Sustainability pioneers: the Creativhotel Luise
On a regular basis Green Pearls®informs you about visionary personalities who have written history in changing the world to a better place. Part five is dedicated to the family Förtsch, owners of Germany’s first climate positive hotel.
A “green” business hotel for Erlangen
Everything started with the exchange of a plot of land with their neighbor Siemens. Since then a lot has happened on these premises. By putting up a new building in 1956, Heinz and Marga Förtsch laid the foundation for today’sCreativhotel Luise, that has already been accompanying the development of Erlangen as a business location for more than 60 years now. As the need for hotel rooms grew continually the hotel grew with it and developed to be a “green” business hotel. By now, Creativhotel Luise is considered as the first climate positive hotel and has been receiving many awards over the last 25 years.
A balancing act that was worth the effort
“The balancing act between the high ecological goals and the economical aspects has not always been easy,” Klaus Förtsch says. Born in 1954 as son of the founders of the hotel, he meanwhile is a passionate eco-hotelier. He began his career with an apprenticeship as a cook and worked in different hotels in Nuremberg and the surrounding area. At the age of 30 years he finally entered into his parents’ hotel business. The family’s balancing act was worth the effort: In 2014 the hotel has already been passed on to the third generation. Since then, the commitment to a sustainable and creative eco-management is up to their son Ben Förtsch.
An inspiring example for environmental protection
As an early example to himself Klaus Förtsch names Erlangen’s senior mayor Dr. Dieter Hahlweg, who shaped Erlangen as a city of cyclists, and Dr. Franz Ehrensperger, entrepreneur of the ecological model business Neumarkter Lammsbräu. Meanwhile, the Creativhotel Luise has taken a similar role: “We think of ourselves as a creative motivator for other hotel- und gastronomy businesses – without finger-wagging,” says Klaus Förtsch. Accordingly, the team sets examples for environmental awareness every day and as a matter of course.
Environmental protection and wellbeing
The drinking straw that is not made from plastic is only one illustration of this kind of environmental protection. Klaus Förtsch is especially proud of having managed to preserve about half of the hotel’s premises, that by now have expanded to over 3000 m², as a green area, which is home to a biotope garden. The hotel’s solar-thermal energy system has been generating 10.000 kWh of thermal energy per year since 1996 – today it’s 23.000 kWh more due to the new photovoltaic system. And the hotel also commits to environmental protection by using rainwater for the supply of sanitary water and by implementing resource conserving processes. It is regularly honored with awards for the family’s dedication, for instance the “Goldenes Umweltsiegel” by the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment, and is certified as a climate neutral hotel with the so called “CO2-Fußabdruck”. Guests particularly profit from this awareness for sustainability while enjoying the bio-certified and regional breakfast buffet. The use of top-quality, environmentally safe materials also positively affect the visitors’ wellbeing.
“For us, people are of top priority”
There are a lot of other reasons for guests and staff to feel well. “Our house’s special character is due to the personal touch in encountering our guests. They often become friends over time,” Klaus Förtsch recounts. “Our oldest regular has been visiting our house for 42 years now”, he says proudly. The staff matters to the hotel as well. By supporting the “Charta of diversity”, an initiative of the German government, the family acknowledges to be a fair employer. “Social responsibility means thinking in generations, but it also means high staff costs. As a matter of course, all our housekeepers are permanently employed,” the current manager states.
The renewable hotel room
“Every idea has its time. Every new environmental technology offers the opportunity of innovation,” Klaus Förtsch says. By now, his son Ben Förtsch has taken over the initiative. He has been inspired by the concept of Cradle-to-Cradle® and started to implement the project “The renewable hotel room” in their anniversary year. Its goal is, “to use only composite materials that can be separated into components, are compostable or can be smartly used in a new cycle, after their natural life time.” A fine illustration of the Cradle-to-Cradle® design: The carpet tiles made of recycled fishing nets, having floated in the sea before, thus having done great ecological harm. “In the 21st century we need new creative ideas to find solutions for an environmentally friendly hotel business,” Klaus Förtsch states. It seems as if the Förtsch family does not run out of ideas and accordingly, we look forward to the future.