Powerhouse Brattørkaia in Trondheim

Powerhouse Brattørkaia, Trondheim Industrial Development, North Norwegian Architecture, Images

Powerhouse Brattørkaia in Trondheim

Industrial Building Development in Norway – design by Snøhetta

5 Sep 2019

Powerhouse Brattørkaia

Architects: Snøhetta

Location: Trondheim, northern Norway

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

The energy sector and building industry accounts for over 40 % of global industry’s heat-trapping emissions combined, according to the World Resources Institute. As the world’s population and the severity of the climate crisis continue to grow, we are challenged to think how to build responsibly – creating high quality spaces for people while also reducing our environmental footprint. As the world’s northernmost energy-positive building, Powerhouse Brattørkaia aims to set a new standard for the construction of the buildings of tomorrow: one that produces more energy than it consumes over its lifespan, including construction and demolition*.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

Powerhouse Brattørkaia is located in Trondheim, Norway, 63° north of the Earth’s equator, where sunlight varies greatly between the seasons. This presents a unique opportunity to explore how to harvest and store solar energy under challenging conditions. The 18 000 m^2 office building is situated by the harbor and connects to Trondheim Central Station via a pedestrian bridge on the rear end of the building. The waterfront façade is the slimmest face of the building, allowing the project to be read at a similar scale with its neighbors. Clad with black aluminum and solar panels, the façade is reflected in the adjacent Trondheim Fjord.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

“Energy-positive buildings are the buildings of the future. The mantra of the design industry should not be ‘form follows function’ but ‘form follows environment’. This means that the design thinking of today should focus on environmental considerations and reducing our footprint first, and have the design follow this premise,” says Snøhetta Founder Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.

On average, Powerhouse Brattørkaia produces more than twice as much electricity as it consumes daily, and will supply renewable energy to itself, its neighboring buildings, electric buses, cars and boats through a local micro grid.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

The aim of the project is threefold; to maximize the amount of clean energy produced by the building, to minimize the energy required to run it, and to serve as a pleasant space for its tenants and the general public. The building’s site has been carefully chosen to ensure maximum exposure to the sun throughout the day and seasons. Its skewed, pentagonal roof and the upper part of the façade is clad with almost 3 000 m^2 of solar panels, strategically placed to harvest as much solar energy as possible. Over a year, this amounts to a total of about 500 000 kWh with clean, renewable energy. In effect, the building dually functions as a small power plant in the middle of the city. Ample space for energy storage is built into the building footprint, allowing it to store surplus energy in the summer months of near total daylight, to then use it in the winter months when daylight is at a minimum.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

The building is extremely energy efficient, leveraging a series of technologies to radically reduce energy use for its daily operations. This is accomplished through insulating the building for maximum efficiency, installing intelligent solutions for air flow to reduce the need for heating, heat recovery solutions for ventilating air and greywater (wastewater from all sources except toilets), using seawater for heating and cooling and implementing only energy efficient electrical appliances. Daylight conditions are optimized throughout the building design and artificial light use is kept at a minimum.

For humans to continue to live and thrive on this planet, and in the buildings we inhabit and spend most of our lives in, these need to be built with as much consideration for natural preservation and energy efficiency as for the comfort of the people inside them. As the world’s northernmost energy-positive building, Powerhouse Brattørkaia is setting an example for responsibly constructing our homes and office spaces for the future.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

An Inviting Atrium of Light
Viewed from the harbor front, the building façade’s sides cants inwards, bringing associations to how the building is bursting with energy. From the opposite approach, the sloping roof of the building reveals a cutout in the center of its plan that allows daylight to flow into the office spaces. Within this illuminated core is an atrium that functions as a public garden with horizontal glass windows on the sides, providing skylight into the below canteen. This skewed lightwell allows daylight to enter the building on every floor, and gives the people working inside a great view of the city. The atrium also limits the amount of artificial light needed inside the building.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

Large glass windows and pleasant open spaces flooded with daylight contribute a comfortable and inviting work environment.

In order to reduce energy use on lighting, the building employs a concept called “liquid light”, which allows the artificial light to smoothly dim up and down according to the activity and movement in the building. Taken together, these strategies allow Powerhouse Brattørkaia to consume only about half the amount of energy for lighting than a typical commercial office building of comparable size would.

