Going green need not cost the earth

Going green need not cost the earth
May 17, 2012 Arton Kabashi

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Turning green won’t just help save the earth – it could save stacks of cash.

Just days after the UAE managed to ditch its unwanted tag of the most environmentally wasteful country on earth, that was the bank-boosting message from the Hotel Show, taking place at Dubai’s International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Hotels are the number one contributor to global warming. That’s even more prevalent across the Gulf region where the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has just ranked Qatar, Kuwait and then the UAE as having the globe’s largest carbon footprints. However, more and more of the 513 hotels in the UAE are saying they’re reaping the rewards of adopting eco-friendly practices.
As one hotel chain pleasantly found out, going green helped earn them wads of the green stuff – dollar bills.

“I know of one chain in the region who managed to save 9 per cent of electricity across their 20 hotels – that works out to an equivalent of free electricity for a year for one hotel,” said Markus Oberlin of green consultancy firm Avireal Farnek.

“That’s a saving of around $1 million a year – and that’s a lot of money.” Savoy Dubai, which recently scooped three green awards for their efforts from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, says guests themselves are increasingly asking hotels to be more eco-aware.

“They’re recycling by keeping bottles and cans separate and asking our staff to clean their rooms, sheets, towels say twice a week rather than every day,” said general manager Faroukh Sunny.

“We’re asking them to only put the water heater on 20 minutes before use, rather than have it on 24/7.” Installing special green-friendly water aerator devices in their taps and toilets has seen the Savoy save “a million gallons of water each year”.

According to Oberlin, just a few years ago “nobody cared” about the environment in the UAE – now he says green practices are “developing quickly.”

Swiss firm Movenpick says reducing consumption across their range of 25 hotels in the region has seen them save an Olympic-sized swimming pool worth of water – each week. “That’s the (carbon-footprint) equivalent of five round trips from Dubai to London on the big A380 Airbus jumbo jets,” Bradley Cox from green initiative gurus Green Globe said.