At an elevation of 1,000 meters in the Tyrolean Mountains of Austria is Alpbach, a village of century-old wooden houses that is renowned as a place of ideas and innovation. Each summer the community’s modest population almost triples with the gathering of 4500 philosophers, academics and businessmen for the European Forum Alpbach (EFA).
Started in 1945, this gathering has over the decades earned Alpbach the title, “Village of Thinkers.” The EFA was originally hosted in the hamlet’s traditional farmhouses, which today are protected by a strict building code that preserves the charming personality of Alpbach. As this important European think-tank has grown, so too has the requirement for a substantial and modern congress center to host the annual forum.
To comply with local building code specifications, the Congress Centrum Alpbach was built of wood, but at the same time equipped with the most modern technology. So as not to upset the village’s unique alpine character, the Congress Centrum with its distinctive spiral-formed cone, was built into the mountainside and covered with grass and plants to harmoniously blend in with the town’s aesthetic style.
Purposely designed to the highest sustainability standards, the Congress Centrum is a leader in the market for green meetings. And with its recent certification, it is the first conference center to achieve a 99% compliance score against the Green Globe sustainability standard.
Michael Strehle, Project Manager at Congress Centrum Alpbach said, “Green Globe helps us to focus on the criteria of the certification and if necessary to improve. In our understanding, sustainability is not only a marketing strategy, it is more a part of our history in Alpbach.
“During our congresses and meetings, we provide our attendees and delegates an overall appreciation of sustainability based on our local conditions. If the conference participants then take just one ‘sustainable’ thought from Alpbach back to their homes, we have attained our aim,” added Mr. Strehle.
In tandem with Congress Centrum Alpbach design philosophy, the conference center also manages its daily work in many sustainable ways. In the office all printers use only 90% soy based inks, and green energy generators supply 100% of all electricity. The employees are also tasked to sustainable actions, including the use of a fleet of 18 e-bikes for local transportation, each bike having a battery range of up to 100 kilometers.
About Congress Centrum Alpbach
The mountain village Alpbach in Austria is a model location for the realization of meetings, conferences and seminars held according to the principals of sustainability. The unique Alpbach wooden building style demonstrates the importance given over the past decades to gentle and sustainable development in the village.
The European Forum Alpbach with its 4500 participants is Alpbach’s largest and most important recurring conference and this year marks over 65 years of conference organizing. The European Forum’s excellent infrastructure was developed in the Tyrolean mountain village of Alpbach.
The new Congress Centrum Alpbach represents a masterpiece of architectural design and impresses with its energy optimization. The center, which was designed to blend in with the surrounding scenery is built into the slope and has a green roof and thus does not dominate the typical Alpbach architectural style. Sunlight floods in through the central glass cone in the Congress Centrum Alpbach during the daytime providing plenty of lighting for meeting and seminar rooms.