Heating Homes in Svalbard: Innovative Methods on the Arctic Island of Spitsbergen

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Are you planning to travel to Svalbard, the northernmost settlement in the world? In this article, we will explore one of the basic needs of living in this extreme climate: heating. We will answer the question, “How do they heat homes in Svalbard?”

The Background

Svalbard is a group of islands located between Norway and the North Pole. Despite being a part of Norway, Svalbard has a unique status and is governed by international treaties. The long winter season brings challenging weather conditions, with temperatures averaging around -15°C (5°F) and dipping as low as -40°C (-40°F). Therefore, heating is a crucial aspect of daily life in Svalbard.

Methods of Heating

There are multiple methods of heating homes in Svalbard.


The most common way to heat homes in Svalbard is through electricity. Almost all settlements on Svalbard are connected to the main power grid, which is primarily fueled by diesel generators. The constant supply of electricity allows for a comfortable indoor temperature, and electric heaters are commonly used in homes and buildings. However, the high demand for electricity during peak winter months means that electricity prices can be quite high, making it an expensive option.


Another popular method of heating in Svalbard is through coal. Coal is extracted from local mines and is readily available on the island. It is commonly used in old-fashioned stoves, providing heat for both cooking and heating. Coal is cheaper than electricity, but the cost of transportation from the mines adds to its overall expense. Additionally, there are concerns regarding the environmental impact of burning coal, and usage is sometimes restricted by the authorities to prevent pollution.


Oil is also used for heating homes in Svalbard. Kerosene and other oil products are commonly used in portable heaters, as well as larger systems for heating commercial buildings. The use of oil is preferred in remote areas without access to the main power grid or coal mines. However, like coal, oil prices can be high due to the cost of transportation to Svalbard. The storage of oil is also potentially dangerous, and regulations regarding storage procedures are strict in Svalbard.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are multiple ways to heat homes in Svalbard, and the method used varies from settlement to settlement. Factors such as location, accessibility, cost, and the availability of resources all play a role in determining how homes are heated.

We hope this article has answered your question regarding “How do they heat homes in Svalbard?” If you plan to visit Svalbard during the winter months, be assured that heating will not be an issue for you. However, make sure you pack accordingly for the cold weather!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *