Green is undoubtedly the new black. Environmentally sustainable strategies are no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have. Here are some of Cape Town’s green conference facilities.
As the first hotel on the African continent to offer carbon-neutral accommodation and conferencing facilities, this venue is not only a leader in Cape Town but across South Africa. It is also the first hotel in Africa to be certified with Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which is considered to be one of the most internationally recognised rating tools for green buildings from the United States Green Building Council. Having achieved the highest possible certification, joining only six other hotels in the world to be certified with Platinum LEED for New Construction, the hotel is also certified with Heritage Platinum, in which the hotel achieved a high score of 95 percent for its Environmental Management System.
Having adopted a green policy, environmental stewardship is embraced at The Westin, where a committed team works to actively reduce the environmental impact of its business activities. Conserving natural resources, minimising waste and pollution, enhancing indoor environmental quality, establishing and reporting on key environmental performance indicators and raising environmental awareness across stakeholders are part and parcel of its offering. The hotel offers guests staying for more than two nights the opportunity to take part in a greening programme. The Westin offers 19 meetings rooms that can accommodate anything from 12 to 1 335 people.
BON Hotels – Andros Boutique Hotel and Homestead Villas
BON Hotels has several establishments across the country, including Andros Boutique Hotel and Homestead Villas in Cape Town, and going green means managing operating costs, while improving client satisfaction and engagement. A major focus has also become the use of more natural light. Utilising indirect sunlight, especially for corridors, lobby and other general areas, is a must, while skylights are incorporated for natural lighting on top floors. Thermal insulation is also important. Double-glazed windows, and tinted or toned glass that acts like sunglasses to reduce the amount of heat and light entering the building make a difference. The use of glass with a coating that reflects heat and light away from the window is also increasingly used in hotels.
The Vineyard Hotel & Spa
For several years the hotel has actively been pursuing green goals, including a water conservation programme. At least 95 percent of the water used on the hotel grounds is borehole water, which is used to top up pools, outdoor features and irrigate the garden. Drip irrigation is used in its magnificent gardens and dual-flush toilets have been installed across the property. There is a towel and linen policy in all rooms, encouraging guests to have their linen and towels washed only on request. Water efficiency showerheads have been installed across the venue, reducing consumption of 18 litres per minute to between 7.5 and nine litres per head. Energy sustainability is just as important for the hotel.
A total of 20 kilowatts worth of solar panels have been installed on the property, which generate on average approximately 2 400 kWh per month. The conference centre is designed to utilise natural light and ventilation where possible, rather than electrical lights and air-conditioning, while compact fluorescent energy-saving downlighters are installed in the foyer of the conference centre and in some rooms, effecting a 78 percent energy saving in these areas. More than 6 000 light-emitting diode (LED) lights are installed throughout the property. The conference centre can accommodate up to 200 delegates, depending on what style seating is used.
Compiled by: Melissa Jane Cook. Source: Liesl Venter.