Responsible luxury: How green is your hotel
To many, 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.
Water wonderful world
To begin, ITC Grand Chola generates its own drinking water. While it does stock the Evians, Perriers and Pellegrinos, the hotel very seriously promotes its own brand of water, SunyaAqua. According to the hotel’s Senior Executive Chef Ajit Bangera, “This is done to reduce the use of plastic and to nullify the
transport of water. Our own in-house distillery produces zero-mile artisanal water which can be compared with any of the luxury water brands available. It’s also served in recyclable water bottles, which brings the use of plastic with regard to drinking water to zero.”
If making one’s own water is not something to be overly impressed by, you might want to consider the fact that they also produce their own electricity. “All our electricity needs are met through renewable sources and wind farms in Coimbatore,” confirms Chief Engineer N Ramamoorthy. “Six windmills, each producing 2.1 MW, fulfill all of the Grand Chola’s energy requirements.”
Considering the size of the hotel, one can only imagine the amount of electricity required to keep the air-conditioning going, not to mention the amount of water required to run the place, what with the hotel running to its full capacity of 600 rooms for most of the year.
Then, there’s the food waste that needs to be considered. None of this seems to add up as you sit in a plush lobby.
Tender loving core
To get to the bottom of it all, you need to enter what is called, the “Heart of the Hotel”.
This secret zone is situated several levels below the hotel lobby, and as you descend into its core, you realise that there’s more depth to a luxury hotel than just the three levels of basement parking that you normally see.
We’re first taken to the water treatment plant. High pressure air is blown into waste water collected in large tanks, allowing the cleansing bacteria to feast on oxygen and do their job faster. This water is then treated again till it becomes usable and the hotel is proud to tell us that 100 per cent of all of their irrigation, flushing and cooling tower requirements are met by this treated water.
The hotel also boasts a programmable Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system called the Hartmann Loop. We’re told that this increases efficiency of the air-conditioning system by 20 per cent.
While all this slowly begins to make sense, we’re hit with more interesting sustainable features — the roof is a combination of green roofing, reflective paints, and high SRI (Solar Reflective Index) finish on the domes to reduce thermal gradient differences after sunlight hours; over 40 per cent of the building materials are comprised of materials manufactured and extracted within 800 km; and over 50 per cent of the wood products used in the hotel are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified.
Eats, saves and leaves
We’re still wrapping our heads around all this, when we’re shown their organic waste converter, which makes manure out of food waste. This in-house process completes a task that normally takes upto three months in the matter of a mere seven days. Ramamoorthy elaborates, “Almost 100 per cent of all solid waste is either recycled or reused.”
Back (up) at the hotel’s ground level, we’re informed by Chef Bangera about their sustainable initiatives with regard to food. “While over 70 per cent of our food is locavore, we also promote extensively what we call Local Love. This is a selection of indigenous flavours where the food hasn’t travelled too much to reach the plate.” They also have the “One Bite Wonders”, which are chef-crafted appetisers that both fill you and make you desist from leaving even a tidbit back on the plate.
The ITC Group of Hotels is also India’s first participant in the WWF’s Choose Wisely Programme aimed at promoting informed choices on fish consumption. “We work with the Department of Fisheries to source fish that are available in plenty, and not put on the table a variety that’s rare or endangered,” adds Chef Bangera. What’s more, if you haven’t got enough pointers on right living, you just might be saving some serious carbon footprints the next time you drop by. It’s time to go green!
The Westin Chennai Velachery
The good folks at Westin have a goal in mind when it comes to their eco-friendly sustainability practices, one of which is to meet the ‘30-20 by 20’ policy. Elaborating, Debopriyo Sen, Director of Sales and Marketing, says, “Our focus is on 30 per cent reduction in energy and 20 per cent reduction in water consumption by the year 2020.” Set in the heart of Velachery, Westin does have green spaces replete with a cascading waterfall and a lotus pond at the lobby, and their pest control, Sen says, is one that is ‘natural’. “We avoid using chemical pesticides, and use natural methods of pest control like neem and kerosene mix instead.” If you’re ever organising an event at Westin, be sure to participate in their ‘Carbon Offset Program’, advises Sen. “We encourage those who are conducting corporate events or weddings to make a donation to an environmental cause of their choice. That way, guests can offset the carbon footprint caused due to conducting their event,” he adds. Whereas, if you’re a short-stay guest, you could stand to win a $5 discount or 500 reward points by simply opting out of getting your room serviced during the course of your stay.
