Horten Upper Secondary School – Norway’s highest environmentally classified education building

Horten upper secondary school won the international sustainable BREEAM Awards 2019 for the best public sector building at the design stage. The project is referred to as an example of a future-oriented learning environment and is Norway’s highest environmentally classified education building.

The building is innovative and avant-garde in terms of environmental solutions and will generate more energy than it consumes. The sustainable ambitions comprised high architectural quality, handling of logistics, environmentally friendly solutions and encouraging next-generation pedagogy.

As a BREEAM Outstanding project, the school adopts passive house standards, makes extensive use of wood and is intended to be energy positive. The goal was an energy-efficient plus house with a minimum 40% reduction of greenhouse gases compared to the reference building. The BREEAM Outstanding achievement will pave the way for further innovation in energy-efficient buildings in Norway. The material palette is based on sustainable materials. Wood is used extensively in the building, both externally and internally. The floor slabs and stairs are made of massive wood, the façade cladding is made of wood as well as the acoustic elements in the atrium.



The school is idyllically located in the city park Lystlunden, which also contains sports, culture and adventure facilities. LINKs solution was to preserve as much of the park area as possible and develop the building in the least attractive area. The building consists of four floors plus one floor below ground and technical rooms on the roof, a solution that addressed challenges with logistics, long walking distances and accessibility.

“It’s a real pleasure to highlight and applaud the ‘best of the best’ buildings across the globe. They reflect an exceptional commitment to sustainable construction in a variety of ways and epitomise the value that BREEAM certification brings to projects at all stages of a building’s lifecycle,” commented Dr. Shamir Ghumra, BREEAM Director at BRE. 

(All images are credited to Hundven-Clements Photography)