Stefan Edberg with Carl-Axel Hageskog and Magnus Larsson
The Södra Climate Arena is the world's first tennis hall made of timber that meets the requirements to be called a passive building; a concept for energy-efficient, climate-friendly construction. The tennis hall was opened on 30 August and is situated next to Södra's head office in Växjö.
"Södra has previously participated in projects for constructing timber housing. With the Södra Climate Arena, we have produced a concept hall which we hope will be a role model for the sports arenas of the future. We want to emphasise the opportunities offered by building using timber, and passive buildings are the construction technology of the future. They are also a vital piece of the puzzle as regards climate issues, as building with timber is the best method for long-term storage of carbon dioxide," said Christer Segerstéen, Chairman of Södra.
County Governor Kristina Alsér declared the tennis hall open by being the first person to hit a ball on the court. The hall will be run by Ready Play, a team of people made up of the three tennis "names" Stefan Edberg, Magnus Larsson and Carl-Axel Hageskog. During the opening ceremony, grants were also awarded to talented juniors from the Stefan Edberg Foundation.
The climate benefits of passive building technology are significant. For example, ten "passive building" halls could save around 3,000,000 kWh of energy per year compared with halls using traditional construction technology. This is equivalent to the amount of energy needed to heat 200 regular homes.
"Above all, passive building technology involves keeping heat and ventilation losses to a minimum, thereby reducing the need for energy to heat the building. The limit for international accreditation as a passive building is consumption of 15 kWh (kilowatt hours) of energy for heating per square metre per year. The tennis hall in Växjö is 25 percent below this limit thanks to its efficient airtightness and structural connections with no thermal bridges (heat losses). By definition, a passive building is a top-quality building offering maximum comfort at the minimum overall cost, and this is apparent from every little detail in this new tennis hall," commented Simone Kreutzer, an accredited expert on passive buildings and CEO of IG Passivhus Sverige, Växjö.
Thicker insulating walls than normal are characteristic of passive building technology, but this is just one of its attributes. Another important construction factor involves the avoidance of what are known as thermal bridges; heavy materials that pass through the insulation layer, causing, among other things, heat to be conducted out of the building and condensation to form internally due to low surface temperatures. The glass facade is one of the most obvious signs of quality at the tennis hall in Växjö. Heat loss through the glass is so low that solar gains more or less offset these. The entire system, including ceilings and frames and their fitting against walls, is designed to minimise heat loss.
However, passive building technology involves considerably more than just construction of the building. Considerable effort has also gone into the environment inside the building. The outdoor temperature, changes in weather and seasons, variations in amounts of sunlight and activity levels on the premises are all examples of factors which would normally cause major variations in indoor temperature and comfort levels. Among other things, ground heat exchangers are being used to heat or cool (in summer) the outdoor air to ensure a consistent, pleasant indoor environment all year round. Södra will be monitoring the building's energy consumption and comfort over the coming years.
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