Hyderabad's luxury hotels go green

From solar panels to energy efficient rooms, here are some eco-friendly practices being observed at Hyderabad's luxury hotels. 

Manju Latha Kalanidhi Published :  02nd June 2017 05:52 PM   |   Published :   |  02nd June 2017 05:52 PM

To many people, the term “responsible luxury” is an oxymoron. Luxury, to the uninformed, is all about opulence followed by wastage. At Indulge, where we’re constantly given to sampling the best of fine dining and the luxe life, we decided, as a pre-cursor to World Environment Day, to look under the hood of luxury hotels and take stock of their carbon footprint. What we found was heartwarming. 
In a world where we have presidents of First World countries who do not recognise climate change and global warming, we were happy to find star hotels that compete with each other to save not just water, heat, and energy, but also allow guests to erase their own carbon footprints by staying with them.
We decided to start with the largest LEED Platinum Certified Hotel in the world – The ITC Grand Chola. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is one of the most popular green building certification programmes used worldwide. 
While ITC Group of Hotels claims to have pioneered the concept of ‘Responsible Luxury’ in the hospitality industry, they have also integrated green practices with indigenous design elements drawn from each hotel’s geographic location, to deliver luxury in an environment-friendly and aesthetically pleasing manner.

Novotel Hyderabad Airport
You can save energy and the environment with a sense of humour, you know. Like Novotel Hyderabad Airport Hotel, with its energy saver tags which say, “This room is not afraid of being in the dark,” thus requesting the guest to switch off the lights when not required and thus conserve energy. Walking the talk is the staff at the lobby who nudge the little ones stuck to their iPad screens with a “Hey kiddo, why don’t you set aside that screen and take a ride on the bicycle around the property?” From recycling leftover soaps of guest rooms and distributing it to the underprivileged kids to installing sensor taps in all staff washrooms, Novotel Hyderabad Airport hotel believes it is little drops that make the ocean. The Accor Hotel, as a part of its global programme called ActingHerePlanet21, has been celebrating environment by planting trees, supporting women and children of multiple NGOs. Says General Manager Ravi Khubchandani, “We use energy-efficient lighting throughout the property, treat waste water at the sewerage treatment plant and reuse it for landscaping through the sprinkler system. We have a water treatment plant which converts waste water to usable form,” he adds. The hotel also sources its basic herbs and vegetables from its little kitchen garden.

Hyatt Hyderabad Gachibowli
Hyatt Hyderabad Gachibowli believes that environmental consciousness, like charity, begins at home. The 166-room hotel built on a 16-acre land and surrounded by a luscious landscape and some of the oldest rocks of Hyderabad believes that the best way is to get everyone in the hotel, including the guests, involved in saving the environment. Says General Manager Gopinath Gopalan, “While we refresh the linen every two days, we also hand over a small reusable card to all our guests which  states that should the guests not require the towels changed, they may hang them on the bathroom rails or hooks.” Such initiatives go a long way in saving water and other resources. The hotel has water flow restrictors installed in the taps, resulting in saving four litres of water per minute. They have added pebbles to WC Cistern tanks resulting in saving three litres of water per flush. “We have timers installed for external lighting so that they are switched off without fail,” says Gopalan. The greenery around keeps the surroundings cooler than other areas, removing concrete radiation, hence reducing the air-conditioning load, he adds.

Taj Krishna
Taj Krishna takes the environment seriously, just the way it should. No token gestures for them. So the 260-room hotel on nine acres has put in a lot of man hours into root cause analysis to find gaps on where there could be wastage. Be it cleaning of the cooling tower every fortnight, descaling of the chiller condenser every quarter, descaling of the boiler every six months, the hotel has a dedicated team that looks into maintenance to ensure zero wastage. No wonder the hotel won the 14th National Award for Excellence in Energy Management 2013 from Confederation of Indian Industry. Says K Mohanchandran, General Manger of Taj Krishna, “Even something small and mundane like the servicing of gas burners and timely replacement can help us save fuel and in turn, help reduce pollution and wastage of resources.” Investments in replacement of solar panels have started yielding returns. Operational cost reduction for us has only been done through the introduction of new energy efficient products like LEDs, he adds.  The hotel also follows its protocol in briefing the guests about how they can together save power, water and resources. 

Vivanta By Taj, Begumpet 
If you are a guest at Vivanta by Taj, you get to set your footprint on the sands of time by planting a sapling in the hotel premises. Says Srinivas Lahiri, General Manager fo the hotel, “It’s called the ‘Micro Green’ concept for all long stayers. The hotel horticulture team jots down a list of long stayers in our hotel daily and accordingly places a pot of soil along with some seeds with a set of instructions on how to plant the seeds. This initiative is mainly kept for single travellers who come back to their room alone. So it’s basically to offer ‘natural’ company when they are back home from their hard day’s work. The guest would feel touched watching the seeds sprout grow into green.” The hotel follows all other measures such as saving of power through the installation of sensors, French windows to usher in light and cut down the usage of lights. “We also celebrated the Earth Hour on March 25 with all the guests of the hotel,” adds Lahiri, while explaining how the environment is part of their core philosophy.  “To keep the mosquitoes away from the property, we found a natural way without using pesticides. Planting lemon grass around the property helped us to reduce mosquito complaints in and around the property,” adds Lahiri.

Park Hyatt Hyderabad
Eco-friendly,  cost effective and sustainable are not just hashtags to be used on the World Environment Day, but concepts to be followed 365 days a year, believes Park Hyatt Hyderabad. Says Suresh Kumar, Director of Engineering, at the hotel, “Although we are situated in the heart of the city, the number of trees planted around the building constitutes 33 per cent of the building area. We’ve replaced high energy consumption incandescent lamps (40w) with Low energy consumption LED lamps (03w) in the guest rooms and this contributes to a saving of 92.5 per cent of energy cost.”  Kumar says the hotel has invested in technology that saves intuitively. Be it light dimmers in guest rooms, public areas and restaurants, water taps with aerators in all guest rooms or implementing an effective hot water and steam condensate return system to pre-heat the boiler feed water and for heating up the hot water, they tick it off all in their list. The five-year-old hotel with 209 rooms says that it also directs treated sewage water for irrigation and HVAC (heating, ventilating and an air-conditioning cooling tower used to dispose of unwanted heat from a chiller).

360-degree environmental awareness at ITC Kakatiya
We, at ITC Kakatiya, follow the concept of ‘Locavore’, where the produce is sourced no further than a 100-mile radius beginning from the threshold. We also encourage our vendors to embrace 100 per cent organic cultivation of every ingredient. We practise the culinary initiative of ‘Sattva’ which has come to be known as ‘Honestly Vegetarian,’ not just in the palate, but right from the source through the food trail path. As part of our culinary initiative titled ‘Choose Wisely’ with the Central Marine Fisheries Research, we make sure we don’t lead a particular species to extinction through consumption. The kitchens at the ITC Kakatiya is responsible when it comes to disposal of leftovers through proper channels of garbage segregation in forms of food/flower waste, non-biodegradable-recyclable, non-biodegradable-non-recyclable, draws a sense of pride, unsurpassed.
- Paul Noronha, Executive Chef, ITC Kakatiya.