Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  01 Dec 2011

HOSPITALITY: Greenest Hotel Lands At Cape Town Airport


Recent Western Cape Business News

Domestic and international travellers to Cape Town International Airport will soon be able to check into what will be the greenest hotel on the continent. Currently in the final stages of approval, the hotel will be built by the Cape Town-based developer Dematech, the luxury hotel has been earmarked for completion in early 2013 in nearby Michigan Street, less than 500m from the terminal building.

Aptly named Hotel Verde – “verde” meaning green in Italian – the 146-room, contemporary hotel will fall into the three-star category, although the room sizes, services and fittings will be similar to a four-star hotel. The focus will be on sustainable construction as well as operation practices. Hotel Verde will generate an estimated 103 direct jobs and a further 247 indirect jobs.

Hotel Verde is set to become South Africa and the continent's greenest hotel. The development, at the Cape Town International Airport, will provide domestic and international travellers accommodation which is driven by technology not yet seen in Africa. Their use of heat pumps, which are sunk into the earth's soil, double glazed windows to vertical axis wind turbines and the capturing and filtering of rain water are a total green building package. The Hotel Verde will be energy efficient, environmentally friendly and will prove to travellers that the City of Cape Town is a global leader in its fight to combat climate change and to use the planet's natural resources more effectively", says Wesgro CEO Nils Flaatten

Flaatten added that while Cape Town businesses had to adapt to the changing global demands from travellers who want more environmentally friendly travels and hotels, they should not underestimate the new demands being voiced by domestic travellers.

The showcasing of this Green Building in the Airport precinct will be a fantastic marketing tool for the City of Cape Town and will demonstrate just how sophisticated the City's climate change mitigation and adaption strategies have become. Wesgro engages many property owners who have indicated their determination to drive the green building agenda and the Hotel Verde development has just raised this bar to a new height. This announcement brings some good news to an otherwise damp COP 17 Agenda,' says Flaatten.

The visitors experience is also one that should be highlighted. Once a week guests will enjoy "earth hour" where all power will be turned off in the public areas and guests can enjoy a candle-lit dinner of pizza from the wood-burning oven. Guests who have been eco-friendly by re-using their towels for a second time and not used their aircon will receive a credit note at check out. The hotels climate control will allow a comfortable climatic condition in the room. However the customer could opt for a cooler room temperature by switching on the air-con system. The will be a jogging trail among a water wise fynbos garden as well as a Gym. Most Gym equipment will generate Power when in use.

Hotel Verde has been registered for the LEED certification system. The Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is an independent certification programme that provides guidelines for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. It has been created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the programme awards varying levels of certification to buildings that meet LEED rating standards in five major categories: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

A number of sustainable features make this hotel special and, indeed, Africa’s greenest:

•                    Geothermal-heating ventilation and air-conditioning system that makes use of a constant ground temperature of 19°C to heat up the building in winter and keep it cool in summer.

•                    Three 17m-high wind turbines will assist with the generation of renewable power.

•                    For guests there will be free electric shuttles to and from the airport terminal building, as well as electric-car shuttles to the city at a nominal fee. Guests will also have the exclusive opportunity to hire out electric cars for their Cape Town-based travel.

•                    Greywater from the guestroom showers will be fed into a greywater recycling system which will harness aerobic bacteria rather than chemicals. The recycled water will then be used to feed all toilets and urinals in the building

•                    Double-glazed, high-performance windows will be used throughout the building. Solar heat gain and thermal insulation will thus be optimised.

•                    Dishwasher and washing machines with the lowest available energy and water-usage consumption rates will be carefully chosen. Water will be recycled, making laundry facilities extremely efficient.

•                    Laundry dryers will use excess heat from the building to dry linen and table cloths via the heat pumps.

•                    The north-facing roof will be covered with a photovoltaic solar panel, helping to generate a large amount of power that will be stored in battery banks. 

•                    Sport equipment in the gym will be equipped with power-generating devices as a practical learning tool for demonstrating how much work is required to generate a certain amount of electricity.

•                    Public areas such as lifts, toilets and passages will be equipped with movement-sensor-controlled lighting.

•                    The hotel kitchen will be fitted with energy-saving induction stoves and energy-efficient appliances and fridges.

•                    All showers and washing basins in the hotel will be fitted with water-saving taps and shower heads. This and other water saving measures, will reduce the potable water consumption by roughly 50%. 

•                    The concept of “dematerialisation” will be implemented wherever possible. For example: the concrete slabs will utilise void-forming Cobiax spheres while maintaining structural integrity. Introducing the voids will reduce the amount of concrete used and thus the weight of the slabs.

•                    Rainwater-filter and collection tanks will capture, clean and aerate rainwater during the winter months. This will be used for irrigation and cleaning purposes when rainfall is scarce.

•                    A jogging trail will be set among a fynbos garden for hotel customers.

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