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Pilatus-Bahnen operates the railways, souvenir shops, leisure facilities, hotels and restaurants on the mountain as profit centres. It transports 550,000 people a year, with almost 350,000 of them ascending to the summit.
Some 75 per cent of people come in summer, but visitor frequency in the winter months previously left a lot to be desired. Not because of the icy conditions, but simply because the mountain-top hotel and restaurant no longer met contemporary standards of quality.
André Zimmermann, Managing Director of Pilatus-Bahnen AG, explains: "We started with a master plan to create a modern mountain restaurant. A further, overarching goal was to develop an energy concept for the mountain as a whole. In cooperation with planning expert Urs Jenny (President of ENAK, an Austrian association that sets energy requirements for industrial machines in hotels and restaurants) we developed a state-of-the-art concept that ensures maximum efficiency in all areas.”
Redevelopment ran until July 2011. Water is a valuable resource, especially high in the mountains, so it is essential to use it sparingly. The water supply on Mount Pilatus has to be pumped through the mountain at high pressure and collected in two reservoirs above the hotel, each of which holds 60,000 litres.
The self-service restaurant in the Bellevue Hotel, aimed at hikers looking for a quick bite, installed a M-iQ flight type dishwashing machine: "Buying this new machine has enabled us to save around 10,000 litres of water a year. The M-iQ washes some 1,200 place settings a day – it does an amazing job for such a compact system,” said Urs Jenny.
"Wherever possible we have minimised our water consumption, particularly by employing dishwashing equipment that is designed to save energy and resources."