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Energising office space doubles as city power plant

“Demonstrates that excellent sustainability credentials can be achieved in an exciting architectural vision,” Chris Williamson, Judge.

Project: Powerhouse Brattørkaia 

Award: Sustainable Energy Use Within a Project, Silver, 2022

Location: Trondheim, Norway

Architect: Snøhetta 

Client: Entra ASA

Powerhouse Brattørkaia, an office building situated next to Norway’s Trondheim harbour, has been strategically placed to harvest as much solar energy as possible in a part of the world where sunlight varies greatly between the seasons. Its skewed, pentagonal roof and the upper part of the façade is clad with almost 3,000 m2 of solar panels. Ample space for energy storage is built into the building footprint, allowing it to store surplus energy in the summer months of near total daylight for use in the winter months when daylight is at a minimum.  On average, the building produces more than twice as much electricity as it consumes daily. It functions as a small power plant in the middle of the city, supplying renewable energy to itself, neighbouring buildings, electric buses, cars and boats through a local micro grid.

Design highlights

The building is extremely energy efficient with intelligent solutions for air flow to reduce the need for heating and heat recovery solutions for ventilating air and greywater. It uses seawater for heating and cooling and implementing only energy efficient electrical appliances. Daylight conditions are optimized throughout the building design and artificial light use is kept at a minimum. An atrium serves as a public garden with horizontal glass windows on the sides, allowing light to flood in to the staff canteen. Large glass windows offer a panoramic view of the Trondheim Fjord and Munkholmen from the office spaces. 

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Photo credit: Ivar Kvaal, Snøhetta 

  • LEAD ARCHITECT: Rune Grasdal 
    CONTRACTOR: Skanska
  • MECHANICAL & ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS: Asplan Viak; Skanska; Sweco
    CIVIL & STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS: Asplan Viak; Skanska

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