YHA Australia leads the way in eco-tourism

3 September 2009

Awareness of ecological issues has always been part of the YHA ethos and for a number of years now YHA Australia has been taking action to combat the effects of tourism on climate change.

For many years YHA Australia has had a formal Environmental Policy initiative – this led to changes such as the installation of water saving washing machines and energy efficient dryers throughout its hostels which resulted in a 25% drop in energy consumption.

As climate change continues to be a global problem YHA has now launched a Hostel Carbon Reduction Fund (HCRF) which will concentrate on reducing energy consumption at hostels, thus reducing the overall carbon footprint. The fund will finance the installation of solar hot water systems and a range of other energy and water reduction measures. The resulting savings will go towards purchasing Greenpower for the remaining energy requirements of the hostel.

YHA takes pride in promoting its eco-friendly accommodation. Below is a list of some of the hostels where guests can stay safe in the knowledge that the enjoyment of their holiday is not at the expense of the planet.

Port O’Call Eco Lodge YHA, Port Douglas, Qld – This hostel received the Developing Sustainable Communities award from Douglas Shire Council. It was awarded in recognition of the hostel’s success in land biodiversity, energy efficiency and waste management. This eco lodge uses solar power for 100% of its hot water supply and relies on wind energy for all public and outdoor lighting. Water waste has been reduced by 60% due to specially fitted taps, low floor shower fittings and low energy appliances. The hostel has very comfortable facilities and a superb location close the beach and the boat trips to The Barrier Reef.

Eco-Beach Hostel YHA, Apollo Bay – This hostel, with its clever zoning, water conservation techniques and passive solar design aims to leave as little impact as possible on the environment. Its construction means that it retains heat in winter and stays cool in summer, thus minimizing the need for air-conditioning. Guests are encouraged to get involved too by using compost buckets for kitchen waste which is then used for the hostel gardens.

Myella Farmstay YHA – This is a hostel experience with a difference as it’s also a working cattle farm and guests are expected to help with the animals and the land. The hostel has a genuine commitment to environmental sustainability and is located in the Aussie outback. It utilises various water conservation methods including its own water treatment plant and reuse of water from water bottles after horse rides to wash down the horses. Rainwater is caught in three tanks giving a total of 6,000 gallons of drinking water to the farm.

Dunsborough Beachouse YHA, WA – This beachside youth hostel is working with Landcare to rehabilitate the local foreshore. Landcare is a uniquely Australian partnership between community, government and business to do something about protecting and repairing the environment.

Hawkesbury Heights YHA, Blue Mountains – This purpose built hostel was the first to use solar power.

Grampians YHA, Halls Gap – This hostel incorporates many features to reduce consumption and waste to half that of a similar sized conventional hostel. These features include solar electricity, solar hot water and a chemical-free greywater recycling system.

Bungalow Bay Koala Village, Magnetic Island – Received Advanced Eco Tourism status in 2007. The hostel has continued to lead the way implementing eco friendly initiatives on Magnetic Island. They have recently been awarded grants to participate in the Queensland Government Solar City project. Bungalow Bay YHA received grants to install new recycling programs, solar energy and new hot water technologies in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint on Magnetic Island.

Halse Lodge Guesthouse YHA, Noosa – This hostel has installed a large barometer in the communal lounge to track the hostel’s carbon emissions. The installation of water saving devices for toilets, basins, taps and showerheads has so far reduced water usage by a third.

YHA Australia has long been committed to the environment and will continue to do so thereby ensuring sustainable tourism isn’t just the buzz word of the moment.

More information about YHA Australia can be found at yha.com.au.

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