Green Hotels

Energy efficiency has always been the norm in the mountains or people couldn’t stay warm and businesses efficient. Infact studies have shown mountain buildings typically use much less energy than buildings using air conditioning in warm climates. But standards continue to improve dramatically and here’s a list of properties that go the extra mile in the fight against climate change in ski resorts.

Austria

Bad Kleinkirchheim, Explorer Hotel

Explorer Hotels are the first ‘passive hotels’ utilising zero-emission buildings  certified as 100% carbon neutral. Purpose-built with an innovative construction including its own photovoltaic system and good insulation combined with a stringent energy strategy meaning it uses 70% less energy than hotels of the same size. The hotels save 85% thermal energy compared to a similar regular hotel and 60% electricity by using photovoltaic systems. The BKK hotel opened in 2019.

Bad Kleinkirchheim, Hotel Trattlerhof

A hotel that has been dedicated to fighting climate change and being sustainable in every way for many years. Already a green power user it created its own hydro-electric station in order to become 100% self-sufficient in green electricity and in May 2014 switched the whole of the business to a bio-heat system. It has many other initiatives including the option for guests to carbon-offset all the CO2 generated by their holiday and borrow e-bikes and an electric car available for their use. The hotel has both the Austrian and European Eco labels.

Hochfügen-Hochzillertal, Explorer Hotel

Explorer Hotels are the first ‘passive hotels’ utilising zero-emission buildings  certified as 100% carbon neutral. Purpose-built with an innovative construction including its own photovoltaic system and good insulation combined with a stringent energy strategy meaning it uses 70% less energy than hotels of the same size. The hotels save 85% thermal energy compared to a similar regular hotel and 60% electricity by using photovoltaic systems. The Zillertal hotel opened in 2017.

Hinterstoder, Explorer Hotel

Located at the valley station of the ski lifts, the new Explorer Hotel in the World Cup town of Hinterstoder is a ‘passive hotel’ utilising zero-emission buildings  certified as 100% carbon neutral. Purpose-built with an innovative construction including its own photovoltaic system and good insulation combined with a stringent energy strategy meaning it uses 70% less energy than hotels of the same size. The hotels save 85% thermal energy compared to a similar regular hotel and 60% electricity by using photovoltaic systems.

Kals am Großglockner , MoaAlm Mountain Retreat

Situated high in the Austrian Alps on the edge of the Hohe Tauren National Park and the Gross Glockner ski resort the owners of the MoaAlm Mountain Retreat entirely stripped the chalet back and insulated it when they bought it, adding a wood chip boiler, solar panels for hot water and installing a wood fired hot tub. Typical of the new breed of small independent operators who are passionate about sustainability, they try to do everything in a climate friendly way from encouraging guests to travel to them with the lowest CO2 emissions possible, to providing an organic, locally sourced breakfast through to the entirely plant-based three course dinner. They’re also active in the local community encouraging discussion about more sustainability actions as well as vegan options in local restaurants too.

Leogang, Holzhotel Forsthofalm

Holder of The European Eco-label and the Austrian Eco-label as well as being a Green Lifestyle Hotel Austria, the Forsthofalm was built entirely of wood with no metal using ‘passive construction’ techniques which save up to 75% of the energy used in conventional building. Wood pellets are solely used for heating, a CO² neutral fuel supported by solar power.  There are numerous other environment friendly initiatives in action here too. 

Matrei am Großglockner, Outside Hotel

Multi green-award winning hotel and holder of Austrian and EU eco label certification. The hotel says it acts sustainably and responsibly towards future generations, by using energy-efficient materials and technologies, saving electricity and water. There are electric bikes and Tesla cars to hire plus electric car charging points. It’s a former winner of the ‘Luxury Eco-Hotel of the Year’ award and a member of Austria’s Climate Alliance.

Montafon, Explorer Hotel

Explorer Hotels are the first ‘passive hotels’ utilising zero-emission buildings  certified as 100% carbon neutral. Purpose-built with an innovative construction including its own photovoltaic system and good insulation combined with a stringent energy strategy meaning it uses 70% less energy than hotels of the same size. The hotels save 85% thermal energy compared to a similar regular hotel and 60% electricity by using photovoltaic systems.

Obergurgl, The Crystal

Since 2009 the first hotel in Austria, and the first in Europe above 2000 metres altitude, to be heated by 100% renewable energy generated on site, thanks to 300m² of solar panels and four geothermal heat pumps supplied via 8,000 metres of bore holes. Energy is stored in gigantic buffer containers and heating is then provided via floor and wall panels.

St Johann in Tyrol, Explorer Hotel

Explorer Hotels are the first ‘passive hotels’ officially climate-neutral in zero-emission buildings  certified as 100% carbon neutral. Purpose built with an innovative construction including its own photovoltaic system and good insulation combined with a stringent energy strategy meaning it uses 70% less energy than hotels of the same size. The hotels save 85% thermal energy compared to a similar regular hotel and 60% electricity by using photovoltaic systems.

Sölden, Explorer Hotel

Explorer Hotels are the first ‘passive hotels’ officially climate-neutral in zero-emission buildings  certified as 100% carbon neutral. Purpose built with an innovative construction including its own photovoltaic system and good insulation combined with a stringent energy strategy meaning it uses 70% less energy than hotels of the same size. The hotels save 85% thermal energy compared to a similar regular hotel and 60% electricity by using photovoltaic systems. Their Otztal hotel opened in November 2018.

Canada

Big White, BC, Best Western Plus Kelowna Hotel & Suites

Multi-environment-award winning hotel with numerous initiatives. In 2002 they started their first project to install an extensive and advanced solar hybrid water-heating system, one of the largest in Canada, thus preventing 90 tonnes per year of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere. This solar system with 102 solar panels feed a 6000 litre solar storage tank, and was designed to heat up to 90% of the water for the hotel’s 90,000 litre indoor swimming pool, 2 hot tubs and 154 guest rooms during the summer months, while in the winter the solar heating system can cover nearly 60% of the hot water heating.

Kootenay National Park , Nipika Mountain Resort

Nipika Mountain Resort operates in harmony with nature and is completely off the grid, sourcing power from the sun, wind, water and surrounding forest. It offers cross country ski trails and back country skiing, and there are conventional alpine ski areas in the region. Not only does it generate all its electricity via solar, micro-hydro and wind power, but dead wood, salvaged from the forest, is placed in a central boiler to provide heat and hot water to each of its log cabins 

Whistler, Nita Lake Lodge

Sustainability was a focus from the start at Nita Lake Lodge. When the hotel was being developed a choice was made to implement a geothermal heating and cooling system throughout the lodge. In addition to this system, they use a building automation system (DDC control system) to monitor and control their environmental impact. Since these major systems were put in place, they have continued to implement ways to make smart environmental decisions.

Finland

Pyhä, Ski-Inn Apartments

The Ski-Inn Apartments are an ecological choice for accommodation since the carbon footprint of their energy consumption is zero. The electricity is generated with hydropower and the heating with biomass. 

France

Chamonix, Chalet Dalmore & Chalet Cragganmore

Chalet Dalmore and Chalet Cragganmore are both powered by turbines from the neighbouring river L’Arve making them totally self sufficient when it comes to electricity and energy supplies. Other features include geothermal underfloor heating and even the floor to ceiling glass is self-cleaning.

Chamonix, The Eco Lodge

Built to the ‘passiv haus’ standard with super-insulation, in most areas 60cm thick, the Eco-Lodge has geo-thermal heating, solar thermal heating and photovoltaic solar panels all providing warmth and  electricity, collectively producing enough power to make the house net zero emissions. There are numerous other initiatives in the building’s design and operation to provide maximum efficiency too.

