Dr Götz Bechtolsheimer, when building the Valsana Hotel & Appartements in Arosa, the Tschuggen Hotel Group gave consideration to sustainable construction work and a forward-looking energy concept. What were the specific measures of this building project?
Clearly the most exciting element of Valsana is the new ice storage. Thanks to this ice storage, waste heat which accumulates across the building, added to by geothermal energy, can be stored and also reused at a later point in time. The combination of heat recovery, geothermal probes and ice storage enable us to operate the heating and water treatment of the entire building complex without fossil fuels, even in the depths of the mountain winter with minus temperatures in double figures.
How did you get your employees on board with the hotel group's sustainability goals?
All of our employees receive comprehensive training on the subject of environmental protection. In addition to this, our department managers are urged to shape the daily work processes in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way possible and to continuously confront their employees with this. As a next step, we will install showrooms in all our hotels which display and explain all our activities and the projects which we support. We hope that this depiction will give a more in-depth awareness to our employees and guests on the subject.
How does the subject of sustainability resonate with your very international guests in general? How do they react to the sustainability goals of the Tschuggen Hotel Group?
Interest in the subject of sustainability has noticeably increased among our guests. They are now very careful not to pollute the environment unnecessarily during their holidays. Accordingly, the guests also react very positively to our environmental protection efforts – mainly when we tell them about it face to face.
To what extent does the Tschuggen Hotel Group differ in its sustainability efforts compared to other providers?
Firstly, we can certainly say that we dared to tread new paths when it came to the construction of the Valsana Hotel & Appartements and also to invest in new technologies. Secondly, with our promise of one hundred per cent climate neutrality in our hotels, we are consciously going one step further than other providers.
As part of the myclimate "Cause we care" programme, other providers are sharing their company responsibility for the CO2 emissions with their guests in equal parts. The Tschuggen Hotel Group has now decided to meet 100% of all their hotels' emissions themselves and to give their guests the opportunity to take responsibility for the transport emissions to and from the hotel as part of the programme.
What is the future vision of the Tschuggen Hotel Group in the field of sustainability?
First and foremost, as a responsible hospitality provider, we would like to ensure that we shape and operate the infrastructures in our hotels to be as environmentally-friendly as possible so that we are able to guarantee conscious enjoyment, also with regards to sustainability, in all our hotels – after all, we believe that luxury and sustainability no longer need to be a contradiction in terms. In addition, we would also like to raise our guests' awareness in this area so as to foster understanding of our way of working.