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Against a backdrop of airliners silhouetted against the Cape's blue skyline, domestic and international travellers will soon be able to check into the greenest hotel on the continent. Constantia-based private investors Mario and Annemarie Delicio and project engineer Andre Harms of Mowbray talk to Nelia Vivier about Hotel Verde, which rolls out its green carpet in August. Set just outside Cape Town International Airport, Hotel Verde (verde meaning green in Italian) is the heady tale of spontaneous combustion. It's what happens on the green edge of hotel construction when clever minds, passionate hearts .; and sustainable development on the continent of Africa are thrown together into a concrete mixer. We're talking German ingenuity and engineering and Italian 'fire in the belly'and creative vision. Italian-born Mario Delicio, who grew up in Germany, and his German wife Annemarie of local developers Dematech are the owners of Hotel Verde — Africa's greenest hotel. Dedicated and passionate about sustainability, they've transformed what was initially just a sensible business proposition into a showcase for some of the most advanced environmentally conscious technological installations as well as construction and operation practices in the world.
Much like the trend to "green" residential spaces, employing greener practices in the hospitality industry has become a requirement in more international hotels and holiday destinations. The constant rise of non-renewable energy costs and carbon tax has started to place significant pressure on tourism service providers, as well as making way for a new breed of traveller with more specified demands. The fact that green practices have started to become a more common demand for many international players in the hospitality industry, especially regarding cleaning and electricity usage, for example, has proven in many cases that these role-players have succeeded in gaining a competitive advantage by implementing these sustainable practices. Hotels are adopting green concepts such as energy-efficiency through the utilisation of energy management systems, motion sensors for public areas and the incorporation of LED lighting.
Airports are adapting as they recognise that business does not have to come to a standstill just because travel is involved. You may delay, but time will not." Undoubtedly, United States founding father Benjamin Franklin was onto something when he uttered these words. Every day, clocks around the world tick the seconds away as millions of time-constrained business travellers waste time idly waiting for flights. This, in the airline industry, is commonly referred to as dwell time. But if one were to follow American industrialist Henry Ford's philosophy — that most people get ahead during the time others waste — then dwell time is nothing but the loss of precious seconds that could mean the difference between success and failure. With this in mind, it is no surprise airports around the world are changing, having realised that business does not have to come to a standstill just because travel is involved. Internet kiosks and 'hypercharge' power supply stations to charge laptops and cellphones were once considered revolutionary innovations at the Minneapolis—St Paul International Airport.
The hotel industry is the canary in the coal mine for the building industry. And although the canary is still breathing, its voice is hoarse and its lungs are full of carbon. A sweeping statement, perhaps, but in the past few years, hotels have increasingly come under fire for the massive amounts of resources used in the industryespecially relating to climate change. Typically, hotels use 180 litres of water per day per room. Additionally, energy usage adds up to approximately R33 billion per year. All of these areas provide opportunities for hotels to reduce their impact on the environment, and become the benchmark for the rest of the hospitality industry. Recently, South Africa has been making headlines as Cape Town's Hotel Verde, aimed to be the greenest hotel on the African continent, is taking shape. With 145 rooms, a restaurant, fitness centre, conference facilities and much more, the full-service hotel is LEED registered and pursuing a gold rating, which, once successful, will certify it as the greenest hotel in Africa. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is designed and managed by the non-profit US Green Building Council.
Welcome to Hotel Verde – Africa’s greenest hotel March 20, 2013 Against a backdrop of airliners silhouetted against the Cape’s blue skyline, domestic and international travellers will soon be able to check into the greenest hotel on the continent. Constantia-based private investors Mario and Annemarie Delicio and project engineer Andre Harms of Mowbray talk to Nelia Vivier about Hotel Verde, which rolls out its green carpet in August.

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