Chamonix, La Morgane

The 56 bedroom Le Morgane is one of Chamonix’s newer hotels. The owners believe that building a new hotel with the environment a priority is usually much better than trying to make an old building environmentally friendly. Le Morgane has installed heat pumps and solar panels for energy management and staff are also trained in working in an eco-friendly way with the aim of achieving zero CO2 energy emissions. It also used local materials: slate, granite and wood for the building and is ISO 14001 certified.

Les Angles, Chalet Ana

Chalet Ana was the first recipient of the European Eco-label in the French Pyrenees, as it actively contributes to the use of renewable energy sources, water conservation, waste reduction and to the improvement of the local environment in Les Angles.

Méribel , Chalet L’Anteguylou

L’Anteguylou has been built to high specifications and ecological standards.  It has an eco-friendly zero emission bio-mass heating system and the hot water is heated primarily by solar panel.

St Martin de Belleville, Chamois Lodge

Fitted with a geothermal heating system which uses a series of pipes in vertical bore holes containing a refrigerant which absorbs the heat from the ground. The system then connects to a heat pump, which extracts the heat and pumps it around the chalet providing underfloor heating and hot water.

Val Thorens, La Datcha

Val Thorens’ first ‘Eco-Friendly Luxury Guesthouse’ opened in 2017. The five storey chalet was the first at Europe’s highest resort to be built using innovative eco-friendly building techniques.  The  building employs energy consumption management, green insulation, and wastewater treatment.  In fact the entire chalet has been built to minimise its environmental impact as much as possible.

Germany

Bechtesgaden, Explorer Hotel

The Berchtesgaden Explorer Hotel is located at the heart of a wintersports area that was a candidate to stage the 1992 Winter Olympics. Explorer are the first ‘passive hotels’ officially climate-neutral in zero-emission buildings  certified as 100% carbon neutral. Purpose built with an innovative construction including its own photovoltaic system and good insulation combined with a stringent energy strategy meaning it uses 70% less energy than hotels of the same size. The hotels save 85% thermal energy compared to a similar regular hotel and 60% electricity by using photovoltaic systems.

Nesselwang, Explorer Hotel

Located at the base of the ski slopes at Nesselwang, Explorer Hotels are the first ‘passive hotels’ officially climate-neutral in zero-emission buildings  certified as 100% carbon neutral. Purpose built with an innovative construction including its own photovoltaic system and good insulation combined with a stringent energy strategy meaning it uses 70% less energy than hotels of the same size. The hotels save 85% thermal energy compared to a similar regular hotel and 60% electricity by using photovoltaic systems.

Oberstdorf, Explorer Hotel

Explorer Hotels are the first ‘passive hotels’ officially climate-neutral in zero-emission buildings  certified as 100% carbon neutral. Purpose built with an innovative construction including its own photovoltaic system and good insulation combined with a stringent energy strategy meaning it uses 70% less energy than hotels of the same size. The hotels save 85% thermal energy compared to a similar regular hotel and 60% electricity by using photovoltaic systems.

Italy

Alta Badia, Dolomit Homes & Hotel

A group of eco-friendly accommodations in La Villa, Alta Badia, including a traditional boutique hotel and the almost carbon-neutral “Klima-House A” which uses solar panels to power the home. Many other initiatives and features including charging stations for electric cars, and offering fair trade products from first to last, from beauty to cleaning detergents.

Cervinia, Hotel Lac Bleu

After a fact-finding trip to Sweden the hotel’s managers turned their property into a low-impact hotel, exploiting local resources (solar and biomass) and improving insulation. The hotel’s photovoltaic system has been integrated with a system of solar thermal collectors and a helium heat pump that optimizes production from renewable sources. The hotel is also managed and monitored by a control system that avoids energy waste and consumption and in 2011 it won a regional award for its green efforts.

La Thuile, Boton d’Or

The highly regarded Hotel Boton d’Or is located close to lifts and ski school and has an eco friendly ethos, with thermal heating supplied from 30 underground water sources beneath the hotel.

