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Svart hotel in Norway: how to reach the Plus Energy target

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Credits to: MIR, Plompmozes and Snøhetta

The architect firm Snøhetta, in collaboration with Arctic Adventures of Norway, Asplan Viak and Skanska, has designed “Svart”, the world’s first Plus Energy hotel in a Northern climate. The target “Plus Energy” has been translated by the designers as building that will be able to generate, within a period of 60 years, more energy from renewable energy sources than the total amount consumed for i) the daily building operation (for heating, cooling, ventilation, appliances, production of domestic hot water), ii) the production of construction materials, iii) the construction and the demolition of the building.


The hotel will have about 100 rooms, an onsite education and design lab, and a sustainable farm producing ingredients for the hotel’s four restaurants. The architecture refers to the local coastal building traditions and stands on wooden piles between land and fjord.


One of the key aspects for reaching the target Plus Energy, is to minimize the energy consumption, and to cope this issue the designers implemented a set of technical solution leading to reduce the consumption to 85% compared to a modern hotel. In particular, the architectural design is tailored to the local context and enable an effective exploitation of natural resources available on site. In fact, the architects have conducted an extensive mapping of the solar radiation incident on the building surfaces, also considering the shadows due to the mountain context, throughout a year, with the aim of optimising the solar harvesting from the photovoltaic and solar thermal panels.


According to the irradiation analysis, the hotel’s roof has been cladded with solar panels, which have been produced by a Norwegian company exploiting clean hydro energy, that further reduce the carbon footprint of the building. Thanks to the long summer nights of this area, the annual production of solar energy will be significant. 


Moreover, the analysis of the solar irradiation has been useful for defining the circular shape of the hotel, where the living places (hotel rooms, restaurant and terrace) are located to exploit the solar energy gains throughout the year.


Concerning the building envelope, secluded terraces will provide a shadow play in the façade of the hotel while also ensuring privacy of the occupants. This architectural feature allows to protect against insolation from the sun in the summer when the sun is high in the sky, removing the need for artificial cooling. On the other hand, during the winter months, when the sun is low in the sky, the large windows, with high thermal performances, allows for a maximum exploitation of the solar gains.


Thanks to the implemented measures, it has been planned to enable the off-grid operation of the hotel complex within 5 years of operation. This means that the hotel, including its adjacent services, the farm and the boat shuttles, will be completely autonomous in terms of energy supply, will produce through renewable sources the overall demand and will not need delivered energy from the grid.

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