innovation from their supply chain and gone far beyond what they needed to do, including publishing the learning. An extraordinarily good project

The Co-operative Group
Mott MacDonald
Halcrow Group

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Energy Efficiency: Sainsbury’s

Waste Management: Food & Drink: Sainsbury’s

Sustainability Reporting: Coca Cola Enterprises

Renewable Energy: Northumbrian Water Group

Best Environmental Consultancy: Arup

Sustainability Practitioner: Kirsten Henson, KLH Sustainability

Water Management: ABP Food Group

Sustainable Transport: London 2012

Sustainable Building: P+HS Architects

Carbon Management: The Co-operative Group

Stakeholder Engagement: Sony Europe

Waste & Resource Management: Nextek

Sustainability Communications: The Co-operative Group

IEMA Graduate Award: Lorna Philbin

Sustainability Leader: Dale Vince, Ecotricity


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