Norway and the US are currently in a race to claim the world’s first so-called ‘carbon-positive’ hotel—a hotel designed to offset more carbon than it emits.
Perched at the foot of the Svartisen glacier in Norway’s remote Holandsfjorden fjord, the ring-shaped Six Senses Svart is designed to be fully self-sufficient within five years of opening in 2024, and eventually generate more green energy than it needs to operate.
In Denver, Colorado, Populus, a hotel featuring a biophilic exterior inspired by the pockmarked trunks of aspen trees, is also slated to open in 2024. With a construction plan that considered the carbon footprint of “every element of the building” and a commitment to offset more carbon than it emits via tree planting (which while better than nothing, we know is no substitute for actual emissions reduction), Populus’ eco-creds are more difficult to measure.
With hotels estimated to account for a whopping one percent of global emissions, you can argue that any shift we can make to lessen the impacts of human-caused climate change is a step in the right direction. What we need to avoid, though, is venues and businesses relying on offsetting their way out of their emissions in a bid to maintain business as usual.