Wood instead of steel
The Stanglwirt is known throughout Austria and beyond its borders. But what is less well known is that the Stanglwirt has been a pioneer in sustainability for decades.
Balthasar Hauser already implemented revolutionary ideas such as a biomass cogeneration plant in the 1980s. And for the first green roof on which sheep graze, he used to be laughed at.
The laughter, however, has given way to imitation. Because what Balthasar Hauser implemented out of conviction and with his own consistency in terms of sustainability, and still implements today, has long since become the standard in many areas. ‘Take what is there’ – with this simple philosophy, Hauser took over the business when he was less than 20 years old and built and expanded it with natural materials. At a time when concrete walls, aluminium windows and asbestos coatings were all the rage, Hauser relied on wood instead of steel and lime mortar instead of cement. Hauser’s building philosophy is still a core theme at Stanglwirt today – even though sustainability goes much further in the traditional business.
Wooden ceilings and larch floors
In the 70s and 80s of the last century, you could look anywhere you wanted in Europe: buildings were made of concrete, steel and aluminium – that was modern, durable and cost-effective. But at the Stanglwirt, the clocks were different even back then. Balthasar Hauser wanted to use what was available on the doorstep. So wooden ceilings were used instead of steel structures, and the clay bricks were bonded with lime mortar. To this day, you walk on floors made of larch wood at the Stanglwirt and find only solid wood furniture in the rooms. In addition, every sleeping place is free of electromagnetic fields. The credo: it has to be authentic and natural – then the guest will feel comfortable.
A Smoking Revolution
In 1980, in the middle of the oil crisis, Europe’s first biomass cogeneration plant goes into operation at Stanglwirt. But the euphoria is soon over. Because the wood chips were too coarse, Going was almost suffocating in a dense cloud of smoke. Hauser’s solution is as ingenious as it is simple. The wood chips are laid out in the riding hall and trampled by the horses. Going has its clean air again. Then the sheep were put on the roof. Tennis is a trend sport in the 80s and so indoor halls are built. To integrate them perfectly into the landscape, Balthasar Hauser greened the roofs and let his sheep graze on them. This caused an international sensation and was decades ahead of today’s trend towards green facades and roofs. Gradually, the Stanglwirt’s wellness worlds also developed into the European top class and accordingly require quite a bit of energy. With a heat pump system, the hotel uses the caloric energy of the spring water. ‘This saves us 1000 litres of heating oil per day,’ says Maria Hauser, who took over the Stanglwirt as junior manager. ‘And the cooled water is put to good use to ensure an optimal temperature in the conference rooms, offices and food stores.‘
Spotted table neighbours
If you eat at the Stanglwirt, you have to be prepared for unusual spectators. The view of the restaurant guests wanders through a window directly into the cowshed and sometimes one wonders with amusement who is watching whom eat. This window has brought the Stanglwirt media attention throughout Europe. But it shows above all that the house would be unthinkable without the associated agriculture. On 100 hectares of land, the hotel’s own cheese dairy, butchery and fishery provide most of what guests at Stanglwirt appreciate: unadulterated regional products with the taste that Tyrolean nature offers. ‘It is important to recognise current trends and meet guests’ needs,‘ says Maria Hauser, ‘But the basic farming values and respect for natural resources are factors that have always set us apart and are more important than ever in the future.‘
The Stangl Green Team
‘Being traditional does not mean worshipping the ashes, but rekindling the fire again and again‘. Following this motto, Maria Hauser sees the topic of sustainability as a constantly ongoing process. In order to better manage issues such as waste avoidance and food waste, there is the Stangl Green Team, to which employees from all areas volunteer. For example, they have already moved away from the afternoon buffet because a lot of food is unnecessarily thrown away there. The Stanglwirt is the first five-star establishment to enter into a cooperation with the WWF. The cooperation has a long tradition. The owner’s family and the environmental protection organisation got to know each other in 1998 when they saved the Bichlacher Moor in Oberndorf (a neighbouring municipality of Going) from being drained.
The current cooperation is intended to exploit new potential in environmental protection and resource conservation. ‘The Stanglwirt is a role model in terms of sustainability,‘ says Thomas Kaissl, division manager at the WWF. And if such words come from a well-known critical environmental organisation, the Hausers in Going must have done something right. ‘We don’t want to lecture or even harass our guests with this topic,‘ says Maria Hauser, ‘it’s an invitation to protect nature together with us.‘ An invitation that you can hardly refuse – and probably don’t want to.
The Stanglwirt is a member of the Green Filming database Marketplace Tirol. There you will find products and services from regional and sustainable Tyrolean companies that can be used for your film production.
Moreover, the Stanglwirt is a Tyrolean success story. Lebensraum Tirol Holding, in cooperation with its subsidiaries (Tirol Tourist Board, Standortagentur Tirol and Agrarmarketing Tirol), brings special companies, projects, initiatives and people before the curtain. What they all have in common is that they play a pioneering role and act as role models for sustainability and responsible business. They contribute to the sustainability of the Tyrolean economy, society and environment and encourage the dissemination of sustainable change concepts. You can find more success stories here (in German only).