Our path toward sustainability
Hauptteil: 10-11:30 Uhr
- Spaziergang in die Moorlandschaft zu den Glunerseen, anschliessend Apéro
- Übernachtung im Berghaus Arflina
- 08:30 Solarfrühstück mit Solarbrot und Solargipfeli
- 10:00 Pressekonferenz
- 11:30 Mittagspause
- 13:30 Testsaunieren
Highly International - Sustainability Pioneers in the Wellness Sector
Who doesn’t dream of some rest and relaxation in the middle of nature from time to time? For many, a Finnish summer with a sauna by the lake certainly comes to mind. But what do the Heuberge mountains and Finland have to do with each other? Quite a lot! In Finland everything revolves around the sauna and the sauna is the most important element in Finnish culture. Since this summer, the world’s first solar sauna has been located in the Heuber Mountains. Naturally, this has caused quite a stir in Finland, and the solar sauna has already been reported on in Finland’s largest circulation and most influential daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, as well as in international blogs (TarjasBlog, saunamaailmalla.com).
The idea for a solar sauna was born at the first HEF (Heuberge Ecologic Forum) in the Heubergen in the winter of 2020. At the HEF, the focus was on innovative and sustainable solutions. This is because a future model for climate-friendly tourism is to be created in the Heuberge mountains, with sustainability and respect for nature at the forefront of its offerings, so that future generations can also experience their adventures in the midst of the protected high moorland of the Heuberge mountains. At the HEF, sympathies immediately sprang up across cantons and countries. During the pleasant get-together between the management of Heuberge AG, consisting of the half-finn Henrik Vetsch and his partner and initiator of the HEF Sara Wiesendanger, and the management of the Finnish social and impact company Lytefire, represented by Urs Riggenbach from Solothurn and the Finnish-Canadian Eerik Wissenz, the sparks of ideas immediately flew. The idea of the solar sauna and with it a new company (Lytefire Sauna) was born during the HEF.
The idea for the solar sauna was then put into practice in a very short time. It could be shown that no hot air was created during the HEF, but that it should only be created inside a concrete project implementation of the solar sauna and then only with a sustainable effect. For the first prototype, an old sauna barrel and a lot of old wood from an old barn in the Heubergen were recycled and transformed into a small solar sauna prototype. Using sunlight captured and concentrated with mirrors, the first sauna stones were heated, previously attached as needed using chicken fencing and wire mesh. In this way, Urs and Eerik produced the first steam in the sauna in February. This allowed the innovation team to demonstrate that the sauna, with the mirrors of the Lytefire technology developed by Urs and Eerik, could be operated. The technology, originally developed as an alternative to firewood stoves for developing countries to reduce the need for wood from increasingly scarce forests, has now been used for the first time in the wellness sector. Of course, the sauna with improvised fence mesh was not to be the end of the story, and an upgrade was needed immediately. In cooperation with the local wood and steel construction companies Georg Auer from Fideris and Markus Patt from TERNO in Küblis, the next version of the solar sauna was developed. This was tested during the lockdown phase in the untouched snowy landscape of the Fideris Heuberge. The pictures of the first steaming solar sauna at 2000 meters above sea level, lonely in the middle of the Swiss Alps, then attracted the attention not only of the international sauna association, but also of the Finnish press from Helsingin Sanomat.
In order to be able to offer the ideal sauna conditions in summer as well, a suitable location had to be found, of course. Sara immediately found an ideal summer location for the sauna. While taking a sauna with a view of the Prättigau mountains and bathing in the cool water of the small Heubergsee, it is easy to relax. Henrik, Urs and Sara then immediately tested this for themselves. Since the summer season, however, the sauna has of course already been open for booking by solar pioneers, and input is welcome from the cosmopolitan solar sauna team at Lytefire Sauna. The two bloggers Kati Niemi and Tarja prüss also immediately secured a sauna ticket, and the two were able to directly testify that a Finnish summer mood also comes up with solar operation.
The solar adventure of the Finnish-Swiss cooperation continues. In mid-July, Henrik and Sara flew to Finland for a family event. Of course, they used this opportunity to meet Eerik, who returned to Tampere, Finland, after his extended HEF stay in Switzerland, and his wife and business partner Eva. They learned that with Switzerland as the first solar sauna location, the Finnish national pride has already been scratched a bit and now, only five months after the HEF, the first locations for larger solar saunas in Finland are already being negotiated. It is still open whether the Finnish or the Swiss faction of the Lytefire Sauna company will win this race for sustainable recreation.
Der optimale Ort für eine Nachhaltige Zukunft