Green Hotelier’s Green Building Case Studies

Green Hotel Buildings

Green Building Week has been a great opportunity to reflect on how far the world of sustainable buildings and design has come in the last decade.

Whilst washing less towels and throwing things in the right bin remains important, the sector has moved on to bigger picture sustainable initiatives. Design, engineering and construction in the hotel industry is increasingly sophisticated, integrated and accessible, to the benefit of all. Having written about green hotels since 1996, we look back at some of our top case studies:

The Savoy –Retro-fit

One of the most successful hotel retrofits is London’s landmark Savoy hotel, winner of a cluster of green awards and short-listed for the Green Hotel of the Year Award. The Fairmont Hotels & Resorts-managed Grade II-listed hotel re-opened in 2010 after a £220 million refit that incorporated an entire range of 21st-century innovations within its august fabric.

Among the new technologies The Savoy has adopted is a central refrigeration plant with a heat exchanger, which will reclaim the exhaust heat from the kitchen appliances and re-use it to heat water supplies, and a combined heat and power (CHP) plant that provides electricity for the hotel, reducing its reliance on the national grid by approximately 50%. At £2.7m the CHP system certainly wasn’t cheap, but estimates indicate that it should pay back within five years. The hotel is also dispatching food waste and scraps to a biomass-to-energy power plant, which feeds back resulting biofuel to the national grid. By diverting food waste from landfills in this way, the hotel is saving an estimated £22,000 a year, reducing its CO2 emissions by 11 tonnes and generating enough energy to power 20% of the guestroom lights.

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Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel –New Build

In Stockholm, the Rezidor Hotel Group’s Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel and Congress Centre is cooled by water drawn from a lake, which is stored in ice tanks in the basement. During construction, 20,000 sq m of materials were used from the building previously occupying the site. Other sustainable features of the hotel, which opened in January 2011, include glass facades that generate 1MW of heat energy daily, equivalent to 90,000 normal low-energy light bulbs.

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Proximity Hotel, US – Interior Design

The first hotel to achieve the US Green Building Council’s highest Platinum LEED rating, Proximity Hotel in North Carolina, built and operated by Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels, has many sustainable design features including low-emitting VOC paints, adhesives and carpets, and custom-designed furniture, original artwork and shelving made of walnut SkyBlend (particleboard made from 100% post-industrial recycled wood pulp with no added formaldehyde) in guestrooms. The hotel bistro’s bar is built from walnut trees that fell as a result of sickness or storms, and the room-service trays are made of Plyboo (bamboo plywood).

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NH Hotels – Infrastructure

NH Hotels’ ‘Green Rooms’ initiative uses five key drivers to reduce the environmental impact of its bathrooms.  New dispensers of toilet paper and paper towels have been installed to achieve a significant reduction in the amount used. Traditional taps have been replaced with aerators in 77% of hotels and 85% of showers, while dual-flush devices have been installed in 79% of hotels. Its “Agua de la Tierra” range of amenities are packaged in containers made of biodegradable plastic; it contains an additive called polyolefin that breaks down much quicker than normal plastic (between two and seven years). The toilets operate using a flushing system fed from collected rain and shower water, requiring 25% less water than a traditional model. These initiatives, combined with water-saving systems for basins and showers, have seen in-room water consumption fall by 40%.

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If you’re interested in finding out more about building or retro-fitting a hotel along sustainable lines then the International Tourism Partnership is now offering 50% off their acclaimed Siting, Design and Construction Guide for Sustainable Hotels. The publication contains practical and accessible information for anyone involved in the planning or development of hotel accommodation with sustainability in mind.

To purchase a copy and receive 50% click here and enter code SDC12.

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