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Meluha – The Fern: keeping a finger on the sustainability button

Winning an award at the Green Hotel Conference [1]

Mr Param Kannampilly, MD of The Fern Hotel & Resorts, honouring Ngo Rur at the 2nd Annual Green Hotel Conference, Meluha

In India, Meluha-The Fern is a five star environmentally responsible business hotel in the heart of Hiranandani Gardens - Powai, Mumbai.

In the space of three years, the hotel has gained recognition in both National and International arenas with 30 awards including Today’s Traveler Award - Best Environmentally Friendly Hotel; Golden Peacock Eco-Innovation Award; CMO Asia-Best Premium Business Hotel etc.

The hotel has 141 carefully designed guest rooms that reflect modern Indian sensibility, and two restaurants. The hotel also has one of the largest indoor meeting and banquet facilities, making it a preferred choice for business and family events.

Meluha-The Fern [2]is the first property in the word to receive a LEED Gold- New Building (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) and be named an Ecotel Certified Hotel. The Gold certified building design includes state-of-the-art architecture, sustainable systems and technologies. Ecotel Certification enables the hotel to be more sustainable by reducing the environmental impact of day-to-day operations; becoming financially more viable and socially responsible.

The Fern Hotels & Resorts [3]believes that responsible luxury is not an oxymoron. They work to ensure that every operation is in complete harmony with the natural world. Sustainability considerations are a part of their daily lives and they are committed and passionate about serving guests and the environment.

They endeavour to take responsibility for the Earth resources they use. As well as being cautious about how and what they use, they ensure maximum reuse and recycling of resources.

Their commitment has been substantiated a significant reduction in resource consumption and by the heightened environmental sensitivity of employees and the community relationships they have cultivated.                                                                                                                                 

What are the most exciting sustainable initiatives at the hotel?

The green building uses a high efficiency heating and cooling system, cool roof system, energy efficient lighting, rain water harvesting systems, low-flow taps and flushes, etc. Our waste management practices of segregation and implementation of reduce-reuse-recycle measures ensure our solid waste diversion rate is 99.4% *

Meluha-The Fern is also ranked No. 1* in the country in the total water reuse rate since recycled water is used for flushing, cooling towers, irrigation, etc.

We are driven towards creating responsible environment stewards through interactive training modules, innovative team building activities, and community events. At Meluha-The Fern, Sustainability is not merely a philosophy, but a way of life.

*HVS Environmental Resource Consumption benchmarking survey

List all your sustainable initiatives under each category:

A brief description of Meluha-The Fern's Environment Programme.

Energy & Carbon                                              

Materials & Resource Management

97.48% of construction waste has been diverted from landfills. The list of materials diverted include steel scrap, packaging materials, broken hollow blocks, tiles, glass, wooden scrap, plumbing and plaster waste. Most of the materials used in construction was obtained locally, supporting the regional economy and reducing environmental impacts resulting from transportation.

Energy Management

At Meluha The Fern, we try our best to ensure every unit of energy is put to use. Energy management designs and systems enlisted below have been integrated into the hotel to ensure optimum utilisation of energy.

Waste Management

Water                                                          

Meluha-The Fern, has employed various techniques to conserve and preserve water [6].

Water consumption is reduced at source through low-flow fixtures and efficient toilets.

Indoor Environmental Air Quality          

Meluha - The Fern [7]

Meluha - The Fern

 

Pure Rooms :

While adhering to the highest level of indoor air quality standards, we now offer our guests a new option of Pure Rooms.

19 rooms of Meluha have been certified as Pure Rooms by New York based Pure Solutions.These rooms give our guests the luxury of breathing in a room that is 99 per cent pollution-free. These rooms have been through a patented, 7-step purification process which treats every surface, including the air, removing up to 99% of pollutants to help the guest breathe easy and rest peacefully. The air-purification system protects the guests from air-borne irritants, and eliminates odours at the source, leaving the room feeling fresh and clean. The unique, hypoallergenic mattress and pillow encasements provides soft, breathable coverings for further protection. Carpets, upholstery and all other surfaces are deep cleaned and specially treated. A rigorous maintenance procedure is followed to keep the Pure Rooms allergy-friendly.

Education & Training                                          

We at Meluha The Fern believe our environment is unique and is the legacy our future generations inherit, therefore it is our prime responsibility to protect it. This belief is not only in thought, but is also exemplified in word and deeds.

In our endeavour to conserve our planet, we relentlessly strive to create a paradigm shift towards sustainable thinking by transfer of knowledge and delivering significant societal value through education programmes and community activities.

Our team of employees are the backbone of our environment programme. Hence we are committed to instilling a spirit of environmentalism through a dynamic and interactive training programme.

Employee Orientation/Induction and Training

Green Team

Events and Community                                

Employee Engagement Activities

Activities with an environmental theme are regularly conducted to spread awareness, empower employees to showcase vocational talent, encourage camaraderie and most importantly celebrate togetherness. Past activities include poster competitions, eco quiz competitions, Wealth from Waste competition, interactive workshops, Eco Antakshari competition etc.

Community Activities

Well publicised ECO events / initiatives / campaigns / information and resources are organised from time to time to involve citizens and enable the practice of more environmentally conscious, economically sustainable, and socially responsible lifestyles and business pursuits. Some past events include Cycle Rally on Car Free Day, Clean-up Drive at Powai Lake after the Ganesh immersion, Vermiculture demos to citizens, switching off non-essential lights during Earth Hour, educating guests about the environment practices followed in the hotel, Eco Ganesha Competitions, environmental awareness with students.

School children are invited to the hotel and educated about the environment-friendly practices followed at the hotel. We assist them with projects as well as practices they can implement at home.

Our Area General Manager-Mr Punish Sharma - an avid environmentalist - also presents our best environment practices at several seminars, colleges, knowledge exchange forums etc. across the country.

All communication and marketing material of the hotel specifically mentions our commitment to the environment.

Advanced Locality Management

The ALM is an identified composite or a locality, the residents and users of which have committed to improving the quality of life in close co-operation and collaboration with the M.C.G.M.

Meluha-The Fern initiated and formed the first ALM (Advance Locality Management programme) in the Hiranandani Township in collaboration with Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. It was set up on World Environment Day-5th June 2011. The ALM members are from the neighbourhood (societies, corporate & malls). The main objective of the ALM is waste management.

All the above initiatives assist us in creating transformational change and deliver significant societal value.

The milestones achieved by Meluha The Fern prove that Responsible Luxury is not an oxymoron. The best practices implemented by Meluha The Fern can be replicated by other businesses to potentially drive change in the current state of the environment, even as they generate economic wealth.

What have been the main benefits of implementing these green initiatives?

Going green has tangible and intangible benefits. The operational expenses are greatly reduced for hotels that strongly implement green initiatives. While the capital expenses will be relatively higher, the savings on a monthly basis on operational costs helps provide an impetus to the bottom line. Intangible benefits include conservation of the environment; motivated employees that experience pride at work; enhanced customer loyalty; stronger relationships with communities and regulatory bodies; and a trusted brand image.

Do you have plans to expand on green initiatives in the future?

Yes. Along with employing resource and emission reduction measures on-site, we are looking forward to giving our guests an opportunity to calculate and offset their individual stay greenhouse gas emissions / carbon footprint.

What would be your top three bits of advice to hotels looking to do the same?

  1. Identify and review the impact your business has on the environment. You can only reduce, what you can measure [8].
  2. Engrave sustainability in the culture and corporate DNA of the organisation. Involve all the employees. You cannot do it alone.
  3. External certification agencies and consultants have specialised knowledge and experience in sustainability. Ask for help when you need it.