In Trondheim, Norway, the world’s northernmost energy-positive building has been completed, according to the international architecture firm Snøhetta. The 18,000 m² office building is located 63 degrees north of the equator, where sunlight varies greatly between the seasons. This presented an opportunity to explore the harvesting and storing of solar energy under challenging conditions. Next to solar energy, other sources of renewable energy, and an extremely low energy consumption make sure that the building becomes energy-positive.
The building’s site ensures maximum exposure to the sun throughout the day and seasons. Its skewed, pentagonal roof and the upper part of the facade is clad with 2,867 m2 of solar panels, strategically placed to harvest as much energy as possible. In effect, the building functions as a small power plant in the middle of the city. Space has been built into the building footprint to store surplus energy in the summer months that can then be used in the winter when daylight is at a minimum. On average, Powerhouse Brattørkaia will generate approximately 485,000 kWh per year and supply renewable energy to itself, neighboring buildings, electric buses, cars, and boats through a local microgrid.
The building leverages a series of technologies to reduce energy use for daily operations. This is accomplished through insulating the building for maximum efficiency and installing intelligent solutions for airflow to reduce the need for heating. Daylight conditions are optimized throughout the building design and artificial light use is kept at a minimum. Powerhouse is a collaboration of industry partners Entra, Skanska, ZERO, Snøhetta and Asplan Viak.