Sustainability in tourism:
The Monte Rosa Hut in Zermatt
The Monte Rosa Hut in Zermatt is an innovative edifice using new technical building services and environmentally friendly energy management. The hut is self-sufficient for over 90 % of its energy needs. This was made possible by the construction of a photovoltaic system built into the southern façade of the building and thermal solar collectors. Water is also an important resource for the hut: melt water is collected and stored in a rock cavern, and a micro filtering system bacteriologically cleans the wastewater. As for the gray-water, it is re-used for flushing the toilets.
This incredible project in the mountain at 2,883 meters has been planned for over 6 years and constructed in 21 weeks. Due to its situation, the construction could only take place during the summer season. An elaborate and cleverly devised energy system is necessary so that the hut can achieve such a high level of energy independence. Software developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) controls the technology of the building.
The Mountain Crystal (his nickname) won many prices such as: The Solar price 2010, Holcim Award Bronze 2008 Europe the Minergie-P-Certificat.
This incredible and futuristic project clearly shows what needs to be innovated in the tourism industry. Investing in such a project takes risks, but nowadays, as oil price is going up and clean water will start to become rare, it is necessary to look for greener ways to construct and run touristic facilities. This building being self sufficient for over 90% will need fewer resources in the future as there will be issues to find some anyway. The use of renewable energies enables the hut to cut its energy costs by up to one third.
Now more than ever it is important to develop sustainable tourism. This is partly confirmed as the government is involved in this project. They helped financing it. This whole project is the creation of ETH school in Zürich, which proves that more and more institutions and people are trying to find greener ways to build. And tourism is a field that really needs to innovate in the use of renewable energies. In order to get the other touristic destinations to switch to sustainability, education is necessary, as well as of course founding, subsides.
Of course, this project is a huge investment in money. But the energy payback of solar technologies is between 3 to 7 years, which is quite interesting. And, since they built the Monte Rosa Hut, they have seen the number of visitors increase during winter and summer season.
This graph shows the reduction of energies for the new building (in green)
To conclude, we can say that tourism is a field that is directly linked with the environment, nature and ecology. Therefore, it needs to innovate in terms of sustainability. Not only is it necessary but also it might become mandatory in some time from now. So, touristic destinations who understandd this will most likely benefit more than other destinations who don’t want to change their way of functioning.