Klaus Förtsch, Eco-idealist in the Hotel Industry

Previously ridiculed by the media as a “green weirdo” and later recognized as a pioneer for his environmental management, Klaus Förtsch consistently and unwaveringly pursued his path as an excellent eco-pioneer in the hotel industry for decades. The hotelier of the Hotel Luise was a host with heart and soul and an environmentally conscious person throughout his life.
Memories of the former managing director Klaus Förtsch † December 27, 2018

Memories of one of the first “awarded” environmental activists

Back in the 1980s, when environmental awareness and the eco-movement were still in their infancy, Klaus Förtsch set his own visionary standards in terms of environmental friendliness. His 1985 ride in the rickshaw – emission-free – with his wife Gudrun to the altar will never be forgotten. Back in 1993, he zipped around Erlangen in the hotel’s own electric vehicle, picked up his son Ben from kindergarten and consistently focused on environmentally friendly hotel operations – far away from single-use packaging or plastic waste. With investments in solar energy, rainwater harvesting and thermal insulation, he was always one step ahead of his time.

When Bavaria, as a nationwide pioneer, launched the “Environmentally Conscious Hotel and Restaurant Business” campaign together with the Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) in 1991, his ambition was awakened: Klaus Förtsch wanted to be the first to take part. And he was rewarded: from 1991 until today, the Hotel Luise’s commitment to “environmentally conscious hotel and restaurant operations” has been regularly awarded the gold medal from the Bavarian Ministries of Economics and the Environment. Klaus Förtsch lived his green dream with body and soul: an image with symbolic power of him taking a hot tub on the hotel roof in 1996. The hotel’s new solar thermal system provided the necessary thermal energy. Since 1997, he has been tirelessly committed to climate and environmental protection as an “environmental pact participant from the very beginning” in the “Bavarian Environmental Pact”. The Hotel Luise was the first hotel in all of Bavaria to be validated by the EC eco-audit in 1998. Many other awards and recognitions for climate protection followed.

Family man, team player, role model and thought leader in the hotel family

His actions were characterized by love and appreciation for his family, his guests, employees and suppliers. As a host, it was important to him to offer his hotel guests a second home. He also liked to play Santa Claus every year. He maintained the biotope garden of the city hotel as a gem. Blooming landscapes and buzzing bees should be at home in his city hotel. Permanent employees, regional craftsmen, local natural materials in the guest rooms with an eco pass, a regional organic breakfast buffet and the use of green electricity combined with maximum resource efficiency were important to him.

Every era has its ideas: Green living culture in Circular Hotel Rooms

Climate-neutral overnight stays have been available at the Hotel Luise since 2010. For hotelier Klaus Förtsch, it was important to prove environmental friendliness with numbers: He used the purchase of green electricity in addition to energy efficiency measures as a lever to reduce the C02 consumption of the entire hotel operation. Using the “CO2 footprint,” the hotelier had remaining climate-damaging emissions measured by certifier Viabono GmbH and compensated for through reforestation projects. For Klaus Förtsch, sustainability always meant thinking in generations. In 2014, he handed over active management to his son Ben Förtsch at an early stage. Inspired by the eco-pioneer spirit, Ben Förtsch, alongside the senior manager, led the Hotel Luise into the future according to the rules of sustainable corporate management. The vision: the Circular Hotel Room. Green and creative living culture combined with healthy sleep. Implemented on the basis of new environmental technologies in accordance with the “Cradle to Cradle principle”.

Several construction phases have accompanied the renovation and expansion of the Erlanger hotel since 2015. Christmas 2018 was the topping-out ceremony for the newly built roof terrace. Klaus Förtsch enthusiastically controlled the crane, with whose help an Alpine pine was planted 15 meters above the roofs of Erlangen. A widely visible symbol of climate protection in the green city hotel. Just six days later, Klaus Förtsch died after a long illness, but not less surprisingly, in his beloved home, the Hotel Luise. From now on, the Alpine pine reminds us of Klaus Förtsch. He is missed and will not be forgotten: a loving family man, a warm host and an inspiring eco-pioneer who lived his green dream with enthusiasm and drive.

Klaus Förtsch’s green dream lives on in the hotel family

Through his personal convictions and his warm manner, Klaus Förtsch infected the entire hotel family with his mindfulness towards nature and its resources. The award-winning hotel has even been certified “climate-positive” since 2015 and is considered a lighthouse project in sustainable tourism. “Our thoughts are with my father Klaus Förtsch, who died far too early at the age of 64. For me and the Luise team he was an inspiring role model. We will lead the green dream into the future in his spirit,” said Ben Förtsch in memory of the eco-idealist in the hotel industry.