First British tourist accomodation eco-labelled

Two Yorkshire youth hostels were the first British tourist accommodation to be awarded the EU eco-label, joining a long list of energy and resource-efficient products and services.

The flower logo, which already features on dozens of hotels and B&Bs across mainland Europe, tells tourists that their stay will have a reduced environmental impact on climate, water resources and waste.

Buildings must fulfill the eco-label’s energy and water-saving standards to qualify. Management must also raise awareness about green issues among both staff and visitors.

Some specific requirements include a minimum of 22% electricity coming from renewables, boilers that are at least 90% efficient, limited water flow from taps, towel washing no more than twice a week, as well as the precise constraint of no more than five urinals flushing at the same time.

Britain’s first eco-labeled youth hostels, in Lockton, North Yorkshire, and Langdon Beck in the Pennines, were granted the label having substantially cut their energy use as part of a Youth Hostel Association renovation scheme.

Ewan Boyd, YHA environment manager, said the award was a “milestone in our development of a network of “Green Beacon” centres as the YHA aims to become a national leader in green tourism.”

The many eco-features of the Lockton hostel include solar panel-heated showers, a rainwater harvesting system, a green roof covered with sedum that both insulates and provides wildlife habitat and, in true Yorkshire style, wall insulation made of sheep’s wool.

Announcing the award, administered by Defra in the UK, environment minister Ian Pearson said: “I am delighted that the first awards in the UK have been won by the Youth Hostels Association, which has always been at the forefront of providing opportunities for everyone to appreciate the outstanding natural environment of our countryside.

“I hope the YHA will be the first of many organisations taking forward this European green award,” he said.

Other eco-labelled goods include electrical appliances, tissue papers and textiles. Several hundred products across Europe have been awarded the label so far.

For more information on the EU eco-label see here.

For more details on the scheme in the UK see the Defra website.

Goska Romanowicz

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