Thursday, 07 February 2013 08:26

Hospitality’s new, green jacket

Website: Once a luxury for the eco-conscious, deep-pocketed elite, “green” hospitality is finally becoming a mainstream trend.

Much like the trend to “green” residential spaces, employing greener practices in the hospitality industry has become a requirement in more international hotels and holiday destinations.

The constant rise of non-renewable energy costs and carbon tax has started to place significant pressure on tourism service providers, as well as making way for a new breed of traveler with more specified demands. The fact that green practices have started to become a more common demand for many international players in the hospitality industry, especially regarding cleaning and electricity usage, for example, has proven in many cases that these role-players have succeeded in gaining a competitive advantage by implementing these sustainable practices. 

Hotels are adopting green concepts such as energy-efficiency through the utilisation of energy management systems, motion sensors for public areas and the incorporation of LED lighting. Alternative measures include recycling and the reuse of wastewater, which in turn projects positively on hotels’ water saving and their pockets.

The hospitality industry is a giant consumer of resources and products, which is why travelers are increasingly looking towards it as a benchmark for responsible practices.

The grass is greener

South Africa has also jumped on the green bandwagon. The construction of Hotel Verde in Cape Town is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

“Verde” itself means “green” in Italian. Located 500m from the terminal building of Cape Town International Airport, this 143-room, three-star hotel will feature luxurious spacious rooms, services and fittings similar to these of a four-star hotel.

Hotel Verde is registered with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold, a stringent programme spearheaded by the US Green Building Council.  The Green Building Council of South Africa’s Green Star SA does not have a rating tool for hotels yet.

Additionally, the new hotel will have three 17m-high wind turbines, a grey-water recycling system and double-glazed, high-performance windows to optimise solar heat gain and thermal insulation. The hotel’s dishwashers and washing machines will use low energy and very little water consumption. The north-facing roof will be covered with photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, which will help to generate large amounts of power that will go into battery banks. Electric car hire will also be available for guests to travel in and around Cape Town. Free electric shuttles will transport guests to and from the airport terminal building.

For more information, visit www.hotelverde.com.