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Väla Gård: net zero primary energy use, solar production and detailed monitoring of energy and indoor climate!
October 5, 2015

Väla Gård: net zero primary energy use, solar production and detailed monitoring of energy and indoor climate!

The Väla Gård in Helsingborg was designed and build as the Sweden’s greenest office focusing on net zero primary energy use, zero hazardous substances in embedded material and zero construction waste. Väla Gård received the Sweden Green Building Awards 2013 prize for the Best Green Building, but also the award for Best LEED building and was in 2012 the building with the third-highest LEED score in the world. Väla Gård also received Solar Prize 2013 for the year facility in 2012 with the statement: “A technically and aesthetically well-made building in a meritorious way shows the possibilities of combining low energy consumption with producing integrated solar energy in new buildings.” The ambition of Väla Gård was to achieve a zero-to the renewable energy supply, as well as monitoring of energy and learning how this works in practice. The additional cost for Väla Gård is 6%, and a large part of the cost is contributed to the solar plant.

Three challenges for Väla Gård:

  1. Minimize energy demand. The idea was the building’s energy consumption excluding photovoltaic 21 kWh/(m2.a), the relative energy calculation was 15.4 kWh year excluding distribution losses and contributions from the solar cells. The measured energy use by distribution losses were only 14.4 kWh/year excluding solar electricity and less directly utilized solar electricity obtained 9.5 kWh/year.
  2. The photovoltaic system was planned to produce the equivalent annual consumption of property energy. The idea was building solar power 40,000 kWh, but the planning was expanded surface of the photovoltaic plant and thereby obtained 60% higher calculated energy generation, 64,000 kWh/year. The direct use of solar energy in the property is not as large as solar production and do not match the energy use at night or during the winter. On an annual basis it will bring reduction of property energy down to 34%. Installing battery as daily stock increases reduction of property´s energy to 50-65% depending on battery size.
  3. Detailed energy and operational monitoring of energy performance and indoor environment to monitor how the use solutions work in practice. Indoor climate survey shows that staff generally is very happy at their new office. The question that gave the greatest proportion of negative responses on possible concentration. A possible explanation could be the transition to a more open office, and probably the large amount of visitors who frequently visited the offices. Another issue that tends to be a problem in highly energy efficient buildings is the indoor climate during the summer, but that is not the experience any of the occupants that it would be too warm indoors.

Väla Gård i Helsingborg. LÅGAN Rapport December 2014 by Per Kempe (link here). The report is in Swedish.

Find more information about this case study building Väla Gård in Helsingborg (link here) and check out other Swegon Air Academy Case Studies (link here).