Skip to navigation Skip to content

  • Print

Swiss Youth Hostels wins the 2011 Swiss Solar Prize Oct 10, 2011

The Swiss Youth Hostels association has been chosen to receive the 2011 Swiss Solar Prize in the category A Personalities/Institutions for its comprehensive environmental management in construction and operation as well as for its pioneering role in environmentally sustainable tourism. The non-profit organisation sees the award as recognition for the systematic and ongoing implementation of the sustainability strategy embarked upon 15 years ago.

The Swiss Youth Hostels set out a sustainability strategy in its mission statement back in the1990s. The results speak for themselves: CO2 emissions have been cut by 37 per cent since 2000 and water consumption by 20 per cent 1996 respectively, whilst increasing standards at the same time. On the roofs of 13 out of the total of 54 youth hostels there are 501 square metres of solar collectors, while three roofs have photovoltaic systems covering an area of 1238 square metres. 64 per cent of the youth hostel guests take up the option to offset their CO2 emissions with a voluntary CO2 contribution of CHF 0.50 per overnight stay. The revenues are reinvested in energy projects – for example in solar collectors. Three youth hostels are already certified to Minergie standard (Zermatt, Scuol and Valbella) and a new youth hostel built to Minergie-P standard is opening in Interlaken next spring.

Environmental management also plays a role in the running of the hostels

For the Swiss Youth Hostels, sustainability is an important tenet of the organisation’s philosophy. Where environmental management is concerned, this applies not only to the building infrastructure, but also to the running of the hostel. The majority of hostels have already completed the certification process for the EU Ecolabel and the Ibex label. Certification is underway in the other hostels. The goal is for all Swiss youth hostels to carry both labels.

Various different awards have already been received

The wide range of activities and the results demonstrate that a great deal can be done in the cause of sustainability, even with the limited financial resources of a non-profit organisation. The Swiss Youth Hostels have already won various awards for their exemplary implementation. 2011 Zürcher Kantonalbank Sustainability Prize, 2010 myclimate Award, 2010 Award for Marketing + Architecture, 2008 Hans E. Moppert Prize, 2008 Icomos Historic Hotel of the Year, 2007 Milestone for the Sustainability Strategy.

Keyword Swiss Youth Hostels

The Zurich-based non-profit organisation operates 54 youth hostels throughout Switzerland. In 2010, the youth hostels recorded 945,000 overnight stays and reported a turnover of around 41 million Swiss francs. The association has 103,000 members. Despite the name, those staying at the youth hostels have not been confined to young people for a long time now: the guests also include families, groups, business travellers and older persons. The organisation employs 450 personnel (248 full-time posts). The association is a member of Hostelling International (HI), the international association of youth hostels. There are more than 4000 youth hostels with 4 million members in over 90 countries worldwide.

More information:

Additional media information is available from:

Swiss Youth Hostels

Image downloads:

Download this press release (PDF, 30 MB)