Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Crowne Plaza: One big solar panel

A hotel in Copenhagen has taken green and innovative solutions to the next level.

by Peter Bjerregaard

Photo courtesy of Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers.

At first sight, it looks like any other hotel. However, at a closer look, you notice that the blank facade isn’t your everyday facade. The facade is the largest building-integrated solar panel in Northern Europe covering 2,500 m2, which also plays a key role in the hotel’s status as the only carbon neutral hotel in Denmark.

The hotel is the first in Denmark to have joined the UN’s Global Compact and has been awarded the prize as the world’s greenest hotel. Apart from solar panels, the hotel uses the best available energy-efficient technologies, which has cut its energy consumption by 53% when compared to normal hotels.

“I think our consistent green thinking is the reason why we have been awarded. It is all the small details, as well as the big picture,” says Allan Agerholm, the CEO of Crowne Plaza.

No detail is left unexplored for its energy saving or sustainable potential. The electricity comes from the hotel’s facade, the groundwater provides the heating and cooling of the hotel’s air conditioning. The televisions and lamps are all energy efficient, and the restaurant uses local groceries. Even the hotel’s gym is energy producing – guests are encouraged to pedal for about 15 minutes to produce 10-watt hours of electricity, and if you produce more than that you receive a free meal in the restaurant.

“We have only installed low-energy lights, the newest technology in the kitchen, efficient IT equipment – even the hand driers in the bathrooms has been chosen due to their energy consumption,” explains Allan Agerholm and stresses that even the bathroom requisites are ecological friendly:

“Shampoo bottles, toothbrushes and even the handle on the disposable scraper are all made from corn starch. The material looks like plastic, but it is organic and naturally biodegradable. If you bury the products in a pot with soil, they will disintegrate and enter the natural cycle after just three months".

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