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Stunning Norway Glacier Hotel Aims To Lead Sustainable Travel Trend

Set to open in 2023, this striking hotel under development in northern Norway combines a futuristic design with traditional materials. Named Svart, it’s set to provide a blueprint for sustainable travel developments worldwide.

While the development has been delayed by around a year due to the pandemic, development director Ivaylo Lefterov said that the shift to greener travel trends has brought others around to their way of thinking: “When we started to talk about the full sustainability, how to shake the market and the hospitality industry, people looked at us differently. Then COVID came, and suddenly everybody starts to speak our language.”

Another impressive Snøhetta design

The latest project from Snøhetta—the award-winning Norwegian design and architecture firm responsible for Oslo Opera House and the revitalization of Midtown Manhattan’s 550 Madison Garden—is set to be the world’s first energy-positive hotel.

The new hotel will record approximately 85% less energy consumption than a standard hotel, and produce all its own energy. To complete the sustainable tourism offer, an energy-neutral boat shuttle from Bodø is on the cards.

Putting Svartisen glacier on the tourist map

While this would be of interest to eco-travelers, the hotel’s location at the foot of one of Norway’s biggest glaciers is sure to spread its popularity to a much wider group especially given the increased interest in nature-based luxury travel.

“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,” said Snøhetta’s Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.

Inspiration from rural Norway

The most important consideration during the building’s design was to reduce the environmental footprint as much as possible. To achieve this, Snøhetta architects didn’t have to look very far.

They took inspiration from the A-shaped fish drying racks and traditional coastal cabins used by fishermen across northern Norway.

The hotel’s support structure is built from weather-resistant wooden poles that plunge deep below the surface of the fjord. Snøhetta said this design “places a minimal footprint in the pristine nature, and gives the building an almost transparent appearance.”

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While the circular design offers guests the opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of the pristine natural landscape, the choice actually came about after a study into solar energy.

Architects looked at how solar radiation behaves relative to the mountainous setting throughout the year, particularly important at a latitude with very long summer days and almost no sunlight in the early winter.

The floor-to-ceiling windows were another decision based on the study. In the summer, they will not retain too much heat due to the sun’s position high in the sky, while in the winter they will retain what little thermal energy the sun—low in the sky at this time of year—does provide.

The hotel will become the northernmost implementation of the Powerhouse standard. These are buildings that over a 60-year period produce more renewable energy than it needs to operate and build, produce materials and demolish the building.

Powerhouse is a collaboration between Snøhetta, Entra, Skanska, the ZERO Emission Resource Organization and Asplan Viak.

Hotel owners Miris AS claim that such energy-positive buildings could deliver 89% of the 45% decrease in emissions required to reach the scenario where global warming increases to 1.5 degree above pre-industrial levels.

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