Vacation in a Tiny House – BFH researchers develop sustainable hotel in small format

26.01.2023 In a transdisciplinary Innosuisse project, researchers from BFH-AHB are working with the startup Heima to develop sustainable "Hotel Cabins" that can be built in different climate zones and have no negative impact on the environment; neither at their location nor with regard to their ecological footprint.

Taking time out in the middle of nature without having to forego the comforts of a hotel room – this is what a new hotel concept aims to make possible, in which guests live in comfortable Tiny Houses during their stay and consciously take a sustainable vacation. These Tiny Houses – called Hotel Cabins – are being developed by researchers at Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH in an Innosuisse project in collaboration with the startup Heima. The requirements for the cabins are high: They must be able to survive in different climates, the individual components must be easily transportable, and they need to be assembled on site without large equipment in order to keep the impact on the environment as small as possible.

Thanks to a circular eco-design approach, they are also intended to have a minimal ecological footprint. This includes the fact that the cabins do not require any concrete fundament and therefore leave no traces in nature after they have been dismantled. Furthermore, it should be possible to erect and dismantle the buildings several times and to repair them where necessary. Once they have reached the end of their service life, it should be possible to recycle most of the material used.

Transdisciplinary research project

The project follows a transdisciplinary research approach. Two research institutes from BFH-AHB are involved: the Institute for Materials and Wood Technology IWH and the Institute for Timber Construction, Structures and Architecture IHTA. As a result, the researchers have all the competencies that the development of the Hotel Cabins requires – from knowledge of life cycle analyses, sustainable development, and material properties to building physics and fire protection. The project is managed by the Composites and Furniture Development competence area under the direction of Heiko Thömen at the IWH.

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