South African hospitality group BON Hotels announced on Thursday it is building what will be the greenest hotel in Africa once it officially opens for business in August.
Construction on the new establishment, aptly named Hotel Verde, began over a year ago just outside Cape Town International Airport.
Mario and Annemarie Delicio of Dematech are the owners behind Hotel Verde. With a dedication to environmental sustainability, 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, according to the announcement.
“If you look at what can be done from a green angle you look at energy, water and waste reduction,” said Delicio. “You then take each of these areas and work out how to implement alternatives, generating your own electricity for example. Then you need to explore the extent to which you can go.”
Working with Andre Harms, sustainability manager and founder of Ecolution Consulting, the team says they have an advantage because they were able to start the project from scratch and consider options like recycled bricks and insulation to installing a geothermal field.
“We have the opportunity to change the status quo here,” said Harms. “We have looked at different ways of doing everything, right from the word go.”
This includes the photovoltaic (solar) panels strategically positioned to provide shade as well as power, as well as reducing the amount of concrete required by utilising Cobiax void formers – recycled plastic balls 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.
Hotel Verde also houses a grey water recycling plant that will contribute towards a 37 per cent reduction of potable water use, says Harms.
It remains to be seen whether Hotel Verde truly will be Africa’s greenest hotel once it is completed. Other hotels in Africa that have won awards for their dedication to green building include the Phantom Forest Eco Reserve in South Africa as well as the Nairobi Serena Hotel in Kenya.