Powerhouse coalition builds energy positive buildings

The goal: build buildings that provide more power than they cost to build, run, and demolish.

May 08, 2018 |

A new Montessori school in Drøbak, Norway is one of the latest projects completed by a coalition of architects, engineers, and developers called Powerhouse that is constructing energy-positive buildings.

Their goal is to construct buildings that provide more power over the course of their lifetimes than they cost to build, run and demolish. Powerhouse members are architecture firm Snøhetta, Entra and Asplan Viak, two real estate companies, and Zero Emission Resource Organization (ZERO), a non-profit foundation.

The Norwegian school features solar panels and geothermal wells. The design has to change from “form follows function” to “form follows environment,” says one Powerhouse member.

So far, Powerhouse has retrofitted one building in addition to the school, and is constructing its first purpose-built office building. Other groups are building energy-positive buildings, but none have taken the full life-cycle approach, accounting for construction and demolition, as Powerhouse does.

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