A new house in Norway goes beyond the dreams running a house without importing energy — the ZEB (Zero Emission Buildings) pilot house in Larvik meets all its energy needs and produces a surplus, enough to run an electric car all year round.
The designers, Snøhetta, say:
To achieve ZEB-OM classification the project is required to document and verify a minimum of 100% CO2 offsetting. Renewable energy production via photovoltaic and solar-thermal panels integrated in the building envelope enables offsetting of carbon emissions generated by the burning of fossil fuels in power stations. By offsetting in this manner we reduce emission of other greenhouse gasses simultaneously. Focus on carbon emissions associated with building materials represents a new direction in the vital drive toward a sustainable construction industry.
The new building is designed as a family house but is a research project to demonstrate and develop technologies for “plus houses” which generate more than they use. See this Wikipedia article on “plus houses”.
Naturally, the Larvik house used a lot of eco technology but also traditional solutions such as utilising thermal mass.
The house is a collaboration between research bodies and industry. ZEB, the research centre on zero emission building says its vision is to “eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions caused by buildings”.