It’s not just during Earth Day that we should think about sustainability. We all have to do our part to build a green future—not just for the sake of our planet, but to protect and preserve the health and livelihoods of our families for generations to come. This year’s Earth Day 2022 theme was “Invest in our Planet”, encouraging individuals and organisations to make a difference with their choices. This means we have the power to select greener DayAway experiences all year round, and thankfully our beloved hospitality brands have made efforts to move the needle when it comes to sustainability. We spotlight innovative eco-friendly hotels and their sustainable practices to look out for on your next DayAway.
Bringing the outside in has proven to help with mental health, as the outdoors is actually our natural habitat (and not the built structures we live in now). Case in point: Step into the PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay where a whopping 15,000 sq ft of plants coexist with top-notch architecture and hospitality and you’ll immediately feel refreshed.
No, you’re not imagining things: This property, which prides itself as Singapore’s first garden-in-a-hotel, is indeed cooler and the air is fresher. This is the result of a combination of the 2,400 plants (which thrive on energy-efficient grow lights) as well as double-glazed windows in the hotel atrium—so that guests enjoy natural shade and purification.
On your next DayAway, also look out for its sleek electric car that is available to ferry guests and associates, or make deliveries for the hotel. Manufactured by BYD, the car is powered by an advanced battery pack that not only enables it to travel 400km with a single charge, but is also safe and recyclable, plus produces no pollutants and little noise.
You might immediately recognise Andaz Singapore from afar, thanks to its standout honeycomb facade. However, this isn’t merely aesthetic, but serves as a natural sunshade, working in tandem with the solar control dots on the windows to minimise the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light. This also instantly and permanently reduces solar heat gain of up to 25% during the day.
There’s no compromise on the amount of light that enters the building and no need for day curtains to block the glare of the afternoon sun, which means that guests can enjoy unfettered panoramic views of the city in cooler comfort.
While you’re enjoying a DayAway there, you’ll also get the chance to meet Andy, an artificial intelligence powered chatbot aka a smart digital concierge. No guesses how Andy got its name—it is the personification of Andaz Singapore, after all. With this digital information initiative, the hotel has actively reduced paper waste as it can now do without the usual in-room compendium. In addition, guests can enlist Andy’s help for table bookings and to find out the latest promotions and more.
Implemented in 2019, Andy has helped the hotel save close to 400 man hours thanks to its self-service modules. This also translates to a reduction in energy, carbon and waste.
Each time someone walks into a hotel lobby, the opening and closing of the entrance doors means that warmer air from outside comes in. This takes a toll on the cooling system, especially if foot traffic is high.
Despite this, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore has managed to save up to $30,000 on energy costs by converting its diesel boiler, used to generate steam for heating up water, into heat pumps. These heat pumps are located on the hotel’s podium roof on Level 3 and in the B2 boiler room.
Heat pumps are more energy efficient than boilers as they can produce heat more slowly and with a smaller temperature difference—thus resulting in less impact on the environment. The hotel has gone one step further and rerouted the cold air discharged from the heat pumps to the hotel’s main entrance lobby to cool it down. Previously, this was discharged to the open space at the podium roof.
Marina Bay Sands
The Sands SkyPark isn’t merely an observation deck that offers unbeatable vistas of Singapore. Since 2017, it has also housed a 145 kWp solar power system—536 solar panels over an area of 880m2—that is able to generate enough energy to power all lighting on the Sands SkyPark, says Mr Kevin Teng, Executive Director of Sustainability, Marina Bay Sands.
“This reduces carbon emissions by 70 tonnes every year, equivalent to the amount of carbon emissions generated by more than 38,800 4-room HDB flats in Singapore,” he adds.
That’s not the only big initiative Marina Bay Sands has embarked on. They’ve invested S$50 million for an intelligent Building Management System (BMS), and the long-term benefits can be well worth it. For Marina Bay Sands, its integrated BMS comes with over 125,000 sensors that allow automated controls over utilities. This includes lighting, heating, air-conditioning and a Building Performance and Diagnostics System powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies that captures and analyses building data, notes Teng.
He adds: “This system, along with other efficiency measures, has helped Marina Bay Sands save over 7.4 million kWh of energy annually since 2012. As we operate on a very large scale, with a business that spans across the hotel, entertainment, MICE, retail, F&B and more, incorporating sustainability from the beginning of the design and construction phase was key to not only drive operational efficiencies and reduce costs, but to also reduce the impact of our operations on the environment in the long run.”
Aquaponics is a system where fish and vegetables are grown together—the fish waste is converted to nitrates, which benefits the vegetables; in turn, the latter helps filter and clean the water for the fish.
In Singapore, Fairmont Singapore & Swissôtel The Stamford was the first to pilot an urban hotel aquaponics farm in October 2019. The farm is currently producing all the nasturtium and tilapia used by the hotels’ restaurants, as well as 60% of swiss chard, 52% for mixed salad leaves, 30% for micro-greens and 20% for basil. Currently, the farm is currently operating at about 60-65% of its usual production capacity to make way for scheduled upgrading and maintenance.
This innovative project has helped the Fairmont Singapore & Swissôtel The Stamford clinch the accolade of Winner in Climate Action category for Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) Sustainable Hotel Awards 2020. In addition, the aquaponics farm is pesticide-free, and uses 90% less water usage than traditional soil farming as well as reduces carbon gas emissions by 90% as no farming equipment is used.
Bio-digestors to convert food waste into nutrient water or sewage for responsible disposal were installed at Pan Pacific Singapore late last year. After some fine-tuning in the early stages, the hotel is now well on its journey to eliminate the unnecessary carbon footprint of food waste being processed, transported, prepared and disposed of at the landfill.
In the beginning, there were teething issues with the machinery such as food waste not sliding down to the grinder pit properly; and accidental disposal of non-food materials, which caused the machine to break down. Nonetheless, the hotel persevered with its efforts, in order to divert food waste from general waste incineration.
The bio-digestor works hand-in-hand with an artificial intelligence-powered smart food waste management system that can identify and reduce food waste. Much analysis of data is also done to efficiently manage food preparation.