The Sustainable City

The Sustainable City

On the edge of the desert in Dubai an unique property is arising. Diamond Developers’ The Sustainable City is a residential area and designed to be net zero-energy. Quite an accomplishment when you know Dubai’s energy consumption is one of the highest in the world and with temperatures around 50 degrees celsius in the summer definitely not tempting to turn of the airconditioning. Yet the developers found that the costs of building are lower as compared to traditional properties.

Powered by solar
40.000 megawatt hour solar energy is generated daily by 40.000 solar panels, fitted on the carparks and all the homes. The city was turend on less then a year ago and already during the first winter net-zero was realised.

The Sustainable City

This is The Sustainable City. A 5 million square foot residential area at the edge of Dubai's desert. It is designed to be net zero-energy and even has the potential to go off the grid. 40.000 PV panels produce 10 Megawatt solar a day. The city also got some interesting offers for electric cars.

Posted by Plug Me In on Donnerstag, 12. Oktober 2017

Holistic approach
Unique about the Sustainable City is that it not only looks at the traditional sustainable aspects like water, energy, waste and cooling (which all are handled well) but focusses on three key aspects: social, economic & environmental sustainability. The commercial mall which is home to various shops, a nursery, supermarket and cafe’s are all partly owned by the residents. With this business model they don’t need to pay for maintenance & service fees, costs which easily can go sky-high Dubai.

Electric Vehicles
Electric cars are also part of cities masterplan to later become carbon neutral. Residents are pushed to go electric by offering them a 40.000 Dirham (€10.000) incentive on the purchase of their first electric vehicle.
The property is car-free. Cars can be left behind (while charging on solar power) at the carpark from where electric buggy’s transport residents through the city.

Building a city like this doesn’t come without challenges. In below’s interview with Karim El-Jisr, Director of the Sustainable city he explains the hurdles they needed to take and goes more in depth in the various sustainable aspects.

Dubai Carbon

Dubai Carbon

The United Arab Emirates, the land mostly known as ‘the country were oil comes from.’ In many peoples perception oil will be pumped out of the ground until the desert has evaporated and solar panels will remain science-fiction. During my time in the UAE I discovered that this is definitely not the case and many efforts are made to switch to renewable energy sources and have I seen more initiatives who find it highly important to reduces their carbon footprint.

To hear more about how sustainable the country is and efforts that will be made in the future I contacted Dubai Carbon, a think-tank in environmental econmocis which is a co-operation between the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In 2011 this agreement was signed by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon. Dubai Carbon’s stakeholders are both public and private and DC helps them include efficiency and best practices within environmental, social and the generic sustainability value chain in their business model.

I interviewed Dubai Carbon’s CEO Ivano Iannelli, who build up a reputation as one of the world’s foremost expert in the fields of sustainability and carbon emissions management.

Q. In a country not well-known for sustainable efforts, how was Dubai Carbon founded?
Mr. Iannelli:
“There is a very large culture of excellence in this country and even though it might not be perceived as such from the outside, the sustainability credentials for the UAE are actually extremely high. There is a willingness to excel, there is a willingness to be best in class, there is a culture of corporate excellence. They wouldn’t go for the inefficiënt approach but they want to make sure the resources are looked upon for their preciousness, for their value. Not only in short-term but also a long term-approach.” Referring to Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s visionary ideas on the country.

Q. How is the mix of energy in the UAE?
Mr. Iannelli: 
“At the moment we have a very minimal solar power but this is only because the large PV-plants will be commissioned in a span of a few months. Dubai has the largest single side PV-plant in the world and has been gradually growing simply because of its success. In a span of 2 years Dubai broke 2 times the world record for lowest tariff for solar, bringing the price down to 2.9 cents, Adu Dhabi even managed to bring it down to 2.4 cents per kWh. These are signs that times are changing and that renewables are becoming cost-effective.”

