Implementation of sustainable solutions in a hotel refurbishment to ensure energy self-sufficiency and mitigate environmental impacts.
Galomar is a pioneer project on sustainable innovation, the first 100% energy self-sufficient hotel in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.
Intervention in the hotel facilities refurbishment and operation procedures included: landscape integration; building envelope solutions (shading for windows and doors, energy-efficient glazing, façade/roof insulation); sustainable construction materials and recycled material for staff uniforms (circular economy); energy and water efficiency solutions (heat recovery chiller, pipe insulation, LED lighting, rainwater and non-potable water in toilets and gardens, greywater for toilet flushing, etc.); renewable energy technologies (77 solar thermal collectors and 542 solar photovoltaic modules); central power management system; guest information systems (energy and water consumption); public electric vehicle charging station ; new green areas with endemic species and vegetable farm; training and awareness raising campaigns; involvement of local communities; promotion of culture and traditions and use of local and seasonal produce.
The main problems addressed were the environmental impacts of the tourism activity, operation costs, tourism market requirements for environmental performance, climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges, scarcity of natural resources (energy and water), costs of energy and water, life cycle and maintenance costs of conventional construction materials.

Resources needed

The cost of the intervention was 9.5M€ and received a financial aid of 500m€ from the ERDF incentive scheme, INOVAR2020, that contributes to the modernization and innovation of business activities. Galomar is part of the Galo Resort which employs 165 employees among the three hotels of the resort.

Evidence of success

This project achieved a positive energy balance, producing its own energy and providing the remaining energy to another hotel of the Galo Resort, located next to Galomar. The 141kW PV system produced 400MWh in 16 months, exporting 5% of its production.
Galomar received several environmental awards, in 2018 and 2019 the World Travel Award for Portugal´s Leading Green Hotel, the TUI Environmental Champion and the Travel Life. In 2019, it received the Green Key award.

Difficulties encountered

To select innovative solutions, find local experts, uncertainty of solution’s combination, unavailability of local sustainable materials and finding a construction company to install all the solutions. The difficulties were overcome by attending international fairs and importing materials.

Potential for learning or transfer

Considering the positive energy balance, the Galomar solutions proved to be technically and economically feasible, being able to be replicated in most new and existing buildings in the tourism sector and also in other economic sectors.
Galomar disseminated the implemented solutions and the environmental awards on their official website, among tour operators, in tourism fairs and at sustainable development workshops, at national and international levels. Locally, Galomar hosts technical visits for investors interested in replicate the Galomar concept, schools and cooperation project's consortium in the scope of sustainable development, tourism and energy (RESOR project, co-financed by Interreg Europe, and YENESIS project, co-financed by EEA and Norway Grants for youth employment). Galomar guests can participate in weekly technical visits to learn about the sustainable solutions that support the environmental performance of the hotel.

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Main institution
Galo Resort
Região Autónoma da Madeira, Portugal
Start Date
October 2017
End Date
July 2018


Hugo Vasconcelos Please login to contact the author.