- Published on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 11:02
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Over the past 10 years, Four Points by Sheraton – Australia’s largest hotel – has been steadily working towards achieving and integrating successful environmental practices and sustainability principals to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint.
With 630 rooms, business centre, fitness facility and public family room this is no little feat and Four Points by Sheraton chief engineer, Matthew Worth said it will never be a completely finished thing.
“Becoming a green hotel has taken a long time. Sheraton took over the property a decade ago and since then we have been working together with the owners to reduce the hotel’s energy.”
The first step in a long line of projects was the creation of the hotel’s Environmental Committee. Chaired by the general manager, (name), this committee’s purpose is to drive initiative implementation and raise environmental awareness through out the hotel. Meeting on a monthly basis, the environmental committee confers with the Energy Saving Project Committee. Consisting of departmental ‘energy champions’, this committee – established in June 2008 – aims to implement practical energy saving initiatives into departments to assist with reducing non-essential energy usage. Each quarter, both these committees and other hotel associations meet to continue to raise environmental awareness whilst allowing the management team to update associates on the hotel’s initiatives and encourage participation and support.
The first implementation and installation of sustainability practices was the replacement of the hotel’s original chiller plant with two, four staged turbo core chillers. These new chillers are what Matthew described as, “One of the state-of-the-art chillers” and reduce the energy consumption of the chiller plant by one third.
During the winter months, these chillers are shut down to maintain a chilled water temperature of around 10 to 12 degrees which Matthew said is sufficient to satisfy the minor loads which are encountered during this time of year.
Variable Speed Drives have also been installed on the chilled water pumps and cooling tower fans to enable the equipment to match the building load required rather than constantly running at 100%.
The next step was the replacement of all incandescent light globes with energy efficient compact fluro globes – which consume approximately 80% less energy – in 2007.
Also, during this year, Four Points by Sheraton installed an organic food waste recycling program. With the introduction of a colour-coded bin recycling process, the hotel was able to increase recycled matter from about 50% at the beginning of 2007 to 79.87% by the end of the same year.
Matthew said, “We are currently upgrading our garbage system to meet a recycling rate of 95%. This will be happening in the next three weeks but currently we are recycling PET, organics, paper and glass. Basically, anything that can be recycled will be recycled and only contaminated waste will be sent to landfill.”
Introduced in 2007 was Four Points by Sheraton’s Green Program. This program was designed to allow guests to assist the hotel in reducing water usage. The Green Room Card in each of the 630 rooms, prompts guest to assist the hotel and save water by not having their linen washed daily.
In conjunction with this, new Jem-Flo water restrictors and shower heads were installed, which resulted in a saving of 34,000kl annually and by reducing the capacity of the guest room cisterns, a further 8,000kl of water is saved each year.
Matthew said, “Over the last three years we have saved more and more water each year. Four Points by Sheraton has been identified by Sydney Water and we were recognised as one of the top water savers in Sydney CBD.”
Also in the guest rooms the hot water systems, which serve each room with domestic hot water have had their maximum temperature reduced from 80 degrees to 65 degrees with a further variance based on an outside air reset schedule.
Four Points by Sheraton’s centralised building management system (BMS), managed by the engineering department allows day-to-day monitoring of energy consumption through real time monitoring f water usage, temperature controls and allowing air conditioning in guest rooms to be reset to set energy conserving parameters once a guest checks out.
“With the BMS integrated to our air conditioning systems, when a guest checks in the air conditioner takes it off the economy cycle of 21½ degrees and the guest then presets it once they are in the room. With this feature, the energy conserving parameters are as low as 19 and as high as 27.”
In December 2007, the hotel implemented INVU, an electronic data management system which allows each department in the hotel to assist in reducing the hotel’s overall paper usage.
It was also in 2007 that Four Points by Sheraton first participated in Earth Hour. During this event, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses, turned off all non-essential lighting for one hour. This simple act reduced Sydney’s energy consumption by 10.2%, which is equivalent to taking 48,000 cars off the road for a whole year.
In 2008, Four Points by Sheraton participated again in this event and this time Earth Hour was global with over 50 million people and 21,000 businesses being involved.
Also in July 2008, the hotel achieved a Green Globe Bronze. This benchmarking status has Four Points by Sheraton committed to benchmarking it energy and water consumption, total waste production and community commitment, along with implementing an integrated environmental and social policy.
Each month, informal audits are conducted and on a quarterly basis, a formal internal audit is undertaken. The information gathered from these audits is used to formulate new systems and procedures to assist in reducing Four Point by Sheraton’s environmental impact.
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