It's got all three: low transportation energy, low embodied carbon, low operating energy.
Lots of architects are building in wood these days, and Waugh Thistleton was one of the pioneers, doing the first building that really got everybody excited about the material. And while we are always excited by designs that take the embodied energy of a building into account by building with natural materials, operating energy still matters. So does the energy needed to get around, which is why location matters. That's why this project proposed for Store Lungegårdsvann Lake in Bergen is so interesting.
Trenezia is an exemplar of environmental design. Made from state of the art timber construction, CO2 emissions from the construction and during the lifetime of the project will be minimised. The environmentally responsive design, low energy consumption, low water consumption and low waste generation form the pillars of the technical design.
Kirstin Haggart of Waugh Thistleton tells Dezeen:
Firstly, the demand from the buildings and facilities will be minimised through a highly efficient building envelope and water and energy saving technologies. Secondly, the scheme will generate energy from clean on-site renewable sources and export more energy than it consumes, thereby effectively offsetting its carbon emissions."
Store Lungegårdsvann Lake used to be part of a larger body of water but has been much abused; according to Wikipedia, "The bay was seen as a resource for the city to cover the acute need for free, unused land. As a result, there have been several large parts of the bay, mainly on the northern shore, that were filled in." As often happens, the fill used was toxic, so the lake is lined with a layer of sand and cement to seal in the pollutants. Part of the proposal is to bring the lake back to life, possibly with oyster farms to purify the water.
The city still needs land for housing (it is locked in by seven mountains) to bring people back downtown, but instead of continuing to fill the lake, the project takes advantage of the water. "Residential fingers are separated by canals with individual and communal boat moorings and pontoons for residents, creating a comfortable environment where people can be healthy, happy and productive." The project acts as a bridge, connecting the historic town to its arts hub.
Waugh Thistleton has created a masterplan that unites these two areas and brings exciting new public spaces to the city. Trenezia will be a zero carbon community for all. A new boardwalk spanning the lake forms the central spine of the project; a place for activity and interaction with a swimming pool, sailing club, performance spaces, cafes and shops along its shore.
Behind the boardwalk a variety of new homes for young families, students and the elderly create a place for intergenerational interaction bringing life and community into the centre of Bergen. The development offers a range accommodation from family houses, co-living, student flats and sheltered housing both for private sale and rent.
The architects call the project a "demonstration of how to build in a truly sustainable way, both environmentally and socially, representing a microcosm of the vision for Bergen as a leading sustainable capital in the world." But it is also a demonstration of how we should be building to minimize all of our footprints; by building in places that you can get to without a car, by building with materials with low upfront carbon emissions, by building for low energy consumption. You can't pick and choose; they all matter.