Us humans have a tendency to innovate and progress but at the same time, we can also cause great harm. Even though we are constantly innovating, our planet is not getting any better.
Now recently, a new office building has been unveiled in Norway that hopes to speed up the momentum for a smart city movement projected to slow climate change. Dubbed as Powerhouse Brattørkaia, located in the city of Trondheim, Norway, this will be till now, the biggest energy-positive building in the country. While, currently under construction, the building comes equipped with solar panels and the structure will be able to generate more energy in its operational phase than it consumes.
Inspired by nature
The Powerhouse Brattørkaia is a building that is designed based on the current requirement of our environment. The design of the structure is said to be inspired by nature, the building will extensively make use of solar energy and other sustainable methods to ensure that it consumes less energy than it generates. In addition to its sustainability, the building is touted to be comfortable to work in, featuring office space that will be well lit and has good air circulation, along with a view of Trondheimsfjorden and the Munkholmen island.
So, how does it work?
Sustainable materials are being used in developing the building, but that is not enough to create a structure that is energy-positive. Here’s the tech that’s making this possible.
- It is equipped with solar panels that cover the Brattørkaia’s roof, which faces south to get more exposure. The building’s own energy generation is about 485,000 kWh per year and the supplied energy for it, including equipment, is said to be 4.9 kWh/m2.
- The structure makes use of solar cells, heat exchangers and heat pumps to generate electricity and heat up the building. Additionally, sea water will be used to both heat and cool the Powerhouse Brattørkaia.
- The location of the solar cells and windows in the façade accounts for the sun’s intensity to optimize daylighting conditions and minimize energy consumption. In the areas most exposed to the sun, the window openings are reduced to minimize the solar heating of the building.
- The building’s floors and offices are also designed to efficiently circulate hot and cold air. In addition, a special type of concrete is used to help regulate the temperature.
Solving the problem of global warming isn’t easy since buildings are said to account for about 40 percent of the world’s energy consumption. However, energy-positive construction is an important step towards solving the larger problem and enabling better construction practices for smart cities.
“This is a complex and challenging task that requires holistic approaches and thinking. We have designed a unique building shaped by its surrounding conditions. The architectural and aesthetic expression of the building is defined by the mantra ‘form follows environment’,” says founding partner, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.
The building owner
Powerhouse resulted as a collaboration between real estate company Entra, construction and development company Skanska, environmental organization ZERO, Snøhetta architects, and the consulting company Asplan Viak. The first project by the collaboration was Powerhouse Kjørbo, which is located in Sandvika outside Oslo, Norway and is the first energy-positive building in the region.
Going beyond with smarter mobility
There are various opportunities when there’s a structure capable of producing more clean energy than it is consuming. While the most obvious use is distributing the excess energy to nearby neighbourhoods, the structure will also enable charging electric vehicles. One of such opportunities is a result of a collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover and the IOTA Foundation.
The companies introduced a concept where the company’s car uses the “smart wallet” technology that can both earn money, and make micropayments for services. Charging the Jaguar F-PACE or the company’s Range Rover Velar models will result in accumulation of points, which can be redeemed later.
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