Our existing building stock holds a vast amount of embedded energy, and often old buildings use more energy to meet the current standards of ventilation and heating. This calls for renovations that bring existing buildings up to date, without wasting resources and energy by demolishing and replacing them with new buildings.
By optimizing and combining modern technology in renovation, an ordinary office building from the 1980s now produces more renewable energy than it uses. The total refurbishment was conducted by a consortium of architects, engineers, specialists and developers, with the overall aim to construct and develop a series of buildings that produce more energy than they consume over the course of their lifetime.
Powerhouse Kjørbo, located outside Oslo, was the first to be completed, and after the renovation, the building's energy need has been reduced by more than 86 %. The building has solar panels installed on the roof and ground wells in the park outside provide heating for radiators, water and ventilation air, while a simple zoning of the plan helps reduce energy consumption and increase production of clean energy.
The design phase in this project was characterized by a close cross-disciplinary collaboration from the very early stages of the process, discovering how simple configurations and layout could support the ambitions of making the building energy positive. Drawing on specialist knowledge and collaborating intensively in the early stages is time and resource consuming, but it supports the final solution, which e.g. is utilized in a main staircase, which has a dual function as stair and ventilation channel. As the energy accounts include energy consumption related to production of building materials, construction, operation and demolition of the building, the team has made an effort in securing that all the materials brought into the project meet the highest environmental standards, while at the same time having a low embedded energy.
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