Africa’s green­est ho­tel for air­port

143-room prop­erty will bris­tle with en­ergy-sav­ing and cli­mate-friendly tech­nol­ogy

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

DO­MES­TIC AND in­ter national trav­ellers to Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Air­port will soon be able to check into what claims to 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 de­vel­oper De­mat­ech. Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to be com­pleted in early 2013.

Ho­tel Verde – “verde” means green in Ital­ian – will be a 143-room three-star ho­tel although 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,” they say.

“Ho­tel Verde is reg­is­tered with the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion goal of Lead­er­ship i n 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 . T h e i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y renowned US rat­ing tool is ap­pro­pri­ate for an air­port ho­tel of this stature with a large ex­pected num­ber of in­ter­na­tional guests.”

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

A geo­ther­mal heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem that uses a con­stant ground tem­per­a­ture of 19°C to heat the build­ing in win­ter and cool it in sum­mer.

Three 17m wind tur­bines will as­sist in gen­er­at­ing re­new­able power.

Free elec­tric shut­tles for guests to and from the air­port ter­mi­nal, and elec­tric car shut­tles to the city at a nom­i­nal fee. Guests will also be able to hire elec­tric cars.

Grey water from show­ers will be fed into a 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 a nd wash­ing ma­chines with the low­est avail­able en­ergy and water- 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 table­cloths 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 use 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 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 wa­ter­sav­ing taps and shower heads. These and other water-sav­ing mea­sures will halve con­sump­tion of potable water.

“De­ma­te­ri­al­i­sa­tion” will be im­ple­mented wher­ever pos­si­ble. For ex­am­ple: the con­crete slabs will use 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.

“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 i nclude l ocal com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and so­cial-up­lift­ment schemes,” says Mario De­li­cio.

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

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 De­li­cio.

Call De­li­cio on 021 794 1464 or e-mail info@de­mat­e­chsa.com.

READY FOR TAKE-OFF: An artist’s im­pres­sion of Ho­tel Verde, Cape Town’s first green ho­tel planned for a site near Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The im­age shows 1) the pho­to­voltaic roof panels, 2) ver­ti­cal axis wind tur­bines, 3) the var­ie­gated green roof, and 4) the elec­tric shut­tles that will take res­i­dents to the air­port.

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