UK’s first Passivhaus leisure centre opens in Exeter

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(Last Updated On: May 1, 2022)

The UK’s first leisure centre to meet stringent Passivhaus standards has opened in Exeter – the culmination of a 20-year collaboration between global engineering and consulting firm Arup and leading architects S&P.

St Sidwell’s Point is one of only three Passivhaus leisure centres in the world and the most energy-efficient in the UK. It uses seventy per cent less energy than a conventional centre, with an estimated payback period of only eight to nine years.

Exeter City Council

S&P were lead designers on the project, in partnership with Arup as mechanical and electrical services consultants and civil and structural engineers.

Passivhaus buildings have a very low heating requirement, achieved mainly through passive measures – excellent insulation, triple-glazed windows, airtight spaces, no thermal bridges and heat recovery. The Passivhaus Institute will use this project to inform the UK’s standards for future such schemes.

Exeter City Council

The centre – which is owned and operated by Exeter City Council – is designed to last eighty years, taking into account predicted changes in weather patterns over the coming decades, based on data developed by experts at Exeter University.

Nic Bryant, Associate Director at S&P, said: “St Sidwell’s Point demonstrates that a low-carbon, healthy environment for sport and fitness can be developed within high-quality, contemporary design. We hope this serves as an example of what is possible in meeting the highest standards of sustainability in a wide range of public buildings.”

Stephen Platt, Building Services Lead at Arup, said: “Working with S&P, we have created a highly-sustainable community asset which demonstrates our commitment to creating spaces that make a contribution to local places and support health and wellbeing. We believe this new centre will serve its community for generations.”

Exeter City Council

The project is part of Exeter City Council’s wider efforts towards its target of reaching net zero by 2030, as well as providing state-of-the-art new swimming and fitness facilities for the local community.

It also features a microfiltration system which uses the latest technology to provide the highest water quality and is one of the major contributors towards the project’s 50 per cent water reduction target.

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