“When you look at the energy mix you can not rely on only wind or solar but you need to have a balanced approach and Dubai is doing exactly this. By 2050 we will scale up renewables to 75% together with all the other sources who are being tested and launched as we speak.”

“In the current situation we have a very efficient gas-powered combined cycle power plant. Dubai produces power at 0.42 tons of CO2 per MWh produced, the next in-line is Germany, producing at 0.39 tons of CO2 per MWh but Germany add a very large amount of renewables in their mix. To give you an idea of how efficient the fossil fuel based energy production in Dubai is compared to the globe.

Mr. Ianelli add thats the misconception of Dubai being inneficient or not sustainable is very superficial. “If people understand what this city has achieved within a short span of time than they would be able to understand what there is. First of all there is a fantastic playing field of sustainability because not a single played in this city has not looked at sustainability in their scope of work. The second element of it is that to do what Dubai has done, they need to be highly efficient, they need to be very pragmatic in the way they use resources because they would otherwise upset the normally economic close of supply and demand. So to build this much you don’t put too much strain on the market because prices would escalate. So this balance what the city has achieved in economic term is a fantastic example of economic success in terms of sustainability, that should be looked upon and replicated whenever possible.

During my journey I started to wonder if it’s possible for a country to become carbon-neutral, and is it necessary? I saw Norway were they produce 98% of their energy from renewables but still have a lot of offset because of their richness in oil. I heard from South-American countries who generate their power 100% from renewables.

Q. Can Dubai or any other country achieve to be carbon-neutral?
Mr. Iannelli: “I don’t think any country in the world can achieve carbon-neutrality because there is always a resource consumption, and we don’t want carbon-neutrality as it will alter the balance of the eco-system. What we want is to run within the global CO2 budget. There are natural sorts of CO2 things in the world, soil, trees, water etc. So we don’t need to actually achieve carbon-neutrality. What we have is a global-warming potential which equates all sorts of greenhouse-gasses to CO2 according to the time it takes the globe to metabolize them. In the 21st century the number is 1466 gigatons of CO2. What we need to reach is that countries not consume more than the world can metabolize. Currently the world is consuming at an alarming rate. The herd offshoot day (the days we consumed all the resources for the year) last year was on September 26. So as an impact we don’t need to achieve carbon-neutrality, we just need to stat within the carbon-budget that we have been given.

Electric Vehicles

Of course I needed to know how electric cars fit in to the bigger picture. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is also involved in Dubai Carbon and has place already 100 charging stations in Dubai and just announced the second phase of stations which will double the amount. With only 57 users so far they definitely see a big future for electric mobility.

Mr. Iannelli: “The vehicles that are being brought here are being stresstest against a different kind of environment. Dubai as a city is stretched along the coast it’s a lot less dense and longer distances are needed to be covered by EV’s.


Full interview
Watch the full interview here



When thinking of polluting industries the packaging industry is not the first that pops up in the mind. Yet with trillions of packages being sent every year which are only used once and than thrown away, you can imagine there is a lot of unnecessary trash.

Finish startup RePack has the solution to this problem: a sexy and clever package which is reusable. The customer orders a product online, companies who use RePack sent the product in this packaging. Once the package is delivered and opened the customer drops the empty packaging in the mailbox and it returns to the company. To motivate the customer to actually return the packaging he receives a coupon which gives discounts to all brands who are using RePack.

When new sustainable products are introduced, at least it has to be better than the original product to be a succes. RePack is one of those, it looks better than a grey box and it adds value for the customer.

Watch the full interview I had with Jonne Hellgren, founder of RePack.



And a short clip about RePack:



Resilient City Vejle

Vejle: Resilient City

The Rockefeller Foundation founded “100 Resilient City’s” in 2013. Their goal is to help cities around the world to become more resilient to the physical, social and economical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. Vejle, Denmark is one of those 100 cities.
100RC supports the adoption and incorporation of a view of resilience that includes not just the shocks—earthquakes, fires, floods, etc.—but also the stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day to day or cyclical basis.
Examples of these stresses include high unemployment; an overtaxed or inefficient public transportation system; endemic violence; or chronic food and water shortages. By addressing both the shocks and the stresses, a city becomes more able to respond to adverse events, and is overall better able to deliver basic functions in both good times and bad, to all populations.

