Knowledge attracts visitors with knowledge

October 27, 2016

The research and development project EcoGrid 2.0 will in the next three years lure Danish and international experts and media to Bornholm to hear more about how the intelligent energy system of the future can be composed. A part of the 'Energy tourists' will be staying at the Hotel GSH, Green Solution House in Rønne.

"Dear guest - be environmentally conscious and reuse the towels" are by now standard in hotels around the world, although often it happens that the cleaning staff still change the towels, you've hung out to dry.

In regards to sustainable development, the hotel-, conference- and information center Green Solution House - colloquially called Hotel GSH – is elevated miles above the standard. Gaia Solar- solar panels on the balconies provide electricity, the ventilation in hotel rooms are equipped with the necessary VELUX equipment, and there are pads of organic cotton and eco-labelled soap in the bathrooms.

In front of a visual showroom, that tells the story of Hotel GSH in the outskirts of Rønne, Managing Director Trine Richter explains that the competition is fierce between Danish and international conference centers when it comes to attract business people, researchers and other participants to join professional events.

Therefore, Hotel GSH has focused on a series of sustainable initiatives, and in a close cooperation with Bornholm's Energy & Utilities and other eco-innovative parts of the business, it is trying to be an attraction in its own right.

-       Bornholm must be a 'reason to go' with its wonderful food, wonderful nature and with an extreme focus on sustainable construction and sustainable operation, Trine Richter says.

Holistic thinking

The completed EcoGrid-EU-project has from May 2014 until now attracted 399 guests from 63 countries to Bornholm’s Energy & Utilities showroom Villa Smart. Some of these guests together with plenty of Danes have stayed at Hotel GSH.

Now the EcoGrid. 2.0 has been initiated with support from the Danish Energy Agency EUDP-funds and participation of Bornholm Energy & Utilities, Danish Energy, IBM, Insero Software, Uptime-IT, DTU Electrical Engineering, CBS, KRUKOW and 2+1. At the core of the project is 1,000 households from Bornholm with heat pumps or electric heaters, but over the next few years EcoGrid 2.0 will attract visitors to Bornholm as well.

While she shows us around the buildings, Trine Richter talks about some of the many smaller and larger initiatives that makes Hotel GSH special. Fundamentally, Hotel GSH has tried to grasp a holistic approach as much as possible. Due to cradle-to-cradle principles, carpets, tiles and many other materials must be sustainable to produce, use and ultimately recyclable. Also social conditions, including the use of local raw materials, must be incorporated.

-       People are attracted to knowledge, and therefore, Copenhagen is performing well, says Trine Richter, who sees evidence within her hotel that points towards Bornholm also being able to attract researchers and other creative people from all over the world.

Energy and medicine

Currently the British company Cantifix has set a 35-square-meter glass house in the backyard of the hotel, which also serve as a sculptural landscape with rainwater harvesting, so that the clean water does not burden the sewage system.

The British glass house serves as a test environment for a team of researchers from Oxford University. Their project 'The Photon Space' will expose 30 test subjects to a massive amount of daylight over five days at a time. The purpose is to study how sleep patterns, circadian rhythm and general health is affected by daylight for treating  i.e., depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

'In addition to the medical science the research project is expected to get much attention from architects, since the results may well affect the way we are going to build and furnish buildings in the future. The tourism industry is in focus as well. The glass house creates a completely new opportunity to be at one with nature, says a press release from the British researchers.

Inside the premises of the hotel and conference center there are examples of good light as well - for example, some Swedish birch trees fitted with LED bulbs throws light on one of the open areas with high ceilings. Beside it, toilet water is being purged in six cylinders with green algae and afterwards it can re-used for i.e., irrigation of an indoor wall consisting of live plants. By itself, the wall is a beautiful installation that breaks with conventional ideas of decorating

-       We have built sustainably, our operations must be as sustainable as possible, and we must continually demonstrate new sustainable solutions to maintain novelty. Our showroom will die if we do not continue to developing. The research project with the glass house fits in well with our ambition to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, says Trine Richter.

 Tourism as livelihood

The idea for the Hotel GSH, Green Solution House was conceived at a camp in 2007, where 48 people were trapped for 48 hours to create ideas on how Bornholm can develop into a sustainable society.

The strategy Bright Green Island was developed as a visual result of the camp, and creating Hotel GSH was one of the ideas. Every year, more than half a million tourists visits Bornholm - of which the vast majority is in the high season. So spreading tourism more evenly over the year, along with food/agriculture and energy/sustainability is some of the keywords for the future of Bornholm.

-       Hotel GSH is doing their first full year of operation, and we continue to challenge ourself and take on the- not always so co-operative legislation. We must of course make money, but we are owned by a foundation, so if we gain profit, it will be invested in new sustainable solutions, says Trine Richter, before she begins on today's tasks which includes taking care of an international team of mathematicians and guests from the Nordic Council.

For additional reading:

Facts about Hotel GSH, Green Solution House

it is a four-star hotel with rooms for approx.200 guests. It has the Ecolabel the “Green Key”.

It is a renovated building with newly built conference facilities for up to 350 guests. it is certified by the German DGNB standard (silver).

It is 'surrounded' by a newly established green areas, which partly acts as rainwater collection, partly home to hives, vegetable garden and a new garden project for the Red Cross Asylum on Bornholm. The hotel has received the EU Environmental Award in Denmark 2016

It was voted the Commercial building of the year 2015 by ‘Magasinet Byggeriet’ (the construction magazine)

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SPØRGSMÅL og besøg i Villa Smart

Pauli Hjorth Hansen (Østkraft)
Telefon: 56 930 952 eller 40 283 007


Jesper Tornbjerg (Dansk Energi)
Telefon: 35 300 470


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