Introducing Svart – the world’s first energy positive hotel


In collaboration with Arctic Adventure of Norway, Asplan Viak and Skanska, Snøhetta has designed Svart, the world’s first Powerhouse hotel.

The new hotel has been design to reduce yearly energy consumption by approximately 85% and is the first (and northernmost) of its kind to be built in compliance with the Powerhouse standard.

“It was important for us to design a sustainable building that will leave a minimal environmental footprint on this beautiful Northern nature,” says Founding Partner at Snøhetta, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.

“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.”

To reach the Powerhouse standard, several cutting-edge design choices have been made.

For example, the architects have conducted an extensive mapping of how solar radiation behaves in relation to mountainous context throughout the year to optimise the harvest of energy.

The circular design of the hotel, and placement of hotel rooms, restaurants and terraces will exploit the sun’s energy throughout the day and seasons.

The hotel’s roof is clad with Norwegian solar panels produced with clean hydro energy, reducing the carbon footprint even further.

The hotel facades protect against insolation from the sun in the summer removing the need for artificial cooling. During winter, large windows of the façade allow maximum insolation.

Materials with low embodied energy have been used to reach the Powerhouse standard. Embodied energy is the amount of energy that is required to produce, transport, build and replace materials and products that go into a building.

The use of wood in construction and cladding minimises the environmental impact of the building, and typically energy-intensive materials such as structural steel and concrete have been avoided as much as possible.

The hotel also uses geothermal wells that are connected to heat pumps. These are used to heat the building, thus reducing the building’s total energy consumption.

The hotel’s supporting structure is built from weather resistant wooden poles stretching several meters below the surface of the fjord. The poles ensure that the building physically places a minimal footprint in the pristine nature and gives the building an almost transparent appearance.

Surrounding areas can only be accessed by boat and there are plans to introduce an energy neutral boat shuttle from the city of Bodø to the hotel.

The name “Svart”, means “black” in Norwegian, is a direct tribute to the deep blue ice of Svartisen and the Svartisen name.

Image credit: Stock