Passive House certification — one of the leading green standards for ultra-low energy architecture — has finally touched down in South Asia with the completion of the Star Innovation Center near Colombo, Sri Lanka. New York City-based Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture completed the solar-powered product development facility that saw the renovation of an obsolete building into only one of two certified Passive House factory buildings in the world. Thanks to an airtight envelope and rigorous engineering, the Star Innovation Center is expected to consume 25 percent less energy as compared to a conventionally “efficient” modern industrial building.
The high-performance Passive House (Passivhaus) standards began in cooler, Northern European climates, yet Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture has proved that those green guidelines can also be applied to tropical monsoon climates with high humidity and warm temperatures year-round. At the Star Innovation Center, natural cooling is a primary concern. As such, the building systems were engineered to maintain working environments with low humidity, access to abundant natural light, filtered fresh air and nearly constant temperatures of 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moreover, the renovated building is meant to serve as a global model for the entire garment industry in not only sustainability measures but also worker comfort. Billed as a “model for future sweatshop-free commercial buildings,” the Star Innovation Center features a cheerful facade of colorful windscreens with spacious, open-plan rooms and plenty of connections to the outdoors. Energy efficiency has also helped secure lower operational costs for the client.
“By choosing to renovate an obsolete building to Passive House standards, the project dramatically reduces the waste, carbon emissions and fossil fuels typically required for demolition and new construction, and promotes the client’s commitment to maintain high standards in social, environmental, ethical and safety compliance,” the firm’s project statement said. “By promoting the project’s goals and inspiring the local building industry, JPDA has sought to establish a clear path to both reducing global carbon emissions and putting an end to worker ‘sweatshop’ conditions.”
Images via Ganidu Balasuriya and Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture