Tue 13 Mar 2012
This beautiful hotel was the original home of Lady Anne Barnard, an accomplished travel writer, artist and socialite of her time who lived in Cape Town from 1797 to 1802, and is situated on 6 acres of the most beautiful indigenous landscaped gardens in Cape Town.
The owners of the hotel, the Petousis family, have a deeply ingrained love of nature and hence conservation is taken very seriously by all at The Vineyard Hotel and Spa and its two sister hotels, The Townhouse in central Cape Town and the historic D’ Ouwe Werf in Stellenbosch.
They have made a firm commitment to “living green” and have implemented environmental and socially responsible decision making at all management levels to ensure that sustainable development principles are incorporated throughout the hotel.
In fact, in a joint effort to contribute towards preserving the environment, all departments at the hotel have signed an environmental policy to show their commitment to the cause.
Chris van Zyl is the group environmental manager and the chief horticulturist and after spending a few hours with him in the hotel and the surrounding gardens it becomes clear that this is not just a ‘green washing’ designation.
The various environmental initiatives are too numerous to mention in this article but some of the more significant ones are:
- completion of an independent and impartial on-site audit against the Green Leaf™ Environmental Standard Hotelier Framework 2011, which measures the elements of water, energy, waste, procurement, communications, innovation and corporate social investment.
- The hotel obtained a score greater than 75% compliance and were issued with a Silver Status level of compliance as at 21 April 2011. See certificate here
- their aim is to obtain Gold certification in the coming year.
- endorsers of the international 2°c challenge communiqué
- development of one of the most beautiful, indigenous, landscaped gardens in the Western Cape. The aim has been to keep the garden as indigenous as possible and in the last 10 years all new plantings have been indigenous. Only organic compost is used and no harmful chemicals are used in the garden.
- The Liesbeeck river flows through the bottom of the grounds and it is worthwhile indulging in a leisurely stroll along the many tranquil paths to experience the wide variety of indigenous and typical Cape Flora.
- Informative and highly enjoyable guided walks through the gardens are held on a regular basis.
- commitment to looking after and removing of alien vegetation from an area of just over 8.5 hectares in Silvermine, part of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve.
For a comprehensive list of their environmental initiatives click here
- energy-efficient lighting, LED’s where possible otherwise CFL’s,
- sensors that switch off air conditioners if doors or windows are left open,
- a cold water supply to the air conditioning system that is distributed via variable speed pumps.
- Use of water saving shower heads.
This translates into 24kwh of energy saving per room per month and a saving of 13 tons of CO2 emissions per year for the 41 rooms!
Other sustainability initiatives in the rest of the hotel include inter alia:
- Waterless urinals
- 95% use of borehole water for gardens and swimming pool
- all hot water is generated using heat pumps (see Colinton Wing above)
- use of bio fuel in fireplaces
- 90% of all waste is recycled and they encourage residents of the surrounding neighbourhood to drop off waste at their recycling depo.
- Water is bottled on site using the Vivreau system thus avoiding as much as possible the carbon footprint of having mineral water delivered to the hotel.
- use of paperless system for all departments possible.
These restaurants recycle +/- 400L of cooking oil for the manufacture of bio-diesel.
The addition of a Health & Fitness Centre and an international Angsana Spa operated by the world renowned Banyan Tree Group contributes to its position as ‘The Perfect Setting’
An important feature of the hotel is it’s Green Conference Centre.
- This centre uses natural light and ventilation rather than electrical lights and air-conditioning.
- It ensures that all electricity used can be considered green by the purchase of Green Energy certificates from the Darling Wind Farm to offset any excess energy consumption by the centre. The certificate is displayed for all to see at the entrance. See brochure here
- An important current initiative is the plan to install 30 solar panels on top of the conference centre which will result in a 40% electricity saving(throughout the hotel) or 30KW hours per day – another 12 tons of carbon emissions to be saved annually! The project has been submitted to Eskom for rebate approval and the outcome is imminent.
As a family and as a business they have also embarked on many projects that have made significant contributions to the community.
All 3 Petousis family hotels were included as finalists in the 2011 Imvelo Responsible Tourism Awards program and The Vineyard Hotel won the category “Investor in People”.
They also started “Our Kids of the Cape Fund” which currently supports 8 children’s projects. Guests staying at the hotels are asked to contribute a small donation, per room per night, which is billed to their account. The respective hotel then matches their contributions rand for rand.
This is truly one of the more beautiful and unique places to stay and wholly deserves to be included on our list of green and eco-friendly holiday destinations in the Western Cape.
We are excited to be able to offer a 2 night stay at the hotel to one of our readers who shares this article and then answers the following question correctly.
“What is the name of the newest and ‘greenest’ wing at the Vineyard Hotel?”
Please remember one has to be subscribed to be able to win this amazing prize. To enter subscribe here.
Current subscribers can email the answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Entries close on Sunday 25 March and the draw will take place on Monday 26 March.
Happy, healthy and conscious living all.