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Caravelle invests in sustainability with waste water and green chemicals

Iconic Hotel in Saigon goes the extra Green Mile

One of Vietnam’s most venerable hotels is proving bang up to date when it comes to promoting cutting-edge environmental policies.

The iconic Caravelle Hotel in Saigon completed installation of a wastewater treatment facility in December that recycles 40% of the property’s water. The innovation – a first in the Southeast Asian country’s southern hub – was a central plank of the hotel’s efforts to set the stage for ISO certification. The hotel earned the internationally recognized standard last week.

The hotel’s previous wastewater recycling facility was installed in 2006 but lacked sufficient capacity to make an appreciable impact. The new state of the art model – an investment of $75,000 – is proving significantly more effective. The water is used for flushing toilets and to supply the hotel’s cooling tower. Every month between 2,500 – 3,000 cubic meters of wastewater is recycled.

The installation of the wastewater recycling facility is an example of how the hotel has gone above and beyond over the past year in its bid to secure certification. An Environmental Management System (EMS) was introduced to identify areas of concern, oversee improvements and co-ordinate training of staff in green best practices. The hotel also embarked on a major drive to reduce electricity consumption by switching to energy saving light bulbs and installing a high-efficiency chiller to power its air-conditioning system.

While other hotels in Vietnam’s southern hub also have the ISO certification, the Caravelle’s commitment to going the extra mile in its adoption of green practices is indicative of how seriously it takes its environmental responsibilities.

Indeed, the hotel continues to go way beyond the minimum ISO requirements in its drive to bolster its green credentials.

Another recent innovation is the use of ‘green’ chemicals to clean all the floors. At almost 1.5 times the cost of regular chemicals, these products represent quite an investment but are biodegradable within 24 hours.

“You can’t put a price on safeguarding the planet for future generations,” says John Gardner, General Manager of the Caravelle. “That’s why we won’t be cutting any corners when it comes to being the best we can be in terms of our commitment to looking after the environment.

“As one of the most recognizable hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, we realize that we are in a position to lead by example and that is something we are determined to do,” he said.

Accordingly, the Caravelle has a number of major green goals for the year ahead. Targets for 2011 include a 4% reduction in harmful Co2 emissions. To achieve this the hotel will replace its current diesel fuelled boiler with a high efficiency heat pump. Work on the project is planned to start in July and will be carried out step by step to ensure that guests are not affected.

Another priority aspiration for the hotel is the attainment of Green Globe certification, which is regarded as the premier standard for environmental sustainability development worldwide, especially in the field of tourism.

“It’s very easy to pay lip service to the environment,” said Gardner. “The tourism industry is rife with talk about green innovations and sustainability, but often the truth is outweighed by hype.’

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.