Norway's New Hotel in the Arctic Circle Will Produce More Energy Than It Uses

Snøhetta
Snøhetta

A new hotel coming to Norway’s section of the Arctic Circle will be more than just a place to stay for a stunning fjord view. The Svart hotel, which is being billed as the world’s first "energy-positive" hotel, is designed to “set a new standard in sustainable travel,” according to Robb Report.

Built by a tourism company called Arctic Adventure Norway and designed by Snøhetta, an international architecture firm headquartered in Oslo, it’s one of the first buildings created according to the standards of Powerhouse, a coalition of firms (including Snøhetta) devoted to putting up buildings that will produce more power over the course of 60 years than they take to build, run, and eventually demolish. It will be located on a fjord at the base of Svartisen, one of the largest glaciers on Norway’s mainland and part of Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park.

A hotel stretches out above the water of a fjord.
Snøhetta

The design of the hotel is geared toward making the facility as energy-efficient as possible. The architects mapped how the Sun shines through the mountains throughout the year to come up with the circular structure. When the Sun is high in the winter, the terraces outside the rooms provide shadows that reduce the need for air conditioning, while the windows are angled to catch the low winter Sun, keeping the building warm during cold Arctic winters. In total, it is expected to use 85 percent less energy than a traditional hotel.

The sun reflects off the roof of a hotel at the base of a glacier on a sunny day.
Snøhetta

Svart will also produce its own energy through rooftop solar panels, though it won’t have excess energy on hand year-round. Since it’s located in the Arctic Circle, the hotel will have an abundance of sunlight during the summer, at which point it will sell its excess energy to the local electricity grid. In the winter, when it’s too dark for solar energy production, the hotel will buy energy back from the grid. Over the course of the year, it will still produce more energy than it uses, and over time, it will eventually produce enough excess energy to offset the energy that was used to build the structure (including the creation of the building materials).

“Building in such a precious environment comes with some clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site,” Snøhetta co-founder Kjetil Trædal Thorsen explains in the firm’s description of the design. “Building an energy-positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features” of the area.

Svart is set to open in 2021.

[h/t Robb Report]

Canned Aquafina Water May Be Coming to a Store Near You

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Like boxed cereal and egg cartons, bottled water is one of the most pervasive and familiar examples of consumer packaging around. But PepsiCo, which produces the LIFEWTR and Aquafina water brands, is looking to change that. The company recently announced a new strategy that would reduce its use of plastics and ultimately wean consumers off bottles entirely, turning them on to sipping water from aluminum cans instead.

According to The Takeout, Pepsi says it plans to change how its water is packaged in significant ways begining in 2020. The LIFEWTR brand will use plastic bottles, but the company plans to source those containers from 100 percent rPET, or recycled polyethylene terephthalate. Its bubly sparkling water line, meanwhile, will be sold in cans, rather than in both bottles and cans, as it currently is. So will Aquafina, one of the leading bottled water brands, though it will initially be offered in cans only at food service establishments while the company tests retail preferences. If all goes well, retail consumers will eventually be able to buy Aquafina in cans, too.

Such alterations would make for sweeping changes to the bottled water business, which has exploded in recent years. In 2016, the average American drank 39.3 gallons of packaged water per capita, edging out soda’s 38.5 gallons.

The move to cans stems in large part from consumer habits. Over half of all beer and soda cans are recycled compared to just 31.2 percent of plastic bottles.

PepsiCo expects the changes will result in saving more than 8800 tons of virgin plastic and 12,125 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The company is looking to make all of its packaging recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable by 2025.

[h/t The Takeout]

Nestlé Has Created a Recyclable Snack Bar Wrapper

p_saranya, iStock / Getty Images Plus
p_saranya, iStock / Getty Images Plus

With the effects of climate change getting more dire by the decade, the pressure is on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in any way that we can. One of the easiest ways for consumers to take action is by recycling. Nestlé is the latest corporation to do its part in making that task a little easier: It recently announced that it will start packaging its line of YES! snack bars in a recyclable paper wrapper, Food & Wine reports.

Since Nestlé’s high-speed production lines mainly package products with plastic or thick laminate materials, the UK masterminds behind this new wrapper had to first create a paper that was sturdy enough to survive the packaging process, and then alter the machinery to function with a gentler touch. To highlight this change, the YES! bar wrappers include a line that says “carefully wrapped in paper,” according to Confectionery News. The developers also tested the new wrappers extensively to ensure that they would keep the bars in perfect condition through shipping and storage. The paper itself is sourced from sustainable forests that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.

If you haven’t seen a YES! bar before, it might be because you live in the U.S. These Nestlé treats are currently available only in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

But Nestlé’s commitment to recycling reaches a brand you probably have seen in the U.S.: Poland Spring. Just last month, Food & Wine reported that Nestlé (which owns Poland Spring, as well as a whole slew of other popular brands you may not have realized) was making a shift to using recycled plastic for its Poland Spring bottles, and hopes to be using 100 percent recycled plastic for all of its still water bottles by 2022.

Nestlé isn’t the only corporation to make headlines lately with its environmentally friendly packaging innovations. Just a few weeks ago, Corona announced its plans for stackable beer cans, eliminating the need for those pesky plastic rings that can prove fatal to unsuspecting ocean-dwellers like turtles.

And, because recycling isn’t all about food and drink containers, here are 25 surprising things you didn’t know you could recycle.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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