Foleshill Health Centre view from the East

Low energy use confirmed at Foleshill Health Centre

The UK’s award winning, greenest health centre built to meet Passivhaus standards is a model for a Greener NHS.

CHP’s Foleshill Health Centre is the first passive accredited health centre in the UK, the building was developed to demonstrate what is possible from an energy performance perspective using a proven methodology (Passivhaus).  The health centre was built from 14 specially designed Portakabin modules in only 10 months during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-21. This was 30% quicker than a traditional health care building construction.  The health centre opened to patients in August 2021.

Foleshill is a 619m2 building serving up to 10,000 patients in inner city Coventry. The GP surgery has two storeys, five consulting rooms, two treatment rooms, offices, a reception and a waiting area. The health centre was built on a small brownfield site; the location of a former council swimming pool that closed in 2013.

Foleshill Health Centre is a flagship Green NHS building

Foleshill leads the way for carbon emissions reduction in this type of modular building but also demonstrates its potential for upscaling across the future health estate.

This is the first time that NHS England has approved this type of energy efficient Passivhaus building for the NHS. It is an example for the rest of the NHS showing what can be done using the most modern, innovative volumetric building methods – a benchmark for how health buildings can be sustainable in the future.  Foleshill contributes to the GreenerNHS carbon net zero targets and supports its aim to be the world’s first net-zero national health service.  There has been major interest in £3.3m Foleshill Health Centre from the Department of Health and Social Care, from NHS leadership and across the health services estates sector. 

Foleshill Health Centre from the west

Passivhaus at Foleshill Health Centre

CHP chose the Passivhaus approach because of its overall sustainability ethos with low running costs, ultra energy efficiency, and health benefits.

graphic of passivhaus building showing air flow and heat source pump
  • The building is highly insulated, so it’s warm in winter and cool in summer.  There is a small heating system using air source mechanical heat recovery pumps connected to small radiators.
  • The insulation exceeds the building regulation fabric insulation values by about 40%.  The building is very airtight – the leakage rate roughly equates to a hole the size of a golf ball across the whole building.
  • Fresh air is circulated 24/7.   All rooms have 100% fresh air from ducts in the ceiling, supplied from ventilation that recovers heat from stale air leaving the building via the mechanical heat recovery unit.
  • Foleshill’s energy efficient features include triple-glazed windows, which can be opened if required.
  • The windows have brise soleil shading that breaks up the sun’s rays to reduce direct summer sunshine entering the building contributing to the comfortable internal summer temperatures.  When recent summer external temperatures neared 40 Celsius, the internal temperature whilst elevated remained comfortable for users.
  • Photovoltaic panels on the roof provide electricity and there are no fossil fuels on site.
  • All the lighting is provided by energy efficient LED lamps.

Low energy usage and quicker payback

The building was designed to use 26,120kWh and in its first year (Aug 21-Jul 22) the actual consumption was 26,291kWh, this equates to 42kWh/m2 GIA. This is just 22% of a traditionally constructed building regulation compliant building. This performance becomes more relevant particularly when the cost of energy is considered, with a saving of close to £2m by year 15 and over £6m by year 25.

The annual saving in energy cost for Foleshill v Traditional building is over £50,000/annum and this is for a very small 619m2, 10,000 patient list health centre. Imagine what could be achieved if Passivhaus modular buildings were more widespread across the NHS, using modern methods of construction to build sustainable, green healthcare facilities for the 21st century.

Foleshill leads the way for carbon emissions reduction in the NHS. 

Energy consumption at Foleshill is equivalent to an average 4-bed house but it is four times the size. The energy consumption is less than a third of a similar size conventional health centre.

Whilst this saving is driven in part by energy cost inflation a low energy building is not as severely impacted by inflation as a traditionally constructed facility, due to significantly improved thermal performance and air tightness. This impact could be reduced further by additional onsite electricity generation.  The Foleshill delivery team are exploring this option since there is enough roof space to accommodate additional photovoltaic panels.

Outturn costs over 25 years

Standard Design - Pounds Passivhaus Design - Pounds Delta Variance
Capital Cost 2,596,088 3,243,299 -647,211
Renewals 819,967 607,107 212,860
Operations 8,421,138 1,855,528 6,565,580
Maintenance 1,121,778 1,121,778 0
Total 12,958,971 6,827,712 6,131,229

A 25 year whole life cost analysis was carried out by AECOM (infrastructure consultants for Foleshill Health Centre).
It includes costs for:

  • Capital and Renewal costs
  • Operations
  • Maintenance

This provides a forecast of whole life cost over the first 25 years and whilst the construction/capital cost is higher the operational cost is significantly reduced due to reduced energy use when compared to a traditionally built building. As energy cost is a volatile market that graph indicates two scenarios, though both provide a breakeven point between 7-8 years.

The original analysis (Feb 2019) assumed a 1% fuel cost inflation, giving a payback period of 21 years.

Updated analysis (Feb 2023) uses a 10 year average Electricity cost inflation of 11.58%, giving payback period of approximately 7.5 years

The cost of owning the Passivhaus building is about 60% of the conventional alternative after 25 years.


  • Awarded Passivhaus Classic certificate in October 2021
  • The current EPC A rating is 12 close to net zero.
    An EPC rating of 0 (net zero carbon) is possible with additional roof mounted photovoltaic panels as there is sufficient roof space.
  • Achieved BREEAM Excellent with Innovation credit for exemplary energy performance.

Foleshill Case studies

The Passivhaus Trust (PHT) is an independent industry leading organisation that promotes the adoption of Passivhaus in the UK. PHT is part of the global Passivhaus movement and the official UK affiliate of the International Passive House Association (iPHA).

Delivery partner case studies

Foleshill Health Centre, appears in a HM Government publication Promoting Net Zero Carbon and Sustainability in Construction – Guidance Note (page 39 PDF) published in September 2022. This guidance supports The Construction Playbook (PDF Sept 2022) first published in December 2020.

Foleshill Heath Centre is a case study in the ‘State of the Estate 2021/22′ report (PDF) published by the Government Property Function.  This report summarises progress in improving the efficiency and sustainability of the government estate in accordance with the 2008 Climate Change Act.  

Read: State of the Estate in 2021-2022 – GOV.UK (

Partnership working at Foleshill Health Centre

CHP are proud to work with our NHS and delivery partners on the first UK health building built to meet Passivhaus standards.  This innovative, sustainable building will continue to provide high quality care for the people of Foleshill in Coventry.  Foleshill Health Centre has won or been highly commended in 14 awards since it opened in August 2021.

Foleshill Health Centre NHS Partners: NHS Coventry and Warwickshire with Coventry and Rugby GP Alliance.

Delivery partners:  Community Health Partnerships, Portakabin (Main contractor), Tooley Foster Architects (Passivhaus experts), AECOM infrastructure consultants and Arden Estate Partnerships Limited (development management part of gbpartnerships).

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