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Test Houses at Gløshaugen

Forsøkshus anno 2015. Foto: Nils Kristian Eikeland/NTNU UB
Test houses, 2015. Photo: Nils Kristian Eikeland/NTNU UB

Research on energy efficient housing is one of the long lines of our university’s history. A zero emissions house, ready for inhabitation and research from 1 October 2015, joins a long tradition of test houses at Gløshaugen. For almost 100 years ago, Andreas Fredrik Bugge, professor of house construction learning, raised 27 test houses on the western plateau, behind the main university buildling. The project was initiated by Bugge in 1917 and most of the houses were completed by 1919. Measurements commenced in 1920.

In 1922, after two years of research, Bugge wrote the report «Test houses raised at the Norwegian Technical College, Trondheim. Result of testing with wall constructions and materials for warm and reasonable housing», and a main conclusion was that «Wooden houses are cheaper to heat than concrete housing and significantly cheaper to heat than conrete housing with outer walls of compact 1 ½ stone». The impact of double glazed windows showed a 20% reduction of energy use and therefore significant economic savings.

Professor Bugge therefore recommended that it should be mandatory by law for all rooms constructed for continued use by people to be fitted with double glazed windows. Bugge also pointed out that this was the first time measurements of this kind had been made of wall constructions by means of test houses raised outside a lab, and therefore exposed to natural conditions.

When the University Library collected historical archive material in the attic of the main building, we found a photograph dated 14 October 1919 that shows the test houses with a written description of the various houses.

Photograph showing a row of test houses at Gløshaugen, Trondheim.
Test houses, 1919. Photo: Schrøder/NTNU UB.

The library has several archives containing information about the test houses. One part of professor Bugges archive is correspondence between the Ministry of Social Affairs and physics professor Sem Sæland about the test houses. Sæland was responsible for the heat technical measurements in the houses. There are more documents about this work in his archive.

Architect Jakob P. Holmgren succeeded Bugge as professor in 1930. In Holmgrens archive there is documentation of his work related to the test houses, and the following photograph of their construction.

Photograph showing test houses under construction.
Test houses during construction. Photo: Unknown. Archive reference: NTNU UB, Tek-0011 Jakob P. Holmgren Box 57, folder G 0003.



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  • Andreas Fredrik Bugge (1922): Forsøkshuser opført ved Norges tekniske høiskole, Trondhjem. Resultat av forsøk med vægkonstruktioner og materialer for bygning av varme og billige boliger
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