Ice Hotel: the ultimate green building?


What is a green building? According to the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC), there are 5 levels of “greenness”: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze or Certified. The level of greenness is determine though a point rating system that evaluates the building based on five main categories:

- Sustainable sites
- Water efficiency
- Energy and atmosphere
- Materials and resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality

There are quite a few rules to follow when it comes to determining if a building is green or not, but I can’t help but think that the ice hotels (in Quebec and in Sweden) deserves some recognition.

When you consider the fact that traditional buildings are guilty of producing a large portion of the trash that ends up in landfills, the ice hotel and surrounding buildings are pretty innocent. I believe they are made entirely of snow and ice, a very sustainable product. Even the furniture and details such as the candelabras in the chapel, and the shot glasses in the bar are made of ice.

Ice Hotel construction siteIce Hotel exterior
Ice Hotel N'ICE ClubIce Hotel N'ICE Club ice shot glass
Ice Hotel ChapelIce Hotel Chapel

Photo by Etolane via Flickr

All in all, the site seems pretty sustainable. I don’t think that any of the buildings affect the environment in a negative way. As far as water efficiency, since these building are temporary, I doubt they use a lot of water in the building. For energy usage, except for the stoves, there isn’t much energy used. Materials and resources are for the most part sustainable, recyclable, reusable and/or natural. Lastly, as far as indoor air quality is concerned, since most of the indoor is made of natural material, I would guess that it must be good. I’m curious to know what their real rating would be. Nevertheless, I still think they deserve some form of recognition.

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