Solheimar Eco-village is located in a suburb area that probably one hour drive from the capital Reykjavik. The nearest town is Selfoss. It was founded by Sesselja Hreindís Sigmundsdóttir in 1930. A great woman who was working on social aspects, like helping children and disabled people through almost of her whole life. Solheimar, the Icelandic meanings is “home of the sun”, same as its logo. Solheimar is a sustainable community, especially focusing on social aspect. Green housing, gardening, composting, energy saving, water saving, recycling, community connection…It seems like Solheimar has many of sustainable measurements we learned from our class and they are all applied very well.
You can find more cool things through the following video, which just made by one of the interns. She is from U.S. and two years ago, she was the student of CELL program (the internship program that Solheimar works with The Center for Ecological Living and Learning. Focusing on studying, staying in Solheimar community and having tours in Iceland).
They have a long history of hosting volunteers that from all over the world. The internship program, especially the CELL program, is just started for several years and will keep developing. They provide a good opportunity for people to connect, work and learn during their stay in this village. It is also a tourist attraction. Each year, there will be about thirty thousand of people coming to visit, especially in Summer (from June to August).
Sesseljuhús Environmental Centre, also the Sustainability Center, is the reception center of this village. It is definitely a green housing without LEED certification.It is the first modern building in Iceland without PVC. Every materials they used were selected carefully. Trying their best to use as much as natural resources as they can. The siding of this building are wood from beaches in Iceland. Natural Ventilation system, which air comes from a tower and goes into mechanical fans and exits out from roof vent. The sewage system of toilets separates the wastes that are composed naturally and go back to ecosystem finally.
Of course, we cannot forget the geothermal energy. Heating system is applied in whole village, the same as this green building. Also, solar panels are applied in this building to power the house. A small wind turbine also produces the energy for this green build and whole village, even though they are very small. The main power for this village comes from the grid that is powered by a dam. They also have the system to track the energy produce, from the solar, wind and grids.
Green roof, cellulose insulation can be found in this building. Sesseljuhús Environmental Centre definitely a hot spot in this village.
Solheimar has one of the largest greenhouses in Iceland to produce vegetables for themselves and other areas around the Iceland. It also produces arts and candles. There are many workshops in this village for visitors. Volunteers will work with people in this community, like home-people and disabled people. In Solehimar, everyone should be equal and respected.
Very specific recycling system in this village. Food waste, cans, plastics, papers, glasses, general wastes are divided very carefully and strict. This eco-village has a big compost area. I heard it is “crazy”. Probably will check it out one day.
Currently, this eco-village is famous in European areas. They want to go abroad and wish more and more visitors will come to visit and stay with this community. So they hope I can help them.
There are two tasks for me during my internship. One is helping them get more connections from the world. The second one is helping them or improving their current ecotourism. Hopefully I can make a help.
This is the blog for introducing this eco-village. I will show more my own feelings and experience in next blog.