ITC Gardenia was conferred with the highest rating for green buildings in the world – the LEED India Platinum Rating. This recognition makes it Asia’s first platinum-rated hotel and amongst the ‘Greenest’ luxury hotel chains in the world.
What it means to be a LEED Platinum Certified Hotel
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), is a voluntary sustainability and green rating program under the aegis of USGBC (US Green Building Council). It is the globally accepted, leading Green Building certification body with extremely stringent norms and certification procedures for buildings.
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The certification means healthier, more productive places to live, learn, work and play, as well as less stress on the environment, by encouraging energy- and resource-efficient buildings.
Built on the ethos of Responsible Luxury, the hotel has adopted contemporary ‘Green Practices’ that harness the element of nature in an inspired setting to deliver unique guest experiences.
It is the only company in the world to be carbon positive, water positive and solid waste recycling positive.
“Luxury without compromising the earth and sustainability without compromising luxury is the cornerstone of the ITC Hotels’ ethos and an affirmation of responsible luxury,” says Amaan Kidwai, General Manager at ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru.
Greenest Hotel Chain in the World
ITC Hotels amongst the first hospitality chains to discontinue use of ‘Single-Use Plastic ‘across its operations.
It has also commissioned numerous planet positive initiatives, which has led ITC Gardenia to become the Greenest Hotel Chain in the world.
Talking about the initiatives, Amaan says, “The quality of air that you breathe in our hotels is as fresh as mountain breeze and we treat and recycle enough water capable of irrigating 60,000 trees annually.”
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He further adds, “100% of total electrical energy demand at the hotel is met through renewable sources. The lights in the hotel are all CFC, LED and other energy-efficient light fittings. The architectural design is such that all rooms get natural lighting thus reducing energy consumption during the daytime.”
The hotel outsources wood from The Forest Stewardship Council Certified (FSCC). This means that all the wood received from FSCC is certified not to be from natural forests, but from special forests grown for this purpose.
Also, 74% of the wood including the flooring is made out of engineered wood using wood dust.
ITC Gardenia is amongst the first hotels in India to create the concept of Vertical Hanging Gardens.
Located in the hotel’s main lobby and at The Cubbon Pavilion, hotel’s multi-cuisine Coffee Shop, these are gardens that can be created in a vertical format and rise right up to the ceiling.
Explaining the concept, Amaan says, “Drip irrigation allows the water to drip evenly and provides moisture to every plant along the entire length. It collects at the base and is recycled for use.”
He further adds, “Plants are also graded according to the lighting they require to flourish. Most of the plants being used are of the Philodendron family and have all been locally grown in Bengaluru.”
The open lobby which connects the hotel’s main entrance to the ‘Grand Arrival Court’ has four Vertical Gardens rising up to the ceiling, with each panel comprising of approximately 1500 plants.
The ‘Living Wall’ at The Cubbon Pavilion covers an entire section and has around 25,000 plants. It reaches up to the 12th floor in an atrium effect to a height of 30 meters, with a skylight at the top.
Naturally Ventilated Lobby
The naturally ventilated lobby at the hotel is designed to create a ‘wind-tunnel’ effect. The guests can experience a cool breeze throughout the years, floating on the majestic ‘houdas’.
The ‘houdas’ are inspired by the royal canopy sitting atop elephants used in the iconic Dasara festival procession of Mysore and their placement in the lobby gives an illusion of floating on air.
Health and Well-being initiatives
While the hotel has introduced many initiatives over the years like heightened focus on Indoor Air Quality and installation of Radiation harmonizers to address health and wellbeing, the most path-breaking initiative is the Sleep program, believes Amaan.
It addresses multiple parameters like lighting, fragrance, aromas and food. These are aimed at enhancing the quality of sleep from interventions on controlling decibel levels in the room.
Nakul Anand, Executive Director at ITC Hotels says, “I can give you all the bells and whistles, but if I haven’t invested in giving you good sleep, I have no reason to be in the business.”
The scientists at ITC Life Sciences Centre, Bangalore have also developed a Sleep Menu using extensive global literature survey of books, research articles and traditional texts to screen the sleep-promoting effect of each ingredient present in their IRD menu.
“This knowledge has been used by our expert chefs for creating culinary offerings for enabling a good night’s sleep,” says Amaan.
The sleep culinary menu comprises dishes like buttermilk pancake with bananas, pavilion caprese, chicken supreme, lotus seeds and milk.
Airborne transmission control through effective ventilation
Various scientific research studies have highlighted that fresh air has natural disinfectant properties.
It has rich natural oxidant properties to create a defensive barrier against the Covid-19 virus and other pathogens.
The air re-circulation increases the chances of the virus getting trapped in the air vents of the air conditioning systems.
Therefore, ventilating a building with outdoor air is vital to dilute airborne contaminants and decrease disease transmission rates.
ITC Gardenia have well ventilated systems without air re-circulation which helps a lot in preventing the spread of the virus and well-designed site wind environment for dissipation of viruses and harmful gases.
Enhanced Indoor Air Quality properties will act as Virus eliminator
A green building itself should also “isolate” the virus as much as possible to reduce the risk of the infection.
Green hotel buildings can do this by controlling the collusion of air and pollutants by controlling the concentration of indoor particulate matter with the state of art fibrous filtration technology.
By keeping air humidity between 40% to 70%, temperature between 24 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius and CO2 levels less than 1000 ppm will rejuvenate the active virus killing properties of air.
Bengaluru’s only Hotel with ‘Licensed’ Heliport
ITC Gardenia at Bengaluru, is India’s first hotel and Bengaluru’s only hotel to have been granted permission to operate Helicopters from its Roof Top Elevated Heliport (in a high rise building).
Located on the hotel’s 22nd floor, the Heliport has a diameter of 27 meters and has received the DGCA’s approval and authorization, to operate landing and take-off under day VFR conditions- interpreted as day time operations only.
There are several criteria that acquire this license, laid down by the Government of India.
“In addition to an annual licensing fee, there are periodical audits that we need to adhere to – ensuring safe operations while enabling landing and takeoffs for our guests,” says Amaan.
All operations to and from the heliport are carried out by an experienced crew comprising of 2 qualified helicopter pilots.
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