Technopolis Fornebu is making listed buildings greener

The old, protected airport building at Fornebu is currently filled with modern office spaces that adapt to the users' needs. With this in mind, Technopolis had to think innovatively on how the protected parts of the building could become increasingly sustainable. Small and big green steps were initiated, and thanks to this Technopolis Fornebu received a joyous result – the LEED certification.

To build sustainable cities, sustainable buildings are key. Everything that constitutes a building – from lights to windows and materials in general – must be made to last. Incentives for preserving protected buildings are important for the urban landscape, and the list of protected cultural monuments and buildings in Bærum is long. The intersection of protecting and renewing old buildings in a sustainable manner can be challenging.

The old airport at Fornebu is a part of this long list of protected buildings. The airport opened in 1963 and served as the national airport for many years, but in 1998 the doors closed for good. Technopolis Fornebu campus has since bought the buildings, and renovated them since 2002, where both sustainability and energy efficiency were central concerns for the renovation project of a building many Norwegians knew well.

"We have worked continuously to make the building sustainable. The famous Kai Fjell-Hall is the protected part of the terminal building, named after the artist Kai Fjell. This has been an important and challenging part of our work to secure a sustainable building as everything from the chandeliers to wall paintings are protected," says Alf Astrup, Business Unit Director for Technopolis Fornebu in Oslo and Technopolis Kista in Stockholm.

All adjustments in the terminal buildings – both big and small – have led to an important result. In 2022, the building gained a LEED certification. A world-renowned certification that amongst other things covers indoor air quality, energy efficiency, material and waste management, water consumption and innovation.

"We are very satisfied that the building was LEED-certified this year," says Astrup.

From new light bulbs to windows and everything in between

Changing the old light bulbs to LED lights for the chandeliers in the Kai Fjell-Hall was one of the many measures that served as the key to obtaining the certification in the Terminal building. In addition, the old windows were replaced with energy-efficient windows in 2016 to prevent heat loss.

"We were unable to alter the frames of the windows – as they were protected – and the new windows had to be fixed in the same place as the old ones. This part of the building has been the very symbol for the airport and its travelers. Many have seen the airplanes take off from these windows, waited eagerly for loved ones or said their goodbyes. It is very special to be able to sustain some of these feelings."

Part of this work has been done through drone inspections, to map out the loss of heat in the building. This has been an important tool to gain a better overview of how to increase energy efficiency.

"Mapping out an overview in this way is important and highly efficient. The drones have an infrared camera, providing the information we need to make adjustments in different parts of the buildings," says Astrup.

Continuous ambitions for increased sustainability

Despite the measures already taken, Technopolis works continuously to improve sustainability in its buildings. For instance, a new central control and monitoring system are on the agenda. These kinds of monitoring systems are in place in all buildings and have a great impact on energy efficiency.

"With a new monitoring system, lights, heat, cooling and ventilation can be managed in an increasingly efficient manner. This will affect everything from ventilation to data cooling. This also provides us with the possibility to become even more environmentally friendly in the future," says Astrup.

All the completed measures at Fornebu are a part of Technopolis' sustainability strategy. Technopolis’ ambition is to use exclusively carbon-neutral energy in all their buildings by 2030. Currently, 85 percent of Technopolis’ buildings have a LEED and BREEAM certification.

"Sustainable consciousness is the new norm, and Technopolis must strive to do what we can to innovate in a sustainable manner. The terminal building is an excellent example of how even protected and listed buildings can obtain important green certifications. This is mostly due to our ability to think about priorities and to think about the long term," says Astrup.

These are the measures taken by Technopolis Fornebu:

  1. Old light bulbs changed to new, sustainable LED lights in the Kai Fjell Hall.
  2. Changed the windows in the Kai Fjell Hall
  3. Installed a new filter for all water cranes as a water-saving measure.
  4. Reduced energy consumption on holidays and weekends. The speed of the aggregate had to be adjusted, and reduced to an acceptable level, even if there are people in the buildings.
  5. Introducing a new waste calculation which is used whenever new facilities are renovated.
  6. All electricity in all buildings is generated from renewable energy.
  7. Enlighten all tenants. One of Technopolis’ sustainability cornerstones is to make sustainability easy for its customers. Technopolis actively communicates to the customers about how, for instance, customers can initiate energy efficiency in their own office spaces.