11 Jul 2023
Slieve Elva B&B has become the first B&B in Ireland to achieve gold standard certification from Sustainable Travel Ireland.
The B&B, which is located in the famous landscape of the Burren on the Wild Atlantic Way, provides a home-from-home experience and is run by husband-and-wife team Kris and Ireen Claes.
The gold standard certification was awarded to Slieve Elva by Sustainable Travel Ireland, whose mission is to transform the Irish tourism industry into a regenerative business sector that respects and protects the environment and also supports local communities. It followed a detailed assessment using criteria recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, an independent UN-mandated organisation.
The actions that led to Slieve Elva’s success include reducing energy use by 64.7% since 2020, installing a solar PV system, switching from fossil fuel heating to biogas and reducing waste going to landfill by 71.4%.
Outdoors too, Kris and Ireen have increased their sustainability rating by creating an orchard with native heritage apple trees and installing a water harvesting system for the garden and greenhouse. They are planning to create an organic pond with a regeneration zone and wetland filtration.
Guests at the B&B are served homegrown vegetables and homemade products like jams and yoghurt and can be sure that no single-use toiletries are used at Slieve Elva.
The Burren Landscape.
Speaking about the certification, Kris Claes said: “Everything started with proper frequent monitoring and collecting all data of weekly usage. This gave us a very clear insight on all areas where changes and savings could be made. As a very small business with limited budget, we thought bigger investments were out of reach. But by implementing small changes first, we created savings that could be reinvested in other projects.”
Kris and Ireen are members of the Burren Ecotourism Network which aims to establish the Burren as a premier, internationally recognised, sustainable tourism region.
The Burren is famous for its rocky limestone terrain that has been described as a lunar landscape. Its unique properties have earned it UNESCO Global Geopark designation alongside the imposing Cliffs of Moher and it is well known as an eco-friendly destination.
The area is home to a vast array of flora, including Arctic and Alpine flowers that grow alongside Mediterranean species. There are also over 2,700 ancient monuments dotted around the landscape, some dating back over 6,000 years.
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare.
Need more resources? View our images and videos from across Ireland