World’s northernmost energy-positive building
Architecture & Design
A new office building in Norway produces more than twice the electricity it uses each day
Spotted: Powerhouse Brattørkaia, in Trondheim, Norway, is an energy-positive office that is now the most sustainable building to date. The office, measuring 18,000 sq m (193,750 sq ft), was designed by architecture collaborative Snøhetta.
The building uses a variety of different technologies to radically reduce energy use in its daily operations. These include the use of a heat pump system, collecting rainwater for use in toilets, and using seawater from the nearby fjord for heating and cooling.
The location and layout of Powerhouse Brattørkaia were carefully chosen for maximum exposure to the sun. In the centre of the building, there is a large space with a garden, allowing sunlight to reach the interior of the building. The use of artificial light is also minimised by using motion sensors so that the LED bulbs only shine when a room is in use.
To generate energy, the roof and the upper part of its facade are covered in 3,000 sq m of solar panels. These produce around 500,000 kWh of electricity a year, more than twice as much as the building requires.
The excess energy is supplied to nearby buildings and used to powering electric vehicles, turning the building into a power plant. Energy storage is also built into the building’s footprint. Batteries are used to store surplus energy in the summer, when it is light for up to 20 hours a day, providing energy in the winter months when daylight is at a minimum.
17th September 2019