The city of Velje is the only resilient city in Scandinavia and the first in Europe to come with a strategy. Other resilient cities around the world include Washington, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam and Singapore. The CRO (Chief Resilience Officer) of Vejle is Jonas Kroustrup and I interviewed Charlotte Holm Andersen & Jette Vindum.

Charlotte & Jette showed welcomed me at the municipality in Vejle where they have an exhibition which explains the all aspects the RC Vejle is working on. The main problem of this city is water. The city is surrounded by mountains and is build around a lake. When it rains a lot the water rises and this can lead to floods. They don’t see this as a problem but as an opportunity. The exhibition is very well designed and interactive. A 3D map shows the history of the city, by sliding through the different years on an iPad the model changes form and shows the growth of the city throughout the years. Also the level of water is indicated and shows how it affects the city.

The way they handle sustainability is something to learn from. They don’t just inform or try to keep everyone to strict rules. They involve the whole community and let everyone have their say in all the projects they are working on. All the gathered input is used in the endproduct.

Green Tech Center

One of these projects is the Green Tech Center. I was welcome by an very enthusiastic woman named Jeanette. Wat really strikes me is that everyone in the community is very proud of the resilient city and all the projects.
The Green Tech Center is based on the triple helix basic: the municipality, university and private sector working closely together. Their goal is to help startups and medium sized companies grow and develop their products within the green field. The green field could be anything from energy production (wind power, geothermal), energy storage and energy usage.
Jeanette introduced me to some to the companies who are working here on innovative ideas. For example she showed Orogenic ApS who makes batteries for electric cars and  there was a company who made the solar panels for the award winning new headquarter of the United Nations in Copenhagen.


Janbeck*s FAIRhaus

Janbeck’s Fairhouse is a sustainable accommodation in Gelting, Germany near the Baltic sea and the Danish border. It is owned by Uta & Stephan Janbeck. In 2002 they bought this old farm with the goal to make a sustainable hotel.

Energy, heat, water and food are the most important things when it comes to housing. When they started this project in 2002 they already tried to make all those aspects as sustainable as possible. And it was a big challenge as it was an old farm with poor isolation.


They produce energy with 110M2 solar panels and 20M2 solar thermal collectors. They have a big battery of 42KWh to store energy where 21KWh is used effectively to not damage the battery. An intelligent energy system makes a balance of when to give back energy to the grid and when to take energy from it. Last year the Fairhouse needed 25.336KWh. With the solar panels they produce 13.000 KWh annually, 27.000KWh is produced by the two heat and power plants. In total 41.080 KWh was produced last year. 20.000 KWh was provided back to the grid and they only took 4.838 KWh from it, which is quite impressive considering the size of the accommodation.

The Fairhause’s car fleet consists of three electric cars: a Zoe, a Think City and what they call the ‘E-Wolf’: an converted Fiat Panda. The cars can be charged with type 2, CEE 32A and 16A on 43KWh max and is free for customers.


The water in the Fairhouse has four life cycles, fresh from the shower is collected into a drain where the solid water is naturally cleaned by wastewater treatment plants and becoming liquid. The liquid water then goes to a wetland where it slowly drops into the ground and as it goes through sand and plants it gets clean to the level of bathing water. The 2nd lifecycle is used to flush the toilets, the third for the washing machine and the fourth and final lifecycle for gardening. It takes two years for the solid water to get a clean, the cycle of liquid water only a day. This way around 50% of the water is reused. Sometimes water from the regular system is used as back-up, last year it was not necessary, in 2014 only one week.


The food served at breakfast is organic and locally produced. The owner Uta makes her own jams and bread. The breakfast is well portioned and rather refilled on request instead of thrown away. Plastic won’t be found as they only use glass bottles which are re-used. Coffee waste is used as a barrier to keep snails away from the garden.

