Following mounting pressure on the hospitality industry to ‘clean up its act’ and limit the impact it has on the environment, Apex Hotels, which has already led the way with a number of eco friendly practices within its five UK hotels, has strengthened its commitment by taking further steps towards becoming a greener company.Apex’s efforts have already been recognised with nominations for upcoming awards from several bodies including Keeping Edinburgh Clean, VIBES of Scotland (Vision in Business for the Environment), and the Scottish Thistle Awards 2006 on Sustainable Tourism.
Reducing Carbon Emissions
Every organisation contributes to carbon dioxide emissions through its day-to-day operations. The scientific consensus is that increasing levels of CO2 emissions are causing climate change and that this is potentially the most serious threat facing the world today.
In addition to the numerous actions Apex already take within their business, the company has also applied to the Carbon Footprint organisation to calculate their primary footprint and await confirmation on actions required to offset this including tree planting in the UK.
Recognising that the actions of everyone have an impact on the future of our planet, Apex Hotels are also one of the first to offer a complimentary facility for guests to offset carbon footprints from flights, weddings, conferences and events. Working with Climate Care, carbon emissions are offset on guests’ behalf through a variety of their projects.
Apex Hotels’ ‘Green Team’
In an ongoing pledge to identify and implement eco-friendly policies, an Apex ‘Green Team’ has been created to seek improved methods of reducing energy consumption and drive the use of eco-friendly chemicals in all Apex Hotels. They are also working closely with supplier partners to encourage use of environmentally friendly soaps and detergents for laundering bed linen and towels.
Staff training and initiatives
Apex Hotels provide environmental awareness and training to all staff as part of the induction programme, which continues on an ongoing basis. Staff are trained to reduce, reuse and recycle, purchasing recycled goods whenever appropriate, as well as recycling office waste. A dedicated unit is suited to recycling paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, CDs, polythene wrappers, used toner cartridges, mobile phones, polystyrene, waste cooking oil and dry cleaning coat hangers. All waste is compacted to reduce the number of collections required.
Initiatives are also in place to reduce carbon emissions from staff transport, including car share and cycling schemes, and conference calls are encouraged between properties to minimise travel.
The sales team actively promotes the Apex Hotel Green Tourism Business Scheme award and policy to clients.
Environmentally Considerate hotel construction
A dedicated architect in charge of sustainable hotel design ensures that all properties in the group aim to meet low carbon standards.
Energy considerate measures have been incorporated into the design of all the properties, including energy efficient windows to improve thermal performance, and large walk in showers and dual flush toilets to reduce water use. Existing lifts have been replaced with energy efficient lifts and keycard systems control lighting, heating and air coolers in the newer properties when the rooms are not in use. Energy saving lighting, dimmers and motion detectors are in place, whilst building management systems control temperatures throughout.
All waste furniture and fittings resulting from refurbishments is reused by local charities and businesses, and the city centre locations minimise wastage of energy and resources as well as avoiding Greenfield space.
The new build hotel in Dundee, launched in March 2003, takes advantage of energy considerate materials and techniques, including extensive thermographic imaging to ensure the building is air-tight and to identify thermal spots.
Water, gas and electricity consumption are monitored daily to aid the reduction of consumption levels and Apex City Hotel in Edinburgh has demonstrated a 29% reduction in electricity, 21% reduction in water and 11% reduction in gas through the introduction of such initiatives.
Apex recognise the importance of the supporting the local environment, services and suppliers through as many actions as appropriate. The varied activities range from using local produce where possible to supporting local initiatives such as the Heriot Bridge Garden, an award winning community project in Edinburgh.