This gorgeous 3-storey apartment building by Steinsvik Arkitektkontor AS lies above the polar circle - yet it requires zero external heating. This extraordinary feat was achieved with a combination of passive ecological design and cutting-edge heat recovery technology, demonstrating that it is possible to build structures with a small carbon footprint in even the most extreme environments. Although Norway experiences complete darkness for two months, for the rest of the year the apartments are powered using solar energy.
The passive apartments in the Storelva neighborhood overlook a magnificent fjord and mountains that are also indicative of extreme weather conditions. The solar collector is south-facing, which ensures the maximum intake of solar energy, while the north-facing side of the home is almost completely covered to protect against harsh winds. A small sliver of glass allows daylighting to penetrate. All of the sustainably sourced wood is left untreated to ensure that the home breathes well and the main, communal structure is covered in external mineral wool insulation.
All of the rooms and carports have movement-controlled lighting which mitigates any wasted energy. According to the designers, the houses have “thermic collectors in the ground for pre-heating/cooling of the air intake, a buffer tank for the heat collection systems combined with a backup air-to-water heat pump, and stores and delivers energy to the underfloor heating system.” This is how the home stays warm in the dead of winter – an inspiring achievement to be sure.
images via Ravn Steinsvik