Eco Series: Part 1- Eco-Friendly Lodges
As much as we all love the mountains, not many of us stop to think what this hobby we love is doing to environment and what we could do to help on our end. Check out Clem’s mini-series for eco-friendly options of the mountain, with Part 1: Eco-Friendly Lodges.
Preserving our winters means making eco-friendly choices on our annual pilgrimage to the mountains. We can’t keep splurging energy and spewing gases into the environment and not expect this delicate equilibrium to collapse. Fortunately, many more companies are becoming environmentally conscious. It’s good news for individuals looking to make a simple difference, as opting for these eco-lodges not only helps sustain the snowy mountains, it also encourages other nascent or established businesses to follow suit – if the popularity of eco-lodges do flourish.
Algonquin Eco-Lodge, Canada
Based in Ontario, Canada, a trip to this lodge combines staying in astounding wilderness with a low-environmental impact. First up, it’s so secluded you have to ski around 25 minutes to reach the front door – luggage can be transferred, so fortunately you won’t have to lug that along on skis. Since the lodge is located deep in the forest, they’re completely off the grid. They use 100% micro-hydro electricity, generated using the waterfall located next to the lodge. Hot showers, an outdoor sauna, carbon-neutral hot tub and all indoor plumbing is heated using electricity from the waterfall! You’ll be kept toasty, and if you’re hankering for a digital detox, this is the spot for you. No wifi and no phone lines means you can spend hours exploring the mountain, knowing you won’t be returning to a plethora of missed calls or unanswered emails back at the lodge. A real ski retreat into the wild.
Hotel Terra have taken luxury and teamed it up with trendy eco-features. Did you know producing just one plastic water bottle uses three times the water the container will actually hold? Hence, on arrival guests are given aluminium water bottles to reuse. The hotel only uses 100% natural and organic bath towels and mattresses. This eliminates the deluge of chemicals, from pesticides to formaldehyde, that are used in the production of normal mattresses. Recycled glass is used for the soap dishes and bathroom countertops whilst the roof is made of 100% recycled shingles, created by using fibres from recycled tires and other materials. Even the leather elevator tiles are recycled from tannery ‘scraps’. They also circulate the crisp mountain outdoor air into all rooms to benefit health since indoor air is three times more polluted than the air outside. Finally, within the very structures of the hotel, 80% of the steel used is recycled. With innovative architects, Hotel Terra is leading the way in environmentally suave ski lodges.
Eco Lodge, Chamonix, France
Closer to home, the Eco Lodge in Chamonix is designed with a strong emphasis on environmental features. It’s perfectly insulated using a ‘tight envelope’ approach ensuring minimal air leakage. Plus it uses ’double flux ventilation’ meaning that fresh air is pulled into the house and is subsequently warmed or cooled by the air that is being pushed out of the house. These two design features drop the heating and cooling needs of the house by 70%. Added to this, it uses geo thermal heating, topped up with solar thermal heating (and solar panels), and photovoltaic solar panels. This keeps the whole house snug and produces enough power to make the house net zero emissions. The lodge showcases many neoteric eco-friendly technical features that future architects can adopt in chalet design.
The beloved naturalist, David Attenborough notes: “Many individuals are doing what they can. But real success can only come if there is a change in our societies and in our economics and in our politics.” By choosing eco-friendly lodges, there is hope that it will become a more profitable choice for developers, and hence for the economists. Politicians won’t be able ignore the tidal wave of popularity with regards to eco-friendly options. We must keep encouraging our societies to make environmentally conscious decisions, after all – it can all start with something as simple as booking a room.