Japan

Niseko, Ki Niseko

Ki Niseko utilizes the energy of the region’s natural onsen hot springs. Waters from the onsen are used to heat the hotel in winter and also recycled for hotel eco-friendly energy and snow maintenance. Energy-efficient bulbs and appliances are used throughout the hotel, and guests are encouraged to turn off their lights and air-conditioners when they are not using them.

SLOVENIA

Rogla, Natura

The first ski resort hotel in Slovenia to be awarded the EU’s Eco-Label, back in 2017, the Natura Hotel uses green energy and has a host of environmental initiatives at work.

Switzerland

Crans Montana, Ecogite Esprit du Soleil

High-value, environmentally-friendly bed and breakfast accommodation in three pleasant modern buildings, two made using straw bale construction, which generate more power than they consume.  The property, located in the pleasant village of Ayent, is British-owned and run and has free parking, free wifi and a friendly welcome. Anzere’s ski slopes  are 5 minutes’ drive away, or Crans Montana only 20 minutes. Minergie A-P-eco rated.

Laax, Rocks Resort

Run by the White Arena Group which also manages all of the Laax ski area based on a philosophy called Greenstyle – with the ultimate aim of being fully carbon neutral and self-sustaining in green energy production, the flagship Rocks Resort has numerous green initiatives ranging from E-bikes run on ecologically produced electricity and Tesla charging stations to employee clothing is selected according to sustainable criteria.  Like the resort the hotel runs on 100% local hydro-electric power.

Pontresina, Hotel Saratz

GEOHIL Engineering has carried out a project that was the first in Switzerland on such a scale, equipping the Hotel Saratz with a heat pump to extract heat from deep underground. The results are impressive: the Saratz now produces 800,000 kWh of heat a year “in-house”, reducing its CO2 emissions by two-thirds. With these measures, the Pontresina hotel is also helping to preserve the air quality – as well as the quality of life – in the Engadin for the future. 

Saas Fee, Haus Alpenfirn

Back in 2006 these apartments were the first in Switzerland which are certified with the EU Eco-Label. This means the accommodation’s owners take many steps to be responsible in environmental management including a preference for using renewable energy sources.

Saas Fee, Chalet Butterfly

The chalet, located in a sunny position in car free Saas Fee, was fully renovated in 1999 to high environmental standards. These include in-house solar energy supply and a pellet heating system which together provide energy for hot water and heating giving the building a really low carbon footprint.

St Moritz, Hotel Europa

A solar power plant has been supplying energy for the Hotel Europa since 2008, recovering the energy used for their production in the first six months. The high altitude of the Engadin makes the facility particularly efficient: performance is superior to that which could be achieved in, say, Rome or Athens. The hotel has many other environmental initiatives.

Verbier, Chalet Rock

Chalet Rock boasts a state-of-the-art wood pellet and solar-powered heating and ventilation system as part of its environmentally-friendly policy.

Zermatt, Grand Hotel Zermatterhof

The Matterhorn Group which runs the Zermatterhof is certified under ISO 14001:2015 international standard of environmental management and among many initiatives the hotel’s old oil heating system has been replaced by modern pellet heating, which is operated exclusively using regionally produced pellets. Thanks to the local sourcing and the modernization of the system, it has been possible to reduce CO2 emissions by 0.835 metric tons.

USA

Crystal Mountain,
Inn at the Mountain

Crystal Mountain has long been one of North America’s leading ski areas when it comes to the fight against climate change, with many different initiatives, and has been recognised by SKI magazine as a Golden Eagle Award winner – the highest possible environmental award. During upgrades to their main accommodation they installed a geo-thermal heating and cooling system which operates 48% more efficiently than a conventional system providing significant ecological savings over coming decades.

Jackson Hole, Hotel Terra

Everything about Hotel Terra has been designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions right from the use of recycled steel and recycled materials for roof tiles to ensure maximum energy efficiency in operations then offsets the energy it does use with the purchase of equivalent solar, hydro and wind energy.

Taos, The Blake at Taos Ski Valley

Opened in 2017, The Blake was built with a geothermal heating and cooling system and was awarded LEED Silver certification. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is a program for buildings that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental performance.