ICEHOTEL is an art project and the world’s first hotel built entirely of ice and snow. Working only with the Torne River water as material and original art features, the creations at ICEHOTEL are protected by Swedish copyright law and are the characteristics that make ICEHOTEL unique. The company develops sensuous, inspiring, and unique experiences in art, nature, accommodation and gastronomy year-round.
ICEHOTEL and the environment
From river to river
To many, ICEHOTEL is known mostly as a hotel - albeit a unique one. But for us, the inspiration behind the art project that is ICEHOTEL comes from Torne River and its eternal cycle that we witness every year. Throughout the four seasons, we live as one with the river, following its ephemeral changeability from the river bank in Jukkasjärvi.
From free flowing, to frozen and back again to flowing; from river to river. That is our philosophy at ICEHOTEL – we borrow a few seconds of the mighty river in winter, and come the unforgiving rays of the spring sun and ICEHOTEL begins to melt away, we let nature have its course and watch our loan slowly return to the river.
Environmental thinking at ICEHOTEL
ICEHOTEL is located in Jukkasjärvi, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle and on the bank of one of the cleanest waters in Europe – the Torne River. Nature is an intrinsic part of everything that ICEHOTEL is and what we do. It is an inspirational playground and the source of our building material. We want to keep it that way, so we care about how the environment is affected by ICEHOTEL, in Jukkasjärvi and beyond. This is a continuous and ever-changing task, but below you can read a bit more about what we are doing at the moment.
The hotel and our facilities
ICEHOTEL has taken a number of steps to reduce our effect on the environment, including minimizing emissions from transports and deliveries by choosing local producers and managing more services on-site. Since 2008, the company has implemented energy-saving schemes across the hotel facilities in collaboration with energy partner Gävle Energi, including electricity, heating and water usage by staff and guests. ICEHOTEL monitors its energy consumption and environmental impact carefully and strive to encourage sub-suppliers to meet the same environmental standards in the products and services that ICEHOTEL uses.
The surrounding environment – our activities, products & services
ICEHOTEL offers guests a number of experiences in the beautiful natural surroundings of Jukkasjärvi and take great care to ensure these activities are sustainable and don’t harm the grounds or the people who live here. The adventure team uses equipment from contractors who are leading in their fields within environmental sustainability, and ICEHOTEL can also offer a wide range of wilderness experiences with zero use of electricity or non-renewable fuels. The hotel also works closely with local land-owners and Sami villages to continuously maintain sustainable levels of land use.
Innovation & development, long-term visions
The long-term goal is for ICEHOTEL to become CO2-negative – that is, to produce more energy than guests and staff consume. ICEHOTEL works continuously to develop its environmental practices and closely monitors its progress. The company has developed several partnership projects to promote sustainability and protect the local environment over the years; for example with Gävle Energi and the Swedish University for Agricultural Studies. The long-term environmental vision aligns the national goals of the Swedish tourist board, VisitSweden.
The Torne River ice, exports and events
The water in Torne River is one of the cleanest waters in Europe and the water is in fact so clean you can drink it straight from the river bank. Originating from Torneträsk, one of Swedish Lapland’s largest lakes, the Torne River is also one of the few rivers left in Scandinavia and Europe which has not been used for industrial purposes. But now, ICEHOTEL is no longer just located in Jukkasjärvi – through ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL franchises and events around the world, ICEHOTEL is global and Torne River has become one of the world’s most traveled rivers. Today, the company harvests about 5 000 tons of ice per year and environmental impacts of logistics such as harvest, storage and transportation are important to consider.
ICEHOTEL Art Production and Art Center are located on-site in Jukkasjärvi. This means that ICEHOTEL can eliminate wastage since any ice that is not used returns to the river in spring when it melts. When the ice is harvested from the river in spring, it is kept in the storage halls in the Art Production and Art Centre until it is used for building ICEHOTEL, ICEBAR BY ICEHOTELs, or for other events. Since this is located on-site and in an Arctic climate, there are virtually no emissions associated with transporting the ice from source to storage location, and the storage halls are chilled naturally for most of the year thanks to the cold winter months so are very energy efficient. In addition the facilities have been equipped with chilling systems that re-uses energy for other purposes in the hotel. In terms of transportation to events and ice bars around the world, ICEHOTEL works closely with environmentally engaged suppliers and seeks to coordinate logistics with empty return transports headed south as far as possible in order to minimize emissions.
Featured / Environment at ICEHOTEL
”Companies that work strategically for the environment are going to make a considerable profit”, says Dennis Pamlin, entrepreneur and newly appointed director of Low Carbon Leaders for transformative solutions, a joint UN and WWF initiative.
Even if ICEHOTEL by definition is a cold place, there’s more to it than meets the eyes… or ice. Several thousand square metres are actually heated (but - in a cool way so to speak) by ground source heat pumps from...