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Going Green: Walking the Talk – ITC Grand Central Mumbai

06 Apr

As far as Hotels go, the ITC – Grand Central looks as any 5 -star Hotel – Exclusive, elegant, ultra efficient and charming. Nothing new there, except that it is amongst the first chain of Hotels which are LEED Platinum certified.

Yes, as far as walking the talk of being sustainable, ITC  Hotels was already doing what few had even thought possible. So much so that when Bonn decided to study the methodologies for creating a program for Carbon credit, ITC-Sonar, Kolkata was a case study. It was already green and gone the carbon -credit way even before others knew what Carbon -credit meant.

This Earth Hour, I was pleasantly surprised to be invited by the Hotel to share the experience and responsibility of balancing Economy with Ecology. And I was amazed at the dedication of the management and staff towards the path to Green. They indeed are walking the talk.

I am not at all deluded on the fact that the modern construction and the high-carbon life-style we live has but a very narrow band-width vis – a -vis Sustainable practice; but what is telling –  is recognizing the fact that there is a path and following that path to its full potential. ITC – with its chain of Hotels, has done that. That must be commended and its method adopted by others both in and outside the trade.

It is one thing to follow and document guidelines while applying for a LEED rating, its entirely another ball-game to be consistent and not falter when no one is looking over the shoulder. This I put to test and evidence was produced both verbal and documented by the superbly efficient ITC Grand Central team. And where there was room for improvement, almost instantly my suggestions were accepted. This for the fact that ingenuity is in-built into the ethos which was evident in how they have tackled a seemingly unrecognised issue but a grave energy guzzler and given it the detailed attention it requires. The closet light and bathroom lights. In the former, the pressure switch provided under the door-panels fail to activate,if the shutters are not closed proper, leading to the light  remaining in a switched-on state. As for the Bathrooms, very few have the habit of shutting the lights out. A motion sensor eliminated the problem. Simple and effective.To those who would be comparing cost, kindly pause and recalculate it under a LCA (life cycle analysis) . The idea’s worth the money.

And then there was the winner;  we all understand the adage – ‘we win some and then we lose some’. It is not about the wining but having recognised that one can not win within a certain area, what one chooses to do about it, so as to bring out a positive result . In this, I again found to my delight that ITC- Grand Central  had found a way. And that was to educate and inform. So to the extent they are unable to walk the path of sustainability, due to factors beyond their immediate reach, the community around them balances it by doing their bit under the able guidance of the Hotel management and staff combine. And this CSR has a good cascading effect, for the staff who are involved first -hand everyday in the sustainable practice, slowly but surely take it back into their sphere of influence. Thus the grass-roots of India gets its awareness on Climate Change. Such noble thoughts must be multiplied.

And it just does not end here. Unknowing to most patrons, ITC – Grand Central has been helping them contribute to the betterment of the environment. In one of my previous articles long back, I had spoken about the problem of food-waste from 5 Star hotels. At Grand Central all food-waste is composted and fertilizer is created, which is then given to plant nurseries. The organic waste converter machine, is state of art which takes care of Landscape waste, food waste and uses non-toxic methods to arrive at the solution.

At the energy front, all ITC Hotel properties have an efficiency target of  700KCal/SqMt/day for HPL and Grand Central through its efforts work with 684 KCal/SqMt/day. A no mean effort considering many Hotels have the numbers hovering 750 -800.  Efficiency in energy conservation is the buzzword, from  water heating through steam condensate; automatic power factor controller unit; high-efficiency Forenta laundry system and capping it with Harmonic analysis on electrical distribution system, which very few practice to reduce their overall energy consumption. It is indeed a Grand effort towards the path of sustainability. And hope that even 3-4 star hotels start adopting these. For, sustainability in energy-efficiency has direct positive co-relation to monetary savings.

Many around the World gesture in a positive way by reducing or shutting down their power consumption during Earth Hour every year. But it is those who make the symbolic gesture as part and parcel of their corporate responsibility are the true Messiah for the well being of mother Earth. In ITC – Grand Central Mumbai, I experienced it. And my quest for more corporates following this path just increased.

 

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