12, February 2015: Hostelling International, the only global network of Youth Hostel Associations, is pleased to announce the prestigious Watt d’Or has been awarded to two of their Swiss hostels. 

The energy price Watt d’Or awarded to Swiss Youth Hostels 

The award, from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), was presented to the wellnessHostel4000 in Saas-Fee and Hostel Gstaad Saanenland. Both construction projects are distinguished by a strict implementation on all the phases of planning and construction of the philosophy of sustainable development. These two new hostels are not only sustainable constructions, but also sustainable in terms of their operation. 

The hostels Gstaad Saanenland and wellnessHostel4000 in Saas-Fee were chosen by the Watt d’Or jury from among 65 candidates competing for the energy prize in category “Buildings and space”. The Swiss Youth Hostels and the Swiss Foundation for Social Tourism (SFST), responsible for the construction and maintenance of hostels in Switzerland are very proud to have received this award for their latest facilities, which a representative from Hostelling International agrees demonstrates the long-lasting commitment of the two institutions in the field of sustainable development. 

“This award confirms we follow the right path with our sustainability strategy and its implementation work and it is a great motivation for us to receive such a distinction for engagement which seems so natural.” said the CEO of the SFST René Dobler. 

Fredi Gmür, CEO of Swiss Youth Hostels adds: “We are proud to receive this award. It comforts us in our efforts to establish a sustainability model for Swiss Tourism.” 

A second Youth Hostel to MINERGIE-P-ECO standards 

The new Youth Hostel Gstaad Saanenland by the company based in Bern, Bürgi Schärer Architektur und Planung AG, reinterprets the traditional Saanenland chalet and shows how sustainability can be applied effectively at all levels as the main prerogative of the contractor, in this case the SFST. Apart from the Interlaken Hostel built in 2012, it is the only Swiss construction for accommodation that meets the stringent MINERGIE-P-ECO standards. To meet these requirements, the architectural firm has relied on an optimized building envelope and the use of passive solar energy, supplemented by the renewable energy from the remote wood heating network, gentle ventilation and a heat recovery system. 

First five-story wooden lodging establishment in Switzerland 

The wellnessHostel4000, an innovative addition to the Hostelling International network, and its annex Aqua Allalin made by the Basel-based architects Steinmann & Schmid Architekten AG BSA SIA, is the first hostel to have its own well-being and fitness centre, thus constituting a world premiere. The project was made possible by a public/private partnership, uncommon in the Alps, with the wealthy town of Saas-Fee. This new hostel combines aspects of sustainability and alpine construction. As leaders in the development of new hostels and hostel concepts, a spokesperson from Hostelling International says it is an exciting development. As the first wooden construction for accommodation on five floors of Switzerland, the establishment poses new standards and also meets the MINERGIE-ECO criteria. The energy needs of the complex, including the pool and wellness area are provided by a new local solar thermal heating network. About one third of the electricity needs of the hostel are produced by its own photovoltaic system. 

Prestigious energy award 

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy calls this year for the ninth time its quality seal for energy efficiency. With the Watt d’Or, the jury distinguishes under the leadership of the Council of States Pascale Bruderer Wyss, exceptional services in the field of energy. 

About Hostelling International: 

Hostelling International (HI) is the only global network of Youth Hostel Associations. Located in some of the world’s most inspiring locations, the HI network offers 4,000 unique hostels in 91 countries worldwide. HI is a non-profit membership organisation, with a proud history and a relevant philosophy. All hostels meet assured standards, guaranteeing a range of good quality safe accommodation, in friendly surroundings at affordable prices. Find out more at the website: https://www.hihostels.com/ 

For Media Contact:
Hostelling International
2nd Floor, Gate House, Fretherne Road,
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, AL8 6RD, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1707 324170
Fax: +44 (0) 1707 323980
Email: [email protected]