The striking tilted roof of the Powerhouse Telemark building in Porsgrunn, Norway was designed to expand the roof size to ensure maximum output of solar energy can be harvested from the photovoltaic clad surface. The rooftop panels combined with the PV clad south facing facade will generate 256,000 kWh each year, which is roughly 20 times the usage of the average Norwegian household. Surplus energy will be sold back to the energy grid.
Designed by Snohetta, the building is super insulated and features triple glazed windows and the exposed concrete floors store thermal heat throughout the day. Timber battens have been used to provide shading to clad the most sun exposed facades. Additional heating and cooling is provided via a low ex system with water loops in the border zones of each floor with the heating sourced from geothermal wells dug 350 meters below ground.
Powerhouse is a collaboration between property company Entra, enterpreneur Skanska, environmental organisation ZERO, architecture practice Snohetta and consulting company Asplan Viak. Their aim is to be the most climate ambitious developers in the construction sector. In 2019, Powerhouse launched a new standards for future proof buildings called Powerhouse Paris Proof – based on the Paris Agreements 1.5 degree objective and sets a cap for total greenhouse gas emissions throughout a building’s lifespan. The Powerhouse Telemark is the fourth project in the series.
The materials palette was standardised across all floors of the building to reduce building waste and to allow for flexibility throughout the building. Materials with recycled content durability and low embodied energy such as local timber, gypsum and environmental concrete have been left untreated and unfinished.
– BREEAM Excellent certified
– Triple glazed windows
– Workspaces and meeting rooms/enclosed spaces are located to reduce the need for artificial lighting and heating/cooling requirements
– General workspaces are positioned to maximise sunlight and to help reduce the need for artificial lighting
– Enclosed workspaces
– Bar/reception desk tiles are recycled from a local porcelain factory
– Carpet tiles are made from 70% recycled fishing nets
– A basement was excluded to reduce the amount of concrete used
The energy sector and building industry account for over 40% of global industry’s heat-trapping emissions combined. As the world’s population and the severity of the climate crisis continue to grow, precipitating global disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic, architects are challenged to work across industries to build more responsibly.
As part of the Powerhouse series, Powerhouse Telemark sets a new standard for the construction of environmentally sustainable buildings by reducing its yearly net energy consumption by 70% compared to similar new-construction offices, and by producing more energy than it will consume over its entire lifespan. Through standardized interior solutions and co-working spaces, tenants can scale their office spaces as needed, granting much needed flexibility in a global context where remote working solutions continue to increase in demand.
Nadine is the founder and editor of Eco Edition and founder of the Eco Edition Design School. She’s an experienced interior designer, sustainable materials consultant, speaker and serial home renovator.