• The Vertikal Nydalen building in Oslo, Norway.
    The Vertikal Nydalen building in Oslo, Norway.

No energy needs to be purchased to heat, cool and ventilate a new 18-floor building in Oslo, Norway.

The ‘triple zero solution’ building with a self-sufficient climate system, is known as Vertikal Nydalen.

The net zero solution is achieved using geothermal wells, PV panels, a low-exergy system for heating and cooling, and natural ventilation.

The building is heated and cooled down with water from geo-wells in the ground underneath the building. The PV panels on the roof power the heat pump that controls the heating and cooling system.

Concrete walls absorb heat during the day and release it at night, contributing to a stable temperature in the building.

The design of the building plays a key role in the distinctive energy solutions. The volume is designed to create pressure differences that enable the air to move through the premises without mechanical fans.

The air enters through valves, or windows, in the façade, which open and close as needed.

When two windows open on different sides of the building, the pressure difference forces the air to move through the premises without the use of fans, so the air circulates.

As traditional ventilation systems in office buildings often require a lowered ceiling of up to one metre from the slab, this natural solution without ducts and fans saves a lot of space – space that is better used for light and openness, and can drastically enhance the spatial qualities of the rooms.

The angles and facets provide pressure differentials and velocity changes in the wind hitting the façade. This contributes to a better ventilation effect on the inside because the wind speed is optimised.

The tapering shape towards the top increases the wind speed and the overall aesthetical impression through a narrower silhouette, but also ensures less wind down on the ground.

Thermal mass is necessary for the floors to release heat and cold at a slow pace, and concrete slabs and cores ensure this happens.

Steel constructions support the decks, while the façade is made up of wooden elements clad in heat-treated pine, which creates a warm and tactile expression on the outside, although the colour will gray over the years.

Furthermore, the façade is clad with vertical wooden slats in an uneven pattern, which contributes to a playful expression and emphasises the height direction of the building.

The façade is further characterised by the 43 angled balconies that stand out from the wooden surface with their steel finish.

The design was created by Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, architect and founder of Snøhetta.