Creating State of the Art? A Passive House University Hospital North of the Polar Circle
Paper in proceeding, 2018
The recent Norwegian passive house legislation has raised concerns as to whether the building industry was able to build cost-efficient buildings, without overspending tax payers’ money and having negative consequences for peripheral areas in particular in the very north part of the country. This paper aims at exploring and analyzing how these challenges created by the new legislation has been met during building of a new hospital block in Tromsø, the A-wing. Building on sustainable transition theory which identifies several recombinant dynamics, both public and private, we define the building of passive houses as a societal development encompassing dynamics like company development, personnel competences, as well as architectural, engineering and production methods. The empirical material draws on interviews, analysis of documents relative to the project and public media material. The case study revealed a mixture of recurrent, and specific cold climate challenges: some are directly related to passive house technologies, such as issues with the façade, others indirectly, such as Tromsø being a remote market for material and labour. The project encountered delays, shift in contracts and cost augmentations. Competences had to be developed and combined to achieve the standards of passive house building and the local workforce was complemented by adding workers from other regions and markets; the south and middle Norwegian, Nordic, Baltic and East European countries. Accordingly, the project was not isolated in the northern part of Norway and its challenges appeared to be rather organizational and managerial than technical.