Powerhouse Telemark

Snøhetta models an energy-positive future for workplaces in Norway

Powerhouse Telemark

Snøhetta models an energy-positive future for workplaces in Norway

Powerhouse Telemark in Porsgrunn is one of a series of energy-positive office buildings designed by Snøhetta that sets new standards for low energy consumption and surplus energy production.

The 11-storey building, located southeast of Oslo, Norway, uses 70% less energy than similar newly constructed offices. It is expected to produce more energy than it will consume over its lifespan.

Key to its energy production are photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof and south facade. These are part of an overall energy equation that also considers passive design strategies, the impact of maintenance, and embodied energy.


Generating clean energy, Powerhouse Telemark nods to the Porsgrunn area’s history of generating hydropower since the 19th century.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

Powerhouse Telemark is the fourth project completed by the Powerhouse brand. The brand is a collaboration between three leading partners: Swedish project development and construction company Skanska, environmental organisation ZERO, and Snøhetta.


A staircase on the ninth floor connects the staff canteen and conference room, and guides visitors towards the rooftop terrace.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

As described on Ecogradia by Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founding Partner of Snøhetta, “The idea was to be able to design and build buildings that, at least, would be fully CO2 neutral after a lifespan of somewhere between 25 and 30 years.”


The combination of daylighting and efficient artificial lighting reduces the building’s energy consumption for indoor illumination.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

The 8,313 sqm structure primarily houses offices, including two storeys of co-working spaces. It also contains a reception, penthouse meeting room, staff restaurant, wellness space, and roof terrace overlooking the fjord.


A skin of wooden balusters provides protection from the sun on the most exposed facades.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

The angle of the roof plane, which maximises the amount of solar energy harvested, contributes to the striking silhouette of Powerhouse Telemark.

This, along with a 45-degree notch on the east-facing facade and timber baluster cladding, establish the building as a landmark in the surrounding Herøya Industripark.


The building’s landmark character reflects the ambition for it to be a beacon of sustainable design and the decarbonisation of new construction.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta
New energy standards for office buildings

The south facade and roof generate 256,000 kWh each year through solar energy harvesting. This is approximately twenty times the annual energy use of an average Norwegian household. The surplus energy is sold back to the grid.


The PV panels on Powerhouse Telemark generate a considerable surplus of clean energy.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

The triple-glazed windows effectively reduce heat transfer through the glazing while allowing abundant natural light to enter.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

The building is super insulated and has triple-glazed windows. The wooden balusters cladding the west, northwest, and northeast elevations provide shading. Low-carbon STENI facade panels and glazing complete the building’s wall surfaces.

Glass slits in the roof allow daylight penetration on the uppermost floors. With plentiful natural daylighting reaching the interior, the artificial lighting system is conservative, and energy efficient at that.


The durable staff cafeteria receives natural light from slit windows in the sloping roof.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

The concrete slabs store thermal heat during the day and slowly emit it during the night. A low-exergy system with water loops in the border zones of each floor, ensuring efficient cooling and heating (facilitated by geothermal wells dug 350 m below ground level).


A sectional drawing shows the distinctive 24-degree tilt of the roof. The building envelope extends beyond the edges of the floor plates.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta
A low-embodied-energy interior for the long haul

Internally, the concepts of standardisation, resilience, and low embodied energy dominate the design.


Standardised and durable fittings and furniture minimise the need to refit interior spaces over time.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

The standardisation of elements across all floors is a way to avoid the wastage that comes with new interior fitouts as tenancies change. As such, the same design, colour, and materiality is applied to all flooring, glass walls, office dividers, kitchenettes, and lighting.

Sturdy materials known for their resilience and low embodied energy give the interior an unfussy appearance and help to reduce the impact of maintenance over time. These include local wood, gypsum, and exposed environmental concrete.


Light-coloured materials and furniture complement the copious natural light in the staff cafeteria.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

The embodied energy of materials is minimised thanks to an emphasis on reuse. The tiles on the reception desk were recycled from the local porcelain factory. Wooden parquetry flooring is made from discarded ash.

The carpet tiles are composed of 70% recycled fishing nets. Second-hand chairs have upholstery crocheted from leftover yarn supplied by a Norwegian wool factory.


An open-plan work area with moveable meeting pods can be easily reconfigured.
© Ivar Kvaal / Snøhetta

The project demonstrates effective principles for energy-positive and sustainable architecture. The BREEAM NOR Excellent certification awarded to the building legitimises its achievements.

Powerhouse Telemark follows the footsteps of its ambitious counterparts: Powerhouse Kjørbo, Powerhouse Montessori, and Powerhouse Brattørkaia. It has the capacity to redefine our expectations of future office spaces, embodying environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable architecture.

Listen to Kjetil Trædal Thorsen’s perspective on sustainable architecture in Season 4, Episode 2 of Ecogradia.

A Green-certified project is third-party assessed (say, LEED, GRIHA, or EDGE), wherein it is certified to the highest level (say, platinum). It offers evidence of performance, across several distinct categories, that is validated by performance modelling and/or post-occupancy measurements.

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Fact Sheet

Disclaimer: Location provided as reference only. Exact site may differ.

Under the Köppen climate classification, these are ‘D’ climate types. Continental climates are typically seen in the interior of continents — 40° to 74° latitudes in either hemisphere — characterised by drastic seasonal changes.

