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Camp Glenorchy, New Zealand’s Most Sustainably-Designed Visitor Accommodation, Opens Today

March 14, 2018 Hotel Openings No Comments Email Email

Camp Glenorchy, the first ever guest accommodation designed according to the Living Building Challenge™ – the most rigorous sustainability standards in the world – welcomes guests for the first time today amidst rural landscapes of Glenorchy, a scenic 40-minute lakeshore drive from Queenstown.

Offering a range of beautifully-appointed and resource-efficient guest accommodations, Camp Glenorchy seeks to inspire and share learnings about new standards in sustainable tourism. Camp Glenorchy is part of The Headwaters, a unique triple-bottom-line model for visitor accommodation, hospitality and retail focused on environmental, financial and community sustainability.

Camp Glenorchy is the vision and collaborative creation of Paul and Debbi Brainerd, philanthropists who have previously established environmentally-sensitive, community-based education projects in North America.

Designed and built to operate under the principles of the Living Building Challenge™, Camp Glenorchy combines thoughtful design, healthy materials and sustainable practices, and its founders hope guests will embrace some of these ideas in their own homes, workplaces and communities.

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) requires seven “petals” of sustainability discipline including energy, water, materials and beauty and asks, “What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?” To achieve LBC’s imperatives, Camp Glenorchy has been created through a process of collaboration; in contrast to typical building projects which involve architects, designers, engineers and tradespeople working in silos, Camp Glenorchy’s approach also included local artists, craftspeople, and energy management specialists.

“Camp Glenorchy aims to educate, inspire and delight guests by showcasing some of the most innovative and energy-efficient products in the world,” said Paul Brainerd.

“One example is our commitment to achieving *Net Zero energy use. Our large solar garden, smart lighting, energy-efficient building designs and highly-efficient heat systems reduce energy demand while creating a comfortable and enjoyable experience for our guests.”

Buildings are connected to the guest booking system, allowing rooms to be heated only when needed and the right amount of hot water to be stored for the number of people in each room.

State-of-the-art composting toilets are expected to save about 300,000 litres of water per year, and LED lighting used is so efficient that the lighting load for each three-bedroom cabin is equivalent to a single 200-watt light bulb. An innovative heating system which uses ground-source heat pumps, deep heat bores and solar thermal collectors means Camp Glenorchy gets almost $4 worth of energy for every $1 spent running it.

Joining the opening celebrations today, former Prime Minister the Rt Hon Bill English, who has a long-standing affiliation with the Southern Lakes region from early childhood visits to the area, and several years as MP for Clutha-Southland, said “The Brainerd’s investment adds to a growing supply of high quality experiences in the Queenstown area. Just as important, the Brainerd’s investment sets a new standard for sustainability and others will surely follow, reinforcing New Zealand’s brand.”

Camp Glenorchy offers seven cabins, two bunkhouses, seven powered RV/campervan sites, and gathering spaces for guests in the artist-designed Scheelite Campfire Shelter and Homestead Building with shared kitchen, dining, relaxing and meeting spaces. It’s also home to the South Island’s largest solar garden and three constructed wetlands to collect and fully process all wastewater onsite, resulting in clean water used for irrigation of native plant landscaping.

Offering couples, groups, families and solo travellers an innovative take on New Zealand’s traditional camping experience, Camp Glenorchy’s cabins are purposefully cosy and compact, with the aim of drawing guests into shared cooking and social spaces where they can connect with one another, and the natural environment.

Designed to operate comfortably and efficiently for 12 months a year, Camp Glenorchy’s business model includes welcoming overnight groups seeking a unique and inspiring natural setting for meetings, retreats, workshops, classes, weddings and family gatherings just 40 minutes from Queenstown. The spacious Humboldt Room—with views of the Humboldt Mountains as well as the iconic Mount Alfred and the Earnslaw Glacier—offers a state-of-the-art AV system, free wi-fi and a configurable layout for a wide variety of uses.

Just as critical as its focus on the efficient use of energy and water, Camp Glenorchy places significant emphasis on beauty and materials. Passionate about the guest experience, Debbi Brainerd said she was inspired by local landscapes and artists to help her create a welcoming environment that brings heart and soul to the project.

“Paul and I have visited many sustainably designed buildings around the world, and I often found them to be stark and a little unfriendly. We’ve tried to create an experience at Camp Glenorchy that integrates the latest technology, while also delivering a warm, friendly experience to our guests,” said Debbi.

“Recycled and reclaimed materials with amazing textures and history were given preference over new ones, including material from old woolsheds from throughout the South Island and demolished buildings that fell in the Christchurch earthquakes. We’ve been excited to see artist-made features such as stone mosaic walkways, hand-carved signage, structures made from re-used vintage timber and the massive Scheelite Campfire Shelter adding the real heart to the project,” added Debbi.

All profits from Camp Glenorchy go to the Glenorchy Community Trust, directed by leaders of the local community to support initiatives that enhance the liveability and vibrancy of Glenorchy.

Pricing ranges from NZD$75 for a shared bunkroom bed per night, to NZD$395 per night for an ensuite king or split-king singles cabin room, with the option of upgrading to rooms in one of two premium cabins. For meals, guests can shop for groceries at Mrs Woolly’s General Store nearby and cook their meals in Camp Glenorchy’s spacious, well-equipped shared kitchen, or take advantage of Mrs Woolly’s many fresh-made food-to-to options. Chef-crafted healthy catering from Mrs Woolly’s Pantry or from a newly launched mobile food truck is available for larger groups.

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