Recycling/ Upcycling

The many necessities used throughout the apartments are recycled or upcycled. Old towels are recycled to bathmaths, old sheets to roll bags.

Janbeck’s Fairhouse has been very interesting for me as this was really the first time that I saw that it’s possible to reduce the carbon footprint to nearby 0. I thought it was hard for a normal house but for a accommodation of this size I couldn’t even imagine being it this impressive. It really is an eyeopener and a great example of how sustainability in the recreation sector can be applied.

Younited Cultures

Younited Cultures was founded by Andra Slaats and Iulia Mugescu. Andra is a Romanian immigrant who moved to Vienna. She encountered lots of struggles moving here and with Younited Cultures they want to shine a positive light on immigrants and show that they have value. They are doing this by selling colorful scarfs with a message. Each scarf tells a succes story of an immigrant.

In Austria there is a big debat going on at the moment about the new minister of the country. With the elections recently two candidates where facing each other, one extreme right wing and one left wing. Migration (the refugee crisis) is also a topic of discussion in the election program so it’s clear that there is still a lot of work to do.
Andra believes that immigrants have a positive impact on the society and economy, it brings in a lot of youth and human capital. The scarfs can contribute to better understanding of the migrants and hopefully to a good end of the debate going on in Austria.




The Wohnwagon (literary translated: living wagon) is best described as an off-grid caravan. It’s a 25 square meters living unit and provides all the utilities you need and has the same comfort as a normal house or flat. The makers Theresa Steiningen and Christian Frantal wanted to make a political and philosophical statement about how the future of sustainable living could look like. They started this idea a couple of years ago and made it reality.

What is special about the Wohnwagon is that all the aspects (heating, energy production, water filtration) are sustainable.  Solar panels to power the house with electricity, a battery to store the energy, natural insulation and a composting toilets are just a few of the Wagon’s impressive green list. After two years of use the energy needed to produce the Wagon (coming from the production of the solar panels, batteries etc) is reduced to zero and you life Co2 positive.

Wohnwagon Inside

The costs of a Wohnwagon are between €50.000 and €150.000. The costs are high because high quality materials are being used which are all produced locally. For example for the insulation local sheep wool has been used which are more expensive then the chemical insulation you would normally get. A well-thought decision as the makers believe that the future of living has to be fully sustainable.





The Vollpension is a unique lunchroom in the center of Vienna, Austria. The employees are all elderly people (65+) who otherwise have no chance on the labour market.

The idea started in 2012 after an idea by the Stitch brothers. The brothers came from the countryside of Austria to Vienna for studies. They saw two things: young and older people don’t go together in Vienna and good cake’s are not available in the city, you get that at your grandma’s place. I don’t know what the topic of their research was but finding out that there are no decent cake in the city is an important finding. The answer to this is the Vollpension.

The start

It started as a try-out tour in a foodtruck through Austria. Grandma’s used to sell their best cake’s at festivals, meetings etc. It was a huge succes and people wanted more. So they started a pop-up restaurant in Vienna. Again the succes was overwhelming but the contract for their temporary location ended. Fans started Facebook groups and petitions to ask for a permanent location. And so it happened.


Right in the middel of the center they found a location which suited their needs. The Vollpension feels and looks like your grandmothers house, it’s warm, antique, spacey and cosey. The decoration consists of photo frames, puzzle paintings and medicine boxes. The cake’s are delicious. They come in many sizes and varieties and are freshly baked by the grandma’s.


So what has this lunchroom to do with sustainability? A lot. Sustainability is not only about saving energy of recycling waste but the social side (or human sustainability as they call it) is also a huge aspect. The Vollpension brings people back to the labour market where normally they wouldn’t have a chance anymore. Most of the employees have low pensions or no employeer wants to take them. Some of them just feel like they still want to do something. At the Vollpension they give those people a chance to get an income or do something they really like.


