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HI 2013 Sustainability Fund winners announced

Here at HI Hostels, we’re serious about sustainable travel. That’s why we’ve set up the HI Sustainability Fund (HISF) – a project to help hostels reduce their CO2 emissions. Find out more about the project here and read about the winners on our blog here.

YHA England and Wales has won first place in our HI sustainability fund 2013 contest, followed by runners-up Spain and the USA also receiving support for their eco-friendly projects.

Beautiful scenery surrounds Pen-y-Pass

Beautiful scenery surrounds Pen-y-Pass

The competition offered a total of £60,000 for three individual projects that were looking to reduce their CO2 emissions. More than 18,200 people across the globe voted for 15 worldwide projects.

The winning project from YHA England and Wales wins £25,000, for its ground-breaking biomass boiler project at YHA Pen-y-Pass in Wales that will save 92.2 tonnes of CO2 each year.

The new biomass boiler will reduce carbon emissions at the popular youth hostel by 86% and is part of its plan to reduce its carbon footprint and energy costs.

Caroline White, chief executive of YHA, said: “We are all absolutely over the moon about winning the HISF grant for YHA Pen-y-Pass. The hostel, high up in the mountains of the Snowdonia National Park, means so much to thousands of people who explore the area each year. The grant will ensure we can make the experience we offer at the site even better through innovative sustainability. Thank you to everyone who voted for us and please come and see the work for yourselves next year and stay at YHA Pen-y-Pass!”

Wind project

The second place accolade and a donation of £24,800 goes to the As Corcerizas hostel in Spain, which has already been offering environmental education and promoting sustainable technology for more than 10 years. The hostel plans to promote renewable energy even further by installing a wind turbine, helping them towards their goal of being 100% sustainable.

As Corcerizas hostel

As Corcerizas hostel makes for a great green getaway

“Here, in Red Española de Albergues Juveniles (REAJ), we want to thank HI for this amazing initiative that helps to preserve our environment and make a more sustainable world, I also want to thank everyone who voted for our Youth Hostel and contributed to Spain win the contest,” said Sergio Montoya, chief executive of the Spanish Associations REAJ.

A further £10,000 will also be given to HI-USA to help upgrade 10 of their hostels across the country to Gold Certification in Sustainable Education and Travel.

“We are thrilled to have won this generous grant money,” said chief executive Russ Hedge. “We constantly strive to operate our hostels in an environmentally-responsible manner, and this funding will help take our efforts to the next level.”

HI’s chief executive Mikael Hansson said: “We are delighted to award those three projects this money, which will reinforce to our customers the importance of our mission – to promote the value of global youth travel at the same time as working towards a more sustainable future.”

Find out more about the other shortlisted projects below.






Solar hot water system, photovoltaic installation and rainwater tank installation, AUSTRALIA

Project type: Energy efficiency, sun and water
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: Our consultant estimates that the new photovoltaic cells will save at least 15% on power annually which equates to nearly £2,100. This would also convert into a saving of approximately 15.6 tonnes CO2 per year.
Project: By upgrading the sustainability features to state-of-the-art technology and incorporating interpretive and educational elements, we will be able to transform a simple hostel in a small regional town into the hub of an environmentally-friendly, nature-based holiday. Read more



No to plastic bags in rural Bolivia, BOLIVIA

Project type: Education in sustainability
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: This is very difficult to estimate, all of our HI-hostels and people in these villages will reduce their waste volume - especially the use of plastic bags.
Project: Help Bolivia get rid of plastic bags and the ugly waste all around rural villages in Bolivia – educate children of all ages about this bad habit and raise awareness for a better environment and a better future. Produce long-life linen bags with natural textile or recycled material from Bolivia and therefore create some local jobs. Read more



Shining hostels, BRAZIL

Project type: Sun and education in sustainability
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: Our estimated reduction is about 6 tonnes per year.
Project: This project consists of implementation of solar panels to use Brazil´s natural resource, the sun. It also includes an educational element to show and teach our school-children the importance of sustainability. Read more



GHG reduction initiative, CANADA

Project type: Energy efficiency and education in sustainability
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: The project will save at least 15 tonnes of CO2-e per year, representing a reduction of approximately 30% of the total carbon footprint for the hostel per year. Over the projected 50 year live time of this investment, that represents over 750 tonnes of GHG emissions avoided.
Project: In the foothills of the Canadian Rockies there’s a little hostel that welcomes 2,000 guests every year. HI-Kananaskis really needs your help with a roof upgrade that will cut
their CO2e by 50%. It’s a project that will inspire and we’d appreciate your vote. Thank you from Canada! Read more