Environmental classification
BREEAM NOR Excellent

Energy generated
256,000 kWh per year

Energy supplied, including equipment
-2.7 kWh/m2 heated GIA

Reduction in energy consumption
70% compared to similar new-construction offices

Building owner
R8 Property

Architect
Snøhetta

Technical Design
Skanska Teknikk, Asplan Viak, Skanska teknikk

Manufacturers
STENISolarLab

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Can architecture heal our planet? In this bonus episode, we delve into the power of regenerative design. From restoring existing structures to rethinking material ownership, find out how sustainability and healing go hand in hand.
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    Dealing with dampness: Use dehumidifiers or air conditioning units to manage interior wetness rates, specifically throughout humid seasonal changes.
    Maintaining airing: Make sure adequate breathing in bathing rooms, cooking areas, as well as other areas susceptible to water buildup. Set and maintain exhaust system fans to remove excessive humidity.
    Regularly Maintaining the outside: Periodically examine your property’s surface, including the cover, gutters, and room windows, to detect and manage any expected areas of moisture content entrance.
    Addressing Plumbing wetting: Resolve any plumbing infrastructure leaks quickly to avoid waters from oozing to the spaces and resulting in drywall damages.
    Professional help: Hire accomplished companies for good inspections and servicing to tackle any present or promising drywall dilemmas.

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    Fungus and Mildew Growth: Excess moisture forms a great environment for mildew and mold to thrive, endangering indoor air quality and posing health problems.
    Structural Weakness: Wet drywall undermines and loses its structural integrity, potentially leading to sagging, cracks, and even collapse.
    Aesthetical destruction: humidity harm often effects in unattractive stains, effervescent, stripping paint, and surface decline in quality, lowering the visual appeal of your house.

    Prompt Drywall Repairs: Preventing Beyond Problems
    Restoring drywall promptly is crucial to avoid added harm and minimize restore expenditures. Postponing repairs worsens active things, leading to even more complete and over-priced reparations. Keep in mind listed here reasons why timely drywall maintenance is really important:
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  10. Dwelling in OC or any coastal city close to the ocean provides numerous perks, but it also poses unique challenges. One particular challenge is the potential harm due to moisture and humidity to the drywall inside our homes. In this blog article, we will investigate the vitality of quick drywall repair and address the specific considerations for homeowners in OC and other coastal cities. By grasping the dangers and taking proactive measures, residents can ensure the longevity and structural integrity of the homes.

    Grasping the Impact of Moisture on Drywall
    Drywall, a standard building material utilized for interior walls and ceilings, is susceptible to moisture damage. In coastal areas, the closeness into the ocean raises the chance as a result of higher humidity levels and occasional moisture intrusion from the salty air. When moisture filters into drywall, it may result in various problems, including:
    Fungus and Fungi Growth: Excess moisture creates a great environment for mildew and mold to thrive, endangering indoor air quality and posing health risks.
    Structural Weakness: Wet drywall fragments and loses its structural integrity, potentially ultimately causing sagging, cracks, and even collapse.
    Aesthetic pain: humidness pain often results in unattractive marks, bubbling, stripping color, and surface degeneration, lowering the overall look of your property.

    Timely Drywall Repairs: Preventing Farther Along Harm
    Repairing drywall swiftly is vital to prevent added damage and reduce repair fees. Delaying repairs can exacerbate provide things, resulting in greater extended and extravagant renovations. Keep in mind the following main reasons why quick drywall repair is really important:
    Mold Mitigation: responding to moisture-related issues swiftly stops mold development and growth, safeguarding your loved ones’s health.
    Maintaining Structural Integrity

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    Stopping supplementary Harm: Humidity-affected drywall may impact adjacent materials such as for instance insulation and woody framing. By restoring drywall swiftly, you can avoid additional damage and associated improvements.
    Cost Efficiency: Early detection and repair of drywall issues are increasingly cost-effective than waiting until the harm becomes serious. Seasonable improvements preserve you against lengthy renovations as well as promising resettlement costs.

    Tips for Drywall Service in Coastal Communities
    Living nearby the seashore demands extra care and attention to preserve the reliability of one’s drywall. Here are a few useful tips for residence owners in OC and coast towns:
    Ordinary Inspections: Perform standard visual assessments of your drywall, being mindful of signs and symptoms of wetness harm, such as for example blemish, peeling paint, or very soft points.
    Monitoring Humidity: Use blow dryers or air conditioners to regulate in house wetness quantities, exclusively all through humid times.
    Guaranteeing venting: Ensure right airflow in a bathroom, kitchen sets, as well as other areas prone to moisture accumulation. Purchase and maintain exhaust system fans to remove surplus moisture content.
    Consistently keeping up the outside: Regularly scrutinize your home’s external, including the roofing, drains, and home’s windows, to detect and tackle any promising points of moisture invasion.
    Addressing plumbing work moisture: Repair any plumbing work leaks right away to prevent water from dripping into the interior walls and developing drywall break.
    Professional help: Seek the services of informed general contractors for thorough examinations and repair works to fix any overall or capacity drywall issues.

    Result
    In coast areas like Orange County, quick drywall servicing is vital to mitigate the damaging ramifications of wetness and humidity. By grasping the risks related to humidity harm and implementing active ways, families will be able to assure the long lifespan, protection, and aesthetic selling point of their particular houses.

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