The Powerhouse alliance, consisting of developers Entra Eiendom, construction group Skanska, architects Snøhetta, environmental group ZERO and aluminium company Hydro will build Norway's first - and the world's northern-most - energy-positive commercial building, in Trondheim.
"We are happy to be able to present and realize the first energy-positive commercial building in Norway," Kyrre Olaf Johansen, head of Entra, said as he and the other partners in the Powerhouse alliance unveiled the project on Friday.
"The project will set new national and international standards for how to create energy-efficient and energy-positive buildings, and this will be a perfect building for a tenant who is actively engaged in environmental issues."
The company Brattørkaia AS, with Entra Eiendom as a majority owner, will own the building, while Skanska will be the general contractor. Snøhetta will design the building and Hydro will supply the energy-efficient aluminium façades. ZERO will handle information.
The parties in Powerhouse signed an agreement in late April to build an energy-positive building in Norway, and are already on track to realize its this project.
"We have taken a big step in a short time," said Hydro's President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg. "As we, together with ZERO, launched the idea of an energy-positive building last autumn, we are very happy that the project is taking shape."
Centrally located in Trondheim
The building will be centrally located in Trondheim, between the city's main train station, fast-ferry connection, and coastal ferry terminal - a fast-growing area. Brattøra, as it is called, is home to several large employers, a new convention hotel under construction, a new national rock and roll center, and a new building under construction for a government environment agency.
"Brattøra is a cutting-edge area when it comes to environmental trends. In such a central part of the city, it is of course important that the buildings leave a positive footprint - in design and environmental impact," says Ole Gustavsen, a director in Snøhetta architects.
The new building in Brattøra, "Powerhouse One," is to be the first of several to be developed by the Powerhouse alliance. The building is to be positive both in energy and commercially. The building project is open for potential tenants.
"To be part of this project is innovation - both when it comes to product development, the project itself and organizational development. At the end of the day, structures like the energy-positive building at Brattøra will create added value for our customers - so they will be economically sustainable, too," says Per Ola Ulseth, head of Skanska Norway.
Foundation work is already under way, and the building could be ready for its tenants in the summer of 2013.
"This project can have great significance when it comes to technical solutions that reduce energy consumption in buildings. I am happy that Hydro and Entra Eiendom - with their knowledge - can contribute to developing new environmentally friendly solutions," says Trond Giske, the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry.
Want to inspire others
The Powerhouse alliance wants to develop commercial buildings that in the course of the buildings' life produce more renewable energy than consumed during the production of building materials, construction, operation and ultimate disposal of the buildings' components. (Some buildings fitting this definition are found further south in Europe, but not in Norway.)
"We want to inspire others, so that Norway, too, can help solve one of the world's greatest challenges, namely to reduce the world's enormous energy consumption," said the leader of ZERO, Einar Håndlykken.
About 40 of the world's energy demand goes to the construction and operation of buildings.
Powerhouse will challenge conventional building practices and develop groundbreaking concepts for energy-positive buildings under commercial conditions.