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Scotland's first public Passivhaus nursery underway in Blackridge

Work is progressing well on the new £1.5 million state-of-the art Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) centre in Blackridge.

West Lothian Council is constructing a modern, purpose-built Passivhaus standard nursery for early learning and childcare next to Blackridge Primary School.

Passivhaus buildings are specially designed to provide users with enhanced thermal comfort with the use of virtually no energy for heating or cooling. It is the first public Passivhaus nursery in Scotland, and only the second non-domestic Passivhaus building in Scotland.

The building will provide 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, directly off Main Street.

Executive councillor for education David Dodds said: “It’s exciting to see construction is well underway at West Lothian’s first Passivhaus building in Blackridge.

“The new £1.5 million ELC has been specially designed to be high comfort and low energy, with good indoor air quality.

“It will be the perfect place for children to begin their education journey in West Lothian, and a superb addition to West Lothian’s superb school estate, which is one of the best in the country.”

The investment is part of a £14 million investment programme in pre-school education in West Lothian between 2019 and 2021, to ensure enough pre-school capacity to meet the Scottish Government’s pledge of 1,140 hours of free early learning and childcare per year for every eligible child.

It is being delivered on behalf of West Lothian Council by strategic delivery partners Hub South East and their principal contractors, Morrison Construction, in tandem with a similar facility at St Mary’s Primary School, Bathgate.

The project had been delayed after construction work was suspended due to covid-19, but is expected to be completed in early 2021.

Roddy Clark, Hub South East’s Operation’s Director, said: “We’re delighted with the progress being made on site as we deliver what will be the first public Passivhaus nursery in Scotland.

“This is an exciting project in partnership with West Lothian Council, helping our client to meet progressive Scottish Government environmental targets, as well as helping influence next-generation design proposals for Scotland’s learning estate.

“We commend our contractor on site for undertaking construction to a high standard of quality in a Covid-safe environment and we look forward to handing over the completed project in the new year.”

Eddie Robertson, Managing Director of Morrison Construction Building Central, commented: “The team is making excellent progress on the Blackridge project, which is of significant interest to all involved.

“By adopting a Passivhaus building solution in an educational environment and monitoring building performance and environment for the users we are developing greater understanding of how to build the zero carbon public buildings of the future.”