Eco hotel in Slovenia paving the way for green stays

SLOVENIA: Bohinj ECO Hotel, in Triglav National Park, was the first hotel in the country to be awarded the Green Globe certification.

SLOVENIA: Bohinj ECO Hotel, in Triglav National Park, was the first hotel in the country to be awarded the Green Globe certification.

The central European country’s tourist board has a dedicated section of the website for its Green Scheme encouraging visitors to choose sustainable accommodation when they visit and it is aiming to advance all 17 of the UN’s SDGs each year.

Bohinj ECO Hotel was the first Green Globe certified hotel in Slovenia and is located in the country’s only national park, Triglav National Park.

The hotel features 102 luxury rooms and suites and received the highest scores in the Green Globe audit. 

As part of is sustainable initiatives the hotel uses an energy well, 430m deep, which is for the heat pump to provide warm sanitary water and heating for the building. The warm sanitary water from showers and washbowls is collected in special containers, where heat pumps utilise the warmth before it is sent over the heat exchangers and back into the system. The well is also used for cool water in the summer. The water is sent to the cooling grids, which then cool rooms and other areas in the hotel. 

The hotel uses power LED lighting to reduce electricity consumption. These bulbs use 40 times less energy than regular or halogen light bulbs and last 1000 times longer. 

The air conditioning system has sensors to automatically turn off when not in use and the hotel is well insulated – the roof was the first of its kind in Slovenia, with wood and other natural materials sandwiched between plates to keep the heat in.

Bohinj ECO Hotel is in the Slovenian Alps, close to hiking trails, lakes, mountains and other outdoor activities. It is a 45 minute drive to Ljubljana Airpoirt.

What are the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals and how do they impact the hospitality sector?

What are the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals and how do they impact the hospitality sector?

When we are talking about hotels and sustainability, the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals come up all the time, so what are they and how are hotels aligning their sustainability frameworks to include them?

In 2015 the United Nations and 193 member nations agreed to 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), which would carry all nations forward to 2030 in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way – with the idea that “no one is left behind”. The goals all have targets and each target has the deadline of 2030. They ‘are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all’.

Responsible businesses will all look to the United Nations SDGs in keeping with their Corporate Social Responsibility / Environmental Social Governance (CSR and ESG).

For hotels, aligning with the UN’s SDGs means looking at all aspects of their development and operations, from building to the local community, to housekeeping, to food and beverage, products, local environment, guests and stakeholders.

Hotels are a whole eco system in themselves – and if one hotel represents a community, then putting the 17 SDGs into practice across the whole hotel or brand, and its people, will have a positive sustainable impact.

You can usually find a hotel or hotel group’s framework for sustainability quite easily on their websites and the UN’s SDGs may be incorporated into their sustainability programme. Whole sections of a hotel group’s website may be dedicated to sustainability, with white papers and downloadable pdfs and brochures. For example, Travelodge recently launched Better Future, Accor has its Planet 21, Marriott has Marriott 360, Hilton has Travel with Purpose, Intercontinental Hotel Groups’ IHG Green Engage, Go Green at Ascott and so on. 

The hotel industry represents 1 per cent of carbon emissions worldwide – and the sector has changed its practices to adapt to a sustainable way of staying. The challenge is for hotels to keep up-to-date with their targets and goals, release transparent data and information and keep to the 2030 deadline.

The United Nations 17 SDGs

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and wellbeing
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and development
  12. Responsible consumption and production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace, Justice and strong institutions
  17. Partnerships for the goals

Image: Pexels

Six Senses to launch off grid “net-zero travel” hotel in Norway

NORWAY: Luxury hotel group Six Senses Hotels & Resorts is launching a “net-zero travel” hotel in Norway.

NORWAY: Luxury hotel group Six Senses Hotels & Resorts is launching a “net-zero travel” hotel in Norway.

The 94-room hotel will be called Six Senses Svart and is the brand’s first foray into Scandinavia.

