The world’s first energy-positive hotel opens up a world of possibilities.
Named after the glacier that dominates the region, the world’s first energy-positive hotel, Svart or Black Ice, will be opening in the far north of Norway and herald a new approach to architecture and commercial accommodation.
Plomp (Design: Snøhetta)
11 June, 2020
The name Svart, which in Norwegian means black, pays direct tribute to the glacier (whose name translates as ‘black ice’)
Mountains, ice, and sea come together in this magical spot to the north of the Arctic Circle. It sits at the base of Svartisen, Norway’s second-largest glacier, which runs through the Meløy municipality in the Nordland province. Called Svart, the hotel’s ring-shaped main body extends from the foot of the Almlifjellet mountain into the clear waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord. An unspoiled natural location that is only accessible by water, the hotel will be accessed by a carbon-neutral boat shuttle leaving from Bodø, the nearest city to the region.
The project, which was set for a 2023 completion date before COVID-19, is the brainchild of multi-award winning architectural firm, Snøhetta. For over 30 years, Snøhetta has been designing some of the world’s best-known public and cultural projects. The firm came to international fame in 1989 when it was awarded the commission to design the new library in Alexandria, Egypt. This was followed by further high-profile projects such as Oslo Opera House and the 9/11 Memorial Museum pavilion at the former site of the World Trade Centre in New York.
Snøhetta takes a transdisciplinary approach to all its projects, combining architecture, landscaping, and interior, graphic, and product design, so were a perfect choice for the Noirway project.
“An architectural project in such a precious environment brings with it a clear responsibility to protect the site’s natural beauty and fauna and flora,” says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founding partner of architectural firm, Snøhetta.
“We wanted to design a sustainable building that leaves only a minimal ecological footprint in this wonderful natural setting. Building an energy-positive hotel is a crucial step toward establishing a sustainable travel destination. The design respects the location’s unique features – the rare plant species, the clear waters, and the deep blue ice of the Svartisen glacier.”
The name Svart, which in Norwegian means black, pays direct tribute to the glacier (whose name translates as ‘black ice’).
Svart will not only use 85 percent less energy than a comparable hotel built to modern construction standards, but will also generate its own energy, making it self-sufficient and sustainable. Before the project got underway, the Snøhetta architects conducted a detailed study of annual sunlight exposure at the location, which sits on the edge of a fjord sheltered by mountains. This study led to the hotel’s circular design.
The hotel will be accessed by a carbon-neutral boat shuttle leaving from Bodø, the nearest city to the region
The hotel will have 100 rooms, an onsite education and design lab, and a sustainable farm to supply the four restaurants
The hotel rooms, restaurants, and terraces are strategically arranged to make optimum use of solar energy throughout the year. In summer, when the sun is high in the sky, the facades provide shade and mean there’s no need for air conditioning. During the winter months, when the sun is low in the sky, the large windows let through as much sunlight as possible in order to take advantage of the sun’s natural heat.
The hotel roof is clad with Norwegian solar panels, which are made using clean hydropower to further reduce the carbon footprint. Due to the long summer nights in northern latitudes, the hotel’s operating company hopes it will be able to harvest a lot of solar energy. The hotel also uses geothermal wells, which are connected to thermal pumps. These heat the building and reduce overall energy consumption. Energy-intensive building materials such as steel and concrete have been avoided wherever possible. Local wood is being used instead for the construction and cladding, helping to further reduce the building’s environmental footprint. The hotel will have around 100 guest rooms once complete, as well as an onsite education and design lab, and a sustainable farm that will grow the ingredients for the hotel’s four restaurants. Svart will also be the first building to be designed and built according to the highest energy efficiency standards in the northern hemisphere.
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