World Environment Day: Hospitality that heals the planet

When it comes to hospitality, ITC hotels have recently set a new benchmark for sustainability as three of their properties have been ranked as the world’s top three LEED Zero Carbon certified hotels
ITC Grand Chola. (Photo | Special Arrangement)
ITC Grand Chola. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

As news of climate change multiplies each year rapidly, the need for eco-friendly practices becomes more and more evident. With increasing awareness, there is an expectation from brands to be sensitive towards these issues as well.

When it comes to hospitality, ITC hotels have recently set a new benchmark for sustainability as three of their properties have been ranked as the world’s top three LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Zero Carbon certified hotels.

In a global first, ITC Windsor, Bengaluru was the first to be certified, followed by ITC Grand Chola in Chennai and ITC Gardenia.

“ITC Hotels and ITC Grand Chola have been delivering planet positive experiences for over a decade. Sustainability, which is the focus of our philosophy of Responsible Luxury, is the very core of our hotel and is embedded in our energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water conservation, and cuisine initiatives,” shares Zubin Songadwala, general manager of ITC Grand Chola and area manager of ITC Hotels. 

Initiating innovation

For the past decade, ITC has taken several steps towards a planet positive experience. Take ITC Grand Chola, for example.

It currently meets close to its entire electrical energy demand through self-owned wind and solar farms, explains Zubin, adding that the hotel also has energy-efficient green buildings, utilises renewable energy, and converts and recycles water. The hotel has also mitigated the use of single-use plastic — plastic water bottles, straws, stirrers, on-the-go cups, and delivery packaging — across all restaurants.

For the elimination of plastic bottles, ITC Hotels has created the Suny Aqua brand or ‘Zero Mile’ water that is purified and provided in glass bottles, removing the need for transportation and lowering emissions.

Furthermore, photo-hydro ionisation technology at the Grand Chola inactivates the COVID-19 virus and other pathogens from a conditioned space. All this, and more, has awarded the hotel another distinction by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council), making it the largest hotel worldwide to receive a LEED Zero Carbon Certification. 

These initiatives have invited positive responses from the customers, as well.

“Sustainability as a concept and practice has been resonating with guests since reports on environmental depredation emerged a few years ago; in the current times the resonance is much louder and deeper. There is growing conviction that with changing lifestyles & consumer values, brands that put social & environmental responsibility as key focus areas gains more respect amongst consumers,” says Zubin.

But where sustainable approaches are adopted and welcomed, there is no abandonment of aesthetic and local beauty either, as he adds,  “ITC Hotels’ Responsible Luxury ethos embraces the destination which always serves as the backdrop for the hotel. Our hotels thus define the destination. Given this ecosystem, guests are enamoured by the architecture of ITC Grand Chola, which is inspired by the grand Cholas, and the iconic Brihadeeshwara temple of Tanjore. This is in line with ITC’s ethos of being rooted to the soil.” 

In the future

However, accreditation of this level is not the end goal, it seems, as the brand continues to adapt and adopt new technology that caters to this agenda.

“We have recently launched a Particulate Matter Arrestor Device for our diesel generators. It is based on patented filterless ESP (Electrostatic Precipitator) technology. It is installed at the outlet of the exhaust pipe. ESP captures the particulate matter particles (air-polluting particles emitted by diesel) efficiently and thereby helps in maintaining the air quality,” Zubin concludes before he signs off.

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