Old office buildings can be energy-positive

The Powerhouse alliance is planning to renovate two office buildings near Oslo to be energy-positive. If the project is realized, the buildings will be the northernmost energy-positive retrofitted buildings.

November 21, 2011

Planning for the project in Sandvika, just west of Oslo, has begun. Work is to begin in 2013 and be finished in 2014, dependent upon approval from the authorities.

The Powerhouse alliance consists of property management firm Entra Eiendom, developers Skanska, Hydro, architects Snøhetta and the environmental organization Zero.

The consultancy company Asplan Viak will be a tenant of the Sandvika project, but will also contribute its energy expertise.

"It is quite a challenge to renovate the existing buildings to be energy-positive. Older, existing buildings will represent the majority of buildings for some time to come. So to significantly reduce energy consumption, we must address existing buildings," says Kyrre Olaf Johansen, head of Entra Eiendom. Buildings represent 40 percent of global energy use.

Johansen says that 80 percent of the buildings in use today will continue to be in use 40 years from now.

Says Hydro President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg: "We have façade solutions for renovations that can really help reduce energy consumption, and we're looking forward to showing that our solutions will also function here in 'cold' Norway."

In the Sandvika project, Powerhouse will employ new façade solutions, interior solutions, and advanced control systems. These systems will optimize energy consumption, and energy-producing technologies will contribute as well.

"It's very exciting to see this project developing now. By putting together our competence we will set a standard for such renovations," says Per Ola Ulseth, head of Skanska Norge.

The two buildings originating in 1980 total 2,600 square meters of space. Today they use about 250 kilowatt-hours of electricity per square meter per year. After the renovation, it is hoped the buildings will be energy-positive over time. Energy savings will total about NOK 1 million (about $180,000) annually.

Updated: October 11, 2016