Home Energy Management Features of Two European Hotels: Underground River, ‘Powerhouse’ Design

Features of Two European Hotels: Underground River, ‘Powerhouse’ Design

Glenn Hasek

This past week I learned about two innovative hotel projects in Europe worth sharing about. The first one is the 150-room Iveagh Garden hotel in Dublin, Ireland. The $49 million hotel opened on February 16. Advertised as Europe’s “first sustainable hotel,” the property sources all its energy from an underground river. The river spins large turbines that generate power to meet the hotel’s energy requirements. The turbines were installed by Eurotech Renewables, and Swedish company Ochsner Warmepumpen. The hotel is the result of a renovation of a 40-year-old building that saw its entire heating, plumbing, cooling and hot water systems removed and replaced with the new natural energy system.

The Iveagh Garden is the first new hotel to open in the city this year and will relieve some of the pressure on rooms in the capital; its sister hotel, the Harcourt Hotel, has been running at 98 percent occupancy. Being pretty much sold out is not a bad problem to have and it is great to have such a natural resource running below the new property.

The second innovative project I would like to mention is Snøhetta’s Svart. It has a planned 2021 opening and is located just above the Arctic Circle at the foot of the Svartisen glacier that runs through Meløy municipality in northern Norway. I posted an article about the project this past week. The circular hotel above water will be the world’s first energy positive Powerhouse hotel. It will reduce its yearly energy consumption by approximately 85 percent compared to a modern hotel and will product its own energy.

Solar Panels on the Rooftop

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 optimize the harvest of energy. The result of the study has been an importance premise for the circular design of the hotel, and both hotel rooms, restaurants and terraces are strategically placed to 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. Due to the long summer nights of this area, the annual production of solar energy will be significant.

Secluded terraces provide a shadow play in the façade of the hotel while also ensuring privacy. The facades protect against insolation from the sun in the summer when the sun is high in the sky, removing the need for artificial cooling. During the winter months, when the sun is low in the sky, the large windows of the façade allow for a maximum of insolation to exploit the sun’s natural thermal energy. Materials with low embodied energy have been used to reach the Powerhouse standard.

Powerhouse is a collaboration between Snøhetta, Entra, Skanska, the ZERO Emission Resource Organization and Asplan Viak. The term “Powerhouse” is used to describe so-called “plus house” buildings built by the Powerhouse collaboration. “Plus houses” are energy producing buildings that, in the course of a 60-year period, will generate more renewable energy than the total amount of energy that would be required to sustain daily operations and to build, produce materials and demolish the building.

The nature surrounding the hotel 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”, meaning “black” in Norwegian, is a direct tribute to the deep blue ice of Svartisen and the Svartisen name. As the word for “black” and “blue” are the same in old Norse, the name is a reference to the natural heritage of Svartisen, its precious glacier and its natural surroundings.

Be sure to check out these two highly innovative hotel projects.

Green Lodging News Adds Marietta Hospitality as Directory Partner

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Virginia Green Travel Conference Set for March 1 to 2

I will be one of the keynote speakers at the 5th Annual Virginia Green Travel Conference & Travel Star Awards. The event will take place March 1 to 2 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center and is being put together by the Virginia Green Travel Alliance. The event will feature two days packed with keynote speaker presentations, educational sessions, Green Tourism Business Expo, Travel Star Awards and much more. My presentation is entitled, “Trends in Hotel Sustainability: The Convergence of Awareness, Inspiration & Innovation.” I hope to see you there.

Suppliers interested in exhibiting during the Green Tourism Business Expo should contact Tom Griffin, Executive Director of the Virginia Green Travel Alliance at (804) 986-9119, or by e-mail at tom@greenerresults.com. Hoteliers can register for the conference here. Be sure to mention the “20GreenLodging” code and gets 20 percent off of conference registration.

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