Solgården in Hundborg – A Nursing Home with Positive Energy

In 2012 a new chapter in the life of Solgården Nursing Home in Hundborg began: An entirely new building was taken into use. The new Solgården consists of 32 two bedroom apartments, offices, locker rooms, service facilities, a kitchen and a community centre “Valsen”, distributed on a total of 3.800 square meters. A few years back it became apparent that a decision concerning the future of Solgården had to be made: Either to discontinue nursing home activities or to build a new nursing home.

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Områdecenter Solgården
Solgårdsvej 14, 7700 Thisted
Phone: +45 99 17 39 70
solgaarden@thisted.dk
Manager Annette Jensen.

Solgården Nursing Home is very interested in showing off the new facilities. For tour arrangements see below.

  • Guided tours: By appointment
  • Open: By appointment
  • Booking: Please contact area leader Annette Jensen, email asj@thisted.dk
  • Participants: A maximum of 30 participants
  • Admittance fee: Maximum 12 participants: 300 DKK including coffee. Maximum 30 participants: 500 DKK including coffee. Cake or lunch is available if pre ordered
  • Parking: Yes
  • Public transportation: Bus stop at Vorupørvej approximately 300 meters from Solgården
  • Toilet: Yes.

 

which had been in existence since the late 1960s, were no longer up to date with regard to modern caring standards and expectations to a senior care centre. But the residents and employees of Solgården, as well as people in Hundborg in general, were not thrilled to see discontinued the nursing home that had been an asset to the local community for decades. In fact Hundborg has a long tradition for caring for the elderly ever since 1907 when local doctor Valdemar Buus built a private hospital in the backyard of his medical practice in Vorupørvej 175. After Buus’ death in 1935 the hospital was converted to a nursing home and functioned as such until Solgården was built in the late 1960’ies. Eldercare is part of community identity and in 2011 construction of a new, contemporary nursing home in Hundborg was initiated.

Energy Efficiency Label 2020

The new Solgården is one of the most energy efficient buildings in Denmark which is in concord with the objective of Thisted Municipality to make sustainable energy the source of all future energy supply in public buildings. In 2009 the city council decided on a very ambitious plan for the future of energy consumption in the municipality. The plan proposes that from 2010 all public buildings outside of district heating areas comply with the energy efficiency label 2020, which is an official energy code described by the Danish Business and Building Authority. The new nursing home in Hundborg is optimized with respect to the demands for energy efficiency of the future, in compliance with the Danish Business and Building Authority demands for CO2 emission free building as described in the energy efficiency label 2020. These are the toughest demands for energy efficiency in the world meaning that from 2020 new buildings are only allowed to consume 25% of the energy that was accepted up until 2010. Energy savings can be achieved through better insulation and sustainable energy.

Sustainability and Renewable Energy

Building Envelope

solgaarden_20130415_8 In order to minimize the building envelope of the new construction, the shape of the building has a very compact form.The circular two storey building has a limited surface area which minimizes heat loss and results in a more energy efficient construction. The building envelope is practically unbroken in order to reduce heat loss while the facade on the exterior of the building envelope lends a unifying impression to the house. Large window panels with three layered low emission glazing provide plenty of daylight beneficial to the indoor climate and reduce the need for artificial lighting. During winter months the sun contributes to the heating of the rooms, while integrated sunscreening prevents overheating during summer.

Insulation

The loft and floors are fitted with 500 mm of polystyrene insulation while the outer walls have a total of 380 mm of mineral wool insulation.

Ground Source Heat Pumps

As a source of room heating and hot running water a ground source heat pump facility has been established on the nursing home grounds. Geothermal heating is a very environmentally friendly source of heating, significantly reducing the CO2 emission of the building. A geothermal heating facility with ground source heat pumps utilizes the passive solar energy absorbed and stored in the top layer of the earth’s crust. The facility at Solgården consists of 5.5 km of polyethylene tubes horizontally installed in a closed loop field in trenches in the ground. A mixture of water and antifreeze flows through the tubes absorbing ground heat before being directed into three heat pumps where the heat is transferred to the room heating and hot running water. The facility is capable of producing 122 kWh.

