The Green Solution House conference center and hotel in the Danish island of Bornholm is designed to be a platform for the highest level of sustainable development.
At Green Solution House we envision an environment where we all contribute and we all benefit. Our revenue is our knowledge, our clean water, the fresh air we breathe and our renewable materials. Our vision is to redefine what revenue represents.
The design of the building itself is based on several parameters to show a holistic approach to sustainability. The building is certified to the standards of the recognized German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), based on the criteria of the Active House vision and inspired by the Cradle to Cradle® framework.
The building and landscape present the latest developments in the field of sustainable architecture; we show that sustainability involves more than aspiring to green certification, and that it is possible to quantify our project’s high quality on the basis of several parameters.
At Green Solution House we try out, demonstrate and continuously revisit our green solutions. We believe that iteration creates understanding and leads to innovation. We seek to exchange knowledge with the local and global communities to inspire a sustainable future. Our mission is to explore circular sustainability.
To demonstrate green solutions:
We demonstrate green solutions and how an organisation, a building, and a group of people can have a positive footprint. We support a diverse, safe and healthy world; therefore, our model is regenerative – towards increased biodiversity, healthy materials, renewable energy, clean water, and a circular economy.
To promote continuous improvement:
We promote continuous improvement as an organisation designed for flexibility. Technologies, materials and methods undergo constant advancement; therefore, our buildings and systems are adaptable and will continuously test and demonstrate new solutions.
To enable knowledge sharing:
We enable knowledge sharing as an international platform of diverse people and organisations. Sustainable solutions are born where visions and ideas can cross-pollinate; together we foster new knowledge within the field of sustainability.
Green Solution House is the result of close collaboration between many partners that each have contributed with their expertise. The Strategic Partners are: Realdania, VELUX Group, Autodesk, GXN Innovation and Saint-Gobain’s Danish companies: Weber, Isover, Ecophon and Gyproc. In addition, many other firms and experts have taken part in realising Green Solution House. Thank you all for hard work and inspiration.
Project Advisor: William McDonough and Partners, Vugge til Vugge Danmark
⁂ Enhance Water Quality, Healthy Materials (Material Re-Use)
⁂ Integrate Renewable Energy
⁂ Actively Support Biodiversity, Celebrate Conceptual Diversity with Innovation
⁂ Water and soil balance
- Green footprints Green Footprints is a diverse landscape of woods, wetlands, meadows and commons, which is planted with biotopes native to Bornholm. The biotopes can be left to grow wild, which increases biodiversity, expands biomass and keeps maintenance requirements to a minimum. Green Footprints Park is a bitumen free landscape, reducing impact from crude oil derived materials. Where needed a plant-based binder, called Vegecol, is used as an environmentally friendly alternative to bitumen – elsewhere aggregate surfaces are simply compacted fill. At Green Solution House the parking surface has a loadbearing layer of crushed materials, repurposed from the demolished buildings on the site. The surface itself is made out of packed granite chippings and dust from local granite production. Rainwater is managed on-site instead of being sent to the storm sewer system. Surface runoff is guided to a nearby wetland pond, first sifting through a specific mix of gravel – where pollutants are removed– before reaching the pond from which the purified water will slowly seep into the ground.
- Water and soil balance The high water table on the site poses a challenge, but instead of fighting nature and treating this as a problem, the landscape was designed around the element of water. The soil excavated for the foundation of the new building was retained on site and used to sculpt the landscape, embracing runoff from cloudbursts or heavy rainfall. Various watershed designs guide rainwater to seasonal ponds, creating an easy to maintain landscape, which increases biodiversity, provides natural irrigation, has a cooling effect in the summer months and even limits the hatching of mosquitoes. The gravel parking area is made with local granite waste and directs rainwater to a nearby wetland pond, en route the water passes through soils and a specific mix of gravel, to remove pollutants from the cars and ensure clean runoff.
- Repurposed glass Glass paths are very fitting for Bornholm, since the island is well known for its glass production. A local glass artist, Pernille Bülow, donated 12 tons of glass waste to Green Solution House, which was used to make a paved walking path in the Green Footprints Park. The glass was tumbled in a cement mixer to soften sharp edges sharp edges before being applied as a smooth and glittering glass path.
- Building/landscape symbiosis Trees planted on-site are coherent with the surrounding landscape, providing shelter, sun and views where needed. Within our buildings we maximise natural ventilation, recover heat, take advantage of daylight and use exterior planting to reduce solar heat gains, all of which is made possible by how the design responds to and leverages nature. The fan shaped building reaches into the landscape, defining a direct and visual connection with the outdoors. With the help of technology we augment nature’s own processes to clean water and produce energy, all the while reducing our reliance on external resources.
