Marienbad reinvents itself as a green spa city
Posted on April, 19th 2018.
"In the big jade castle, in the heart of your labyrinth... - do you remember it? Those were the nostalgic accents heard as Barbara sang "Marienbad" (in German), or Marianske Lazne (in Czech).
Since the end of the 18th century and the creation of the first spa by Dr Johann Josef Nehr, Bohemia’s spa town has established 100 healing springs - including 40 in the town - which come up in the Tepla and Ohre river valleys and are loaded with minerals and carbon dioxide.
With its thermal parks, romantic colonnades, leading Art Nouveau hotels and luxurious spas, the city attracts almost 250,000 domestic and foreign tourists a year - they come to enjoy its beneficial waters and treat their respiratory, cardiac and neurological conditions. Set at 600 meters, Marienbad used to host an international jet-set who came to "take the waters" - including illustrious guests such as Goethe, Chopin and Edward VII.
Now a place for relaxation, well-being and sport, this charming little town, nestled between the mountains and forests, continues its history in the water meadows and protected forest in Slavkov. An expanse of forest that encouraged local authorities to make the future of the city a green one. And it is primarily thanks to a district heating system that Marienbad was able to begin to realize its ambition to become a green spa city.
Biomasse power plant
Veolia installed a biomass plant to supply the city with district heating and electricity. Carbon neutral, the biomass comes from the residues of nearby forestry operations in the Slavkov woods. A total of about 32,000 tonnes a year of residue - forest waste, stumps and wood processing by-products.
Recovered as energy, the residues reduce CO2 emissions (around 14,000 tonnes of CO2 avoided each year) while simultaneously lowering customers' energy bills. For the many hotels, health centers and spas in the city, there are significant savings to be had.
70% of the energy in Marienbad is now produced from renewable sources - about 240,000 GJ of heat and 5,500 Mwhe / year of electricity. The result is environmentally friendly district heating, more warmth for 33,000 households (40%) and a secure green supply for care facilities and hotels in the city (60%).
Operated by Veolia, the heat and power production and distribution chain has reduced fossil fuel costs, secured supplies, reduced energy costs and created sustainable jobs. Arguments that undoubtedly add to the undeniable charm of this site, which is one of eleven European thermal towns that have applied to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2018.
Biomass represents 63% of primary renewable energy production in the European Union, leading renewable energy sources ahead of solar, hydro and wind power.