Climate conscious architecture has been around for some time, but renowned Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta is upping the bar – designing buildings that generate more energy than they consume throughout their whole lifecycle (calculated as 60 years). That includes the energy used in the procurement of building materials, construction and demolition. The generated energy has to be clean and renewable.
The concept, more specifically defined as the Powerhouse standard, has been conceived as a collaboration between Snøhetta and four partners: the property company Entra, the entrepreneur Skanska, the environmental organization ZERO, and the consulting company Asplan Viak. The group estimates that as much as 40% of global energy consumption can be attributed to buildings. That needs to addressed in the fight against climate change.
Lots of expertises are needed to make the task feasible, and the projects often feature more collaborators. Beyond all the conventional tricks for efficient heating, natural lighting and generating electricity with solar cells, innovation is also needed to make big construction projects not only environmentally net positive, but also financially. Situating the projects in the cold, sunlight-deprived North makes it even more ambitious, but the Powerhouse group is committed to pushing the limits of what is possible.
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