The new way to stay: Energy positive, and above the Arctic Circle

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The world today is an amazing place.

Take Svart, the world’s first energy-positive hotel located above the Arctic Circle. It’s a project that looks to harvest and save the same kind of energy in the far north as they have in projects to the south (where warmer climates make cutting carbon footprints a considerably easier task):

“In collaboration with Arctic Adventures of Norway, Asplan Viak and Skanska, Snøhetta has designed “Svart” the world’s first Powerhouse hotel, at the foot of the Svartisen glacier that runs through Meløy municipality in northern Norway. The hotel is situated just above the Arctic Circle.”

You might recognize the renowned architecture firm’s name from that underwater restaurant we wrote about a few months back: Around the world: This underwater restaurant in Norway looks crazy awesome.

Now, you can dine below the waves, or sleep above the Arctic Circle, in the same country, courtesy of the same firm, Snøhetta, and their mission to redefine the relationship humans have with nature and the natural landscape that surrounds them.

Innovation

This is cool for two reasons (more than two, certainly, but we’ll try and sum it up as such): One, well, just look at the pictures; you’ve disappeared completely into the pristine green and rolling hills of one of the world’s most peaceful corners, and you’re not leaving a negative footprint; disturbing/destroying when you visit.

And two, it’s an incredible feat of sustainable engineering.

Here’s what it is, and how it’s done:

To keep the hotel energy positive, Norwegian solar panels (produced with clean hydro energy, of course) cover the roof. The exterior is built to protect against (and take) the warming of the sun’s rays during the summer, when the sun is high in the sky, so that there’s no need for air conditioning, or climate control of any kind.

During the winter, when the sun is, conversely, low in the sky, Svart’s large windows do the opposite: The windows allow for the sun’s warming rays to enter and remain, captured, providing insulation to keep guests warm and cozy inside. Hotel rooms, in-house restaurants, and the balconies/verandas utilize the hotel’s circular design to great effect: Each section is spaced in just the right place so as to best use the energy from the sun.

(As well as being efficient, the circular hotel design also provides spectacular, 360-degree views of the Svartisen glacier and natural arctic expanse.)

The surrounding arctic lands are accessible only by boat. Plans for energy positive boats from Bodø, the nearest town, have already been introduced.

This is the first building built after the energy positive Powerhouse standard in a Northern climate. As the project website states, “Not only does this new hotel reduce its yearly energy consumption by approximately 85% compared to a modern hotel, but it also produces its own energy – an absolute “must” in this precious arctic environment.”

It is the farthest north that a Powerhouse building has ever been built.

With the talk of “Bold North” and reputation of progressive tech and social standards that the Twin Cities have tried to cultivate (especially riding the Super Bowl wave), it’s projects like these that are truly leading the world.

Perhaps we should be taking notes.

Read next: Fans of “The Simpsons” meet fans of architecture in new mashup

Photos courtesy of Snøhetta, and the Svart project website.