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Energy positive hotel announced for Arctic Circle

Svart
Svart

An energy-positive hotel is set to be built in the Arctic Circle in northern Norway, the first hotel designed to the exacting Powerhouse standard.

The hotel, known as Svart (meaning “black” in Norwegian), is being created by architect practice Snøhetta, construction group Skanska and engineering firm Asplan Viak, and will be located at the foot of the Svartisen glacier in Norway’s Meløy municipality, just above the Arctic Circle.

It is set to use 85 per cent less energy that a typical modern hotel, while generating enough renewable energy to offset its operational and embodied energy over its lifetime.

Powerhouse is one of the world’s most stringent building tools, with the main criteria for development being that “a Powerhouse shall during its lifetime [set at 60 years] produce more renewable energy than it uses for materials, production, operation, renovation and demolition”.

It was developed by companies Entra Eiendom, Skanska, Snøhetta, ZERO, Sapa and Asplan Viak to demonstrate that energy positive buildings could be created in cold Norwegian climates.

Snøhetta founding partner Kjetil Trædal Thorsen said it was important to create an environmentally friendly building for client Arctic Adventures of Norway.

“Building in such a precious environment comes with some clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site,” Mr Thorsen said.

“It was important for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful Northern nature.

“Building an energy positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features of the plot; the rare plant species, the clean waters and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier.”

There are a number of design innovations that have been implemented to reach the Powerhouse standard.

For example, extensive mapping of solar radiation was conducted, which informed the final circular design of the hotel, with rooms, restaurants and terraces placed strategically to maximise sun.

Solar panels on the roof have been developed in Norway using hydro power to minimise embodied energy, and are expected to produce a significant amount of energy during the long summer days.

Geothermal pumps connected to heat wells will help to keep the hotel warm during the cold winter months.

Recessed terraces protect rooms against excess summer sun, removing the need for mechanical cooling, while large glazing areas allow for the sun’s heat to be collected in winter.

Low embodied energy materials have also been preferenced to meet the Powerhouse standard, such as the supporting structure, made from weather-resistant wooden poles.

The environment surrounding the hotel can only be accessed by boat, and there are plans to have an energy-neutral shuttle boat from the nearby city of Bodø.

The hotel is expected to be completed in 2021.

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