Many children want to know where Santa lives, and the answer is Rovaniemi, the capital of Finland’s most northern province, Lapland. Visitors flock to Rovaniemi all year round to catch the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun, or just to set foot inside the Arctic Circle, which is only 4 miles to the north of the centre.

Not surprisingly, it is in the weeks leading up to Christmas that the town is at its busiest, but visitors, it seems, want all the mod cons. They are not as hardy as Santa and his elves, and providing them with the warmth and comfort they demand could be very energy-intensive.  So, at a time when the importance of energy saving is a message we’d expect Santa to send to the next generation, it’s good to see smart technology being used to maximise efficiency in Rovaniemi’s Santa Claus Village.

The Village’s new 71 high-tech 20m2 igloos feature glass walls and a glass roof, giving uninterrupted views of the night sky, and their simple design conceals a lot of high-performance smart building technology.

The goal was to automate all of the everyday routines, including lighting, ventilation, and the window and floor heating systems, making them work together seamlessly to save as much energy as possible. That’s a tall order when the temperature difference between the inside and outside of the igloos can be over 50 °C.

Maarit Aho, Managing Director of Santa’s Hotels said, “Nearly all of our guests have travelled a significant distance, with the largest groups from Singapore, China and Japan.  Their expectations of an appropriate temperature, for example, may be radically different from what is considered acceptable locally, and we need to be able to meet those requirements as efficiently as possible.”

The smart tech design also allows for curtains to be opened and closed automatically, combining privacy with wonderful views of the sky through glass panels that are kept frost-free and clear by built-in automated heating resistors.

It also ensures that guests are alerted as soon as the Northern Lights are present!

This holistic approach to automation is becoming more widespread in both private homes and modern blocks of flats, according to KNX UK, an association promoting the benefits of intelligent building control.

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