Africa’s greenest hotel – by The Networks

Hotel Verde, based in Cape Town, are dedicated and passionate about sustainability, and in the process they have transformed what was initially just a sensible business proposition into a showcase for some of the most advanced environmentally conscious technological installations as well as construction and operation practices in the world.

Construction on Hotel Verde, situated just outside Cape Town International Airport, began in 2010, with a team of contractors and experts who were dedicated to finding alternative ways to building; the process entails looking at elements such as energy, water and waste reduction, and working out how to implement alternatives.

During construction the team went into great extent; from locally sourced suppliers to sustainable practices on the building site, to multiple ways in which they could generate their own electricity and reduce waste to almost zero. The advantage was that they were starting from scratch, so they could go from choosing recycled bricks and insulation, to installing a geothermal field – when you build new you can plan much more than if you retrofit an existing building.

There are also the photovoltaic solar panels that are cleverly positioned to provide shade as well as power. They are mounted on the north façade of the building so as to not only generate electricity but create shading for the windows that get the most sun. Another method they used is to reduce the amount of concrete required by utilising Cobiax void formers; which are recycled plastic balls that are placed strategically within the concrete slabs that are required for the various floors – they displace the concrete, saving approximately 535 m3 or 1284 ton while maintaining the structural integrity.

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