Hotel Doolin has become the first Irish hotel to be awarded carbon neutral status.
It comes as part of The Green Hospitality Programme which is a national resource for sustainable and responsible tourism in Ireland recognised by governmental authorities including Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Discover Ireland and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
Subsequently, Hotel Doolin is the only hotel in Ireland recognised as having achieved a ‘Carbon Neutral12 GREENMark’ award. The accolade follows the implementation of a comprehensive carbon/energy reduction programme throughout the site in recent years. This programme focused on minimising energy consumption, creating an active energy management and reduction plan, a substantial investment in green electricity and a viable, long-term solution to offsetting carbon emissions by planting native Irish woodland trees in a controlled location close to the hotel.
General Manager of Hotel Doolin, Dónal Minihane told The Clare Echo, “We’re delighted to be the first Hotel in Ireland to be officially certified as Carbon Neutral. We’ve always recognised our community and environment as key stakeholders within our business and every decision we make takes these into account. We’re a small hotel in the west of Ireland but we do feel a responsibility to lead the way in providing sustainable hospitality. Hopefully, bigger companies will see what can be done with a bit of creativity and teamwork and be inspired to follow suit”.
Since sharing their commitment to sustainable practices, the business has grown by thirty percent. “Our customers, be they overnight guests, restaurant patrons or wedding couples are increasingly taking sustainability into account when making their decisions. Our guests choose Hotel Doolin to enjoy the natural beauty, culture and food that is in abundance in our area so it is our responsibility and duty to respect it and safeguard it.”
While carbon neutral status can be achieved without a hotel revising its team structure, Hotel Doolin made the decision to put together a green team and appointed HR Manager, Áine Martin, as ‘Green Team Manager’ with her role dedicated to guiding and implementing new sustainability and social responsibility initiatives.
Some of these initiatives included the transformation of its oil-based heating system to an ambient air to water system and the replacement of an events marquee with an Eco-Barn for weddings and events. The hotel staff also plant ten native trees locally in partnership with Hometree for every wedding held at the hotel, with over 1,700 trees planted in the past two years. Plastic bottles and single-use items are completely banned in the hotel with all napkins reusable and toilet paper made from recycled materials. Rainwater is harvested and in addition, 75% of food supplied to the hotel is sourced within 50km.
Áine Martin, Green Team Manager Hotel Doolin commented “All of the electricity used in the hotel comes from green sources and we continuously monitor and reduce our energy consumption. Our consumption in 2017 was 465 tonnes of carbon compared to a projected 110 tonnes by end of this year”.
Referring to their success in being crowned winner of Chambers Ireland’s CSR Awards in the Excellence Environment Category for the project Green Team Work plus winning Green Organisation of the Year at the Green Awards two years in a row in 2018 and 2019, the Green Tourism & Entertainment Award in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and the Green Festivals Award 2017, Áine said the latest recognition is “a long time coming”.
“Of course as Green Manager I am incredibly passionate about our footprint but over the last number of years the entire team has surpassed expectation not only adopting our new policies without question but pro-actively suggesting new creative initiatives as well. It is also becoming more apparent in my other role as HR Manager that being a sustainable workplace is very beneficial in attracting and retaining staff.
Maurice Bergin, managing director of Green Hospitality outlined that the Clare hotel has shown the way for others to follow. “Hotel Doolin continues to show how even small Irish hotels can make a huge difference to the industry’s sustainable credentials and profit at the same time. We look forward to continuing to work with the creative and dedicated team there as it leads by example in its mission to better the industry as a whole.”