The hotel industry has been under the scanner for being a high-energy consumer. In a world increasingly pressed for resources, hotels can no longer afford to be reckless in their use of resources and materials. Many hotels and resorts are now turning to innovative and sustainable practices that meet their needs while being mindful of the environment. Here are some examples that are leading the way in sustainability in India –
Rammed Mud Walls: Banasura Hill Resort, Wayanad
Located in the picturesque Western Ghats the Banasura Hill Resort blends seamlessly with its natural surroundings. What makes this rustic hotel property unique is its vernacular architecture. The resort uses mud walls, its cottages are shaped using rammed earth technique, which is one of the oldest styles of construction used by man. The building uses the mud from its foundation rather than material transported from elsewhere. Mud construction means an energy efficient building, that keeps the temperatures low and uses the sustainable local material. The hotel also relies on rainwater harvesting for its water needs while natural bamboo varieties provide growing fence around the property.
Glazed exteriors: The Park, Hyderabad
India’s first LEED Gold certified hotel, the Park in Hyderabad stands out for its remarkable metallic exterior that is inspired by the city’s rich heritage of the gemstone industry. Made of a high-performance glazing system, the building has been covered in embossed and metallic screens giving it a wavy pattern across its façade. But its architecture isn’t just about its shimmer, this undulating exterior and its building material resists winds and also allows for just enough filtered daylight to light up its interiors. This keeps it bright while making sure trapped heat doesn’t warm up the hotel more than needed, keeping its energy consumption modest.
Cavity Walls: ITC Gardenia, Bangalore
The ITC group is well known for its emphasis on sustainability and its judicious use of water resources. Its Bangalore property, the ITC Gardenia is an apt example of its efficient green design. The building incorporates a cavity wall insulation – which means the building has two ‘skins’ of walls with empty hollow space between. The cavity walls act like blankets to keep warmth from escaping through the walls in the winter. In the summer, they keep the building from heating up and therefore considerably reduce energy expenses. The hotel’s building further has double glazed units that reduce heat loss. Its vertical garden walls, roof gardens and air wells cool the air without much air-conditioning.
Palmex Synthetic Thatch: Greenberg Resort, Idukki
The Greenberg Resort in Idukki Kerala is ensconced in a picture-perfect locale of green hills and tea plantations. A property of 35 cottages, the hotel recently added a thatch roof treehouse to its resort. It chose Palmex, a sustainable and long lasting LEED Certified roof solution for this project instead of opting for a run-of-the-mill natural thatch. The synthetic thatch preserves the rustic aesthetic of thatch architecture while providing a host of advantages. It is fireproof, water-resistant and more importantly doesn’t require frequent replacement making it an environmentally efficient choice.
Solar Reflectance Index Roof: Hotel Leela Palace, New Delhi
The Leela Palace, New Delhi is known for its sustainable design and world class green practices. The hotel’s roof uses vegetation and high solar reflective index paint material that allows it to reject sunlight and greatly reduces its surface from heating up. This maximises energy savings and keeps the heat island effect that heats up the building in check. The hotel has also ensured the reduction of indoor air contaminants that are harmful and irritating by making use of low-emitting adhesives, sealants, paints and composite wood.
Elizabeth Raj | Blogger
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