Cape Town Hotel To Showcase World’s Most Enviro Friendly Technology

Cape Town Hotel To Showcase World’s Most Enviro Friendly Technology

When it opens later this month in Cape Town, Africa’s “greenest” hotel will showcase some of the most environmentally friendly building technology in the world, its owner said in a report in AfricanBusinessReview.

Set to open just outside Cape Town International Airport in South Africa, Hotel Verde is part of the recently launched BON Hotels group. Construction began more than a year ago with a team dedicated to finding alternatives to traditional use of energy, water and waste reduction.

The owners of the hotel are Mario and Annemarie Delicio of Dematech, a company which provides technical support and procurement services to the beverage industry.

The team had an advantage because it was starting from scratch. “We could go from choosing recycled bricks and insulation, to installing a geothermal field, coupled to ground-source heat pumps. When you build new you can plan much more than if you retrofit an existing building,” Mario said.

Other technology includes solar photovoltaic panels positioned to provide shade as well as power.

Another step was to reduce the amount of concrete required by using Cobiax void formers – recycled plastic balls placed strategically within the concrete slabs. They displaced the concrete, saving approximately 1,284 tonnes while maintaining structural integrity, the report said.

Hotel Verde also boasts a gray water recycling plant that will reduce the use of potable water by 37 percent.

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A network of pipes runs through the building to reticulate, collect and send gray water to the toilets.

A rainwater filtering and capture system provides water for a car wash and irrigation. Elevators run on a regenerative drive, allowing about 30 percent of the input energy to be recaptured and fed back into the building. Double-glazed windows with spectrally selective glass will filter out hot rays, so less heat enters the building reducing the need for air-conditioning.

Bypassing a standard air-conditioning system – traditionally one of the biggest energy consumers – Hotel Verde uses ground source heat pumps made by drilling 100 holes about 76 meters into the ground, where the temperature is a consistent 19 degrees Centigrade. German supplier AGO Energy installed a network of piping and equipment designed specifically for Hotel Verde that uses the earth as a heat source in winter and a heat sink in summer, boosting efficiency and reducing operational costs.

“There is no other hotel in Africa that has gone to the extent that we are hoping to achieve,” Mario said. “Going green is not just about the building, it’s about every aspect of the operation; zero waste to landfill for example. We might never reach that, but with the ideas we have in mind we will come pretty close.”

The hotel plans to incentivize guests with credits and bar tabs for using towels more than once and not running the air-conditioning.

“It’s about getting customers involved and making them a part of the whole green thinking philosophy,” Mario said.