Here’s a little fun fact —did you know that Taj Coromandel too generates its own electricity? Area Director of Taj Chennai and the General Manager of Taj Coromandel, Saleem Yousuff proudly states, “We generate our own electricity through windmills wheeled through the TNEB grid and used in our hotel. As a group, we are committed to creating a cleaner and greener environment, and Taj Coromandel was one of the early luxury hotels in Chennai to have a rainwater harvesting system in place.” That apart, the hotel has plenty of eco-friendly practices and a reasonable green cover too, which we’re told is entirely irrigated on a daily basis using water that has been treated in sewage treatment plants and reused. “In addition to adhering to the norms of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for hazardous waste and storage disposal, the hotel is also committed to clean practices such as connecting the exhaust system from the kitchens to a wet scrubber, which removes pollutants responsible for acid rain (nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide) before it is released into the air,” explains Yousuff.
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
Drive by TTK Road at night, and you’ll be sure to see the twinkle of lights from the ‘tower wing’ of the hotel, which was launched a few months ago. They aren’t just a pretty sight against the cityscape, as “80 per cent of it is powered by LED bulbs, thereby minimising energy consumption,” says Arindam Kunar, the hotel’s General Manager. Certification-wise, Crowne Plaza is certified with the ISO 14001-2004 environmental management programme, which means they have some great sustainable initiatives in place, including sanitary fixtures installed with low water flow regulators to minimise water consumption, sewage treatment plants, timers and dimmer controls for lighting as well as air conditioning. Ask Arindam about what guests can do to contribute to their green practices and he says, “There are tent cards placed in the rooms to encourage them to reuse their towels during their stay to minimise the water consumption of washing. The rest is on us.”
Holiday Inn Chennai OMR IT Expressway
If you're ever visiting Holiday Inn Chennai OMR IT Expressway, look out for little cards in your room that encourage you to participate in the hotel's green policy. “There is a little card in every room that needs to be placed on the bed in case the guests want their bed linen changed,” says Shipra Sumbly Kaul, the General Manager at the hotel. “Our focus right from the start has been reducing carbon emission and electricity consumption in addition to proper waste and water management practices,” she adds. The group is also a firm believer of educating their staff on sustainability which is why there are regular orientation programmes and employee events conducted. For instance, this Environment Day, there is a ‘Wealth from Waste’ contest being organised, informs Shipra. “Like the name suggests, it is a DIY activity and we are eager to see the creative side of our employees,” she says. Smokers should watch out, for the hotel is completely smoke-free, save for one floor, “and those found smoking in restricted areas are likely to be fined,” cautions Shipra.
InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort
The idyllic setting of this luxury resort makes it perfect for a destination beach wedding. But InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort is much more than that. General Manager Vijai Singh informs us that the resort is architecturally designed in a way that makes it environmentally efficient. “Simply put, the common areas and corridors are designed to tap into natural lighting during the day. While the bedrooms and living rooms are well placed to reduce heating and cooling load,” Singh adds, pointing to the long, open walkways around which the rooms are designed. In addition to water treatment plants, rainwater harvesting and energy conservation methods (CFL fixtures and LED lights with sensors) are in place all around the property. If you’re ever a guest, check out their eco-friendly laundry and shopping bags made of newspaper, provided in all the rooms, as a part of their green initiatives.
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 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.