- Enhanced biodiversity and enjoyment - Better storm water management – also for the neighboring sights - Upcycled materials use - Low maintenance - Changing expression with the season - Optimizes indoor climate and energy consumption of building, by strategically using trees as solar shading.
Vegecol (100% plant based binder), Repurposed glass Waste, Repurposed Building Waste, Native biotopes, locally sourced wood
⁂ Integrate Biological Nutrients, Enhance Air Quality and Indoor Climate, Healthy Materials (Design for Disassembly, Material Re-Use, Defined Intended Use Pathway)
⁂ Celebrate Conceptual Diversity with Innovation
Healthy materials Inspired by Cradle to Cradle, the Green Solution House employs a series of strategies for working with healthy materials.
Material filter At the Green Solution House we worked with a material filter, to secure quality and sustainability of the materials used in the buildings and landscape. This process enables selection based on a value framework that accounts for full resource and energy lifecycles as well as the day-to-day contributions to the health of our environments. In support of transparency and DGNB certification, products are reviewed to the detail of chemical composition and documented in our list of materials. As a result we have many solutions that are designed for disassembly, Cradle to Cradle certified, and have a positive impact beyond their mere function. Furthermore, rather than choosing a certified product from far away, a locally sourced product gets preference by savings on transport emissions and its ability to enhance the local identity of the project.
Design for disassembly At Green Solution House, non-loadbearing assemblies are designed for disassembly. Plasterboard is mounted onto steel or FSC timber frames. Joints are accessible and fittings with bolts, screws or nails are preferred over adhesives and permanent assemblies. Wherever feasible standardized elements are used and comprise of few components that are safe to disassemble. We see construction projects as material banks that will support future generations. In this way, the design of the conference center and landscape prioritised accessible mechanical fastenings that can be separated over the use of permanent adhesives and other chemical fixes.
Healthy indoor environment Clean air is essential to optimising the quality of indoor environments. At Green Solution House we have created a variety of solutions that contribute to keeping our air fresh and pollutant free. The carpets on the floor absorb dust particles, the plasterboard on the walls take care of formaldehyde, and the roof membrane captures and neutralises pollution particles from traffic. The Green Wall in the Third Climate Zone naturally purifies the air with plants and balances humidity levels.
Reclaim, Reuse, Renovate ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. At the Green Solution House we believe in the value of repurposing and eliminating waste. This thinking has been applied to many aspects of the refurbishment and expansion of the buildings, as well as the landscape design. Parking space is built on a base of rubble from the demolished buildings that used to occupy the site. The remaining buildings received a facelift with new energy efficient façades and roofing, although most of the original features remain. Like the buildings, the furniture, light fixtures and much much more were given a facelift and re-integrated in the hotel’s interior. Some furniture was reupholstered with Cradle to Cradle certified textiles. What could be used was reclaimed and repurposed, what couldn’t was donated to charity. Our approach is to be responsible, for us this is both better for the environment and the finances.
- Nutrients for future generations - Healthy indoor environment - Local business enhancement - Products and materials have an added value for users and the environment.
Mosa tiles, Gabriel textiles, Desso Airmaster carpets, Auping beds, Velfac façade, Velux skylights, Saint Gobain systems, Icopal Noxite roofing, Satino black bathroom fixtures, Egen Vinding og Dattereco paint, Gyptone active air, Locally sourced granite and timber, only FSC wood,
⁂ Integrated clean energy production and carbon sequestration
Clean energy system At Green Solution House we produce energy. Solar cells are integrated into the façades and glazed ceilings generate electricity. Our on-site pyrolysis plant converts organic waste to electricity and heat. Additional hot water is generated with a solar thermal plant integrated into the landscape. Since it was not economical to renovate the 30 year old swimming pool, we converted it into a highly insulated energy storage system for excess heat. The solar thermal plant and excess heat from the pyrolysis plant join forces to heat and store water throughout the year, supplying it as needed for in-floor heating and potable hot water for the hotel. To keep an eye on operations, we display our on-site energy production and energy consumption correlated to building zones, with a custom energy visualisation. In the case that we generated surplus energy at Green Solution House it is supplied to the Bornholm grid, meaning our electricity meter can run backwards.
Designing with Daylight The cycle of natural light is fundamental to our wellbeing and ability to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. Daylight improves our productivity and ability to focus, and furthermore it also reduces energy consumption for artificial lighting. The conference rooms at Green Solution House are designed to accommodate meetings in broad daylight, utilizing diffused light from the north. Inside the hotel rooms, daylight conditions have been optimised with retrofitted glass balconies. VELUX Sun Tunnels and Parans light cables redirect daylight to every nook and corner, where natural light is limited. In all common areas and hallways, skylights are utilised to create a comfortable indoor climate with generous daylight levels. Altogether, a strong focus on daylight driven design has helped to create well-lit spaces, resulting in better user experience and less energy consumption.
