Creating a building that produces more energy than it consumes is already a hefty goal – but real estate developer Emil Eriksrød wants to take it another step further. The young entrepreneur wants to build the world’s northernmost plus-energy office in Porsgrunn, a tiny Norwegian town with a population of less than 35,000. Designed by Snøhetta, the Powerhouse Telemark features a unique diamond shape optimized for harvesting solar energy and minimizing energy expenditure.

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Eriksrød and Snøhetta see the ambitious Powerhouse Telemark project as an opportunity to put Norway on the map for energy solutions. It’s also part of Eriksrød’s goal to inspire commercial real estate developers worldwide to invest in energy-plus buildings in cities of all sizes. “I hope we will be plagiarised and copied, replicated in all seven continents,” said Eriksrød. “This building should do wonders in lowering the bar for daring to do both spectacular and environmentally forward buildings, hopefully in a combination. Just imagine, when Porsgrunn has the customer base for such a building, imagine how many other places that have the same potential. There are tens of thousands of cities with a bigger population in the world.”

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The $17 million Powerhouse Telemark has a site-specific design with a diamond-shaped form optimized for harvesting solar energy. Heat exchangers and heat pumps will also produce electricity and heat for the building. The 11-story office building will comprise 6,500 square meters of space with modern office facilities, a foyer, gym, canteen, and a roof terrace surrounded by climbing plants. “This project proves that energy positive buildings can pay off commercially. It took us about a year to have the renters needed to make the building profitable. The world needs a lot of energy positive buildings. Hopefully this great building in our little town, can be the start of thousands of similar Powerhouses,” said Eriksrød. The project is slated for completion in 2019.

+ Snøhetta

Photo illustration by Loft Visual Group/Snøhetta, renderings by Snøhetta