CGH Earth’s stunning heritage property does not compromise on opulence to minimise its carbon trail. At this 30-acre backwater island, accessible only by boat, guests will be treated to abundant green vistas from their transplanted 19th-century bungalows and mansions. “To spread the word about this fading Vembanadu biosphere, we encourage our patrons, especially children, to join us on a guided journey through the largest wetland eco-system in India, with emphasis on introducing its indigenous flora and fauna,” says general manager Samboo G. Having amassed dozens of international, national and state-level awards in eco-tourism, Coconut Lagoon’s list of eco-conservation initiatives can fill a five-page document! They range from: a two-acre rainwater harvesting plant (which is their only source of water); biomass digester (produces chemical-free fertilisers); sewage water plant (which processes 1,00,000 litres every day used for gardening) and a weekly plastic eradication programme to clean-up the neighbouring grama-panchayat. Heritage bungalows from Rs 10,670 onwards. Details: 0484 3011711
Uravu Bamboo Grove
Located on the outskirts of the picturesque Thrikkaipetta village and surrounded by rice fields, Uravu Bamboo Grove is a defunct quarry re-designed by an Indian-Swiss architects collective called IN:CH. Constructed by locals, the innovatively-planned accommodations are built using environment-friendly materials like palm, bamboo and mud. This community-oriented retreat has eco-consciousness etched into its very heart. Besides using hyperlocally-sourced organic vegetables and solar energy wherever possible, sustainable practices at the resort also include rainwater harvesting, pineapple bio-fencing and waste segregation. “Tourism is only one aspect of what we do. We are heavily involved in community development (supporting 100 families) and employment generation via bamboo crafts,” explains general manager Sivaraj Thekkayil. He adds that, beyond going on nature walks, tea tours or participating in low-energy cooking classes, their patrons are also encouraged to support these artisans who can literally ‘make anything on request’ by sourcing materials from their sustainable bamboo nursery, which boasts of over 40 different species. Bamboo cottages from `3,500 onwards. Details: wandertrails.com/experiential-stays
Banasura Hill Resorts
This 35-acre retreat is an eco-architectural marvel. Using the concept of vernacular construction, the resort is built entirely of mud excavated out from the very site that it stands on. Banasura is designed by renowned architect Eugene Pandala and is possibly Asia’s largest ‘earth’ resort. In an attempt to reduce its already minuscule carbon footprint, the property now crafts furniture only with fallen wood and has a 40kW solar power system that completely powers their kitchen. Set at an altitude of 3,200 feet in the cloud-kissed ranges of Wayanad, this coffee-tea-pepper farm is ideal for travellers looking for an enriching green break. If patrons don’t want to lounge around in their rustic mud rooms—which negates the need for air-conditioning even during the summer’s peak—they can trek up Chembra peak to learn about local flora/fauna or connect with the Kurichiya tribe.“Though we currently obtain vegetables from the adjacent tribals, we’re currently working on being completely self-sustained by cultivating our own produce,” states corporate general manager Rajesh Vijayan. Earth rooms from Rs 8,000 onwards. Details: 9539701354
This jungle getaway is hidden deep inside foggy hills garbed in green, amidst an ethereal union of caves, streams and waterfalls. Since it’s situated on a 150-acre stretch of the Western Ghats rainforest—part of UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites—Vythiri Resort is very particular about its carbon footprint. “We’ve only converted 35-acres into the resort—including our own organic garden which provides 60 per cent of our sustenance—rest of the rainforest remains untouched. We also do not divert the three waterfalls and streams which run through our property, as it affects the ecological balance,” claims corporate general manager Mathew V. Besides being an award-winning responsible tourism haven—as it promotes biodiversity, Kerala’s Ayurvedic heritage and tribal crafts—the retreat is renowned amongst those seeking the solitude of tree houses. Built by members of indigenous tribes with sustainably-sourced bamboo materials and zero nails, the 80-feet-high solar-powered abodes utilise natural spring water which flows down from the surroundings hills. Tree houses from Rs 18,000 onwards. Details: 9387555250
Munnar’s been hogging headlines for all the wrong reasons recently. From illegal encroachments to 11-kilometre-long uphill traffic jams during the weekends, the once-idyllic tea plantation town is quickly morphing into a traveller’s nightmare. But, every cloud has a silver lining, and here it appears in the form of a nine-room boutique resort called Ecotones Camps. Nestled in the foothills of a tribal hamlet called Muthuvankudi—almost 22 kilometres away from Munnar’s maddening crowd—this eco-friendly property is considered to be a must-visit for patrons who are naturalists and bird watchers because the local guides have spotted and documented 136 species of birds so far! “We firmly believe that sustainability should include economy, communities and the environment,” shares general manager Rajeev Krishna. They adhere to this by following a strict ‘no-plastics’ policy, treating groundwater in-house for consumption, using only low-energy lighting, hiring/training locals as staff and serving only regionally-sourced, farm-fresh fare within their reed-leaf thatched cottages. Ethnic mud houses for Rs 8,400 onwards. Details: 9846667116
