- Sustainable Architecture
- First certified passive house in Asia is by JPDA
When it comes to sustainability in the southern hemisphere, people tend to think of bamboo, clay, wood, mud brick, in other words, low-tech buildings. Rarely are these buildings certified to international standards, although this in no way detracts from their function, efficiency, aesthetic appeal and usability.
Still, it makes the project for the Lake Star Innovation Center, a product development facility located near Colombo, Sri Lanka designed by US-based firm Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture (JPDA) even more important. Because this project isn't just any old conversion of an old industrial building, it's a global model for the entire garment industry, setting a new high bar for sustainability, energy efficiency and worker comfort.
By choosing to renovate an obsolete building to Passive House standards, the project dramatically reduces the waste, carbon emissions and fossil fuels typically required for demolition and new construction, and promotes the client’s commitment to maintaining high standards in social, environmental, ethical and safety compliance.
The Star Innovation Center project by JPDA is a pioneer in applying Passive House technology to a tropical monsoon climate, which features steady warm temperatures year-round but extremely high relative humidity. Up until now, most of the existing high-performance buildings have been located in cool, Northern European-style climates where heating - not cooling - is the primary consideration.
Careful design and engineering of the building systems and enclosure ensure that workers enjoy year-round comfort in a workspace that provides abundant natural light, low humidity, filtered fresh air, and maintains temperatures near a constant 24°C in a region where the average annual temperature is at least 27°C.
From the outset, one of the goals of client and architects alike was to put together an integrated project team comprised of local architects, engineers, fabricators and builders to encourage technology transfer and demonstrate the feasibility of high-performance building in the region. In addition to raising the awareness of the local building industry and inspiring them to reduce global carbon emissions, JPDA also sought to put an end to the traditional worker “sweatshop” conditions in the local garment industry. Comprehensive airtightness testing and remote monitoring of ongoing energy consumption give quantitative confirmation of the building's performance, delivering the expected operational cost savings for the client and substantially improved workplace environmental standards for the employees.
Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture (JPDA) has been leading the way in Passive House buildings for years now. Their project for the Star Komar Brands in Colombo is one of only two certified Passive House factory buildings in the world and annual energy consumption will be cut by over 75% compared to a conventionally “efficient” modern industrial building.
A virtuous example of environmental and social sustainability that goes so much further than the low-tech stereotypes associated with these parts of the world.
Client: Star Garment Group
Certified Passive House Designer: Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture
Design Team: Jordan Parnass, Marijke Huelsmann, Kevin Hennessey, Yereem Park, Philip Weller, Elizabet Bereslavskaya.
Lead Architect & Interior Design—Vinod Jayasinghe Associates (Pvt) Ltd (Sri Lanka)
Energy Consultants: Steven Winter Associates
Mechanical Engineering: Chandana Dalugoda Consultants
Structural Engineering: Ajith Vandebona PE
Quantity Surveying: Prasad Jasinghe, VFORM Consultants
MEP Engineering: Kosala Kamburadeniya PE
Location: Colombo. Sri Lanka
Photography: Ganidu Balasuriya and Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture
Thanks to v2com