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Solar powered office producing more energy than it consumes

“It is refreshing to see a building with roots in sustainability push the boundaries for what sustainable architecture can look like,” Christopher Lee, Judge.

Project: Powerhouse Telemark

Award: Best Overall Sustainable Architecture, Silver, 2022

Location: Porsgrunn, Norway

Architect: Snøhetta

Client: R8 Property

Designed for maximized solar energy harvesting, angular office building Powerhouse Telemark is set to produce more energy than it will consume over a 60 year life span. The 11-storey building features work spaces, as well as a bar, meeting rooms and restaurant and staff canteen and reduces its yearly net energy consumption by 70% compared to similar new-construction offices. Solar cells, heat exchangers and heat pumps produce electricity and heat for the building and sea water contributes to both the heating and cooling system.
The west and southeast walls tilt seven degrees out so that there are larger areas for solar capture. The south façade is dominated by a large wood construction that helps to support the roof that cantilevers the facade. This construction also acts like a sunscreen.
The building’s striking 24° tilted roof gently slopes to surpass the extremities of the building’s volume, expanding the roof’s surface and ensuring that a maximum amount of solar energy can be harvested both from the photovoltaic canopy and the building’s PV-cell clad south-facing façade. Nine geothermal wells 350m down, combined with an advanced heat pump and displacement ventilation ensure a pleasant indoor climate year round.

Design highlights

The skewed and slightly conical building features a clearly defined 45° tilting notch on the east-facing façade, giving it a distinctive identity that make it stand out in the surrounding industrial park. The building’s west, north-west and north-east-facing facades are clad with wooden pillars which offer shade in the most sun-exposed areas.

  • Powerhouse Telemark
  • Powerhouse Telemark
  • Powerhouse Telemark
  • Powerhouse Telemark
  • Powerhouse Telemark
  • Powerhouse Telemark
  • Powerhouse Telemark
  • Powerhouse Telemark

Photo credit: Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

  • LEAD ARCHITECT: Rune Grasdal 
    TECHNICAL DESIGN: Skanska Teknikk and Asplan Viak

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