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Pioneering Sustainable Design – Norway’s Eco School

Pioneering Sustainable Design – Norway’s Eco School
10 June 2021
 

A primary school in Norway is the latest example of a revolutionary technology that uses agricultural by-products and softwood to create sustainable building materials.

Situated in a rural forest, the new Torvbråten primary school has become Norway’s second school to achieve the highly-regarded Nordic Swan Eco-label. This accreditation is a voluntary license system demonstrating environmental excellence, introduced by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1989.

With a gross area of 6,700m², the school caters to 470 students and 46 permanent employees and consists of two wings and a multi-purpose hall. Large-scale glass windows create a flow of daylight inside and foster an important connection with the surrounding natural landscape forest, which provides a natural home for an array of outdoor activities, including a mountain bike track and a light trail for skiing and walking to benefit the pupils as well as the local community. 

 

Watch the Video

 


 

Sustainable Wood Cladding

 

Crucially, the building is clad in aesthetically striking Kebony wood. This is created in a patented process that enhances the properties of non-durable wood to give them similar characteristics to the best performing woods. 

Developed in Norway, Kebony’s revolutionary technology is an environmentally friendly process which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating the wood with furfuryl alcohol - an agricultural by-product. By polymerising the wood’s cell wall, the softwoods permanently take on the attributes of tropical hardwood including high durability, hardness, and dimensional stability. 

 

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Picture:  a photograph of the exterior of the school

 

A study by Norwegian environmental consulting firm Bergfald & Co. demonstrated that Kebony has a substantially lower carbon footprint than its tropical hardwood equivalents, with improved durability and dimensional stability the wood is increasingly becoming the choice of leading architects and developers enabling them to use wood without causing environmental degradation.

Kebony has been used internationally in commercial, public, residential and marine projects including the site of Youth Winter Olympic Games in Norway, Sweden’s first round Passive House, Rochester Marina in New York and the redevelopment of Cinque Ports Street, Rye.    

 

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Geothermal Heating

 

The school, which was designed as a passivhaus building, is also equipped with 800 solar cells and energy wells (geothermal heating) which supply the building with waterborne heat in all floors, while 97 per cent of construction waste was sorted at source.  

Nina Landbø, International Sales Manager Norway at Kebony commented: “We are delighted to have contributed to this beautiful school in Norway and are excited to visit the project as the Kebony wood develops and ages with the beautiful surrounding landscape.” 

 

Inspiring Curiosity for Passivhaus Design

 

Designed by Link Arkitektur, the school was developed to inspire curiosity for sustainable design and materials from the start of a child’s development. This special building is now being used as a learning centre where environmentally-sound practices form a key part of education and learning. 

 

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Picture:  a photograph of the interior of the school, showing children sitting on benches

 

Commenting on the project, Link Arkitektur said: “It is wonderful to be a part of this special school which instils the importance of sustainability from an early age. We are so proud to have achieved the Swan Eco-Label for this exceptional project, which wouldn’t have been possible without the use of innovative materials like Kebony.” 

Picture: a photograph of the exterior of the school

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 10 June 2021

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