Passivhaus Affiliate

Currie High School closes in on completion & certification

The City of Edinburgh Council's flagship high school building and swimming pool are getting closer to completion; and are both targeting Passivhaus certification. 

Currie Community High School. Image credit: Kier

Currie Community High School is one of the first projects in the Scottish Government’s Learning Estates Investment Programme (LEIP) that links funding to achieving a specific energy metric (67 kWh/m2/year) over 25 years. The project will achieve this by adopting the rigour of certified Passivhaus and will be one of the first Passivhaus secondary schools in Scotland.

The school will accommodate 1,000 pupils and features traditional classrooms and shared collaborative spaces. It acts as a community hub, with a wellness & leisure centre, fitness suite, and one of the UK’s first Passivhaus swimming pools, alongside a community library and a café. Learn more about the scheme in our previous news item.

Currie Community High School - construction site tour 2023


Key stats

  • Construction: Steel frame (main building), CLT and Glulam (swimming pool)

  • Number of pupils: 1000

  • TFA: 10,550 m2 

  • Build start date: 2022

  • Completion expected: Spring 2025

  • Certification: Aiming for Passivhaus Classic










Image credit: Kier. Ann-Marie Fallon, Architype quote: What has been so refreshing  is the close, open collaboration between the client and our design team. It has driven ambition into an inspiring project for the Pentland region and nationally. Bringing Passivhaus-at-scale to the learning estate in Scotland has been a fantastic experience.




The school building is constructed in steel frame, with the swimming pool building built from CLT and Glulam. Steel frame is prevalent in Scottish school construction. Initial feasibility studies proposed a concrete frame for the teaching and entrance block, and a steel frame to accommodate the large span games halls. However, due to economic pressures, the superstructure was switched to a braced steel frame for all elements, apart from the pool hall, which adopted a CLT and Glulam solution. 

Currie Community High School - construction site tour 2023

Mineral wool insulation insulates the steel frame construction. Brick cladding will feature on the ground floor, with metal cladding at the upper levels. 


Floor: 0.145 W/m2K average                           

Composite concrete slab

Wall: 0.175 W/m2K average

SFS (steel frame system) and sheathing board, with masonry or rainscreen cladding

Roof: 0.176 W/m2K average

Warm flat roof system


Currie High School. Construction progress March 2024. Image credit © Architype


The services strategy consists of centralised MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) systems, ASHPs (air source heat pumps) for heating and a mix of ASHPs and direct electric providing hot water. 

The school shading strategy includes a brise soleil and canopies to the south elevation and vertical fins on some glazing for solar shading control. The pool south glazing incorporates an internal timber brise soleil to allow maximum solar gains, while  avoiding solar glare for the swimming pool users.



  • Steel frame added complexity in achieving Passivhaus compliance in detailing for airtightness and minimising thermal bridging. The project team worked holistically to overcome these challenges and upscale Passivhaus details for a building of this nature. Test rigs were used and pioneering details were developed to create robust buildable details. The test rig on site has been used to test the main details before building them up in the main construction site.
  • PHPP was split into five models due to varying internal temperature requirements and several building uses. The Passivhaus swimming pool required bespoke criteria provided by the Passivhaus Institut. 
  • The campus is being constructed within a constrained site while the existing school remains in operation. Additional consideration and organisation of site operation is required to minimise disruption, from health and safety to circulation logistics.

Key team 

Currie Community High School. Image credit: Kier


We are looking forward to hearing from staff & pupils once the project is complete & certified. Completion is expected in Spring 2025. For more guidance, check out the How to Build a Passivhaus: Good Practice Guide or our FREE technical guidance on Steel in Passivhaus Construction.


Similar projects 

Discover more Passivhaus certified educational buildings that have adopted steel frame construction. Visit our Passivhaus for Educational buildings for a larger variety of Passivhaus school case studies. Do not miss the Scottish showcase full of Passivhaus case studies in Scotland. 

Passivhaus Plus St Edwards School Hampshire
Passivhaus Thornhill Primary School
Passivhaus Plus Hackbridge Primary School

Further information 

Currie Community High School

Currie Community High School - City of Edinburgh Council

Passivhaus for Educational Buildings

Technical Guidance - Steel in Passivhaus Construction

2023 UK Passivhaus Conference Scottish Showcase

Previous PHT story: - Grasping the thistle! UK Passivhaus Conference 2023 - 23 October 2023

Previous PHT story: Scottish Schools lead the way! - 20 October 2023

Previous PHT story: Scottish Schools lead largescale Passivhaus – 8 April 2022

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

Scottish Futures Trust Outcomes based approach for new schools sees councils embrace Passivhaus to help meet energy targets and secure funding - 2023

1st March 2024

Never miss UK Passivhaus news by joining the Passivhaus Trust mailing list Follow us on twitter @PassivhausTrust

< Back To News