World’s first Passivhaus leisure centre

Kawneer’s architectural glazing systems are set to be installed on the world’s first Passivhaus leisure centre.

The systems – two types of curtain walling, three types of doors, windows and brise soleil – will be installed by Kawneer-approved specialist sub-contractor AB Glass for main contractor Kier at St Sidwell’s Point in Exeter.

The 4,850m2 project will replace an ageing swimming pool with an eight-lane national/county-standard pool and four-lane learner pool, both with movable floors, together with dry sports facilities including gym, café and crèche, and health and spa amenities.

Benefits of the Passivhaus design include a 70% saving on energy costs when compared to a current good practice pool, a 50% reduction in water use, outstanding internal water and air quality, excellent daylight levels, and lower maintenance costs due to a high-quality building fabric.

Kawneer’s Passivhaus-certified AA100 capped curtain walling will be used around the building envelope and some locations internally, alongside RT82HI windows, which feature exceptional levels of thermal performance and airtightness, partly due to larger-than-normal thermal breaks, the company said.

These Passivhaus-certified products will be installed by AB Glass alongside Kawneer’s AA100 FR and AA720 FR fire-rated curtain walling and doors as internal screens, AA190 TB external entrance doors, AA720 standard and AA720 HI doors internally and externally, and AA130 brise soleil.

The flagship in Exeter City Council’s £330 million regenerating city centre masterplan, which also includes housing, offices, restaurants and retail, is expected to open to the public, alongside a new bus station, in the spring of 2021, and attract more than 500,000 visits a year.

Exeter City Council and Passivhaus designers Gale and Snowden architects have delivered several Passivhaus multi-unit housing schemes but this is the first commercial Passivhaus development they have embarked on together.

The hybrid construction comprises an in-situ concrete frame with aerated concrete blockwork infill and mineral wool batts on an insulated in-situ ground floor slab. The design also features a metal standing seam roof on CLT (cross laminated timber) and glulam beam structure and a liquid-applied warm roof on a steel frame structure.

The Passivhaus Institute is acting as Passivhaus certifier and modelling the design in a bespoke multi-zone PHPP (Passive House Planning Package). As such, the energy performance figures are different to standard Passivhaus calculations due to the high pool and changing area temperatures.

Alan Brayley, managing director of AB Glass, who will have a team of up to 30 on the project for an estimated 30 weeks, said: “The environmental credentials of this building are such that we believe some of the standards and skills we will be implementing here will be in high demand in the future as many more buildings look to emulate what we see here.”