Kautokeino Home Care

Kautokeino Home Care Centre is a beautiful example of how the woodhouse Industry can help to make the World a better place. This fine engineered low-Energy building will be home to many elders of the Kautokeino community in the cold and beautiful Finnmark.

We are always excited when we get to work on a large project and Kautokeino Home Care Centre gave us more than one reason to be proud for the excellent work of our Team.

The whole building has been prefabricated in Q-haus factory in Estonia, shipped by truck to Kautokeino and then assembled on-site under severe weather conditions.

The building itself is a single floor structure of 1000m2 floor plan, arranged in a beautiful horse-shoe shape. Quite particular architecture to begin with.

On top of the intriguing geometry, we were asked to deliver a building that would meet the strict Passivhaus Standard NS3700. This particular standard is in many ways more strict than the regular standard (TEK10), especially regarding Energy Efficiency and airtightness.

The Challenges

In July 2014 we accepted the challenge and we committed to deliver the building before Spring 2015. The whole on-site assembly had to be carried out in the middle of winter.

You have to know that Kautokeino is a remote location in Finnmark, well above the Arctic Circle, land of reindeers and Sami people where winters can easily sport temperatures lower than -40°C.

Working outside at that kind of temperature is particularly challenging and we encountered any number of troubles, from crane hydraulic malfunctions to dead batteries in the electric tools… without counting frozen fingers and toes.

Despite the challenges (or maybe just because of them) it has been a fantastic experience.

The building has been handed over to Kautokeino Municipality in September 2015, about 13 months after Q-haus began to work on the Project.

Among the remarkable characteristics of the building we can highlight the following:

1) passivhaus indoor comfort and Energy performance
2) passivhaus airtightness
3) passive frame windows by “Nordan”
4) beautiful wooden facade made out of “Kebony” boards

Let’s see them in detail.

Energy performance and indoor comfort

The building has been designed to meet the Energy requirements of the Norwegian Standard NS3700, which is the Norwegian adaptation of the international Passivhaus Standard.

The Passivhaus Standard is a concept that pushes building quality to the limit in order to achieve maximum indoor comfort and maximum Energy efficiency. The concept of a passive house, developed in Germany in the 80s and today strictly formalized by the PHI (Passivhaus Institute of Darmstadt, Germany), represents the guideline on which all the modern Energy-saving standards are based. It is worth to note that, despite the many adaptations and modifications, the original Passivhaus Standard is still today the most strict building standard in the whole World.

The Passivhaus Standard sets rigid limits for the U-value of building components.

On this project the biggest challenge has been to come up with a good solution for building the external walls.

According the Passivhaus Standard the U-value of walls shall not be greater than 0.15 W/m2K and it is warmly recommended to try reaching values close to 0.10 W/m2K.

The solution adopted in Kautokeino Home Care Centre features 450mm on glasswool insulation, enough to deliver an average U-value smaller than 0.11 W/m2K.

The core of the wall is built using 400mm I-beams (which further reduce the thermal bridge) and an additional service frame is implemented on the inside of the wall, bringing an additional 50mm insulation.

The total thickness of the massive walls is 545mm, composed as follows:

– 13mm gypsum board
– 10mm chipboard
– 45x45mm timber service frame (for pipes) + 50mm glasswool insulation
– vapour control layer
– 60x400mm I-beams + 400mm glasswool insulation
– 9mm wind protection gypsum board
– windbreak membrane
– 21mm vertical ventilation battens
– 28mm horizontal ventilation battens
– 19x120mm vertical wooden cladding


Passivhaus airtightness

Airtightness is a fundamental characteristic of a low-Energy building and condition sine-qua-non for Passivhaus Certification.

Airtightness is measured by the means of a pressure test (so called blower-door test) in which the building is kept under a contract pressure of 50 Pa (50 Pascal = 5 kg/m2) and volume of air leaked to/from the exterior ambient is monitored with the use of computerized equipment.

The ratio [volume_leaked] / [net_building_volume] shall not exceed the value of 0.6.

Kautokeino Home Care Centre passed the test scoring an outstanding 0.48.

With such level of airtightness the building is guaranteed to have a long life free of molds and problems with aging of the insulation material. The enhanced Energy saving is a plus that comes along with it.

Passive frame windows

Windows are a crucial component in a low-Energy building as they are part of the boundary that separates the indoor ambient from the external environment.

A considerable amount of Energy spills out of the windows, therefore particular attention shall be made to select a very good product that can guarantee performance and durability.

The windows used in Kautokeino building are manufactured by “Nordan AS” and they sport a 105mm “Passive frame” equipped with triple glass.

At the time of production of the building Nordan was one of the few manufacturers that offers windows with top-swing opening that can meet the Passivhaus Standard.

The average U-value of windows for the entire building amounts to 0.84 W/m2K.

Kebony facade

Kautokeino Home Care Centre sits beautifully on the side of a hill on the cold land of Finnmark.

Its particular horse-shoe shape results in spectacular views from different angles and the wooden cladding has been carefully chosen to enhance this game of shapes.

But it is not only about geometry and architecture. The facade was designed to withstand the severe weather conditions of the area without losing its visual appeal in the years to come.

This was made possible thanks to Kebony wooden cladding.

Kebony is a Norwegian trademark and the wood material coming from Kebony factory was sent to Q-haus in Estonia to be assembled on the walls elements. Wall elements were then sent on-site fully finished with Kebony cladding.

Developed in Norway, the Kebony® technology is a patented process which enhances the properties of non-durable wood species to give them similar characteristics to the best performing woods. Through a sustainable process wood species such as pines and some non-durable hardwoods are impregnated with a bio-based liquid derived from agricultural crop waste. With the addition of heat, the furfuryl polymer is permanently grafted into the wood cell wall, resulting in greatly improved durability and dimensional stability.

Kebony wood is suitable for both internal and external applications that demand high performance and great aesthetics including:  decking, flooring, cladding, roofing, windows, indoor and outdoor furniture. Over time Kebony acquires its characteristic silver-grey patina whilst not losing its performance characteristics.  With improved durability and dimensional stability Kebony is becoming increasingly the choice of leading architects and developers enabling them to use wood in projects without causing environmental degradation. A recent study by Norwegian environmental consulting firm Bergfald & Co. demonstrated that Kebony has a substantially lower carbon footprint than its tropical hardwood equivalents.

Factory Production

Production of the building in Q-haus factory took approximately 4 weeks.

The building was shipped to the construction site in Kautokeino using 22 trucks in the period between November 2014 and January 2015.

The roof, including the round part, was built partly in element construction and partly with roof trusses. The roof trusses were produced in Q-haus factory in parallel to element production for a total of 170 pieces up to 13m long.

As Prefab Element House producer, Q-haus reached new heights with the successful delivery of this building.

For more info or for any request feel free to contact our Sales Director Andrea.