x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

New Dubai hotels adopt green theme

Eco-friendly resorts to open next year, with features including special paint, furniture and organic food to cater to travellers.

Environmentally friendly hotels are due to open in the Dubai Marina in the middle of next year.
Environmentally friendly hotels are due to open in the Dubai Marina in the middle of next year.

Dubai's accommodation sector, already brimming with choices, is about to add another category - environmentally friendly hotels. Two hotels are being built to strict environmental standards, using eco-friendly paint, wood and furniture. And organic food will be served.

They will be operated by Jinan Hotels and Resorts of Abu Dhabi. "Hotels are known for being one of the big spenders when it comes to waste and energy consumption," said Noel Massoud, the chief executive of Jinan. "Eco-hotels might be a little bit expensive when you're talking about the investment at the beginning. But when you take the amount of energy-saving and all the activity you do to reduce costs, in the long run it's a profitable exercise."

Jinan says it plans to save 25 to 30 per cent in operational costs for water and energy through its planned efficiency measures. The hotels are due to open in the Dubai Marina in the middle of next year, although the agreement between the owners and operator has yet to be finalised. Jinan signed its first management agreement last month for a hotel in Zayed City in Abu Dhabi. The company believes that finding an eco-friendly niche is a sound business strategy as Dubai's hotels compete for clientele during the global economic downturn.

"Nowadays travellers are more and more sensitive about the hotelier's corporate social responsibility, and a strong and growing demand exists in sustainable tourism," said Arnaud Andrieu, the vice president at CB Richard Ellis Hotels Middle East. The move is also in keeping with a changing attitude towards the environment in the UAE. Within the next few months, Dubai's hotels will have to sign up for a carbon emission reduction programme as the emirate aims for a 20 per cent reduction in the hospitality sector's carbon footprint by 2011 under an initiative launched by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). Hotels that fail to sign up will be fined, the authority said.

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, which worked alongside the DTCM to develop the programme. A typical five-star hotel in Dubai has a total energy bill of up to Dh7 million (US$1.9m) a year. Dubai hotels use an average of 850 litres of water for each guest a year, while European hotels use 350 litres.

The construction of Jinan's Abu Dhabi hotel is following strict sustainability guidelines issued by Estidama, which will eventually be required of all new properties as part of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030. The Dubai hotels will follow the US LEED system. Estidama is a joint collaboration between the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, the Environmental Agency, Abu Dhabi Municipality and Masdar to promote sustainable development.

Mr Massoud said Jinan planned to have between eight and 12 hotels under management within the next five years and hoped to expand to other parts of the Middle East. rbundhun@thenational.ae