The Powerhouse Kjørbo building near Oslo, Norway has been recently renovated to produce more energy than it consumes. The renewed office building is the first energy-positive building in the country and the world’s first renovated energy-positive structure.
The building hosts a number of firms keen on developing energy-positive projects.
"As far as we know, this is the first building in the world that has been renovated into an energy-positive structure. It is the unique collaboration we have had from the very start that has made this possible," said Ståle Rød, chairman of the Powerhouse consortium.
The new project, will include the renovation of two 2,600 square metre buildings. Powerhouse Kjørbo is capable of generating more clean and renewable energy in its operational stage that used for the production of the materials used in the building, its construction, operation and disposal.
“Even when you take into account their complete life cycle, including all the energy used to produce building materials, the buildings will still be energy positive. This is probably one of the world’s most energy-efficient renovation projects,” said Philipp Müller, a building expert who has worked extensively on the project. “We also want to ensure that all new materials are recycled after use, without losing any of their qualities. This is one of the reasons we are using aluminium, including for all the window profiles.”
Prior to the renovation, the building’s annual energy consumption used to be around 650,000 kWh. Now its energy requirements, including heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting, are expected to come to only 100,000 kWh per year in total.
The key to reaching this objective lies in the integration of energy-efficient technical solutions and comprehensive architecture. By using existing technology combined in innovative ways, simple and logical solutions made it possible to transform a traditional office building into a sustainable, net-positive energy building.
The building's energy is generated by solar panels which are expected to produce over 200,000 kWh per year, with excess energy supplied to the power grid. Heat loss in the building is minimized by tight-fitting walls, ceilings and windows, as well as insulation. Exterior sun shading and exposed concrete decks reduce indoor temperatures during the summer.
"Powerhouse Kjørbo illustrates that it is possible to construct a building that is both environmentally correct and profitable, and this makes us tremendously proud," said chief executive officer Klaus-Anders Nysteen of Entra Eiendom, the company that owns the building.
The potential for reducing energy consumption in existing buildings is enormous. According to recent studies, the total annual energy consumption of office buildings in Norway is five to six TWh, and if all office buildings were renovated to produce more energy than they use, it would create enough energy to power about 300,000 homes.