The Gateway Hotel: A green hotel in Umhlanga

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Tuesday, July 30, 2013

<p>The Gateway Hotel’s attractive green façade creates shading for the hotel rooms on the northern side of the hotel, minimising the need for air-conditioning (Image Source: Amanda Botes)</p>

The Gateway Hotel’s attractive green façade creates shading for the hotel rooms on the northern side of the hotel, minimising the need for air-conditioning (Image Source: Amanda Botes)

Umhlanga’s Gateway Hotel has been designed to minimise the amount of energy used in the hotel and subsequently its carbon footprint. At a recent Event Greening Forum meeting Ariff Mohamed, maintenance manager at the Gateway Hotel, took delegates on a tour of the hotel to demonstrate the hotel’s green initiatives. The Gateway Hotel is managed by the Three Cities Group.

Building design

Built in 2011, the hotel’s design makes the most of natural light so that artificial lighting is avoided where possible. Large ceiling to floor windows in the hotel rooms and conference facilities allow natural light to stream in. The glass used for the windows has a glazing on it that allows natural light in but also ensures the rooms don’t get too warm.    

On the northern side of the building an attractive leafy green façade made from aluminium and stainless steel keeps rooms on that side of the building cool by reflecting heat and providing shade.

In addition a unique system has been implemented that allows for fresh air to be circulated in the hotel when the air-conditioners are off keeping the hotel cool. Chilled exhaust air from two heat pumps is also redirected to cool down the kitchen. As an end result Mohamed says that the hotel’s air-conditioning chiller only runs for one hour a day

Hotel rooms

In the hotel rooms an automated card system ensures all appliances and lights are switched off when the occupant leaves the room. For balcony suites, when the balcony windows are opened, the air-conditioning in the hotel room switches off automatically minimising energy use. The toilets are dual flush and all the rooms have low flow shower heads and aerators to minimise the amount of hot water used in the hotel. Two energy efficient heat pumps ensure that water is heated using less electricity than an electric geyser would. Energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) lights reduce the amount of energy used by each light in the hotel.

Energy management

Ariff Mohamed, the Gateway Hotel’s maintenance manager’s role is essential in ensuring that energy is used efficiently at all times (Image Source: Amanda Botes)

An online building management system helps Mohamed to monitor energy closely and quickly determine if there are any areas where energy is not being used efficiently. Mohamed is able to switch things off remotely through this system and this ensures that the hotel is operating at its most energy efficient level.

Inside the kitchen

A herb garden on the roof of the hotel provides fresh herbs to the chefs in the hotel’s kitchen (Image Source: Amanda Botes)

In the hotel’s kitchen, various sustainability initiatives have been implemented to reduce the hotel’s impact on the environment.  In order to minimise waste generated, the hotel’s food suppliers reuse the containers that they transport supplies to the hotel in. Used oil is collected and sent to an organisation that turns it into biodiesel. Biodegradable enzymes are used to breakdown fat that is collected in the usual fat traps. The kitchen also uses the herbs that are grown on the rooftop of the hotel for many of the meals. In addition to the above initiatives waste that is generated in the hotel is separated and sent to be recycled.

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Amanda Botes