A Danish Hotel’s Sustainable Eco-System

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On the island of Bornholm, GXN’s renovation and expansion of a hotel/conference space completely embraces a Cradle to Cradle life cycle.

Designed by GXN, the renovated Green Solution House hotel features an impressive 75 sustainable building innovations, inside and out. With the goal of making a building that would evolve with time, the firm worked with the hotel to implement products and materials that will be recycled and reused as they age (instead of languishing in a landfill), and included technologies that help the building thrive as its own eco-system.

The building cleans its own air: on the ceilings, Active Plasterboard — with a life expectancy of 75 years — removes and converts formaldehyde into safe, inert compounds, while on the floors, dust-absorbing carpet tiles draw four times as much particles from the air as conventional carpets. And it lets the sun in, with Sun Tunnels that draw light to every corner and retrofitted glass balconies that provide ample amounts of daylight. Along with improving guests’ comfort, this also means less energy is expended on lighting and heating the building.

Another wellness aspect is how the building connects to nature. In the Third Climate Zone, a full-height vertical garden is lushly planted with local ferns. The plants also work to clean the air and balance humidity levels. Nearby algae generators filter and purify the hotel’s wastewater (up to 500 litres per day) and nourish the fern wall and outdoor gardens.

When reimagining the interiors, careful consideration was made to reuse existing light fixtures and furniture where possible. The firm reupholstered seating with new Cradle to Cradle certified textiles, and what couldn’t be reintegrated was donated to local charities and volunteer organizations. Two “smart” guest rooms were outfitted with air-cleaning broadloom carpeting, recyclable tiles and recycled plastic fixtures. And a custom app tracks guests’ water and energy consumption, daylight levels, air quality, temperature and humidity levels.

The conscious building efforts extend outside, from building to site. The 200-square-metre green roof is planted with native sedums that trap and slowdown rainwater runoff. The parking lot was made with rubble from on-site buildings that were demolished, and pathways were constructed using 12 tonnes of off-cuts from a local artisan’s glass studio (tumbled to smooth their edges). A mixed landscape of woods, wetlands, meadows and parks surrounds the building with local plant species.

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