Hotels that heal environment not ‘beyond realm of possibility’

The idea that hotels, buildings and other structures could one day heal the environment rather than produce a negative impact is not "beyond the realms of possibility", says InterContinental Hotels Group's (IHG) head of sustainability.

IHG’s vice president of corporate responsibility and sustainability, Paul Snyder, said: “We’re moving away from just looking at environmental impact to becoming carbon neutral – but what’s beyond carbon neutral? I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility to think about buildings and hotels sometime in the future that actually by their very presence help the environment or remediate the environment”.

With the average mid-scale hotel emitting 370 tonnes of CO2 per year, according to Conservation International, 23 leading global hotel companies, including IHG, have pledged to reduce their environmental impact under the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI).

However, as the industry grows to meet the accommodation needs of a growing global middle-class, the reductions in carbon, water and energy are going to become difficult to maintain.

Snyder says despite this, human ingenuity and innovation is likely to take over.

“The fact that we’re already starting to see some technologies that are healing the environment shows that we’re on the right track,” said Snyder.

Technological advancements in building materials, such as concrete, are emerging as potential solutions to the environmental impact of buildings.

Along with initiatives such as ‘green roofs’ which capture rainwater to reduce run off, new technologies and materials are all moving towards reducing impact and eventually benefitting the environment.

Read the exclusive interview with IHG’s vice president of corporate responsibility and sustainability, Paul Snyder here

Leigh Stringer

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