CPW revolutionise new office complex using PassivHaus eco-design principals

Leading environmental building services consultants’ Couch, Perry & Wilkes (CPW) are using some of the world’s most advanced eco design techniques on Interserve’s new £1.5 million regional office in Leicestershire.  Interserve is one of the world’s leading construction companies, and is building the new complex in partnership with Raynsway Properties.

As one of the first consultancies in the UK to have PassivHaus certification, CPW is applying the high level energy efficient principles of the German-designed system to design an ultra-low energy building for Interserve and its employees, which requires little energy for space heating or cooling.   

With the building scheduled for completion in July, it will be one of just three PassivHaus offices in the country.

Gordon Kew, Division Director of Interserve Project Services in the East Midlands and Anglia said “The new premises are needed to replace the increasingly outdated existing offices, which are energy hungry and have become dispersed among various buildings.  The new office complex enables us to consolidate our regional operational under one roof and provides the opportunity to create a modern, fresh working environment that is in tune with the natural elements for efficient energy use.”

Leading the ecological-design project is Dr Stephen Ball, CPW’s PassivHaus expert. He said that using the established, internationally-recognised principles of PassivHaus will reduce energy costs in the 6,000 sq feet office development by about 90 per cent compared to traditionally-built properties. 

With PassivHaus not being an attachment or supplement to architectural design, but an integrated design process with the architectural design, CPW will first ensure a super-insulated, super airtight building envelope is achieved. Triple glazing and even insulated foundations will then be used to enable the building to hold warmth during the winter and keep cool in the summer.  Plus, the fully-glazed south facing narrow aspect will make the most of solar heat during the winter.

The building will also use a highly efficient mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) system, which means that ventilated air moves through underground tubes, using the Earth’s core temperature to heat it. 

“We passionately believe in the principles of PassivHaus.  Sustainable engineering is about integration and whole building thinking, which forms the foundations of CPW’s ethos and values.” said Dr Ball.  “The sustainability process needs to provide long life building technologies and products for low energy usage and comfort, whilst proving high quality indoor environments that are  easy to use and operate, simple to maintain and have very impressive ‘whole life cost’ results.”

Ashley Cowdrey, Director of CPW’s Nottingham office added; “By having PassivHaus techniques at the heart of this project, it is not only leading the way in terms of sustainability but it is a showcase for ecologically-sound principles.” 

Tom Watkinson, Managing Director of Raynsway Properties agrees and says; “The UK construction industry needs to really understand and master these PassivHaus techniques.  We believe this is a revolutionary concept which is testament to the expertise and vision of CPW.  We hope it leads the way for commercial buildings of the future.” 

Developed in the 1990s, PassivHaus is an internationally-recognised and proven low energy design standard for both domestic and non-domestic buildings.