Almaa Sintra Hostel: a biodiversity friendly hostel




Project summary

Almáa Sintra Hostel is an Eco Retreat Centre and a hostel located in the heart of the Sintra Mountain Range in Portugal, classified by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. With 8.5 Acres of luxurious gardens they offer private and shared rooms in a heavenly environment.

Solidarity and sustainability are the cornerstones of this project. The hostel is run on green and ethical principles that protect the environment and also integrate social considerations. To further decrease the impact on biodiversity, the hostel has done a Biodiversity Check that was offered jointly by the EBBC and the Portuguese NGO Quercus. This resulted in several goals to decrease the impact on biodiversity. Although much work remains to be done, the first steps have been taken.

For a video with the owner and more information about the hostel visit:
http://sicnoticias.sapo.pt/programas/economiaverde/2013/04/05/hostel-ecologico

For the hostel site visit:
www.almaasintrahostel.com



Motivation, objectives and target groups

The services the hostel offers and the way it is run are similar. Both are aimed to have the smallest impact on nature possible or to have a net positive impact. Part of the effort is about educating the hostel’s customers.
More concretely, the objectives are:

1. Improve environmental communication and education
2. Know, monitor and communicate the biodiversity in the garden
3. Develop services related to nature and biodiversity
4. Improve environmental management on water, organic waste, energy and CO2 emissions.

In detail, this means we want to take the following actions:

1. Establish and communicate written mission, vision and, values
2. Assess materiality of different aspects and write procurement policy
3. Set and communicate targets on a timeline and develop and communicate accompanying measures
4. Conduct baseline study of biodiversity in the garden
5. Educate customers about environment and biodiversity
6. Learn about organic and kitchen gardening good practices and influence garden management if possible and needed
7. Compost organic waste
8. Develop services related to biodiversity and nature in general
9. Check eco-labels used and if needed change or add eco-labelled products
10. Get an independent certifier to certify the Hostel with a standard that includes biodiversity, in addition to the Five Leafs system



Activities

The following activities have already been taken:

- The furniture and decoration are made with recycled materials.
- Garbage is recycled
- The suppliers are chosen using environmental and social considerations.
- Products are bought at the local market and stem from the region as much as possible
- Many products are products that are being reused
- Maintaining the garden is done in a biodiversity friendly way by using no pesticides and by composting the garden waste. Other measure to support the biodiversity, such as installing “insect hotels”, are planned.
- The energy that is being used is 100% renewable



Project results

First results include:
1. In partership with Quercus a new biodiversity-related service, the "Nature Sketching Tour", has been developed.
2. A draft of the mission, vision and, values and the procurement policy has been written.
3. A biodiversity assessment of the garden has started to see if it hosts any endangered species.
4. Analysis of the possibilities to install the original boiler with a biomass fueled one has started.

More results will be posted when available.



Countries affected

Portugal



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