13 May 2012

Designing a new future

Written by Published in Architecture
Endemico Baja California, México Endemico Baja California, México

When it comes to their environmental footprint, hotels in general, tend to have a slight (read massive) image problem. One may think sustainability is at the very bottom of their priority list – after all, paying guests expect access to all the comforts like hot water, clean sheets and food, so it is no surprise there is a colossal amount of waste within this industry. Collateral damage if you will.

However, one company is addressing this issue head on and aims to not only integrate a more eco-friendly way of doing business within their own organization but is also promoting it within the wider community. Kudos already!

Design Hotels, which represents over 200 independent carefully curated hotels, are forging the way by teaming up with EarthCheck, EC3 Global’s Benchmarking tool, and renewable energy promoters Finding Infinity to do such that. Determined to set a new benchmark within the hotel trade, they hope to encourage the use of renewable sources at grassroots level.

The first to experience this new initiative will be Design Hotels member properties in Mexico. Using a motorcycle powered by vegetable oil no less, Finding Infinity will be touring towns and cities to conduct interviews at conventional power plants as well as visiting low income homes, schools and communities, and set up off the grid events solely powered by renewable energy. Exciting stuff indeed.

But what do they hope to achieve by bringing awareness to these complex issues merely at micro level first? Well, Design Hotels Founder and CEO Claus Sendlinger, has the answer. He firmly believes in what he has dubbed ‘the neighborhood approach’ saying, 'Sustainability will not be siloed in our organization; it will influence all our operations and services, extended to our portfolio of member hotels and their communities'.

By doing so they, with the help of EarthCheck, will strive to meet future compliance requirements and map the company’s carbon and water footprint –  surely a gutsy move within this energy guzzling industry and one to be applauded. Endeavouring to reduce their consumption of natural resources and protect the environment on a neighbourhood level will no doubt set this company apart from most major hoteliers and perhaps impress upon others the importance of changing the way things are done at local as well as global level.

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Preaching the gospel of sustainability on a vegetable oil-powered motorcycle Design Hotels