The Self-sufficient Hotel
Renewable Energy for a Complete Hotel Area
Hotel Hofgut Sternen in Breitnau-Hinterzarten in the Black Forest, a member of Sure Hotel Collection by Best Western, is fully committed to sustainability. The complete hotel area is supplied with "green" energy from renewable sources that the hotel produces itself with its own power station on site.
Renewable Energy made in Germany’s Black Forest
Since June 2016, the facilities at the entire site of Hofgut Sternen, consisting of the hotel buildings, shops, and F&B outlets, have been connected to an in-house power plant that produces all the energy and heat it needs itself – by using local and renewable energy sources such as wood, water and the sun. Around 1,310,000 kWh per year are the electricity and heat requirements generated by the energy plant in the newly built SteigenHaus. This makes Hofgut Sternen Germany's only tourist facility to date that is self-sufficient in heat and energy through a successful combination of resources (hydropower, heat exchanger, wood-fired combined heat and power plant, woodchip heating, photovoltaics and air conditioning with spring water).
Electricity is generated using treated wastewater, which is converted into energy. It then runs to a heat pump that extracts the heat from the water, which in turn is distributed via a local heating network. In the opposite form, energy is saved by using spring water from two wells: the cold water is fed through a pipe system into the beverage storage rooms to cool them. This process, which works like central heating in reverse, saves considerable energy in contrast to the classic approach using cooling units. It is also used for air conditioning the studios on the upper floor of the in-house glass manufactory which is located on the hotel site as well. In addition, the plant's woodchip-fired combined heat and power plant uses only wood from the region as a supplier for electricity and heat generation and feeds it into the same network. In total, this saves 500 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The Tradition of Self-sufficiency
Sustainable energy and the principle of self-sufficiency have a long tradition in the Black Forest. For centuries, wood was the most important source of heat in every farmhouse and was used in the glassblowing craft. Waterpower, on the other hand, was used for mills, sawmills and blacksmith shops, among other things. More than 20 historic saws and mills bear witness to this tradition on the Hochschwarzwald heritage trail, which also leads through the Hofgut Sternen site. With the help of modern technology, this type of energy generation has been transferred to the present day at the Hofgut Sternen energy plant.
In 1985, the Drubba family took over Hofgut Sternen and transformed it into a three-star superior hotel with 68 rooms. For them, sustainability is a value on which they live every day, and an ongoing process. The family strives to contribute to the preservation and development of the Black Forest region and to promote sustainable tourism. Their power plant is a milestone on this path. "Sustainability is a holistic concept for us. This includes ecological, economic and social sustainability in equal measure. The Energy Plant is a huge step for us on an ecological level," explains hotel general manager Thomas Drubba. For its efforts, the hotel has been awarded the "Sustainable Destination" classification by Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH. Hofgut Sternen belongs to the municipality of Breitnau, which has been classified as a bioenergy village by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy Management.
"Sustainability is a holistic concept for us. This includes ecological, economic and social sustainability in equal measure. The Energy Plant is a huge step for us on an ecological level."
Owner Hotel Hofgut Sternen
Local Materials and Modern Design
In 2019, the Ravenna House has opened on the Hofgut Sternen complex. In addition to the three previously existing hotel buildings with 68 rooms, another 39 hotel rooms have been located at the Ravenna Gorge since then. The typical hipped roof, the wooden shingle façade and even the white window frames of the new Ravenna-Haus are reminiscent of the traditional Black Forest farms in a modern way. Blending into the regional context was important to Thomas Drubba: "Guests will find a piece of the Black Forest here. We want to make their stay as authentic as possible and since we live the modern Black Forest at Hofgut Sternen, we also convey this to our visitors. Therefore, we focused on traditional materials and, at the same time, modern design in the architecture and furnishings."
Olaf Drubba, who takes care of construction-related matters in the company, adds: "Living with local resources and energies was also important to us for this project. The topic of sustainability involved us for a long time in the choice of the various materials. A modern air-conditioning concept was developed with the contractors, so each room can be heated or cooled individually and independently via air inflow; if necessary, spring water can be added for further cooling. The concept is supported by the use of modern yet ecological materials for insulation on the facade as well as the roof and thermal protection". Of course, all energy for this building also comes from the in-house EnergieWerk. Regional bonus: Almost all companies involved in the construction of the Ravenna House come from the Upper Black Forest as well as the nearby surrounding area and, due to the previous projects for the company, have now developed into a well-functioning team.
"Guests will find a piece of the Black Forest here. We want to make their stay as authentic as possible and since we live the modern Black Forest at Hofgut Sternen, we also convey this to our visitors. Therefore, we focused on traditional materials and, at the same time, modern design in the architecture and furnishings."
Owner Hotel Hofgut Sternen
The Fact Check
Special features: The eleven-hectare Hofgut Sternen site includes the hotel with restaurant, the Hofgut Sternen glass manufactory, three retail stores, as well as other restaurants and the EnergieWerk.
Hofgut Sternen is an energy self-supplier with an in-house power plant that generates around 1,310,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year from renewable energy sources.
At Hofgut Sternen, heat exchangers, a wood-fired CHP unit, woodchip heating, as well as a photovoltaic system and an air conditioning system powered by spring water are used.
By implementing the sustainable strategies, the hotel can save about 500 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Particularly efficient climate concept and optimal thermal insulation with ecological building materials in the Ravenna House, which was opened in 2019.
Das Hofgut Sternen ist offizieller Naturpark-Wirt und bietet Gästen mit der „Frischen Hofgut Küche“ hausgemachte Spezialitäten aus regionalen Produkten. Dies hält zudem die Transportwege kurz.
The hotel relies on resource-saving room cleaning.
Classified as a "Sustainable Destination" by Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH and located in the "Bioenergy Village" Breitnau.