Essipit: an energy-efficient shift to improve the tourist experience

On the outskirts of the magnificent Saguenay-Saint-Laurent Marine Park, in the Innu community of Essipit in Quebec, a 30-year-old ecotourism company is using more efficient solar panels to meet the growing needs of its customers.

Vacances Essipit, which offers a wide variety of activities and tourist stays says their clients are looking for comfort and convenience as well as a beautiful natural setting.

View from one of the rustic cottages facing St. Lawrence River. Credit: Mer et Monde écotours

"One of the expectations of our customers here is peace, tranquility, observation and contemplation. So for us, solar energy was the only option, we just had to improve it," said David Bédard, director of operations at Mer et monde ecotours, Vacances Essipit.

So the community decided to modernize its accommodation units while ensuring that their rustic appearance was preserved.

One of the new solar panels.
Credit: Mer et Monde écotours

Their old solar panels did not provide enough electricity for all the components of the cottages. The new panels save energy, particularly propane, and reduce the environmental impact as well as the need for maintenance of the installations.

Thanks to the increase in energy capacity, visitors will soon be able to enjoy some of the facilities during the winter.

"Following the installation of solar systems in the cottages, we received several positive comments from our customers, including the fact that we are making a transition to more "renewable" energy. These installations also allowed us to purchase electric refrigerators and install solar lighting inside the cottages, which is greatly appreciated by customers,"said Guillaume Moreau. Director at Pourvoiries Essipit.

Vacances Essipit currently manages 5 outfitters and several sites, including Mer et monde Écotours, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. On this site, with its spectacular scenery, visitors can enjoy the beauty of the river while camping, or in one of the 8 rustic cottages built on the water's edge. The site also offers whale-watching sea kayaking excursions and paddleboarding courses on the river.

For this project, Vacances Essipit had the financial support of Indigenous Services Canada, as part of the Quebec's Green Initiative, which is co-managed with Canada Economic Development.

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