Passive School and Kindergarten Complex: Construction of a nZEB educational facility in Podgórzyn, Poland

Public nZEB buildings case study
Building type
Kindergarten Public School
Project type
New Construction

The School and Kindergarten Complex in Podgórzyn / © J. Źurawski

In 2016, the Municipality of Podgórzyn in the Lower Silesia region of Poland embarked on plans to replace ageing school and kindergarten buildings with a modern, eco-friendly facility. An extensive analysis revealed significantly high-energy consumption and heating costs in the existing facilities, exceeding contemporary nZEB energy consumption standards by tenfold. The primary aim was to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings and reduce annual primary energy consumption by constructing a school and kindergarten complex with enhanced energy parameters.

By mid-2017, the Podgórzyn commune secured subsidies from the Silesia Region to develop a passive building. As the contracting authority, the municipality initiated a procurement process for a passive building, incorporating stringent energy efficiency criteria into the tender.

The turnkey project delivered a school and kindergarten complex covering 4,665 m2, fully compliant with nearly Zero-Energy Building (nZEB) principles. It was fully operational by the end of 2018.

How was this building procured?

The Municipality, acting as the contracting authority, issued a single tender encompassing both the design of the complex, as well as the entirety of construction works. Within this tender, it was mandatory for the building to meet specific energy performance standards. This obligation stemmed from legal provisions stipulated in the Construction Law, requiring that by January 1, 2021, all newly constructed buildings must achieve the standard of an almost zero-energy building. According to the definition provided in the directive, a building with almost zero-energy consumption means a facility with very energy-efficient energy characteristics described in Polish law. In Poland, such a parameter is the non-renewable primary energy index EP. To reflect this, the tender explicitly specified the requirement for a passive building design.

An additional compulsory criterion for the potential contractors was that a certain previous experience was required for all construction actors. The various staff members involved in the project (e.g., architect, HVAC systems engineer, electrical engineer…), had to have experience in previous construction works of at least a certain surface area and/or experience in energy efficiency works.

Beyond the mandatory requirements concerning energy performance and experience, the awarding criteria consisted of a 60% consideration for price and 40% for the length of the warranty period offered by the contractor.

Following this evaluation, PreFabrykat was selected as the contractor for the construction project, which totaled approximately PLN 21 million (equivalent to approximately EUR 4.8 million).

What are the key nZEB features?

The complex includes a series of features that result in a nearly zero-energy performance:

  • The heating system uses geothermal energy obtained from 27 wells, with vertical heat exchangers of 150 m.
  • The building incorporated the Passive Therm wall insulation system, composed of a thermal insulation of around 50 cm thick.
  • Advanced sun visors prevent excessive heat transfer through the windows.
  • Illumination systems are equipped with motion and light intensity sensors.
  • A smart building management system controls the energy demand and supply of the complex.
Did the project have an impact on skills?

While this tender did not explicitly outline criteria for training programs or qualifications, it successfully engaged seasoned professionals for the project. Emphasising the importance of experience in the requirements sends a message and helps to foster skill development within the market. Beyond that, it also contributes to mainstreaming skills on nZEB technologies.

Furthermore, the project was conceived as a lighthouse, showcasing exemplary features such as green walls, roofs, and an energy management system. Its demonstrative nature serves as a valuable learning opportunity for others, as it offers insight into the solutions employed and encourages the adoption of energy-efficient practices, while also welcoming visitors to acquaint themselves with the implemented solutions

Keywords: Construction, New buildings, Experience, Energy Efficiency Training, Sustainable public procurement, Innovation public procurement, Poland, Schools
Find out more:

Construction of a passive public utility building to serve as a School and Kindergarten Complex in Podgórzyn.Integrated Territorial Investments Service of the Jelenia Góra Agglomeration. (n.d.). Accessed March 28, 2024. Available at:

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