The circular-designed building is the first in the northern hemisphere to be designed and built with an energy efficient standard, which means it will collect enough energy from its solar panels to operate the hotel, its activities and the shuttle boat, which transports guests across the fjord.

It also means that within five years the hotel will produce enough energy of its own to cover the energy output of constructing the property. Often when hotels say they are carbon neutral, they are not counting the carbon emissions caused during construction, and are only referring to the operations side. This hotel can deliver 89 per cent of the 45 per cent decrease in emissions to reach the limited 1.5°C in the Paris Agreement and in its effort to become the first fully carbon-neutral and emission-free resort it will also, in around five years, generate more energy (via its solar panels and geothermal wells) than it took to build, and will take to operate.

The resort and its services, including the greenhouse farm, boat shuttles, and experiences, will be completely self-sufficient, operating off grid, in electricity, water, and waste management. To achieve this the hotel will operate a circular economy managing its own waste and water management, recycling and renewable infrastructure. 

Ivaylo Lefterov, Svart development director said: “Building a unique environment through cutting-edge design and superior craftsmanship comes with clear obligations. Creating a sustainable destination through an optimised resort operation requires us to collaborate with the right partner. Six Senses shares the same ethos and ambition, to redefine bespoke travel through technological innovation, carbon-neutral approach, ground-breaking design, and an exceptional guest journey.”

Inside, the hotel the restaurants will work with sustainable fishing and farming groups, have a zero-waste dining option and provide filtered water to guests through its own water cycle.

There will also be a Svart Design Lab, which offers education for guests to understand how new technologies can bring the hotel sector closer to carbon neutrality. 

Jan-Gunnar Mathisen, CEO of the project’s owner and developer said: “To enhance the vision of Svart, we have established a Net Zero Lab, a vehicle for developing and taking to market the technology created by us in a joint effort with Six Senses to reach the common goal for net-zero travel. This means the guest journey will have zero environmental impact from start to end. The mission is to achieve common ground for all stakeholders pushing the technology to the next level to benefit the resort and the industry at large.”

As a centre for engagement and innovation, the Earth Lab will serve as the sustainability outreach space, showcasing “lifecycle living” initiatives on and off the property. 

Six Senses Svart is due for completion in 2024.

Radisson Hotels and Resorts recently announced a sustainable certified hotel in Norway’s capital Oslo.

Image from Six Senses Hotels Resorts and Spas.

Small Luxury Hotels adds five properties to Considerate Collection

WORLDWIDE: Small Luxury Hotels, which recently launched its green collection of hotels, has added five properties to the Considerate Collection.

WORLDWIDE: Small Luxury Hotels, which recently launched its green collection of hotels, has added five properties to the Considerate Collection.

The Considerate Collection has 38 members and aims to reach 50 by the end of this year.

The collection defines its sustainability as “supporting the environment, community and culture” and its members must meet a range of standards set by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. 

Hotels within the Considerate Collection are aligned with the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) as well as Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) framework. Each property has either achieved a GSTC recognised certification or passed an assessment by the SLH Sustainability Advisory Panel, with independent and impartial review by the GSTC. 

When the Considerate Collection launched in October last year, Daniel Luddington, vice president of development, Small Luxury Hotels of the World said: “We’ve carefully curated the Considerate Collection to spotlight luxury boutique hotels exemplary in their sustainability efforts, making it easier for customers and the travel trade to make better-considered choices. Staying in small, independent hotels goes hand in hand with travelling sustainably and all SLH hotels are already steeped in the many facets of sustainable hospitality, so we haven’t had to look far outside of our portfolio for the launch collection. We also have an exciting pipeline of new hotels to add in the coming months. This is not about creating a new brand, but rather building on the strong brand values that have existed within SLH since inception – independent spirits, community-centric, questioners, storytellers and the ultimate belief that Small is beautiful and a better way to travel.”

