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Certification Achieved for Scotland’s First Public Passivhaus Nursery

The new £1.5 million state-of-the art Early Learning and Childcare centre in Blackridge, West Lothian, has been awarded official Passivhaus Certification – the first local authority educational facility built in Scotland to achieve such accreditation.

The new nursery, delivered for West Lothian Council by its development partner Hub South East and contractor Morrison Construction, was handed over on schedule and within budget last month. Passivhaus certification follows a rigorous quality assurance process verified via independent testing and confirms that the building successfully meets all the criteria defined by the Passivhaus Institute.

Passivhaus buildings are specially designed to offer excellent thermal comfort and very good air quality all year round. Due to their high energy efficiency, energy costs, as well as greenhouse gas emissions are extremely low. An identical (twin) non passivhaus facility was handed over to the council in November last year at St. Mary’s Primary School in Bathgate. This will enable, for the first time, a direct comparison of Passivhaus buildings against a traditional standard of construction, comparing energy usage and thermal comfort among other factors.

Roddy Clark, Hub South East’s Operation’s Director, said: “We’re incredibly proud to have delivered another successful learning space in partnership with West Lothian Council. As the first local authority Passivhaus educational building in the country, this is further demonstrable evidence of Hub South East’s capacity for quality, innovation and sustainability.

“We’re delighted to have assisted our client in meeting progressive Scottish Government environmental targets, as well as helping influence next-generation design proposals for Scotland’s learning estate. This has been an excellent partnership project, with a forward-thinking client and a supply chain dedicated to the Passivhaus principles. We look forward to taking lessons from the design, construction and performance of this exciting facility onto future developments.”

Executive councillor for education David Dodds said: “Blackridge ELC is a fantastic new facility that will provide an ideal learning environment for local children.

“We welcome the Passivhaus accreditation, with the pioneering design delivering a number of potential benefits, such as reducing energy use and increasing comfort for staff and children.”

Eddie Robertson, Managing Director of Morrison Construction Building Central, commented: “As a business, we pride ourselves on driving forward innovative approaches to construction. The Blackridge project has been a fantastic opportunity to test the application of Passivhaus standards in an education setting and we have learnt a lot from the process.

“I congratulate the team on their efforts and look forward to applying our new found knowledge in lowering the carbon footprint of new educational buildings in Scotland.”

The new Blackridge Early Years Centre building provides up to 64 spaces for early learning and childcare for eligible 2, 3 and 4 year olds, and the project includes a new 3G floodlit Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) and dedicated parking and drop-off facilities. National Covid restrictions will determine its opening to pupils and staff.