In the wake of the recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, it’s clear we all need to ramp-up our commitment to living sustainably, and the hospitality sector as a whole has the potential to make a real difference. The key to viable sustainability is innovation, and that’s exactly what’s happening in the Copenhagen suburb of Ørestad.
It’s been an uncomfortable truth for a long time that hotels have a huge opportunity to be more sustainable. Single-use plastic bottles in the bathroom, high water-usage and food waste are just a few of the sustainability challenges faced by hoteliers. With the average CO2 emissions per bedroom being between 5 and 15 tonnes of CO2 per year, there’s a sizable footprint to deal with.
What does it take to become the world’s most sustainable hotel?
Credit where it’s due, over the last five years hotel chains and independents have stepped up to the sustainability challenge, setting a great example to the rest of hospitality. Globally, the average carbon footprint per hotel stay is down 10% since 2015, with the UK cutting almost a quarter (23.3%) and hotels in Switzerland having the lowest overall carbon intensity (20.4kg CO2 emissions per square meter). But it’s in Copenhagen, Denmark, where one of the best examples of a sustainable hotel can be found.
The Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers, featured in Episode 1 of Spark TV, was recently voted the world’s greenest hotel, and with good reason. Planned from the beginning as an eco-friendly hotel, its carbon footprint is almost non-existent, with most of the design of the hotel’s systems directed towards making it as resource efficient as possible, addressing not only energy, but also water and waste.
How have they done it? By covering almost the entire building with solar panels and installing sustainable technologies, like a variable ventilation system and intelligent lighting. The hotel also features a groundwater heating and cooling system which pumps groundwater to cool the hotel during the summer, storing all excess heat to be used for heating purposes during the winter.
Saving the planet and saving money
All this clever design and technology doesn’t just make the hotel environmentally sustainable, it has a positive impact on financial stability too. For example, the hotel´s groundwater system reduces the hotel´s heating and cooling energy usage by an amazing 90% – and that cuts a big chunk out of the hotel’s costs.
Obviously there are many steps in the road to make all human consumption sustainable, but according to scientists every small thing we do has a crucial part to play. At a corporate and global level, hospitality is one of the sectors with the potential to make a real difference in slowing climate change. And in The Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers, we have a blueprint for a way to make travel, work and play sustainable. And in that respect, you could say hospitality is not just helping to save planet, it’s also saving itself.