The Star Innovation Center is the first certified Passive House project in South Asia, and the second certified Passive House factory building in the world. The project is a pioneer in applying Passive House technology to Sri Lanka’s tropical monsoon climate, which features steady warm temperatures year-round but extremely high relative humidity. The high performance design includes energy recovery ventilation, wrap-around heat pipes for enhanced dehumidification capacity, a highly efficient VRF system, thermally broken windows with external shading screens, and a rooftop photovoltaic system. The building is an apparel product development facility, combining factory and office uses. Intended to be a model for the entire garment industry, the project sets a new high bar for sustainability, energy efficiency and occupant 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. Careful engineering of the building systems and enclosure ensures that workers enjoy year-round comfort in a workspace that provides abundant natural light, low humidity, filtered fresh air, and moderate temperatures. Technology transfer to the local building industry demonstrates a clear path to both reducing carbon emissions and putting an end to worker “sweatshop” conditions. Individual systems see significant increases in efficiency, in spite of the heavy demands created by the industrial equipment required for factory operation. Utility metering data show that the client has realized an average of 54% annual energy savings when compared to the previous building.


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