Sri Lanka’s economy is largely known for tea plantations, clothing, textiles, tourism, and telecommunication. A long history in garment manufacturing sometimes raises questions about the working conditions in local factories. The buildings can be hot, poorly ventilated, and noisy. So, when the opportunity arose to renovate and retrofit an old factory building in Colombo, the capital of the island state in the Indian Ocean, Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture (JPDA) jumped on the chance to design a state-of-the-art building and achieve Passive House certification and improve the workers’ working environment. Passive House certification encompasses design principles and efficiency standards such as continuous insulation, high performing windows and doors, constantly filtered fresh air ventilation, and energy recovery from exhaust air. JPDA, a multidisciplinary practice specializing in sustainable architecture, interiors, branding, and experience design, worked with local teams of architects, engineers, fabricators, and builders to design and construct the first-ever Passive House factory in South Asia. The Star Innovation Center is a product development facility in the garment industry that was completely transformed and upgraded. The renovation of the empty building greatly reduced the waste, carbon emissions and fossil fuels required for otherwise a demolition and a new construction. The new factory and office complex is ultra-high performing and adhering to standards set by Passive House. The annual energy consumption at the second-only certified Passive House factory in the world is 75% lower than in a conventional industrial building. It was not easy to achieve this as the architects faced new challenges. The project is the first one located in a tropical climate with year-round high temperatures and humidity. The design and engineering had to be adapted to the climate. It was important to provide lots of natural light, and a constant, pleasant temperature in the rooms. The unique standards applied not only help to reduce operational costs but provide an improved work environment and increased the comfort of employees. The collaboration with local firms was also an excellent way to transfer technology knowledge. The Star Innovation Center is a model for sustainability and energy efficiency in the region incorporating all aspects of social, environmental, ethical, and safety compliance.
Read more about our sustainability efforts in the latest Sustainability and Stewardship report.