x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Abu Dhabi hotels to go green

ADTA is looking to cut hotels' energy, water use and amount of waste they produce.

All hotels in Abu Dhabi will have to make do with less under new green operating and design rules to be rolled out this month, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) says. The ADTA said yesterday it wants to cut hotels' energy use by 10 per cent, their water use by 20 per cent and reduce the amount of hotel waste going to landfills by 20 per cent as a first step in its environmental programme.

"We want to create an ecotourism product building on the theme of sustainability," said Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, the chairman of the ADTA, who was speaking at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai. At the conference, Sheikh Sultan was given this year's AHIC Leadership Award for his role in developing Abu Dhabi as a tourism and cultural destination. The new rules will apply to existing hotels as well as properties in the planning or design phase, the ADTA said.

"We have been working on these guidelines for over six months and expect to have them ready for piloting within the next fortnight," said Sheikh Sultan. "Once piloted, they will then be incorporated into the new classification standards. Our aim is to ensure Abu Dhabi's hospitality industry is on a par with the world's greenest hotels as we continue our mission to deliver a sustainable tourism sector." The new rules are expected to be enforced from next year.

Noel Massoud, the chief executive of Jinan Hotels and Resorts, an eco-friendly hotel chain based in Abu Dhabi, said while the new rules would involve some initial investment, these costs could later be recovered many times over. "Some people are sceptical about it," Mr Massoud said. "They think it is expensive. But at the end of the day it will improve the bottom line; you cut your waste, your energy bill. Over the years you will get you money back on any eco-friendly measures that have been put in place."

The guidelines for existing hotels were developed with Estidama, the sustainability initiative of Abu Dhabi's Urban Planning Council, and in consultation with engineers from more than 30 hotels. The rules for new hotels will supplement Estidama's recently announced "Pearl Rating Scheme" for all new buildings in Abu Dhabi, the ADTA said. "We are conscious of the need to better conserve and utilise natural resources in the UAE, and we recognise that the only way to sustain growth in the tourism industry is to ensure that our developments respect the principles of sustainable design, development and operation," said Sheikh Sultan.

The average Dubai hotel produces 6,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, while the average European hotel produces 3,000 tonnes, according to a report by the energy consultancy Farnek Avireal. A typical five-star hotel in Dubai has a total energy bill of up to Dh7 million (US$1.9m) a year. @Email:rbundhun@thenational.ae