Solar Thermal Energy

In combination with the ground source heat pumps, solar thermal energy panels produce hot running water for the nursing home. The 40 m2 of solar thermal energy panels are located on the south-facing part of the roof gaining optimal use of the sun rays. The integration of solar panels into the roof construction proves the fact that it is possible to create good architecture without compromising energy saving. When constructing a new building like Solgården, energy saving solutions can be incorporated into the design from the beginning, resulting in solar energy panels posing a striking element in beautiful harmony with the architecture.

Solar thermal energy panels are capable of transforming sunlight into thermal energy. A fluid circulates in the absorber tubes collecting trapped heat from the sun’s rays transferring it to a heat storage vault. A heat exchanger makes sure the energy is transferred to the running water in the house. Finally the now chilled fluid circulates back to the absorber tubes continuing the process all over again.

Solar Panels

solgaarden_20130415_11 In addition to the solar thermal energy panels, the south-facing roof of the new Solgården also accommodates 108 solar panels covering a total of 260 m2. The panels produce an average of 23.000 kWh electricity per year which is used in the building. Solar panels extract energy from sunlight and consist of diodes transforming sunlight directly into power via photoelectric effect.

Room for Everyday Life

In discussing the design of the new building, leaders at Solgården and in Thisted municipality stressed the ability of the building to incorporate the strategy for life that exists at Solgården Nursing Home, which is to embrace everyday life based on the life experience and identity of every single resident. Among other things this means having pets and domestic animals at the nursing home, both inside and out. The animals bring everyone in the house a bit of zest to everyday life. Many residents come from rural backgrounds and an important feature is that the building incorporates plenty of daylight, air and easy access to the outdoors. The building has two storeys in a circular shape each housing a living unit. The round shape supplies all apartments with a beautiful view from the living room while the inside of the building centres around a protected yard in the middle.

solgaarden_20121119_5The idea of bringing a bit of zest to everyday life is also the foundation for the interior design of the centre. An interior designer helped pick out colours and materials that express a very modern statement to match the architecture of the building. Bright, modern colours characterize the furnishing while large colourful paintings decorate the walls. At the same time the furniture has been chosen with the specific target group in mind in order to achieve a high level of practicality.

The concept of signal values has guided the approach to organizing the apartments in a more homely and less institutional manner. One example is the lack of ceiling lifts in the apartments. A visible lift sends a clear signal to an otherwise able resident that “it is only a matter of time before you will be needing it”. Naturally the ceilings are prepared for lifts if the need should arise, but at Solgården an active effort is made to maintain the residents’ abilities for as long as possible. Also the bathrooms are fitted with appliances that tone down the institutional impression. The toilets are adjustable in order to avoid using a visual aid like a toilet seat raiser and the faucets are reachable from a wheelchair. The philosophy behind aiming for a high level of normalcy in the interior decorating is that the less visible the aids are, the less they are needed and used. There is a lot of positive energy in the fact that your surroundings are not constantly reminding you that your abilities are not what they used to be. Additionally the homely surroundings encourage a more equally based social interaction which is another cornerstone in the approach to elder care at Solgården.

The Community Centre Valsen

solgaarden_20120914_3 Apart from actual apartments Solgården also houses a community centre which is open to all pensioners and senior citizens of Thisted municipality. The centre offers a variety of daytime courses and activities such as a computer cafe, workout facilities and a wood workshop.

Project Partners

Project Solgården has been realized by a group of partners with Thisted Municipality as the client. Architect: aarhus arkitekterne, consulting engineer: Tri-Consult A/S, contractor: Jakobsen and Blindkilde, landscape architect: Thing & Waimø landskabsarkitekterne.

Production Data

  • Established in 1967
  • In 2012 the new Solgården was ready for occupation
  • 122 kW ground source heat pumps
  • 40 m2 solar thermal energy panels, estimated production per year 12.000 kWh
  • 260 m2 solar panels, average production per year 23.000 kWh.