Pyrolysis Plant At Green Solution House we produce energy from food leftovers. All food scraps and organic materials from the main building are fed into our own stationary pyrolysis plant, which likes all carbon based waste. The material is first dried and ground, then all oxygen is removed. The pyrolysis process heats the waste, breaking it down to produce natural gas and char. A cyclone separates off the gas leaving biochar, which sequesters carbon in a stable state. Biochar is valuable as an additive for the gardens as it improves soil health and water retention. The gas is combusted in a combined heat and power engine, generating heat and electricity to be used in the building. The system is self-supporting, and only requires a small amount of energy to start up. Excess heat is stored onsite as hot water in a swimming pool, repurposed as a thermal energy storage system.
- Clean energy production - Reduced energy consumption - Innovative energy production technology - Carbon sequestration
⁂ Integrate Biological Nutrients, Enhance Air Quality and Indoor Climate, Enhance Water Quality ()
⁂ Celebrate Conceptual Diversity with Innovation
⁂ Integrated water purification with living organisms
Biological Water Purification Water is infinitely recyclable, if we treat it right. Water from the sinks and toilets in the main building is collected and flows through anaerobic, clarifying, and biological filtering stages to enable on-site reuse. Two earth lungs in the Green Footprint Park remove odorous gases with planting selected for this purpose. The first stages of purification are hidden below ground, after which the system emerges into view and is assisted by sunlight and LED lighting. Here, the water flows through algae tubes that absorb CO2 and continue the water cleansing process. The purified water is used for irrigating the Green Wall and gardens. The aim is to close the loop and use this water for the public toilets; however, this is currently unsupported by the building law. We are working to obtain permission to trial this solution and contribute to updating the building law regarding reuse of wastewater and closed loop cycles. The ambition for the system is to obtain drinking water quality through the biological purification process.
Algae Water purification Grow algae to reclaim water! Algae feed on the nutrients in wastewater, effectively purifying the water and producing oxygen during the process. Sunlight and LED lighting help the organisms to feed and grow, therefore our algae generators stand in the daylight filled Third Climate Zone. Water slowly recirculates through the six algae tubes, each of which has a steel base containing zeolite, a mineral that acts as a microbial filter, absorbing microorganisms that are not otherwise digested by the algae. The algae generators at Green Solution House are an important element of our on-site biological water purification system. The entire system can process 500 liters of water a day, which is used for irrigating the green wall and gardens and has the potential to be used for flushing public toilets in the building. The water cleaned by the algae is separated and further purified by UV light to reach drinking water quality.
Earth Lung The Earth Lung is a part of the biological water purification system that purifies the blackwater from the Green Solution House. The Earth Lung’s role is to remove odourous biogas which is generated during the anaerobic digestion stage of the water cleaning process. The design is simple – biogas is fed into the bottom of a plant box, which has a soil buildup that secures a porous composition. The roots of the plants consume the gases, which also act as fertilisers, promoting growth.
Green Wall A large green wall integrated into the Third Climate Zone helps create a good microclimate thanks to the plants’ natural ability to freshen the air, stabilise humidity levels and cool the space in summer time. The wall is planted with ferns, which are chosen due to their prevalence in the surrounding nature on Bornholm. Ferns are also able to tolerate low temperatures, making them ideal for the variable temperature of the Third Climate Zone.
- Biologically cleansed Water - Reduced fresh Water consumption - Enhanced indoor climate
Interact with your room! At Green Solution House we custom-built a mobile app to track resource consumption and easily control the indoor environment in our Smart Rooms. Energy, light, air and water are the four themes on which live feedback is provided to our guests, helping to inform behaviour by increasing awareness at a personal level.
The app works both from an individual and collective perspective. Data from all energy resources is readily available, and therefore it becomes evident when low impact energy or heat is available for consumption. By correlating energy availability to day-to-day routine, the hotel room enables a subtle understanding of how our decisions influence the overall energy and resource profile for the site. When it comes to indoor comfort, the app helps our guests correlate their own experience in the hotel rooms to the quality of the air and daylight levels.
This project materialized from the belief that an all-encompassing monitoring and visualisation system for staff and hotel guests would be an invaluable aid for sustainably operating the Green Solutions House, while simultaneously providing guests with a novel and informative means of interacting with their environment.
We want our guests to return home with a new perspective on how buildings themselves, breath, consume resources, and generate waste.
- Integrated learning about resources - Interactive art for the hotel