Monday, October 14, 2013

Indonesian hotels embark on green cost cutting drives

With the global economic dowturn that affects domestic conditions, several players in the country’s hospitality industry are taking green initiatives to reduce operational costs with sustainable business measures.

Hotel Borobudur Jakarta, an upscale hotel in the capital, has adopted some eco-friendly measures in the past six years to create economic benefits and reduce harmful environmental impacts.

“It is a very expensive exercise, but when I see the bill, it is getting less and less every single month. If we did not implement the green practices, we would have to pay 20 percent more on electricity and water,” Borobudur general manager Poul E. Bitsch told The Jakarta Post.

“So, this is a major achievement and good for the business.”

He added that since the hotel implemented the green initiative, it had been using a water treatment system that recycle 67 per cent of the water that it consume daily.

The cleanliness and safety levels of the recycled water reache 99.9 per cent. The cleaned water is used for Borobudur’s extensive gardens and to flush toilets.

In a bid to reduce energy consumption and set financial savings, the hotel also replaced the old model chillers with more cost-effective ones and its lamps with the energy-efficient lighting LED lamps.

“We also regulate how many elevators we operate every day, depending on the occupancy rate on that day. This is very important because elevators use a lot of energy,” he said.

Borobudur uses the savings it has made, to continue investing in new green technologies to help smooth its business in the future. The hotel also uses the savings to open branches of its legendary Bogor Caf?, which is famous for its oxtail soup, in the Pacific Place and Pondok Indah Mall shopping centres.

Another player that has embraced a green strategy to maintain business and environmental sustainability the fierce hospitality industry is Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali.

Alila has implemented a wide range of measures, such as having a dedicated area for the separation of waste materials for recycling, an electrical maintenance schedule, low capacity air conditioning, a sewage treatment plant and water conservation system.

“The benefits for the hotel are very significant in many ways. Each year we see further savings in water and electricity use by introducing new technologies and installing new systems,” Alila general manager Marco Groten told the Post.

“The measures are a great help for keeping us competitive,” he said, adding that its newest initiative was making and bottling its own drinking water for the guests and its team members.

In addition to cost benefits, the eco-friendly strategy has won Alila international recognition.

The hotel recently ranked ninth in the best leisure resort in Asia by and fifth out of 100 best resorts in the world by Bilanz Hotel Rating,

putting them on the global hospitality map as a competitive player, he added.

Moreover, the adoption of energy-saving measures nowadays have spread to low cost accommodation.

Local chain Tauzia Hotel Management through its budget brand, POP! Hotel, has installed solar power, used eco-friendly construction materials and applied a cost-efficient roof lighting system.

“It not only helps us to reduce unnecessary energy costs by up to 30 per cent, but also strengthens our brand in the market as we need to anticipate future demand from travelers who are getting more concerned about the environment,” Tauzia spokeswoman Yani Sinulingga said, adding that the hotel was a member of Green Building Council Indonesia as a commitment to continue implementing environmental practices to make the business sustainable.

Currently Tauzia operates six POP! Hotels with a total inventory of 1,006 rooms in major cities like Jakarta, Bandung (West Java) and Denpasar (Bali) with another 29 POP! Hotel properties, comprising 3,833 rooms, currently under construction until 2015.

Separately, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said that in the coming years the government planned to provide incentives for hospitality players who pursue green initiatives as a concrete appreciation.

The ministry has recently signed an agreement with the global environmental conservation organisation World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) to make tourism businesses, including hotels, be more sustainable by embracing green management.

“We want to have a standard in developing green tourism businesses, such as hotels, through this agreement so that the industry will be more sustainable in the future and they can get carbon credit. Creating the standard and the carbon credit program will take some time, but I am optimistic that we can make it in the end,” she said. (Jakarta Post)

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