Sólheimar is a sustainable community in the heart of Iceland, one of the largest in Europe, one of the oldest. It is famous for its ecological and artistic environment. Around 100 people live in this ecovillage, they not only live but also work together. Among the various sustainable constructions of the complex are a school and a sports center opened in 2002.
The school and sports hall were designed by the architectural firm ASK, which carefully designed the buildings in detail as efficiently as possible. Aesthetically it is easy to see the concern to maintain a balance with the landscape and the natural resources that surround it, it was one of the premises of the construction. The base of the buildings are made of Siberian wood. The thermal insulation system for the floor and walls, essential in a region as cold as Iceland, was made with natural sheep’s wool. The roof was made with paper insulation, covered with grass.
By 1930 the village was already energy self-sufficient, mainly through the use of geothermal energy.
Currently, the hot water and heating system is supported by a geothermal system that draws hot water 169 meters underground. The ecovillage is connected to the commercial electrical network that supplies 80% of the energy from renewable sources: geothermal – hydraulic. It also has a 600 W wind turbine, a mini-hydraulic turbine and a 1,400 W solar generator, but these facilities are educational in nature.
Sólheimar grows trees for reforestation, vegetables, and medicinal plants for consumption. The crops are carried out in several greenhouses, with heating, to keep the temperature of the greenhouses constant between 20 and 30ºC.
It has its own recycling system, they use several containers as a vermicomposter. Purification of its waters with phyto-purification ponds. They have the state certificate of organic production, so they sell the products that are made there throughout the country.
The use of natural light is maximized through window-filled structures. Virtually all the energy used to power the community comes from sustainable sources. Photovoltaic panels, a hydroelectric system and a generator that converts the difference in temperature into electricity, are the main generators of clean electricity in the community.
Community members work and live within the complex, where you can also find a cafe, bakery, church, craft workshops, and plenty of space for art, hosting various events throughout the year.
Sólheimar regularly receives groups of volunteers who want to live the experience of living in an ecological community. Here you can read the experience of a volunteer who spent 3 months there.