Solar energy forms the crux of the office building, which will use solar cells, heat exchangers and heat pumps to meet most of the building’s electricity and heating needs. Rising from the fjord in the north and sloping down towards the south, the roof of the office is at a perfect angle to maximize solar energy production. Careful placement of solar cells and windows also ensures that the building is optimized for natural lighting, while the size of window openings has been reduced to minimize solar heating. To supplement this system, sea water will be drawn in from the fjord to allow the building to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the year.
The building’s estimated energy needs are only 21 kWh/m²/year and estimated energy production is 49 kWh/m²/year. Not only will the building be the northernmost energy-positive building, it will also be the first of its kind in Norway. Its design also means that the excess energy produced during the building’s operational lifetime will exceed the energy used to create the building.
Snøhetta also forms part of the Powerhouse Alliance, a collaborative project on energy-positive buildings established alongside Entra Eiendom, Skanska, the environmental organisation ZERO, and the aluminium company Hydro. The projects aims to demonstrate that energy-positive buildings are a concept suited to cold-weather climates, not just those which experience near-perfect weather all year round.