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"Brilliant madness!"

Buildings and Green buildings

Bjarte Hauge, VP Land & Transport in Jets Vacuum AS, leans over the railings. We have just ascended the 1,011 metres to the top of Hoven mountain in the new Loen Skylift cable car. What feels like an abyss opens below us, down towards the small village of Loen.

Published on 2021-09-13
Project details
  • Type of project: Restaurant and service building at the top of Hoven mountain
  • Challenge: Limited access to water
  • Jets solution: High standard toilets with greatly reduced water consumption

It’s wild and vertiginous out here on the balcony. In fact, the mountain is so steep that it attracts many base jumpers and wingsuit flyers, throwing themselves off the cliff right in front of the service building.

Looking up at the Hoven mountain from the Loen Skylift station by the sea, the service building appears to be on the verge of falling off the edge at any moment. Indoors, on the other hand, the atmosphere is quite another.

“The building houses a nice restaurant and good facilities to attend to many visitors daily. And that’s where we enter the picture. The challenge here on top of the mountain is the limited access to water," explains Hauge.

"With a thousand visitors every day, wasting precious water on flushing the toilets is not an option. Jets vacuum toilets, which only use a litre of water per flush, provides the service building with toilets of the same comfort and quality as regular toilets, but they use only a fraction of the water,” he points out.

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The restaurant and service building appears to be teetering on the edge of the mountain and spectacular views open up below. Throughout summer, cruise ships pass by on their way to the neighbouring village, Olden.

Hauge gives acclaim to the Nordfjord people’s willingness to work for a cable car attraction by many seen as nothing more than a castle in the air. Where others only see hopeless fantasy, some have what it takes to complete this type of building project with flying colours. It’s about sticking with it the way he sees it, drawing parallels to his own company:

“Jets Vacuum celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016 as a solid company in every way, but the early years were challenging. When faced with adversity, financial and other, the easiest thing would have been to give up. But, coming from Sunnmøre, we are quite similar to our Nordfjord neighbours in that respect. We don’t quit when the going gets tough. And today, our company is a leading global provider of vacuum sanitary systems,” he says.

Customers of Jets Vacuum on the other hand, do not have to be risk-tolerant, according to Hauge. Our vacuum toilets are off-the-shelf products at many bathroom retailers, they are robust and have been tried and tested to withstand hard use in demanding operational environments such as cruise ships, festivals and other places, where the toilets are used hundreds of times per day.

“Many of the visitors to the Loen Skylift are cruise tourists already familiar with our vacuum toilets from the ships by which they travel. When they get to the top of this mountain, they find the same toilets. The application of our technology in all these different environments, goes to show how extremely flexible it is,” he concludes gazing out over the mountains.