Bioenergy, Solar

Solar Showers Green Up UK Youth Hostel

Youth hostels are a popular way for people to travel abroad without spending too much on living accomodations. A hostel in North Yorkshire decided to become eco-friendly this year, and refurbished its building in Lockton to include solar amenities.

Partial funding from the Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES) run by the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) helped the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) build in environmentally friendly features and create the Green Beacon Youth Hostel. Among the new features are showers heated by solar panels on the hostel roof, a dry compost toilet, and a system which harvests rainwater and other ‘grey’ water for use in the flush toilets. The building is insulated using sheep’s wool, and the new building extension also has a living Sedum roof. Foliage on the roof will also provide a habitat for local wildlife as well as adding extra insulation. The building has also been made fully accessible for disabled visitors. Additional funding for the GBP 300,000 (US $576,127) project came from the North Yorks Moors National Park Authority, North Yorkshire County Council, and GBP 45,000 from the RES. “Tourism’s impact on the environment is huge, but it has the potential to be a great educator,” said Simon Ainley, the regional manager for YHA. “This area of Yorkshire attracts visitors from far and wide and this building will deliver several aims. It helps to reduce the impact our visitors make on the environment and helps to educate them about the issues, and offers advice on how they can be more environmentally friendly in their everyday lives. For other accommodation providers it offers a blueprint to enable them to ‘green’ their properties.”