Green hotel for Cape Town Airport

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 luxury hotel in Michigan Street, less than 500m from the terminal building, will be built by Cape Town-based developer, Dematech. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2013.

Hotel Verde – “verde” means green in Italian – will be a modern 143-room three-star hotel will, although the room sizes, services and fittings will be similar to a four-star hotel, say Annemarie and Mario Delicio, directors of Dematech.

“Hotel Verde will generate an estimated 103 direct jobs and a further 247 indirect jobs, and the focus will be on sustainable construction and operation practices.

“Hotel Verde is registered with the certification goal of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold, a stringent programme spearheaded by the US Green Building Council. The programme is an internationally recognised green building certification system that uses third-party verification to confirm that buildings are constructed to excel in performance aspects such as energy savings, water efficiency, reduction of CO2 emissions, improved indoor environmental quality, as well as the stewardship of resources and the sensitivity to their impacts.

“Unfortunately the relatively new Green Building Council of South Africa’s Green Star SA set of rating tools does not yet include a rating tool for hotels, so we are building according to the LEED model. The internationally renowned US rating tool is appropriate for an airport hotel of this stature with a large expected number of international guests,” says Mario Delicio.

A number of sustainable features will make this hotel Africa’s greenest:

A 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 in generating renewable power.

Free electric shuttles for guests to and from the airport terminal building, and electric car shuttles to the city at a nominal fee. Guests will also be able to hire electric cars for their Cape Town-based travel.

Greywater from the guestroom showers will be fed into a greywater recycling system that 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 to optimise solar heat gain and thermal insulation.

Dishwashers and washing machines with the lowest available energy and water-usage consumption rates will be installed, and water will be recycled, making laundry facilities 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 photovoltaic solar panels, helping to generate a large amount of power that will be stored in battery banks. The hotel aims to slash its energy usage even further by using the battery banks in case of power cuts, rather than an emergency power generator.

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 about half.

“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 the weight of the slabs.

Rainwater filter and collection tanks will capture, clean and aerate rainwater during winter, and the water will be used for irrigation and cleaning purposes in dry periods.

A jogging trail will be laid in a fynbos garden for hotel customers.

“The design and construction will be as sustainable as possible, and will complement sustainable practices during the operation of the hotel. The hotel’s operations will also include local community involvement and social-upliftment schemes,” says Delicio.

The person responsible for the hotel’s entire green concept is Ecolution Consulting’s André Harms, who recently returned from Antarctica after heading up the team that managed South Africa’s high-tech, eco-minded polar research station between 2009 and 2011. Together with another sustainability consultancy he is leading the entire design team in the project’s pursuit of LEED Gold certification.

Heinrich Gerstner Harding Architects of Constantia is the leading architectural firm for this green property, and the project will be managed by Atvantage Project Managers. Stefanutti Stocks has been chosen as the main contractor.

“We strongly believe that going green is the only way for companies to operate sustainably. We owe it to our environment, and to future generations who will inherit this planet from us,” say the Delicios.

Source: SA Property News by Sarah-Jane Bosch and Yolande Hung



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