Mysteryland: a great example for sustainability in festivals

Last Sunday I volunteered for the Greenteam at Mysteryland. The world’s longest-running dance festival, this year the 22nd edition, took place at the former Floriade terrain in the Haarlemmermeer. While the first two editions of the festival where held during 2 days, this was the first time since 1994 that Mysteryland was a weekend festival. Party-promoter ID&T had a long dream of returning the weekend concept and this year they finally managed to do so and even offer visitors the possibility to camp at the holy grounds!

For me this was the 12th time I visited the festival. The first time, in 2002, I was just a 14-year-old kid and not allowed to enter the festival-site so I had to climb over the fences to enjoy the spectacle. Now, 14 years later I joined the Greenteam and could witness the festival legally backstage. And what I saw was a great example for sustainability in the event industry.


The Mysteryland Greenteam

In the morning we gathered backstage at the campsite. We received clothing and got professional make-up applied so we all looked like happy little green bees. Our first task was to clean-up the camping area. 5000 visitors from all over the world stayed here for 3 days to enjoy the festival in all its glory. You would expect a big mess after 3 days of madness but (most) of the visitors left zero to none garbage. To be honest I was surprised about this, having visited many weekend festivals where most visitors left almost everything behind. Maybe it’s because Mysteryland takes a lot effort to leave no footprint and informing their attendees about the impact a festivals makes on the environment. Separated bins are provided throughout the campsite and garbage bags are handed out to everyone.


Garbage bins at the campsite

After having cleaned the most part of the campsite and helping people pack their tents, we moved to the festival area. The reactions of the visitors when seeing the Greenteam where very positive. Many people took the effort to throw their plastic beer glasses in the garbage bags carried by the Greenteam members instead of throwing it on the ground. Also visitors asked me questions about what we are doing, where the garbage is being taken and how they can sign-up as a volunteer.
In front of the mainstage I couldn’t resist dancing to the sounds of Deep Dish while picking up the garbage, which put a smile on many of the visitors faces who even wanted to take selfies with me. Some experience!

Ik heb corvee op Mysteryland #lekkerprikken #Greenteam #ml15

A post shared by Wiebe Wakker / Plug Me In (@plugmeintravel) on

After walking some rounds on the terrain we returned to the campsite and wrapped things up. At 6pm we finished our work and got treated with some cold beers left by the visitors, really recycling to the max 😉

Then I had the whole day left to discover the festival and enjoy the music. What makes Mysteryland special is that they really try to create another world with place for theater, acts and my favorite part: the magic forrest. A little forrest which has been decorated with crazy creative things which can’t be really explained but have to be discovered.

What I like about Mysteryland is that they see recycling as a basis part of their sustainability plan, besides that they find it important to go further and pay attention to developing talents and local communities.
At the festival many cool sustainable projects can be discovered and I made a list of the ones I encountered:

Het Gekke Groente Museum (The Crazy Vegetable Museum)

A lot of craziness is going on at the Gekke Groente Museum #ml15 #mlnl

A post shared by Mysteryland (@mysteryland_official) on

A museum dedicated to weird and crazy shaped vegetables.


A crazy and very cool idea: a tent made completely out of cardboard. Kartent knows that every year 1 out of 4 visitors leave their tents behind so they came with a completely recyclable solution. After the festival the tent can go straight to the recycling of the paper-industry. Not only is this idea very refreshing but it looks totally cool, especially when you can decorate it with your own creative ideas!

Coca Cola
The famous drink understands how important it is to create a sustainable brand and Mysteryland is the right place to show this to their consumers. They created some activities where visitors could play games from recycled materials.


A great initiative by Mysteryland: the waterbar. In exchange for 2 tokens you receive a water-bag which can be refilled for free at all the waterbars placed throughout the festival. The water-bag is small and can easily be attached to your jeans. The waterbars have been at Mysteryland for already 4 years and because of its succes the City of Amsterdam even decided to make it mandatory for all events taken place in their city to provide free water to visitors.