The building provides office spaces for a diversity of commercial tenants, including construction and shipping firms, while also housing a significant public program. A café and a visitor center at the ground floor are open to the people of Trondheim as an educational resource for school groups and the general public alike. The visitor center explicates the energy concept of the Powerhouse and supports public knowledge and discourse on sustainable building strategies for the future.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

Ventilation and Heating Technologies
The Powerhouse prioritizes the physical comfort and well-being of the building’s occupants with strategies that balance its focus on fresh air and thermal comfort with extreme energy-efficiency. The ventilation system provides pleasant and clean air to the indoor spaces and accommodates Trondheim’s mild and humid climate. The office landscape contains technical installations for air supply that regulate ventilation. The air is let out close to the floor at low speed, while the extraction takes place centrally by suppression in the stair shafts. Further, the building’s structural system consists of thermal mass – low-emission concrete – which is exposed through strategic cutouts in the ceiling. The mass absorbs and retains heat and cold and helps regulate the temperature in the building without using electricity.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

For its efforts, Powerhouse Brattørkaia has received the BREEAM Outstanding certification, the highest possible ranking by the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for an asset’s environmental, social and economic sustainability performance. Its solutions support the UNFCCC Paris Agreement that pursues efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

* A Powerhouse produces more energy than it consumes over its lifespan (a conservative estimate of at least sixty years), including construction, demolition and the embodied energy in the materials used to construct the building.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

About BREEAM
BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It recognizes and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle, from new construction to in-use and refurbishment.

BREEAM does this through third party certification of the assessment of an asset’s environmental, social and economic sustainability performance, using standards developed by BRE. This means BREEAM rated developments are more sustainable environments that enhance the well-being of the people who live and work in them, help protect natural resources and make for more attractive property investments.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

About Powerhouse
Powerhouse represents a research, design and engineering collaboration of industry partners in the development of energy-positive buildings, and consists of the property company Entra, the entrepreneur Skanska, the environmental organization ZERO, the design and architecture firm Snøhetta, and the consulting company Asplan Viak.

The Powerhouse collaboration defines an energy-positive building as a building that will produce more clean and renewable energy throughout its lifespan than it uses in the production of building materials, construction, operation and demolition.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

The first project realized by the collaboration partners was Powerhouse Kjørbo, located in Sandvika outside Oslo, Norway. This was the first energy-positive building in Norway, and to our knowledge the first renovated energy-positive building in the world.

Powerhouse Brattørkaia was officially opened on August 30th, 2019 by the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen. The project is commissioned by Norwegian property developer Entra and developed by the Powerhouse collaboration.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

Other net-zero and energy-positive buildings by Snøhetta include Harvard HouseZero, ZEB Pilot House and Powerhouse Drøbak Montessori Secondary School. Several others are in the works or under construction.

Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim Powerhouse Brattorkaia Trondheim

Powerhouse Brattørkaia, Trondheim – Building Information

Architects: Snøhetta

Photography © Ivar Kvaal

Powerhouse Brattørkaia in Trondheim images / information received 050919

Location: Trondheim, Norway




Norwegian Architecture

Contemporary Norwegian Buildings

Norwegian Building Designs – chronological list

Architecture Tours in Oslo by e-architect

Norwegian Architecture

Norwegian Architects

Holmen Industrial Area, Vesterålen, Nordland county, Northern Norway
Architects: Snøhetta
Holmen Industrial Area in Vesteralen Norway
photograph © Stephen Citrone

Holmen Industrial Area in North Norway

Hadar’s House in Stokkøya, Trøndelag County
Design: Frida Öster, Asante Architecture & Design
Hadar's House in Stokkøya, Åfjord, Trøndelag County
photograph : Marius Rua

Stokkøya House




Lantern, Trondheim
AWP / Atelier Oslo, Architects

Lantern Trondheim

Hotel Buildings

Knut Hamsun building

Petter Dass Museum Building

Comments / photos for the Powerhouse Brattørkaia in Trondheim, page welcome

Website: NORDIC – Office of Architecture