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Press Release

Interserve wins award for Passivhaus school build

by Interserve Press Office | Jul 18, 2013

Richmond SchoolInterserve, the international construction and support services group, is celebrating a prestigious award from one of the UK's leading industry trade publications.

The company was awarded Project of the Year in the under £10 million category by the judging panel of the 2013 Construction News Awards for the successful construction of Richmond Hill Primary School in Leeds to Passivhaus design principles.

A panel of judges drawn from the construction industry, major companies, universities and industry bodies said that the project showed: "Great use of offsite manufacturing, community and client engagement and a passionate team leading an engaged supply chain."

Completed on behalf of Leeds City Council, the school uses up to 80 per cent less energy than a conventionally-built, equivalent-sized facility. Its carbon emissions are also 60 per cent reduced without having to include a source of renewable energy on the development. Instead, the school follows Passivhaus design principles to create the most efficient building envelope for thermal performance and air-tightness, supported by optimum heat recovery systems.

The single- and two-storey steel-framed building provides accommodation for a three-form entry primary school, nursery and Autistic Spectrum Condition Unit. Offsite-manufactured, timber structurally insulated panels are used for wall and roof construction that combine high quality manufacture with excellent air-tightness. In other parts of the building, greater energy efficiency has been achieved by reducing the effects of cold-bridging that encourages heat loss.

Foamglass, a high strength cellular glass insulation material, normally used in the petrochemical industry, was been used in the piled foundations to reduce cold-bridging between pile caps and the steel frame.

Passivhaus-certified high-efficiency air-handling units have also been installed and air tests have revealed that the final tightness of the building is 20 times better than that required by Building Regulations. Despite these high standards, the project was also built to budget and delivered two weeks ahead of programme.

Construction News highlighted the fact that Interserve was building on its experience at Richmond Hill and developing its knowledge of how important thermal bridging and air-tightness are to running an energy-efficient building.

"It has now adopted a 'fabric first' approach when working on new designs to ensure building envelopes are as energy-efficient as possible, ensuring future savings for clients. Interserve's strong relationship with the school helped develop clear objectives for the project. It also integrated the design and supply team to ensure details were robust, buildable and to the rigorous Passivhaus standard."

It is estimated that if Leeds City Council were to convert all 177 schools to Passivhaus-certified buildings, then a saving of £4.6 million per year would be realised solely in energy savings, against an estimated current spend of £7.4 million per year.

Ian Renhard, MD Construction at Interserve said: "Winning this prestigious award and being recognised by such an esteemed and knowledgeable panel of judges is testament to the skills of the project team and the ability we have to use innovations to solve problems for our clients and make significant savings by adopting the most energy-efficiency build standards."

More information on this project is available at Interserve's SustainAbilities website.

- Ends -

For further information please contact

Nigel Charlesworth
Head of Corporate Communications
0118 960 2332/07824 482 585

Peter Haddock
Edson Evers
01785 255146

About Interserve

Interserve's vision is to redefine the future for people and places. It is one of the world's foremost support services and construction companies, operating in the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally, offering advice, design, construction, equipment, facilities management and front-line services. Interserve is based in the UK and is listed in the FTSE 250 index. The Group employs some 50,000 people worldwide and in 2012 generated gross revenue of £2.3 billion.
Follow the news @interservenews

About Passivhaus

Passivhaus or 'Passive House' is the fastest growing energy performance standard in the world with 30,000 buildings realised to date with the majority of those since the turn of the century. The Passivhaus standards strengths lie in the simplicity of its approach; build a house that has an excellent thermal performance, exceptional airtightness with mechanical ventilation. This approach to building design allows the designer to minimise the 'Heating Demand' of the building. The standard was developed in Germany in the early 1990s by Professors Bo Adamson of Sweden and Wolfgang Feist of Germany. The Passivhaus standard can be applied residential and commercial, industrial and public buildings.

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