Located in the vicinity of Cubbon Park, this hotel takes inspiration from its environs to be involved in numerous green initiatives. The lobby, with its vertical gardens is naturally ventilated and cooled by winds, while the public areas in the hotel are designed in such a way that they use maximum daylight. The lighting too falls in line with their aim to be more sustainable with CFL and LED fixtures and the use of solar energy for outdoor lighting. “We also pride ourselves on our use of eco-conscious products such as 100 percent biodegradable cleaning supplies, toiletries made with organically grown oils and water from natural springs, organic cotton bathrobes and allergen-free mattress and pillow protectors,” says Amaan Kidwai, General Manager. The entire hotel uses solar-generated steam and hot water, and they also have an air conditioning system that automatically adjusts to the weather, ensuring reduced consumption of energy. For electricity, the hotel depends on 100 percent renewable wind energy from various locations close to the city and the wood used for the interiors is Forest Stewardship Council Certified (FSCC). This essentially means that the wood is not taken from natural forests but from trees grown specifically for this purpose. It’s no surprise then that the hotel was given the highest rating for green buildings in the world — the LEED India Platinum Rating, apart from the Sustainable Hotel Awards for their contributions under the category, Sustainable Project Design, at the annual HICAP (Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific).
The Taj West End
Set on the busy Race Course Road, The Taj West End is synonymous with luxury. The hotel, with over 30 years of history, has its own set of green practices that range from continuously reducing their energy consumption through energy audits to steering clear of chemical fertilisers and using 100 per cent recycled water for irrigating their gardens. Aside from this, they also make use of their kitchen excess as manure for their landscape and neem, ground and gingelly oil cakes are used to enhance soil fertility. The premises also serves as an oasis for those seeking to spend some time close to nature, with 15 acres of flora and fauna. The property includes 500 different species of trees and shrubs, including rain trees. Having reduced their energy consumption by 75,647,509MJ (equal to running 3,175 four-person households for 12 months) and their emission production by 7,648,249 kg CO2-e (equal to taking 2,566 cars off the road), the hotel has received a Gold Certification accreditation.
The Leela Palace
Entering the premises of The Leela Palace Bengaluru is sure to transport you to another place, far removed from all the dirt and grime of Old Airport Road, where it is located. The hotel, started by CP Krishnan Nair, back in 1986 ensures that no plastic is used and there is no generation of hazardous waste. The building is also equipped with a management system that monitors and controls energy wastage, sewage treatment plants and drip irrigation system for gardens and lawns to save water. Powered by renewable wind energy of 6 MW, the hotel boasts rooms fitted with energy-saving and occupancy-monitoring devices. Even the external lighting and heat ventilation systems are connected to automatic timers to reduce the consumption of energy. Last year, the hotel won the National Energy Conservation Award in the five-star hotel sector.
Overlooking MG Road, The Oberoi Bangalore boasts its own sewage treatment plant, which recycles water that irrigates the gardens. Recently, they switched to incandescent bulbs in rooms and public areas. These bulbs consume lesser energy and don’t emit too much heat. Even their power is generated through a wind turbine, which considerably lowers their carbon footprint, and thereby that of their guests. Other green practices at the hotel include usage of environment-friendly cleaning agents, creating compost out of vegetable waste and working with NGOs that collect remnants of used soaps to make new ones, which are distributed free to people living in slums.
Radisson Blu Atria
Located diagonally behind the powerhouse of Karnataka, the Vidhana Soudha, is Radisson Blu Atria on the Palace Road. Formally launched in March earlier this year, the hotel with 167 rooms is attempting to cut down its carbon footprint with various initiatives. Since the time they opened doors, the entire hotel has been installed with 100 per cent LED lighting. The 6,800 CFL helps in reducing electricity consumption significantly. Apart from this, the hotel has planted 900 new varieties of plants in the last three months with a special focus on growing leafy, shade-giving trees.
