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Green Electricity for YOHO

HI-Yoho National Park, Whiskey Jack Hostel wants to get on the grid, but in a very sustainable way. It's looking to install a micro-hydro electrical power generator that will supply clean and green electricity from a nearby water source.

This gem of a hostel in Yoho National Park was one the three winners of the 2014 HI Sustainability Fund Contest and received £6,026 in funding for the development of its project.

Project Details

Hostelling activity at HI-Yoho National Park uses about 2,200 litres of propane every summer, emitting close to 3.5 tonnes of CO2e. With propane potentially only required for cooking, installation of this hydro generator would reduce consumption by fifteen percent, resulting in an annual CO2e emission reduction of about 510 kilograms. For this hostel, that's a reduction of 170 kilograms per month.

This hostel, like others in the Canadian Rockies does not generate adequate revenues to recapitalize itself, relying on the much higher capacities and activity levels of our resort and urban properties. Nevertheless, HI-Yoho National Park provides a mountain hostelling experience like none other, one that is treasured by all who stay there during the three months a year this hostel is open. It is these unique and memorable experiences that linger longest and most profoundly in the minds of those who make the journey.

The micro-hydro installation will provide an educational opportunity for guests and employees to gain a greater understanding of operating with an off-grid power generated through a natural renewable energy source. Informational posters will give information relative to the system's installation, the fuel and emissions reductions and the safety features.

HI-Kananaskis Needs a New Roof

In a little grassy clearing on the side of Ribbon Creek Road, deep in the heart of Kananaskis Country, there's a little hostel that welcomes 2,000 guests every year. They come to play in this 4,000-km2 outdoor playground in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. There's a creek not far from the hostel, and elk, bears and coyote have been known to wander through the yard. There are mountain vistas and trails for days out here.

It's little wonder, then, that HI-Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel cares a lot about the environment. But the hostel itself isn't as environmentally friendly as it could be. Now, HI-Kananaskis is one of only 15 HI hostels around the entire world that could be awarded an HI-Sustainability Fund grant of £25,000 (approximately $40,000) to give the hostel a much-needed upgrade that will better align the building with the place it calls home.

When HI-Canada-Pacific Mountain Region audited the energy efficiency of its hostels a few years ago, HI-Kananaskis Wilderness Hostel had higher per guest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than any other hostel in the region. The major culprit is an aging roof made out of asphalt shingles that isn't well insulated. Much like humans lose heat t through their head, HI-Kananaskis loses a lot of heat through its roof, drastically reducing its energy efficiency.

So the hostel has a plan in place to reduce its GHG emissions and the first phase involves replacing the roof with better insulation and metal sheeting that will help keep the heat in. This phase alone is projected to reduce the hostels propane use and GHG emissions by almost 50%. By the time the project's second and third phases, which involve replacing the hostel's furnace and windows, are complete, the hostel's total GHG emissions will be down by almost two thirds.


The Earth Easy Project is a partnership between HI-Vancouver Jericho Beach and the Jericho Stewardship Group. A group of volunteers meets the second Sunday of every month to remove invasive plants and to contribute new growth to the park by planting natural plants and shrubs donated, in part, by hostel guests.


HI-Vancouver Central organic waste recycling Guests can get breakfast for free every morning at HI-Vancouver Central, and for over a year, all organic waste has been recycled as part of a pilot project with Vancouver company Recycling Alternative who also handles the hostel's paper recycling. The hostel uses compostable paper plates and cups and recycled napkins as well. The project has allowed the hostel to divert a lot of recyclable waste that would have otherwise ended up in garbage bins. 

Solar power in the wilderness

HI-Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel has installed solar panels, which means they could reduce their use of gasoline to power generators. Now the power of the sun generates electricity to run some lights, the internet and charge the occasional phone. Using solar power has eliminated two tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. Many other wilderness hostels in the parks make use of solar power, too.   

MURAL PROJECTS @ HI - Québec, Auberge Internationale de Québec (AIQ)

Project Wall, is a demonstration of a community collaboration between HI-Québec City and the Jacques Cartier Residential and Community Centre in Québec City. This isan ideal partnership with the Centre undertaking "mural projects" by young people in search of personal, social and/or professional growth and the Auberge de Québec is eager to get involved in the community by giving local young people a rewarding and enriching life/work experience. This project connects community (social) and ecologicalenergies in the following ways:

  • The "Project Wall", created by six young muralists (aged 18 to 30 years) and 3 trainers, depicts the artists' perceptions of the city of Québec to convey them to travelers worldwide through a large mural.
  • In addition to being beneficial for these young artists and for all travelers who admire these works, this project has a positive impact on the presence of the hostel in its own neighborhood.
  • Exemplifying their ecologicalconscious, the artists used recycled paper for design models and sketches and plastic paint containers are reused for each completed project. Moreover, they highlighted in one of the murals the "Écolobus", a new and free electric bus service circulating in Old Québec. Thismay inspire the travelers from the hostel to use this service.
  • A variety of Québecois cultural elements are illustrated on the walls of the hostel. For example, a coach symbolizes a means of transport long used in Québec. Also, you can see a group of young people on the Plains of Abraham celebrating St. Jean-Baptiste Day, National Day of Québec. The architecture of Old Québec, preserved from the time of New France, is also depicted (Old Québec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Winter scenes are also represented in the murals, showing (among other things) someone waiting for the bus while dreaming of a beautiful sunny beach. A sled dog, a Native American, scenes of daily life, and even the popular dish poutine are now to be found on the walls at the Auberge Internationale de Québec.


HI-Rivière-du-Loup & ecological harmony

The Discovery Program at HI-Rivière-du-Loup is a multi-day hiking program in the Parc du Bic and along the Trans-Canada Trail, and is an excellent demonstration of a commitment to living and learning in ecological harmony with one's surroundings. The program's content is supervised by a biologist and introduces guests to the animal life and history of the region. The program emphasised self-propelled activities, on foot and by bike. Highlights include whale-watching in the St Lawrence River and seals-viewing at the Parc du Bic.

organic Fruits and vegetables @ HI-Montréal

The HI-Montréal hostel shows it can be a vibrant urban metropolis and still keep a rural heart beating by being a community drop off point, during the winter, for organic produce cultivated by a local farmer cooperative. People living near the hostel can pick up their fruits and vegetables right at the hostel. Hostel guests are given the opportunity to share in the bounty and to learn about this local entreprise. By supporting local business activity, the hostel demonstrates its commitment to the economicelements of sustainability and to sharing the lesson with guests.

windmill @ HI-Bonavista

The small hostel in Newfoundland and Labrador offers guests one of Canada's eastern-most experiences, ocean breezes and all. The HI-Bonavista hostel takes advantage of the coastal winds as a natural and renewable energy resource. The Skystream 3.7 wind turbine installed at this hostel results in a reduced carbon footprint and lower operating costs, as electrical power drawn from the grid is reduced. The windmill, standing at 50ft with three 6ft blades, is capable of producing up to 400 kilowatt hours of clean electricity per month. Any excess electricity produced goes back into the grid! Striving to stay within the generating capacity of the wind turbine, energy efficient light bulbs are used throughout the hostel, solar lights are used outside and programmable thermostats have also been installed throughout the hostel. To encourage their guests to be a part of the hostel's efforts, and to inspire them to monitor energy consumption as they continue on their travels, signage has been created and is posted throughout hostel encouraging guests to conserve energy.

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