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In case you missed it, deep in the heart of Norway, a new kind of Green Building was born – The Powerhouse Brattørkaia – possibly the world’s energy-positive building, producing more than twice the electricity it requires per day.

The architecture and design firm Snøhetta has always had a track record of pushing the boundary of sustainable design with projects like the ZEB Pilot House, but the The Powerhouse Brattørkaia is arguably their most sustainable to date.
Located in Trondheim, Norway, where the whether conditions vary greatly between seasons, this building was carefully chosen to offer maximum exposure to the sun. Its pentagonal roof and the upper surface of its facade are skinned with 3,000 sq m (roughly 32,000 sq ft) of solar panels that produce approximately 500,000 kWh of electricity over a year – which is, on average, more than twice as much electricity as the building requires per day.

Over the course of a year, this amounts to almost 500,000 kWh of clean, renewable energy. As such, the building acts as a relatively small power plant in the heart of Trondheim.


One of the major areas of focus during the research and design of this building, according to Snøhetta’s website, was to create ample space for energy storage that would allow it to store the excess energy not used in the summer months at the peak hours of the day, then use these energy stores in the winter months when daylight is at a minimum.

Powerhouse Brattørkaia carries a sharp clad in design of black aluminum panels and thinly veiled cutouts that scale with the building’s natural sloping design. At its center, a large oval void that contains a spiraling open courtyard with an open garden outlined in a wall of yellow. The interior’s ground floor hosts a cafe and visitor center, and the rest of the available floorspace is allocated to offices.

Listed on it’s website, Snøhetta announces that:

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.

Powerhouse is a research, design and engineering collaboration of industry partners Entra, Skanska, ZERO, Snøhetta and Asplan Viak.

For more information about the Powerhouse Brattørkaia, or Snøhetta