Sustainability - Gear - Destinations

Svart, the Energy Positive Hotel

By Sara Stefanovic
3 min read

Svart Hotel is the world’s first energy-positive off-grid destination. The property was created to inspire discerning travelers to take care of nature protection, conservation and the importance of the pristine polar region. The Hotel will be built at the foot of Svartisen, Norway’s second glacier and will be able to produce more energy than is needed to build and manage it.

What does Energy Positive mean? A positive energy building produces more energy on site from renewable sources than it consumes to achieve adequate thermal comfort levels. To be positive it should provide at least all the energy consumed for heating, cooling, ventilation, dehumidification, domestic hot water and integrated lighting systems.

Svart: sustainability meets structural design

The hotel will save 85% of its annual energy consumption and it will harvest enough solar energy to cover both the hotel operations… Including its boat shuttle operation, and the energy needed to construct the building.


We look at Svart as having four major pillars; environment, nature, sustainability and technology innovation. Wellness and mindfulness are also a big part of it. For us, it’s very important to run all of these elements together in tandem, because they have direct impact on the design itself. 

Jan Gunnar Mathisen, CEO and founder of MIRIS
Svart hotel, designed by the Norwegian architect studio Snøhetta, will have about 100 rooms, an onsite education and design lab, and a sustainable farm.

The ingredients for the hotel’s four restaurants will be produced on site for a farm-to-table experience. Its architecture is inspired by local coastal building traditions and stands on wooden piles dissolving the boundary between land and fjord. The shape of the hotel provides a panoramic view of the fjord and an experience of living in contact with nature. The new Norwegian hotel will not only be the most sustainable in the world… But also aims to become one of the most beautiful and evocative. In fact, its circular shape will offer visitors an incredible panoramic view of the fjord.


Svart will thus have a circular shape. This design, combined with the correct positioning of the rooms, will make it possible to maximize the use of solar energy throughout the year. The roof will be covered with solar panels, produced on site with hydroelectric power. For heating, heat pump systems will be used, powered by geothermal wells. As for the structure and the coatings, there will be a large use of local wood. The interiors, on the other hand, will be furnished with furniture made of recycled materials.

Svart’s identity is inspired by both the unique arctic nature and climate and the hotel’s circular form with 360-degree views


The vision for Svart is so much bigger than the project itself; we are trying to use it as a showcase of what can be achieved in terms of sustainability and energy solutions. It’s demonstrating to the user what we can do, and the extent of what can be done, to really get people thinking about it.

This construction is inspired local vernacular architecture in the form of the “fiskehjell” (A-shaped wooden structure for drying fish) and the “rorbue” (a traditional type of seasonal house used by fishermen). The rorbue reference translates into the hotel’s supporting structure which 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.

3 min read


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