For sustainable society


“Energy-Positive Building” that generates more electricity than a building consumes over its lifespan

An “Energy-Positive Building” clad with solar panels has been constructed in Trondheim, Norway. The building called “Powerhouse Brattørkaia” where the upper part of the building is clad with solar panels can supply the electricity not only to itself but also to neighboring buildings.

It was constructed in a project called “Powerhouse” with collaboration of some companies including Snøhetta, an architectural design firm. The project has built five buildings so far including Powerhouse Brattørkaia based on the concept of “developing and constructing buildings that generate renewable energy themselves that exceeds the amount of energy than each consumes over its lifespan.”

Powerhouse Brattørkaia is clad with about 3,000m2 of solar panels. The building has a unique pentagonal design with prioritizing power generation efficiency. “Energy conservation” is promoted in the building by improving the insulation of the building and controlling the use of heating with a heat recovery system.

The building generates 500,000kWh of renewable energy. Powerhouse Brattørkaia produces more than twice as much electricity as it consumes, and can cover 100% of the electricity required for building operation and demolition with its solar power. With space for storing electricity, the building stores electricity in the summer, when sunshine duration exceeds 20 hours a day and uses surplus electricity, stored in summer, in winter when the sunshine duration is around five hours. This surplus electricity can also be supplied to neighboring buildings, electric buses, and cars in the city.

In the Powerhouse Brattørkaia, the upper floors are used as office spaces, and you can learn about the sustainability of the building on the ground floor, which has both a cafe and a visitor center. “Energy-positive buildings are the buildings of the future, and the design thinking should focus the most on environmental considerations,” said Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, the founder of Snøhetta and an architect. Such a trend of Net Zero Energy Building (ZEB) is expected to spread all over the world.