Picture credits: Standortagentur Tirol

Green targets

Green destinations in Tirol have many sides. They use natural materials, build energy-efficiently, use water, the sun and environmental heat and: get around on e-bikes without producing CO2.

Travel sustainably

We have already mentioned the green plans in Tirol under the menu item of the same name. The focus here is on targets. Not ones that Tirol has set for itself. But ones you can travel to yourself. As a sustainable holiday home on your next holiday in Tirol. Or a proactive region you can visit to learn about best practices and gain inspiration for things you can continue doing back home.

Ever wanted to protect the climate while you're on holiday? In Tirol you can let yourself be pampered even in a high energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way. For example, at Familien-Landhotel Stern. A guest here consumes per night no more than 7.59 kg CO2 per night – this gives it an AAA climate class in an international comparison. If guests want to contribute actively to climate protection, they can become a "Stern.Ambassador" by investing the CO2 emissions of their arrival and departure in a climate project and keeping an eye on their own CO2 footprint during their entire stay. Did you know that a dawn hike or a ski tour are mainly one thing, i.e. energy-efficient? These kinds of activities will make you hungry. Then you can indulge in an earthy menu made with seasonal and regional products.

Keyword: regional – how about spending a night surrounded by Tirolean trees such as fir, larch, Swiss pine, chestnut, apple, rowan berry and spruce? When the Auer family was building its design and well-being hotel, Naturhotel Waldklause, it only used regional timber species. Furthermore, the wood is not glued but untreated and dowelled. Even the insulation in the resource-conserving low energy house is made of Tirolean sheep's wool and all of the carpets are from the Ötztal valley. Just pure nature for all of the features and fixtures – and implemented so splendidly that the hotel has been voted the most beautiful eco hotel in Europe by GEO-Saison five times.

Relying on natural material wood and sustainability – the 700 m² swimming pond belonging to the car-free site is solar-heated – the brand new Gradonna Mountain Resort in Kals in East Tirol has received awards, including the Green Luxury Award 2013, the BTV Building Developer's Prize 2013 from the Zentralvereinigung der Österreichischen Architekten (Austrian Architects Association) and the Tiroler Holzbaupreis (Tirol Timber Construction Award) 2015. A special goody for sustainable spa guests can be enjoyed at Stanglwirt – Traditionshaus and Bio-Hotel in Going: the hotel is supplied mountain water from the Wilder Kaiser and its own Kaiser source for its 1,500 square metre expanse of water in its spa area , but what's more important: it is heated sustainably with heating pumps.

Use energy found in nature and abandon fossil fuels – be completely energy self-sufficient – not only hotels but entire regions in Tirol are showing how it's done. As many as seven regions in Tirol are participating in the Austrian programme for climate and energy model regions – including the areas around Landeck, Imst, the Wipptal valley, the Ziller valley and the Alpbachtal valley as well as the Wilder Kaiser region. The largest climate and energy model region in Tirol is East Tirol covering 2,019 km2 and with about 50,000 inhabitants. To reduce basic energy demand they are focusing on creating early awareness and are even training pupils to become energy managers.

Five municipalities in the district of Innsbruck-Land are also true pioneers. Volders, Trins (see interview with Marion Amort), Mutters, Telfs and Zirl are members of the team of the so-called e5 communities. They rely on photovoltaic systems, small hydropower plants, LED lamps for street lighting and electricity production from sewage gas. In this way, they have significantly contributed to the fact that 90 per cent of the 170,000 citizens of the district of Innsbruck-Land live in an energy-efficient community.

Want more green destinations? Then let's go up to the Sunna Alm, a passive house at about 2,300 m above sea level in the Rifflsee ski region. The mountain restaurant there uses the heat from the mountain and the sun for underfloor heating. Which is why there are 50 square metres of solar panels on the roof of the building that has been built with a lot of glass and timber. And under the building there are seven downhole heat exchangers 120 m deep inside the mountain. Because there, deep inside the mountain, it is five degree warmer. And this extra heat is fed into the heating system by a heat exchanger. Or up to the Hoadl Haus, the panorama restaurant in the Olympics ski resort of Axamer Lizum. It has been constructed to a low-energy house standard, integrates a 60 m² solar thermal system for hot water and heating and has a ventilation system with a high heat recovery rate and a downhole heat exchanger. 

The Tirolean Alpine club huts have also implemented best practices. Such as the Franz Senn Hut with innovative energy ideas, located in the Innsbruck branch of the Austrian Alpine clubs near Neustift im Stubaital. With a total of 170 sleeping places, it is a main starting point for hikers, alpinists and ski tourers. Thanks to their own power station at 2,145 m above sea level that generates power by using resources in a reliable and resource-conserving way, their guests can enjoy hot water, lights and delicious meals and even go online.

You want to get around sustainably on your holiday? You can do that in Tirol, too. For example, in the e-Bike World Kitzbühel Alps - Kaiser Mountain Range. More than 1,000 km of cycle routes connect 8 tourist regions and 41 communities. The road network can be traversed completely by bike, with more than 300 e-bikes served by 37 rental stations, 79 charging stations, 44 e-bike hotels and landlords as well as 7 service points along the route.

Holiday and leisure expectations in Tirol do not have to be at the expense of the environment. Instead, unspoilt nature itself along with state-of-the-art technology and concepts will give you a good feeling for taking sustainable paths. So set off on green roads to green destinations and discover sustainable delights in the heart of the Tirolean mountains. Shaping the future as you go along. Because by visiting, you ensure that the ecological approach gains more acceptance and finds as many imitators as possible. This is the only way old systems can be removed and new roads established.

Sustainable winter sports

In Alpbach, the alpS Mount++A project is doing research into more energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable slope preparation.

A drone delivers data for science in the "Alpbachtal valley open air research lab". This document provides more information:

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Sights set on the environment

Ecotourism:

"To experience the natural surroundings in a manner that respects the principles of sustainable development." Especially on any of the Tirolean holiday farms:

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