Africa’s Greenest Hotel: Hotel Verde
Situated amongst the Cape Wetlands just 400m away from Cape Town International Airport – Hotel Verde offers sustainable and 100% carbon neutral accommodation and conferencing facilities.
The hotel offers all guests and visitors site tours to gain a better understanding of the hotels green design and operations. I was lucky to receive a tour and broaden my perspective on green innovation.
Every aspect of the hotel imaginable has been well regarded from it’s construction to the decorative art works and from the gym to the deli’s sourcing. Below I have listed a few of the many ‘wow’ factors that got my attention on the site tour.
Some of these aspects include:
Advanced energy modelling – used to establish which rooms are most energy efficient in each season, based on their locations. The most energy efficient rooms are booked first to ensure optimal energy use.
The Pontos grey water plant –which uses bath and shower water from the hotel that is channelled to the Pontos grey water plant, where it is biologically filtered and sterilised so it can be used again to flush toilets.
The Eco pool – functions as a living eco-system, its outer perimeter serves as a filtering system, consisting of living plants and organisms. The plants and organisms consume all the nutrients in the water, cleansing it and preventing the growth of algae.
Regenerative drive elevators these energy-efficient Kone elevators are fitted with regenerative drives, allowing for about 30% of the input energy to be recaptured and fed back into the building.
Photovoltaic (PV) panels are located on the north façade of the building and on the roof. The panels are cleverly positioned to assist with shading the windows, while also being in the optimum positions to receive maximum sunlight. The inverter for their PV panel array displays how much energy the hotel receives and where the generated electricity is being allocated.
Lighting – Energy-efficient LEDs are used for lighting throughout the hotel, and a number of controls help reduce the energy they consume. All public areas have motion sensors that activate the lights.
For more information on Hotel Verde’s sustainanable design please click here
Waste reduction – Hotel Verde strives to implement a “zero-waste-to-landfill” policy. This is done through onsite recycling bins and waste separation, hydroponic compost production from their own organic waste and upcycling and reuse of products where possible; for example, their restaurant menus were made using the wood from the crates that their Kone elevators were delivered in.
Responsible sourcing – All suppliers are chosen based on the sustainability of their own practises and their proximity to the hotel. To reduce the carbon impact of transportation, all suppliers are located within a maximum of 160 kilometres of the hotel. All packaging received from our food suppliers is emptied and returned to be reused instead of thrown away.
Herb garden – a vertical aquaponic system is used to optimise space and maximise production of vegetables and herbs. This is a cyclical system involving the use of fish and plants. Fish waste is broken down into nitrates, which feed the plants. In turn, the plants clean the water for the fish.
Events and awareness – Earth Hour awareness evening happens every Wednesday, the event is a great way to spend a week-day evening. All unnecessary lights are switched off, and diners enjoy live music and a specially prepared menu.
Water and energy-efficient room features
Access to each guest room is controlled with an electronic microchip card. All lights and electrical equipment are activated when the card is inserted and they automatically deactivate on departure. Rooms also include low-flow shower fittings, dual-flush toilets, two bins for self-sorting of waste and a small kettle sufficient for only two cups of tea or coffee at a time, to help reduce negative environmental impact.
Gym – A first for a hotel in Africa, Hotel Verde offers guests the use of energy-generating gym equipment. Guests will feed energy into the building when they use the bicycles. Posters in the gym explain just how much power guests can generate in comparison to how much power they use, demonstrating how difficult it is to produce a useable amount of power and how easy it is to squander it.
For more information on Hotel Verde’s sustainanable operations please click here