The five additions to the Considerate Collection include: Castello di Reschio, Lisciano Niccone, Italy; Dar Ahlam, Ouarzazate, Morocco; and Paradise Cove, Anse La Raie, Mauritius, as well as Amilla Maldives, Baa Atoll, Maldives (which already has its EarthCheck Silver certification); and Aristide Hotel, Syros, Greece.

The hotels are doing a range of sustainable activities including re-wilding programmes, the elimination of single-use plastic, solar energy to heat water, coral propagation project, and ‘re-greening and tree-planting project’ to offset guests’ carbon footprint.

Image from Small Luxury Hotels

Riu Hotels & Resorts switches to renewable energy

SPAIN: Hotel group, Riu, has switched to 100 per cent renewable energy across its Spanish hotels and headquarters.

SPAIN: Riu Hotels & Resorts, has switched to 100 per cent renewable energy across its Spanish hotels and headquarters.

The group has made a deal with green energy supplier Iberdrola, and will aim for its Europe and Mexico hotels to follow suit. The group hinted it would consider its other hotels around the world for the switch going forward, but nothing solid has been confirmed.

The agreement with Iberdrola means that the hotel group can sustainably power more than 11,000 rooms across its 27 hotels in Spain. The hotels currently consume around 70 gigawatt hours per year. To put that into context, 1 gigawatt is the same as 1 billion watts (which would power around 10 million 100 watt light bulbs or 100 million LED light bulbs).

According to RIU Hotels & Resorts, by changing energy suppliers, the group will stop 30,000 tonnes of C02 emissions.

Bartolomé Enseñat chief procurement officer of RIU Hotels & Resorts, said: “[The agreement is] a big step forward in our aim to make our operations sustainable. We are very proud to announce to our customers and colleagues that, from today, all the energy we use in Spain is 100 per cent renewable, as certified by the Spanish National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC). Iberdrola was the perfect partner to help us reach this goal and we hope that this is just the beginning, as we’ve set our sights high when it comes to sustainability”.

The hotel chain is currently working with Iberdrola to roll out renewable energy across its hotels in Europe and Mexico, with preliminary contracts already in place.

Miquel Cardona, Iberdrola’s sales representative in the Balearic Islands said: “…We hope to continue working with RIU on different projects to jointly increase the electrification of its activity”.

Rui Hotels & Resorts recently created a new department in its team; the energy purchasing department and the Iberdrola agreement is its first major project. 

The group is aiming for a circular economy and has committed to working with waste management and reuse, reducing paper use, working for positive impact on the local economy, as well as aiming for global sustainability certificates. It has been awarded the international TRAVELIFE certification programme, since 2012 for 80 of its hotels. The accreditation specialises in sustainability management for the travel industry, which guarantees responsible management and compliance with its sustainability commitments.

Its Sustainability Report 2020 highlights a few of its aims and goals in both environmental and community sustainability. It has just released its 2021 report which will be available shortly.

Among the sustainable products currently used by RIU, the report highlights:

  • Coffee and teas with a Rainforest Alliance certificate
  • Replacement of normal straws for compostable straws
  • Priority acquisition of local products
  • Biodegradable cleaning products and detergents
  • Purchase of seasonal fruit and fish
  • Promotion of hydroponic crops in destinations with adverse conditions
  • Reduction in consumption of endangered marine species
  • Cellulose sourced from sustainable forests
  • Recycled cardboard packaging instead of plastic
  • Oeko-Tex and Made in green certified textiles
  • Optimisation of goods transportation to reduce CO2 emissions
  • Elimination of chemicals considered harmful to human health and the environment
  • Cloth or compostable laundry bags
  • Compostable glasses and containers for take-away services
  • Eggs from cage-free hens*
  • MSC certified fish
  • FSC certified toilet paper and holders
  • AENOR certified milk (animal welfare) *

*Pilot projects in some RIU destinations in Spain.

RIU Hotels & Resorts has 100 hotels in 20 countries. In 2021, the chain welcomed 4,2 million guests and provided jobs for around 28,004 employees.