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Go green, get growing

Go green, get growing
By Euronews

The Boutique Hotel Stadthalle in the Austrian capital, Vienna has invested in sustainable resources and saving energy. It has taken advantage of an innovative European programme that is helping hotels, which are responsible for 20 percent of the CO2 emitted by the tourist industry, to both to reduce their carbon footprint and boost their competitiveness.

Hotel Stadthalle is the first urban hotel in the world to have zero energy balance, meaning that they produce as much energy as they use. To achieve this they have invested 700,000 euros in systems like water volume reduction, rainwater collection, recycling drinking water, LED lighting, solar panels and water pumps.

The owner of the hotel, Michaela Reiterer, is committed to being environmentally friendly, but she is also a business woman. So she is pleased to say that her investment is paying off: “Normally in a 3-star hotel in Austria, the energy benchmark is around 6-7 percent, but we have 2 percent energy costs. So, it really saves money. We have nearly doubled our staff numbers. We had 18 before, and now we have about 35-36. But we also have a lot of new jobs that we did not have before, in quality management, and communication and social media. Because going green is a topic that you can talk about.”

This Viennese hotel served as a reference when the World Tourism Organisation set up an internet tool within the framework of the EU Intelligent Energy Europe programme. The diagnostic programme has already helped 400 European hoteliers get a comprehensive energy report, with recommendations for green investment as well as an idea of the savings these investments could represent.

Marina Diotallevi, Head of Ethics & Social Dimension, World Tourism Organisation, commented: “Some local destinations have even gone further, like for example the Chambre of Commerce in Haute Savoie, in France, which signed a partnership agreement with regional banks to provide local hoteliers with special loans that they can use to improve on hotel energy solutions, and the hotel energy tool kit will be used to evaluate the companies before providing them the loan.”