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Scottish Schools lead large scale Passivhaus

Thanks to a drive from the Scottish Learning Estate Strategy & local councils zero carbon commitments, several exciting school developments are underway. Often combining educational spaces with other civic facilities, these mammoth new projects are aiming to provide focal points acting as civic beacons.

A very positive development in Scotland has been the funding criteria recently established for the Scottish Futures Trust’s (SFT) Learning Investment Programme. Projects receiving funding need to meet a very clear energy target of 67 kWh/m2.yr, a comparable target with a typical new build Passivhaus school.  Funding may be reduced based on any performance gap post-completion. The Passivhaus standard eliminates the performance gap, de-risking securing funding; This has led to a greater uptake in the Passivhaus standard in Scottish educational buildings.

Currie Community High School. Image - Edinburgh City Council's planning portal

Currie Community High School

Committed to a target of net-zero carbon by 2030, the City of Edinburgh Council has embarked on an ambitious strategy to develop several combined schools and community hubs using Passivhaus standards.

Currie Community High School Redevelopment, designed by PHT Patron Architype, is one of the first projects to be included in the Scottish Government's Learning Estate Investment Programme. Pupils will have access to large learning plazas, a debating chamber, recording studio, sensory garden, fitness suite and a wellness centre which will have a focus on supporting students' mental health. The £50 million building will begin welcoming pupils from 2024.

  • Location: Edinburgh

  • Stage: Planning won March 2022

  • Completion due: 2024 (phase 1)

  • Occupants1000

  • GIFA: 12749m2

Perth & Kinross High School. Image: NORR Architects

Perth & Kinross High School

Councillors have unanimously granted planning permission for the £68.7 million building project to replace Perth High School. Designed by NORR Architects, the new Passivhaus building will replace the existing school building with an expanded capacity of 1600 pupils. It offers modern classrooms, a large open double-height theatre, high specification labs and workshops alongside open-plan learning plazas and breakout areas with expanded support for the learning department. New sports pitches will be laid out on the north-east of the site. The facility is expected to open in the summer of 2024. PHT Patrons Max Fordham are Passivhaus Consultants & WARM are Passivhaus certifier on the project.

There are also Passivhaus Primary schools underway in Perth & Kinross; £19.9 million Riverside Primary and Methven Primary.

  • Location: Perth & Kinross

  • Stage: Planning won March 2022

  • Completion due: Summer 2024

  • Occupants: 1600

Maybury Primary School & Health Centre. Image: Architype

Maybury Primary School & Health Centre

The new school forms part of the West Craigs masterplan and will house up to 420 primary and 128 nursery pupils, while the Health Centre and GP surgery will serve up to 10,000 patients. A second phase will increase the primary school capacity to 630 pupils. The development will also include facilities shared with the community like the sports hall and activity studios. The proposal is designed by PHT Patron Architype.

The building has a projected energy use goal of around 40kWH/m2/yr resulting in an 86% energy reduction.

  • Location: Edinburgh

  • Stage: Planning

  • Completion due: June 2023

  • Occupants: 420 primary & 128 nursery pupils

  • GIA: 4,981 m²

Ardrossan Community Campus. Image credit: North Ayrshire Council

Ardrossan Community Campus

Ardrossan Community Campus is a £55 million educational project for North Ayrshire Council replacing and relocating the Winton Primary and Ardrossan Academy schools.  Partially funded through the Scottish Futures Trust, the project will be part of a new community and educational campus on a former brownfield site within Ardrossan’s North Shore and Harbour area and will target the Passivhaus standard, in line with SFT targets of in-use energy consumption of 67/kW/m²/annum.

Designed by JM Architects with PHT member Zero Energy +Passivhaus as the Passivhaus certifiers, the new campus is part of £150million plans for the site over 5-10 years which also include sports pitches, housing, commercial uses, roads, a new coastal path, and facilities associated with an extended marina.

  • Location: North Ayrshire

  • Stage: Site remediation Spring 2022, Construction to start late 2022

  • Completion due: January 2025


We hope to bring you more detailed case studies as the schemes above progress. Is your Passivhaus project missing? Share your projects by completing & returning the following request form.


Passivhaus for Educational Buildings: University ProcurementDate for your diary

Later this year, the Trust shall be bringing you a masterclass series on large & complex buildings. Keep your eyes on our newsletters and website for upcoming dates - Meanwhile, explore resources and case studies in our Passivhaus for Educational Buildings campaign.


Further Information

Passivhaus for Educational Buildings

Previous PHT story: Scottish Secondary strives for Passivhaus first – 11 March 2021

Edinburgh Live: Edinburgh's new £50million 'eco-friendly secondary school' approved by council – 16 March 2022

Daily Record: Perth & Kinross High School – 15 March 2022

North Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership: New community campus at the Ardrossan North Shore - 16 February 2022

Architype: Maybury Primary School & Health Centre

8th April 2022

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