Health centre achieves efficient and low carbon design, thanks to Couch Perry Wilkes

One of the largest Primary Care health centres in England benefits from exposed mass structure, night purge ventilation and CHP plant, thanks to innovative design by environmental building services engineering specialists Couch Perry & Wilkes. 

Birmingham-based CPW ensured the £22.5 million City of Coventry Health Centre has achieved a BREEAM excellent rating with the design assessment, and is currently undergoing the As Built assessment aiming to maintain the Excellent rating, due for submission to the BRE in February.

The centre, which was built through the Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT), houses local GP practices, dentist facilities, community health services, as well as a range of frontline services, including an out-of-hours facility and an on site pharmacy.

Couch Perry & Wilkes worked with Sonnemann Toon Architects to optimise the use of efficient, passive and low carbon design measures to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions at the multi-use facility, which became fully operational on January 9, 2012.

Its high mass building structure with exposed soffits means the peak summer time temperatures will be limited when used in conjunction with night purge ventilation to minimise the need for air conditioning. The building’s glazing was also selected specifically to optimise the natural daylight whilst also limiting the solar gains.

Richard Wilson, Associate and lead designer on the scheme for CPW, said “it aimed to limit the energy demands of the five storey, 10,181 sq m health centre to achieve the numerous targets set to meet the “Excellent” BREEAM rating.”

Other energy efficient specifications include a gas fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant that supports the base thermal load for the building; heat recovery ventilation systems, variable speed drives and intelligent lighting controls with daylight sensing.

Zoned systems were also used to optimise energy efficiency and to reflect the fact that the building will be used flexibly.

An emergency generator back-up system was also incorporated to support the critical areas of the building.

“It was absolutely essential that we not only considered the energy consumption needs of the building, but also the clinical and end user needs,” said Richard.

“The technical specification was very clear, we knew we were able to deliver an energy efficient building that is suitable for the health sector.

“We worked very closely with the architect, design team and the principal contractor Galliford Try and investigated a range of strategies to ensure that we would achieve an Excellent BREEAM rating in as cost-effective and practical way as possible. We are very pleased with the outcome.”