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  • 1,275

    Number of pupils

  • 2019

    Year the school will open

  • 40%

    Spend on local business

The largest Passivhaus secondary school in the UK


  • First secondary school to meet Passivhaus standard
  • Ultra-insulation to cut energy usage
  • Template for future secondary schools to follow
  • Part of the masterplan for the London Cancer Hub

Following the successful delivery of the UK’s largest non-residential Passivhaus scheme, the George Davies Centre for the University of Leicester, our team were appointed by the London Borough of Sutton to deliver the same ultra-high energy efficient standard for the new Sutton secondary school.

Fusing learning with life science hub ambition

The new school will accommodate the growing demand for school places in the borough by providing a six form-entry for 1,275 pupils and 95 staff as part of Sutton’s masterplan for the London Cancer Hub (LCH), a new life science innovation cluster focused on cancer research and treatment located at the former Sutton Hospital site.

The school, which will be part of the Harris Federation, integrates secondary school pupils into the campus’s wider remit of scientific research and treatment to inspire pupils to forge a career within life sciences.

New Sutton Secondary School.jpg

Why Passivhaus?

Choosing a Passivhaus design will provide pupils and staff with a healthy, optimised learning environment that benefits from the excellent air quality you get with Passivhaus standard buildings, as well as meeting the local authority’s requirements to minimise operational carbon.

Developed in Germany in the early 1990s, Passivhaus is the fastest-growing energy performance standard in the world and achieving it will substantially reduce the school’s energy bill thanks to excellent thermal performance.

Achieving Passivhaus is a very technical feat; the building envelope – roof, walls and ground floor slab – is highly insulated, with U-values of 0.13W/m2/k. A key facet of Passivhaus is a ‘fabric first’ approach to construction which results in the incredible insulation and air tightness required to prevent heat leakage through the windows, walls, floor and roof.

Roger Forsdyke, managing director for Willmott Dixon, said:

"With our solid track-record for building high-quality, energy efficient properties that conform to the Passivhaus standard, we are proud to have been selected by Sutton to deliver this ground-breaking school. We'll make sure local companies are used whenever possible and are looking forward to delivering a school that will attract national attention for setting the standard in energy performance."

Passivhaus explained in 90 seconds

Leicester first

We recorded a UK Passivhaus first in 2017 when the Centre for Medicine for the University of Leicester became the largest non-residential project to achieve the standard. That helped the university building record a ‘19’ energy performance asset rating, placing it in the ‘A’ category. Since completion, energy consumption is 80kWh/m², compared to 500kWh/m² of the school’s former home.