Bornholm - The Danish island of sustainability and green technology
Bornholm might be a small island but it is big on green technology and sustainability, and nowhere is that more evident than at Green Solution House. However, it is not just the hotel and conference centre’s innovative green solutions that attract awards and nominations but also its seasonal kitchen, comfortable rooms, and healthy work environment.
In 2007, on-board a business development cruise around Bornholm, Trine Richter had an idea. She wanted to create a conference centre that would showcase all the newest and most ambitious initiatives within green technology and sustainability. A year later, the idea had turned into a plan to transform the old Hotel Ryttergaarden in Rønne into one of the world’s most eco-friendly hospitality venues. Fast-forward to 2015, seven years and 85 million DKK later, Green Solution House opened its doors presenting innovative green solutions in every area from construction materials, energy production, waste management, and landscaping.
“We wanted the best building possible, one that would contribute to the health of both people and nature. Therefore we have carefully integrated high quality materials - recycled, recyclable, regenerative, active and local - and we have integrated systems and processes that generate energy, save energy, monitor energy, circulate fresh air and clean water by utilising nature’s own processes, emerging technologies and trusted solutions,” explains Richter.
The project, which started out under Business Center Bornholm is now privately owned by CEM’s Fond (a fund set up by Carl Edvard Mogensen, the former owner of Hotel Ryttergården), nonetheless it has been adopted by all of Bornholm with thousands of locals visiting for a tour around the place.
Predictably, Green Solution House’s restaurant is also firmly centred on sustainability principles sourcing only local or organic seasonal produce. This, however, has not limited the creativity of head chef Kasper Beyer, on the contrary. This autumn his team and the restaurant were awarded an impressive two-stars by Den Danske Spiseguide, which rates the best eateries in Denmark. ”Of course we had hoped to be included in the guide but that we have been awarded two stars is a positive surprise, which we are very humble about,” says Beyer and adds: “Our kitchen almost exclusively uses produce from Bornholm and organic produce [from the rest of Denmark], and at the same time we keep the menu small to avoid any food waste. With that kind of limitations you have to work very creatively to create new and exciting taste experiences, and that is something which all of our team deserves a lot of credit for.”
Listing and explaining the many green solutions incorporated in Green Solution House would require a lot of pages and a lot of time. Suffice to say that there are hardly a chair, carpet or even pathway for which a sustainable version has not been found, invented or, in some cases, preserved. As a flagship for eco-innovation the building has garnered much attention from the green-science sector and is sharing its experience with universities all over the world, from Jutland to Abu Dhabi.
As a guest, however, you need not even be interested in sustainability to enjoy the outcome. Features such as daylight optimisation, a lush green wall and remotely controlled climate controls for rooms work mutually to benefit the overall experience. These qualities have also led to a nomination by Construction 21, a site for professionals within the sustainable building sector, for the Cop21 prize in the category Health and Comfort.
“What we want to prove is that sustainability can also mean wonderful daylight, a naturally healthy indoor environment and respect for the people who use the house. We are not sustainable because we want to be hippies, but because we believe it is a really good business. We want to prove that it does not need to be either or – it can be both,” stresses Richter.
But even Richter’s focus on creating a successful and profitable business will eventually work to strengthen the building’s green profile as a circular business model means that profits are reinvested into improving existing green solutions and implementing new ones. “That’s also one of the things which make us different for people visiting: they will always experience new solutions and initiatives when coming back because we never stop developing,” Richter finishes.
Green Solution House is:
Certified to the standards of the recognised German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB - Silver),
Based on the criteria of the Active House vision
Inspired by the Cradle-to-Cradle life cycle concept.
Has the bronze eco-rating.
The commercial building of the year 2015 in Denmark
Trine Richter awarded for the most innovative women entrepreneur in 2015
Nominated as 1 out of 8 “healthy and sustainable” buildings in Europe during COP 21.
EUs Environment Award in Denmark “Innovative and sustainable processes” 2016. Presenting Denmark in the European competition.
Green Footprint – the park surrounding Green Solution House – nominated and won the 2nd price in the international competition “Blue Print Award”.
Nominated for the award “Bo & Spis” (Live and Eat) Den Danske Spiseguide, 2016.