Snøhetta, a Norwegian architecture firm, has designed an energy positive hotel which is the first of its kind. Snøhetta’s sustainable Svart hotel will take full advantage of the spectacular surroundings and will host the guests in a ring-shaped structure with great views while preserving the natural beauty and keeping the environmental footprint to a minimum.
The Svart hotel will be the first energy positive hotel in accordance with the Powerhouse standard. The initiative was taken by Snøhetta in collaboration with other construction companies and environmental NGOs and has set out to prove that energy positive buildings can be built in the icy conditions of Norway.
The Powerhouse standard states that a building needs to generate so much energy in 60 years of operation that they offset the energy used to produce the construction materials, the construction itself, operation and disposal of any waste.
Snøhetta’s architects spent an entire year mapping the way solar radiation bounces around the site’s mountainous terrain, where the Svartisen glacier approaches the waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord. This gave rise to the circular design. The rooftop will be covered in solar panels to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction.
The long summer nights in the Arctic region will mean that these panels can yield more power over a year than that which would be harvested further south. Carefully crafted terraces keep the facade cool during the summer months. When the sun is closer to the horizon in the winter months, the large windows will take in maximum light to warm the interior. The hotel is also connected to geo-pumps to keep warm in the winter.
“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,” says Founding Partner at Snøhetta, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. “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.”
According to Snøhetta, the energy positive hotel will only use 15% of the energy a traditional hotel uses and the design honours the traditional architectural elements of the region. This first of a kind hotel still does not have a timeline and it is expected that the company will release a detailed plan in the coming weeks.