Now back to the festival. Mysteryland is very diverse as it comes to music styles and artists and it’s a luxury problem to make the right decision. First I watched Dillon Francis play a diverse set at the mainstage and then I went to Q-dance. The stage of Q-dance is the eyecatcher of the festival and this year a huge monkey was blasting CO2 out of it’s nose while loud hardstyle played through the speakers. Wildstylez was playing and I heard him play some great new tracks.
The northern part of the festival has some small islands with crazy stages like Milkshake, the Bollywood Bar and Vieze Poezendek (dirty pussydeck, go see yourself).
At the end of the day everyone went to the mainstage to see Martin Garrix play. The youngster started here 4 years ago and this year he had the honour to close down the festival accompanied by an epic end-show.


The Q-dance stage at Mysteryland. (Source: ML Facebook)

I had a great day at Mysteryland. It was interesting to see whats going on behind the scenes and I felt proud to be part of the Greenteam and helping a bit to reduce the festival’s footprint.
I am impressed by Mysteryland’s Festival Soul: to create a positive ecological impact and help for a better future. What I like about this is that they don’t say “we are festival X, we organize a festival and to be sustainable we support a good cause” but it’s really in their DNA to be sustainable and carry this message out. I saw that Mysteryland’s visitors are conscious of this message by the way they tried to keep the camping and festival clean. The festivals sustainable efforts have not been unnoticed and Julie’s Bicyle, a non-profit organization that is putting effort for a sustainable creative industry, has awarded the festival with the Industry Green Certificate.

Mysteryland is a great example for festivals around and I hope to visit many more festivals alike during my trip.


Even with all these CO2-guns Mysteryland managed to receive a certificate for reducing C02 emissions. (Source: ML Facebook)

10 sustainable hotels worth staying at

During the journey I will focus on staying at sustainable locations. I’ve been searching the internet and made a list of 10 locations worth staying at. Locations who are up front on sustainability, deserted places with a new purpose, hotels build from recycled materials and many more cool places on this list.


1. DasParkHotel, Germany & Austria

The Daspark Hotel offers rooms in old sewer pipes. If you wouldn’t have seen the picture you might have some nasty thoughts about this location but from the looks its more cosy then an average hotel room. Each room has room for 2 persons and offers light and electricity. The toilets are shared in a building next to the rooms. All other amenities can be found in the public space.

The hotel has 2 locations; one in Germany and the other one in Austria. Visitors can pay whatever they find its worth, called the “pay-as-you-wish” system. To book a room you can visit their website, select the date of arrival and you will receive a personal code to unlock the door. The code changes everytime so you don’t need to worry about leaving your stuff in the room.

The Daspark Hotel is a great example of using used materials and public space. Because of the materials used it doesn’t need much maintenance.


2. Hotel Costa Verde, Costa Rica


This location is plane crazy! In Costa Rica they managed to make an hotel from an retired Boeing 727. Previously taken passengers from Avancia Airlines all over the world, now it can be enjoyed by 4 people in 2 luxurious suites. At the height of 15 meters it has jaw-dropping views that make you feel like flying. The planes interior is local Costa Rican teak panelling from tail to nose. For more information visit the Hotel Costa Verde website.


3. Tree Tents, Germany

tree-tentsProbably the most romantic location on this list. German organizer Hochselgarten Hoelschlucht offers nightstay in a 2 persons tent hanging on a thick branch from a free standing tree, overlooking the local mountains. Ascending and descending is only possible with the help of a rope.


4. No Man’s Fort, UK

No Man's Land Fort

Another great example of upcycling non-used property to a new purpose. The No Man’s Land fort is located 2.2 kilometers off the coast of the Island of Wright and was builded in 1880. Previously used to protect Portsmouth from pirates, now high-paying guests can enjoy an indoor swimming pool, a private nightclub and challenge each other in a laser-battle. Guests arrive in style on one of the two helipads. Bookings can be made through the Amazing Venues website.


