Wow…what a remarkable place this is!.. Stuck away in the heart of Airport Industria is probably the most unique boutique/business hotel, not just in Cape Town, but all of Africa. It’s claims to be the greenest of all are not made lightly…it was recently awarded L.E.E.D. Platinum Status by the US Green Building Council rating agency. This is the Rolls Royce of ratings and the highest level one can achieve! We as Capetonians can be very proud of this establishment as it has put us on the worldwide map as regards the ‘greenification’ of buildings and sustainable tourism goes. The lengths they have gone to to ensure the hotel is as green as absolutely possible are astounding and the overall effect is one of a calming green oasis in the heart of suburban industria. It does not feel like you are 2 minutes away from the airport at all.
I want to just touch briefly on some of the more interesting factors here, as to go into all of them would take up a whole lot more time than you or I have available I am sure.
As you walk in to the reception area one is struck by the amount of sustainable/natural products used…most beautiful of which is the Living Wall. This wall of living plants serves not only to beautify the area but also to purify the air as well. It really is a natural work of art. The use of natural light throughout the building is also very prominent thereby reducing lighting costs. All lighting is motion sensored so that once a place becomes empty they switch off automatically.
Another notable innovation is the use of concrete slabs filled with recycled plastic balls to erect the building which saved over 1200 tonnes of concrete in the process as well as increasing insulation.
The 3 major energy saving initiatives in the building are:
- the extensive number of photovoltaic solar panels both on the roof and outside the guest room windows(these double as sun visors for the rooms during the day)
- the huge heat pump system used in the building…the airflow is moved to more than 60 metres below the ground and back up again to ensure the air in the building maintains an ambient temperature of around 21 degrees without using any airconditioning. Honestly, what with the living wall and the heat pump system the air inside the building is far cleaner and healthier than the air outside the building. You almost want to take great gulps of it when you walk in.
- Also a roof garden above the reception area is used to cool the interior.
There are numerous other smaller energy saving devices used including energy generating gym equipment to regenerative braking elevators. All this means that the hotel hardly ever draws energy from the national energy grid…in fact while I was there the system was generating about 10% more power than it was using.
The hotel harvests and saves water on numerous fronts…the largest being their grey water recycling plant which saves up to 37% of potable water usage. An unusual feature is the totally self sustainable/natural swimming pool outside the terrace area. This is the 1st time I have seen one of these and they truly are wonderful to look at and must be even more so to swim in. No chemicals are used at all as the plant life around the pool keep the water in pristine condition.
The hotel restaurant makes use of a vertical aquaponic system to minimise space and maximise vegetable and herb production for its menu ingredients. The cyclical system of fish and plants involves the breaking down of fish waste into nitrates which the plants feed off, while in turn the plants clean the water for the fish…so simple and so elegant.
It was very noticeable the number of young student tour groups that frequent this hotel on a daily basis. This is done free of charge by the hotel to encourage awareness of the importance of sustainability in our world.
As stated earlier I have only touched on some of the initiatives that this hotel has incorporated into its design and for a more detailed analysis visit the link here Hotel Verde – Green Aspects
Happy…Healthy and Conscious Living to all of you.