The Residency Towers
The Residency Towers makes use of wind power to generate the hotel’s electricity. With the help of double utility heat exchangers, the heat generated by the air conditioners in the hotel rooms, is in turn used to heat up water for the bathrooms. A sewage treatment plant has also been installed in the hotel, as part of their water waste management system. With the help of a bio-digester, the biodegradable waste from the kitchens is efficiently converted into organic manure, which is then used in the hotel gardens.
“We have over 12 windmills through which we generate electricity for the hotel. Regenerating waste into energy is something we take utmost care of. We try to find utility for everything. One such initiative is where we donate old clothes and uniforms to those who need it, instead of throwing them away or burning it,” says Erine Louis, General Manager of The Residency Towers.
Looking to reduce the use of plastic within the premises, the hotel has traded non-biodegradeable material for eco-friendly options by making use of paper bags and ceramic plates. Guests can also be part of energy and water conservation by opting for linen and towel changes occasionally and not everyday.
Zone by The Park
To reduce their energy consumption, neon bulbs have been swapped for LED lights in this two-year-old hotel for their lighting system. The usage of plastic inside the hotel is also strictly restricted. “Earlier we used to keep drinking water in plastic bottles in the banquet halls. Now we have replaced those by serving water in reusable glasses,” says Paul Mahiban, General Manager of Zone by The Park.
We are told that waste water from banquet halls and the kitchen is directed to the gardens to water the plants. Guests staying at the hotel are also advised not to waste much water in the bathroom and to use the lights as per the requirement inside the rooms.
First launched in Coimbatore, the offshoot chain of The Park has properties in places like Raipur, Mahabalipuram, Bhubaneshwar and others.
The resort uses solar energy for hot water supply. Instead of burning or throwing away the waste, it is properly recycled. 95 per cent of the waste from kitchen is recycled and used as manure for the garden. Sewage water from the kitchen is used to water plants in the garden. The resort also has a rain water harvesting system and the collected water is directed to the main water body in front of the resort.
Manpower for the hotel labour is sourced from tribal villages. Over 67 staff have been recruited and trained from the tribal settlements nearby, we learn.
All the eco-friendly practices of the hotel are detailed in a tent card and placed inside each room for the guests to read. In the card, the amount of energy consumed by each device and the amount of water needed to wash the linen of the room is given. Guest can then choose if they want their linen to be washed everyday or not. They are also advised to take the electricity card of their respective rooms along when they are not using the room.
The hotel has reduced the usage of plastic on a large scale. Paper bags are being used instead of plastic for packaging purposes. “Earlier we used cut flowers to decorate the interiors of the hotel but now we have switched to using potted plants for decoration purposes,” says P Ramachandran, General Manager of Le Meridien.
Another practice the hotel strongly discourages is that of changing linen in the rooms every day unless there is a need for it. To conserve water, there is an efficient rainwater harvesting system in the hotel too. One way in which the guests are encouraged to take part in conservation is by awarding them points every time they opt out of changing the linen in their room. The points can be redeemed at the restaurants and coffee shops of the hotel.
Vivanta by Taj-Surya
“Most of the key highlights of the hotel’s environmental initiatives are based on reducing the overall carbon footprint,” says B C Kumar, General Manager of Vivanta by Taj-Surya. “More than 80 per cent of the hotel’s electricity is purchased through an open access system with a wind power generator. Meters are installed in all the departments, and the energy consumption is monitored. In order to reduce our carbon footprint we have shifted our lighting requirement from conventional to more energy-efficient LED lighting across the hotel,” he adds. The waste water generated in the hotel is properly recycled and reused for gardening requirements. An organic waste converter is installed in the hotel in order to reduce and eliminate the food waste and create gardening manure. The hotel is also part of the Earth Check movement that is aimed at conserving energy. The guests at the hotel have also been advised to conserve water and reduce wastage, we are told.