Snøhetta unveils ultra-sustainable workspace in Norway
Powerhouse Telemark – an environmentally smart office building – is the latest addition to Snøhetta’s growing portfolio of sustainable architecture
What is even more sustainable than a building that produces zero emissions? A building that actually creates more energy than it will consume over its entire lifespan, says Snøhetta. The famed Norwegian architecture studio, together with collaborators R8 Property, Skanska and Asplan Viak, has just completed the fourth energy positive building in its Powerhouse portfolio – Powerhouse Telemark.
‘The energy sector and building industry account for over 40 per cent of global industry’s heat-trapping emissions combined,’ says the team. ‘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.’
Located in the city of Porsgrunn of the Vestfold and Telemark region, the structure is not only an investment in the country’s growing green economy, but also much needed workspace for the historically industrial city’s economy. The building spans eleven floors and includes traditional office space and co-working areas, as well as a bar, meeting rooms and restaurant and staff canteen.
The irregular, geometric shape of the building features solar panels on its roof. Natural shading is promoted and added insulation ensures heat is retained where possible. Heat is stored in the building elements, to be released slowly, while a geothermal well supports heating and cooling. As a result it was awarded a BREEAM Excellent** certification.
‘In striving to keep our planet as healthy as possible, we must take this moment to prioritize sustainable design practices, and specifically consider how our work impacts human and non-human inhabitants alike,’ says Snøhetta founding partner Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.
‘Although the gradual violence of the climate crisis might seem less acute compared to the rapid effects of viruses such as Covid-19, especially for those living in the global north, we as architects have a stake in the protection of our built and unbuilt environments. We need more industry-wide alliances such as Powerhouse to push industry standards for what is means to build sustainable buildings and cities, both on an economic, social and environmental scale.’ §