x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

How hotels could go green by playing a game of musical stairs

Around 170 general managers, engineers, chefs and communications officers met at Dubai¿s Grand Hyatt to share their conservation ideas. 

DUBAI // Musical staircases that motivate hotel guests to ditch the lift and green cards that ensure they pay only for the energy they consume are just two of the ideas Dubai hoteliers have for becoming more eco-friendly.

About 170 general managers, engineers, chefs and communications officers gathered at the Grand Hyatt yesterday to brainstorm ways to conserve energy, curb waste and encourage guests to pitch in with green efforts.

In addition to the green cards and staircase - which could feature different notes in each step - participants discussed the use of solar panels, recycling waste water for the lawns, installing motion sensors for lights and taps and purchasing eco-friendly, local products.

The day-long workshop was organised by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) to commemorate World Environment Day.

"Everyone in the world is moving in a green direction and so too must Dubai hotels," said Majid Sager al Marri, the director of the DTCM's hotel classification department. "It's no longer just five-star or deluxe hotels; even two-star and standard hotel apartments want to be part of the green initiative. They are ready to speak of their successes and learn from the efforts of others."

Wilson Joseph, the chief operating officer of Lotus Hospitality, suggested using colour-coded switches to cut consumption. His hotels use red tags for switches that must not be switched off, green tags for switches that stay on during office hours and orange tags for switches needed during restaurant working hours.

"This has helped to reduce energy consumption by 18 to 20 per cent," Mr Joseph said. "Even when occupancy is higher we are using less energy than before."

Educating staff and guests was crucial, said Hani Mansour, the general manager of the Rotana Hotels and Resorts.

"Everyone speaking the same language will help more hotels go green," he said. "Hotels are the number one point for tourism, so efforts can actually make a difference."

Movenpick managers said they analyse monthly consumption reports to see how each section has fared.

"The reports show where we stand," said Srilal Palihakkara, the hotel's director of engineering. "We regularly monitor categories like laundry, gardening and find savings in electricity and water consumption."

The average Dubai hotel produces about 6,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, while the average European hotel produces 3,000 tonnes, according to a 2009 DTCM report.