Conservation, environmental practices, social & sustainable learning, CHINA

Project type: Energy efficiency, water, sun and education in sustainability
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: 68.5 tonnes CO2 per year
Project: This project will conserve and convert a deserted ethnic minority family house into a social and sustainable learning centre with accommodation facilities for hostel purposes. Read more



A sustainable future for YHA Pen-y-Pass, ENGLAND & WALES

Project type: : Energy efficiency, education in sustainability and other
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: 92.2 CO2-e tonnes annually (86% reduction)
Project: The HI Sustainability Fund would have a great impact on improving sustainability both environmentally and financially. On completion of the project we will take the opportunity to engage guests and the wider public with the issue of climate change and what we can do as individuals to minimise our impact on the environment through on-site interpretation. Read more



Spreading the good word, ICELAND

Project type: : Education in sustainability
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced:: 12 tonnes CO2 per year
Project: The proposed project aims at encouraging eco-conscious behaviour amongst visitors to Iceland by increasing awareness about the aspects of sustainable tourism through constructive, dynamic and participative activities. Together we can learn how to travel responsibly, by transforming high-minded notions into practical daily actions. Read more



Changing the water heating system to an economical energy system, ISRAEL

Project type: Energy efficiency and sun
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: 60 tonnes CO2 per year
Project: The IYHA is a pioneer in formulating “Green Standards”, encouraging sustainability, preserving the environment and using renewable energy. Our new water heating system will supply hot water for bathing and kitchens in the youth hostels year-round. The system will use solar energy, in a region where the sun is an available and economical resource. Read more



Smart energy, ITALY

Project type: Energy efficiency, water and education in sustainability
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: 20%-30% cut per hostel per year
Project: The implementation of all dimensions of sustainability and, most of all, to create a new sustainable mentality among those who are most involved in the question: our children. We really believe in this idea because we are willing to educate a new generation and prepare them to be more responsible. On the other hand, the savings will be used for implementing the sustainable requirements in each structure. Read more




Project type: Education in sustainability
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: 10-30% cut in energy use, 30-50% cut in paper use, 5% extra water reduce, 10% extra waste reduce
Project: Well done! – A “bottom up” behavioural change campaign with 6 sustainable themes has to create a sustainable responsible culture within Stayokay. To entrench sustainability in our daily work, everybody can make a difference. And we can say ‘Well done!’ Read more



Geothermal down-bore heat exchanger project, NEW ZEALAND

Project type: Geothermal
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: 38 tonnes CO2 per year
Project: Help YHA New Zealand harness its boiling pools of geo-thermal energy that are currently underground below the YHA Rotorua hostel. Guests will learn more about geo-thermal power and environmental sustainability. It will cut greenhouse gas emissions at the hostel and the savings will be used to help cut emissions at one of YHA New Zealand’s largest city hostels. Read more



Come Back Green, SLOVENIA

Project type: Energy efficiency, water and education in sustainability
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: Regarding CSR criteria we expect to reduce CO2 by 7-10% and another 15-20% after the finalisation of the action plan.
Project: Project Come Back Green is designed as an educational project to turn all HI Slovenia hostels into centres of sustainable excellence. The project will have an impact on the whole HI Slovenia network; because of its educational character it will have a brother effect in the community. Read more



‘As Corcerizas’ is sustainability, it is necessary, possible and a reality; make it with us!, SPAIN

Project type: Energy efficiency, wind and education in sustainability
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: 8 tonnes CO2 per year
Project: This project aims to demonstrate, in a practical way, the viability of alternatives in order to minimize our environmental and social impact to different sectors of the population. ‘As Corcerizas’ has always been recognised for its environmental education and zero CO2 emission; this aim cannot be achieved without the implementation of the wind turbine and other suggested measures. Read more



Replacement heat generation using a wood pellet heating system at the Davos Youth Hostel, SWITZERLAND

Project type: Biomass
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: The project will save at least 194.4 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Project: The use of a wood pellet heating system instead of mineral oil for heat generation in the Davos Youth Hostel is not planned for economic reasons, but arose out of purely sustainable and ecological considerations. Switching from mineral oil to wood pellets for heat generation will make a further substantial contribution to sustainable tourism and reduced CO2 emissions. Replacement of the existing oil-fired system by a wood pellet boiler for building heating and tap water is an important step forward from an ecological perspective. Read more



HI-USA multi-site third party eco-certification project, USA

Project type: Education in sustainability
Estimation of number of tonnes CO2 reduced: 10 HIUSA hostels advancing to GOLD STEP Certification – 15% reduction or 194.11 metric tons.
Project: It’s not enough for us to say we’re green; we want STEP – one of the most reputable eco-certification companies – to prove it. HI-USA is seeking grant money to certify 10 hostels so that guests can be confident in their socially-responsible decision to stay with us. We’ll start with 10, but ultimately we hope to reach our full network of more than 50 hostels. Read more

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