5. The Bird’s Nest, Sweden

The Birds Nest

The Bird’s Nest in Sweden is built on the contrasts between the outside and inside. The treeroom’s exterior is nothing but a gigantic bird’s nest. It gives a camouflage so you quickly disappear and become part of the surroundings.

The nest is owned by Treehotel which has more unique architectural locations like the UFO.


6. URBN Hotel, Shanghai

URBN Hotel

URBN Hotel Shanghai was the first carbon neutral hotel in China and has received many awards because of their eco-friendly character. The boutique hotel is a renovated warehouse and completely made of recycled and local materials. By renovating an existing structure, focusing on using recycled and locally sourced materials such as reclaimed hardwoods and old Shanghai bricks, implementing eco-friendly solutions like passive solar shades and a water-based air conditioning system, URBN Hotel Shanghai is one of the first examples of how to create a more ecological hotel establishment.


7. Hilton Stockholm Slussen, Sweden

Hilton Slussen

A more traditional kind of hotel in this list, the Hilton Hotel Slussen in Sweden. The employees receive a training about sustainability and every year their knowledge gets updated. Since 1996 they are recycling and disposing their waste and from 2010 their landfill waste dropped with 90%.

Fun fact: because of 60.000 bees on the roof of the hotel, they can produce their own honey which guests can enjoy at the breakfast!


8. Whitepod, Switzerland

White Pod Hotel

The Whitepod eco resort located in the village of Les Cerniers in the Swiss Alps offers a private ski resort, mountain chalets and 15 geodesic-dome pods that offer low impact accommodations. By minimizing the daily water and electricity usage, reducing the waste of products and stimulating renewable reserves, the white pods have almost no impact on nature. Guests tour the resort by skis, snowboards, dog sleds or snowshoes in the winter and relax in the luxurious and efficient Whitepod domes. The Swiss adventure resort won the World Prize for Sustainable Tourism in 2005.


9. Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya

Campi ya Kanzi

Get up close and personal with Africa’s “big five” mammals (Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros) and support the native Maasai community at Campi ya Kanzia, luxurious safari camp in southern Kenya. The camp and its 400 square miles are owned by the Maasai people, who work with the camp’s Italian hosts to preserve the local wildlife and provide a personalized and sustainable experience for visitors.

The camp’s six thatched-roof tented cottages were constructed of local materials without cutting down any trees. Electricity and hot water are generated by solar power, and waste is composted or recycled. The menu includes organic eggs, milk and vegetables, and all meals are cooked with eco-friendly charcoal.


10. Binna Burra Mountain Lodge and Campsite, Australia


Last but not least, a unique location on my final destination: Australia. Deep within the subtropical rain forest of Queensland’s Lamington National Park is the Binna Burra Mountain Lodge and Campsite, an ecolodge where guests can enjoy hiking, bird watching, abseiling and numerous environmental education programs. Accommodation options include safari-style canvas tents or a more luxurious room in the main lodge. Binna Burra was founded in 1933 on land that had been cleared and farmed; since then, the lodge has restored the land to its original rain forest state and encouraged the growth of native plant species. Recycling, composting, low-flow water fixtures and the use of energy-efficient lighting are just a few of the lodge’s environmental initiatives. Binna Burra makes regular contributions to research projects within the national park as well as to other environmental organizations.


11. Faralda Crane Hotel, Netherlands

Faralda Crane Hotel

I was supposed to make a list of 10 hotels but a friend tipped me on the Faralda Crane Hotel and this had to be in the list. This crane has been build in the 50’s and went out of use in 1984. The crane has been standing there for 25 years before they decided to demolish it because of possible danger of collapsing. A local entrepreneur heard about this and decided to buy and renovate it into a hotel.

The hotel has 3 luxurious suites at 50 meters above the ground. At the top of the crane is a jacuzzi overlooking Amsterdam and there is even a possibility to bungeejump off the crane!