Powerhouse is a constellation of Norwegian companies that build energy-sustainable buildings. Their construction standards are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Snøhetta office was responsible for the design of the new Powerhouse Telemark headquarters in Porsgrunn, Norway. Its main singularity is that it was designed to generate enough surplus renewable energy to offset the carbon consumed by the building over a 60-year lifetime – including its construction, demolition and carbon incorporated into building materials. The building is exceptionally well insulated and has a sizeable photovoltaic canopy covering its roof and south facade, which will generate 256,000 kilowatts of energy each year.
“What we have proven with this building“, says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, one of the founding partners of the Snøhetta firm, “is that there is no longer any excuse in the construction industry for not building positive energy buildings. All the processes used in the design of our buildings already exist on the market.”
Recycling fishing nets
An environment-friendly concrete (Cembrit) based on fibre-cement was chosen because it gives the building a “density close to that of a stone structure”, which means that it can store thermal heat during the day and slowly release it in the evening. Also, to limit the amount of concrete used, the building does not have a basement.
Powerhouse Telemark benefits from a passive heat and cooling system, in combination with a ventilation device that uses geothermal wells dug 350 metres underground. Its particular angular shape results from calculations allowing a maximum contribution of natural light.
Every detail of the layout was imagined with the same philosophy in mind. Last but not least, a fun detail: the carpet of the canteen is composed of carpet tiles made from 70% recycled fishing nets.
Sustainable, even in the tiniest detail.