Africa’s greenest hotel recently picked another prestigious award.
Hotel Verde, situated at Cape Town International Airport, has been voted the global winner in the urban accommodation category 15th annual Skål International Sustainable Tourism Awards held in Monaco, reports Biz Community.
Skål is a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship.
The judging panel concluded that “Hotel Verde, in Cape Town, South Africa, serves as a good example to other hotels in the world, providing a role model for a higher ecological hotel management.
A leader in energy and environmental design
Hotel Verde is the first hotel in the world to be certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum for both design and construction, as well as operations and maintenance, from the United States Green Building Council. The LEED certification, developed by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) and administered and audited by the GBCI (Green Building Certification Institute), is considered globally as the premier mark of accomplishment in green building and provides independent third-party verification that a building was designed, built and/or operated sustainably.
Sustainable, in this sense, refers to a comprehensive list of factors including, but not limited to, energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 and other greenhouse and harmful gas emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
Carbon neutral auditable certificates
In addition to the LEED certification, Hotel Verde has brought a number of firsts to the African continent: carbon neutral auditable certificates for either guest or conferences held at the hotel. Guests and conference delegates receive a carbon offset certificate after their stay or conference with the hotel, stating the amount of carbon (in kg) that they have personally offset by choosing the hotel.
This is an auditable and trackable certificate emailed to the guest, which can be shared on social media and toward sustainability and integrated reporting. These certificates are provided at no extra cost to guests.
Other initiatives included the installation of an industrial scale vertical geothermal loop system, the first hotel carbon management initiative of its kind, the installation of regenerative drive elevators and power generating gym equipment.
In 2015 Hotel Verde teamed with the Green Building Council of South Africa, to assist in piloting the existing building performance toolkit. The hotel was subsequently certified as the very first, six-star Green Star SA Project, based on this tool.
This provided yet another third-party verification of Hotel Verde’s status of world leadership in green building operation, ensuring the hotel is continually operated with stringent efficiency and sustainability targets.
In three years, Hotel Verde has become known locally and internationally, not only for its sustainable design, construction, and operational practices; but also for being one of Cape Town’s most quirky and creative hotels.
The hotel’s “success comes from taking a responsible approach right from the start of their planning, and then ensuring that all their products, services and activities are socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable into the future,” said Derek Hanekom, minister of tourism for South Africa. “We must now spread these world-leading responsible tourism practices throughout the entire tourism industry. Tourists are becoming increasingly concerned about social and environmental issues, and they want to support destinations and products that take responsible tourism seriously.”