The Greenest Hotel in Freiburg (and maybe the world)!

Sarah Chadwick
April 27, 2017

Being in Freiburg, Germany gives the opportunity to see some of the most environmentally-friendly living that exists in Germany.  With the tagline, "Green City," attached to their town's name, Freiburg has been establishing a green reputation since the 1970s when anti-nuclear power protests took place near by.  Through class, we had the opportunity to visit the Hotel Victoria.  Insipired by the environmental movement that came with the anti-nuclear sentiments,  local business owners in Freiburg decided to incorporate green living into their businesses.  The Hotel Victoria is a family-owned establishment that has won numerous environmental awards and titles.  The hotel remains family-owned today, which gives them a unique opportunity to think about long-term environmental costs, instead of short-term economic decisions that many major corporations place as their first priority.

We got to see environmental business practices in action when we toured the hotel.  On the rooftop are numerous solar panels and wind turbines, which helps the hotel produce energy.  They also own shares of a larger wind farm farther away, helping to further reduce non-renewable energy sources.  The hotel rooms are comfortable and designed with sustainable bamboo flooring and triple pane windows to keep energy costs low.  The outside areas are eqipped with car sharing spaces and places to charge electric cars.

One of the things that I thought was coolest about the hotel is the way they heat groundwater for showers and laundry.  Instead of traditional methods that are very energy-intensive, the hotel pumps ice-cold groundwater from below the hotel and heats it in the basement by burning wood pellets.  The pellets are created from sawmill waste and only produce about three small boxes of ash per year.  The ash can be put on soil to replenish nutrients.  The heating system is low-energy and actually helps the hotel by attracting ecologically-minded people.

Study abroad offers unique opportunties to see environmental practices up close.  Touring Hotel Victoria and meeting the fourth-generation of family owners sure beat reading about it in a textbook from the United States.  The pictures I've included give a glimps into the hotel and their sustainability goals.

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Sarah Chadwick

<p>My name is Sarah and I am studying environmental studies and journalism. Although born and raised in upstate New York, I now go to college in Washington, DC. My perfect day involves eating lots of good food and getting lost on a hike.</p>

Home University:
George Washington University, The
Environmental Studies
Explore Blogs