Bellona Oslo’s new building a Norwegian record setter in energy efficiency

Foto: Knut Bry

Publish date: February 15, 2011

Written by: Andreas Kokkvoll Tveit

Translated by: Charles Digges

On February 17, Bellona will open Norway’s most energy efficient office building. “Our new office premises shows that building in an environmentally friendly manner is good for the economy, and that anyone can achieve this,” said Bellona energy consultant Guro Nereng.

An old truism in the environmental movement says that, “the most environmentally friendly energy is that which you are not using.” In a world whose population is growing steadily, and many of today’s energy sources are limited, smarter energy sources are in demand. So when Bellona’s Oslo headquarters was outgrowing its old locale, the foundation spied an opportunity to go forward and take up use of the futures environmental solutions.

“Bellona has gone ahead and shown that there is a well of possible alternatives for those who want to contribute to solving the climate problem. Many are found in the construction sector because the building complex accounts for 40 percent of total energy consumption in Norway,” said Nereng.

She and the other staff at the Bellona office in Oslo office have already been working on a daily basis at the new premises for several weeks. February 17 is the official opening of the building, with a guest list of 350.

Environmentally friendly building is profitable

Bellona’s focus on smarter use of energy supported is supported by figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which estimates that a 54 percent of cut of greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 must be achieved through energy efficiency.

Just through energy

Because of reduced energy bills, many of the climate efforts in the construction sector are actually profitable. But many of them have gone unrealized. For just this reason, Nereng thinks that the example of the new Bellona office is important.

“With the help of known technologies, our new premises has become Norway’s most efficient office building. “We do get some extra rental costs, but the energy and fuel cost cuts are big,” said Nereng. 

On July 1, 2010 the so-called Energy labeling scheme was introduced. The scheme produces labels for buildings on how efficiently they use energy. When the new office building was planned, Bellona wanted to achieve the top grade of A, and in cooperation with the local real estate firm Aspelin Ramm, it was determined that the A grade will be reached. Now the that the building is finished, it turns out that the goal has not only been reached but exceeded.

“When an environmental organization with limited resources can handle this, many others can follow. We hope our record will soon be broken,” said Nereng.

Rich choice of materials

Nereng said that other environmental concerns have been addressed.

‘When building materials and furnishings have been chosen, we have taken the alternatives that are best based on, among other things, environmentally sound materials and substances in the product and production,’’ said Nereng.

“We put emphasis on choosing alternatives with the Swan Label or the EPD environmental declaration where they could be found. Furthermore, we have thought about how much recycled material is in the product, and that the production processes have proceeded with as little energy as possible, “she said.

These are just a few of the initiatives that make the Bellona office Norways’ most energy efficient office building:

– Tight and well-insulated building body, including windows;

– Optimization of utilization and shielding the sun;

– Ventilation with 88 percent heat recovery, i.e. the heat in the air goes back to the building instead of dissipating;

– CO2 and motion sensors for demand controlled ventilation, lighting and heating and energy efficient lighting;

– Low Energy Products (electronics and so on.) Elevator that generates electricity on the way down;

– Good use of space by using the open-plan offices ;

– Energy Solutions: Solar collectors heat the water used in Bellona office and in other buildings nearby. Heat is acquitted from the site’s energy central whose main source is 14 geo-wells that go 300 meters into the ground.