Inside the Arctic Circle’s first energy-positive Northern Lights hotel


Svart sits at the foot of the Svartisen glacier by the Almlifjellet mountain in the Arctic Circle. PHOTO/Snøhetta

Just when you thought Northern Lights hotels couldn’t get any quirkier than tree houses, ice hotels and glass igloos – along comes a spaceship on stilts.

Svart sits at the foot of the Svartisen glacier by the Almlifjellet mountain and has a distinctive shape that emulates an extra-terrestrial cruiser.

Its design was inspired by the ‘fiskehjell’ – an A-shaped wooden structure used by fishermen in Norway to dry fish, and the stilts are a tribute to ‘rorbuer’, which are fishermen’s huts extended on poles.

Not only does Svart (which means ‘black’ in Norwegian to reflect the deep-blue ice of the glacier) mark itself as another top location for watching the Aurora Borealis, but it joins the planet-conscious set as an energy-positive ‘powerhouse’.

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Powerhouses (or plus houses) are designed to produce more energy than they consume and use renewable sources like wind, sun and water to power their properties.

In order to meet this collective’s tough criteria, the hotel will need to be built with minimal impact on the environment so the area’s rare plant species and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier remain protected.

This will be the first hotel of this kind above the Arctic Circle, and will use 85 per cent less energy than normal hotels. Anything extra will power amenities such as hairdryers and mobile phones.

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Geothermal wells will harness energy from the ground below to provide heating and solar panels will be placed on the roof.

The property’s circular design and large windows will not only allow guests to enjoy 360-degree views of the fjords, mountains and glaciers, but will optimise sunlight to the rooms, restaurants and terraces throughout the seasons.

Also on the cards is an energy-neutral boat shuttle from the city of Bodø to the hotel, which cannot be reached by land, and is set to open in 2021.

The concept was brought about by a collaboration between sustainable tourism company Arctic Adventure of Norway, whom the hotel is owned and operated by, Oslo-based architecture company Snøhetta, Swedish construction company Skansa, environmental agency ZERO Emission Resource Organization, engineering and architectural firm Asplan Viak, and real estate firm, Entra.

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