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Snohetta reveals zero-carbon prototype house

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Oslo-based Snohetta has unveiled proposal for this zero-carbon prototype home in Norway

The 220m² family house will act as a demonstration to show how homes with integrated energy generation could be built.

The zero energy building will offset 100 per cent of its CO2 and produce its own energy through photovoltaic and solar-thermal panels which are incorporated into the fabric of the building.

Facing south-east, the house features a sloping roof and an outdoor atrium.


The architect’s view

Focus on carbon emissions associated with building materials represents a new direction in the vital drive toward a sustainable construction industry.

Daylight, view, and contact with landscape and outdoor space is reconciled with the need for balancing sealed walls and windows. Heating and cooling is solved passively through placement of glass surfaces, orientation, house geometry and volume, and choosing materials with good thermal characteristics. Materials used on interior surfaces have been chosen on the basis of their ability to contribute to good indoor climate and air quality as well as aesthetic qualities.

An outdoor atrium with fireplace and furnishing opens for outdoor dining from early spring to late fall. A feeling of cabin life, in one of the world’s most advanced family houses, in a room with walls of stacked firewood and bricks.

The landscape is formed as a garden where visitors can walk around the building and discover the elements that make this an exceptional family house. The garden has a swimming pool and shower utilizing solargenerated thermal heat surplus, a sauna heated with firewood, and storage rooms as shielding from neighbours. A  breakfast spot on the eastern side with a view to neighbouring farmland is paved with recycled timber blocks, creating an inviting surface.

The project has a strong focus on retaining home-like qualities through non-quantifiable properties. Emotive comfort and sense of wellbeing have governed the design process to the same extent as energy demands. The grounds employ a variety of spaces that can be enjoyed year-round, with the inclusion of fruit trees and vegetable gardens to accommodate small scale food production.


Project data

Location Ringdalskogen, Larvik, Norway
Type of project prototype house
Client Optimera and Brødrene Dahl (Saint Gobain) 
Architect Snohetta
Completion date September 2014
Gross internal floor area 220m²
Specific environmental target zero energy

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