Store Norske Plans “Significant Upgrading” of Houses in Longyearbyen
Store Norske is planning to invest over NOK 200 million in the property they own in Longyearbyen. The company calls it a "significant upgrade" and the property will go from maintenance backlog and poor insulation to meeting the demands for the technical and environmentally efficient solutions of the 2020s.
Store Norske's (Norwegian coal company based on Svalbard) properties in Longyearbyen will undergo a significant upgrade and go from maintenance backlog and poor insulation to meeting the demands for the technical and environmentally efficient solutions of the 2020s.
That means that Store Norske plans to invest over NOK 200 million in the property, reports Store Norske in a press release.
The investments are made in connection with the transition from fossil to renewable energy in Longyearbyen and the requirements for efficient and sustainable property management in Longyearbyen.
"The development and management of residential and commercial property in Longyearbyen and on Svalbard is an important part of Store Norske's strategy. In 2021, we expanded our real estate business with the purchase of hotels, commercial buildings, and homes, and now we are building the campus for Svalbard Folk High School, which will be completed in February. Going forward, the focus will be on renovating large parts of the building stock, so that they will be energy efficient and attractive homes for workers on Svalbard, says Sveinsung Lystrup Thesen, property manager at Store Norske.
Store Norske is owned by the Norwegian state in the name of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. In addition to mining, it operates in the fields of energy, logistics, and property.
Today, Store Norske owns around 500 homes on Svalbard, which makes up around 40 percent of the housing stock.
The property portfolio consists of a mixture of new and old, where the typical houses from the 50s, 60s and the 70s will now be upgraded to a modern energy standard.
Will preserve the exterior
"It is a large and demanding task. Store Norske is working on the basis that the project will span a ten-year period and cost several hundred million NOK. The aim is to adapt the homes to the requirements for low environmental impact and at the same time increase housing quality and attractiveness. The climate on Svalbard varies a lot and climate adaptation is therefore central to the project," says Lystrup Thesen.
The characteristic Svalbard homes will keep their well-known exterior.
In our strategy, we have made it clear that property is an important area of investment for Store Norske.
The biggest changes will be seen in the interior upgrades, with well-insulated buildings, technical installations which will ensure lower energy consumption, and with sustainable choices of materials.
Store Norske has previously spent large sums on building homes in Longyearbyen. Between 2005 and 2013, 160 million was spent on 108 housing units, including many family homes.
In December of 2019, Store Norske took over a new residential building with 12 family apartments at Elvesletta Syd, and in 2022 the company bought 76 apartments from Longbo AS.
"In our strategy, we have made it clear that property is an important area of investment for Store Norske. In 2021, we took an important step towards realizing these ambitions. The investment in both residential and commercial property is an important contribution to fulfilling Svalbard's political objectives and facilitating Norwegian settlement on Svalbard," says Jan Morten Ertsaas, CEO of Store Norske.
This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.