Eco-friendly retirement home in the Arctic Circle

The Kautokeino Home Care Centre is a 1,000m2 structure designed to ease accessibility for its residents, provide spectacular views of Finnmark and be environmentally friendly. The unique architecture of the single floor horse-shoe shape provides views from many different angles and alleviates the need for elderly residents negotiating stairs; in addition the eco-home meets the environmental requirements of the Norwegian Standard NS3700, the national equivalent of the ‘Passive House’ standards.

The eco-friendly care home was prefabricated by Q-haus - an Estonian producer of prefabricated wooden structures - and transported to the remote location in Kautokeino using 22 trucks. Kebony, the sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood, was used for the cladding of the care home, carefully selected to complement the natural hillside surroundings of the building, whilst maintaining the building’s rounded structure and providing a hardwearing exterior. Additional materials used which ensure the care home meets Passive House requirements include glass wool insulation and windows which provide a passive frame, triple glass and are highly air tight which is fundamental in low-energy buildings.

Due to the remote location of Kautokeino above the Arctic Circle, the care home is exposed to extreme weather conditions with temperatures lower than -40°C over the winter months. As such, the façade of the care home required a material that will withstand harsh conditions. Kebony proved to be the perfect material for this project; its technology enhances the properties of non-durable wood species to give them similar characteristics to the best performing hardwoods although unlike tropical hardwoods or other treated timber products Kebony does not involve rainforest deforestation. Through a sustainable process softwoods are impregnated with a bio-based liquid, resulting in greatly improved durability and dimensional stability. Kebony’s superior environmental credentials set it apart from more conventional woods which would likely deteriorate over time or involve the use of environmentally-damaging treatment; it requires no maintenance beyond normal cleaning and has no harmful effects on the environment.

Andrea Bronzini, Product Manager and Sales Director at Q-Haus commented, ‘The Kautokeino Home Care building is the first project in which Kebony has been used by our factory. We are extremely pleased with the final result. The natural look and feel of Kebony is a perfect fit for ecological buildings, especially for important objects such as this large passive house in Kautokeino.’

Adrian Pye, International Sales Director at Kebony commented, ‘The Kautokeino Home Care Centre is an exciting demonstration of how Kebony can be used to meet Passive House requirements, whilst complementing the natural surroundings of the care home’s remote location.’