It is very possible to combine luxury and sustainability. We are a 5-star hotel and certified level 5 Green Sign. There are many ways to do something sustainable without restricting the guests.

Lukas Obendorfer (Der Birkenhof) shares.

In the realm of luxury tourism, the notion of sustainability and eco-responsibility isn't always at the forefront. Yet, nestled in the Upper Palatinate region of Germany, Lukas Obendorfer, the director of Hotel Der Birkenhof ***** Genussresort & Spa, is redefining the concept of wellness by seamlessly combining luxury and sustainability.

I'm responsible for it every day in the house, so I don't have to think about it too much,"

Lukas shares when asked about how he manages to blend luxury and sustainability. For him, the commitment to sustainability is a daily responsibility, integrated into every aspect of hotel management.

At Birkenhof, wellness meets sustainability in a harmonious manner.

We're one of the 20 Green Sign companies that have reached level 5, which is the maximum that can be achieved,"

Lukas declares.

This certification bears testimony to the establishment's steadfast commitment to environmentally friendly practices.

In an innovative move, Lukas and his team embarked on a major energy transformation.

We reduced our gas consumption by 90% and now heat with wood chips,"

he explains. This transition to renewable energy represents a decisive step towards sustainability while maintaining the level of luxury that Birkenhof's guests are accustomed to.

Among the most notable initiatives, Lukas highlights the shift to a combined heat and power plant. "It was one of our biggest investments so far," he confides. This bold decision demonstrates the hotel's unwavering commitment to a more sustainable future.

But for Lukas, sustainability goes beyond energy management. The hotel is also working on innovative projects such as composting organic waste and optimizing water management in the pools. Each initiative aims to reduce the environmental footprint while offering an unparalleled luxury experience to Birkenhof's guests.

The plan is to add bacteria that break down grease so we do not have to empty the grease trap as often. What we have only been operating for a few weeks is our composting plant. For this, we are working together with a Dutch company. Here is how it works: I put all my food waste and organic waste in there and the composting plant circulates it with bacteria, heat, and a stirring function. I fill it for about a week, let it work for 24 hours, and then I take out the compost, which I have to sieve and then I can take it away. It saves CO2 because the truck does not have to come here, I have no disposal costs, I do not have to buy compost for my garden and I have nutrient-rich soil that I can process further.

As the luxury tourism industry continues to evolve, Lukas Obendorfer and his team prove that it's possible to reconcile comfort and environmental responsibility. At Birkenhof, luxury and sustainability not only coexist but also reinforce each other, offering guests a unique experience where wellness and ecological responsibility harmoniously converge.

We want to continue to focus on wellness and good cuisine and evolve; see what regional suppliers are emerging in the area and collaborate. For me and my whole family, the social aspect is also important. We have not even touched on that. I am happy when I can employ ten different nationalities.

Pioneeres of Sustainability – interview series with our Partner Green Pearls