Forward thinking City of Wolverhampton Council have improved the health and concentration levels of pupils, whilst saving two of their schools money, by ensuring the city was one of the first to offer its children the opportunity to learn in Passivhaus schools. Oakmeadow and Bushbury Hill primary schools have been reaping the rewards associated with the ‘gold standard in human comfort’ ever since.

Passivhaus maximises human comfort through energy efficiency. Optimum temperature is achieved through outstanding levels of insulation, air-tightness and highly efficient mechanical ventilation, with the result that practically no conventional heating is required. Instead, passive sources, such as the sun, occupants and equipment, meet the building’s heating demand.

Furthermore, the huge reduction in conventional heating leaves occupants in a building that is healthier and feels noticeably cleaner, whilst at the same time dramatically cutting carbon emissions.

The council’s project partners included Architype architects and Thomas Vale Construction, and the schools were heavily involved with the whole process from the start. The design was optimised using the Passivhaus Planning Package, and its two storey form maximised thermal performance. The project was kept simple and delivered well within budget.

Since completion, the headteachers have reported increased levels of concentration amongst their pupils, whilst the schools themselves have benefited from a 90 percent reduction in energy bills. Passivhaus is the world’s fastest growing energy standard and a welcome part of the West Midlands’ drive towards a modern, efficient energy future.