First virtual green hotel

InterContinental wants to set up goals to deliver real benefits to the environment

The world's first virtual green hotel, which will set a benchmark for hospitality professionals around the world, has been launched by the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

The Innovation Hotel exists only online at www.ihgplc.com/innovation and is designed to showcase innovative concepts to protect the environment such as solar power, energy conservation and recycling.

It features four large solar panels on the roof for water heating, a shrubbery-rich roof garden to give extra insulation, windpower to generate electricity, recycled glass windows, fittings and furniture made from recycled materials and a system to use household waste to generate heat and power. Visitors to the website are invited to comment on the green initiatives.

"We have some excellent examples of responsible tourism under way in our hotels," said David Jerome, Senior Vice-President of Corporate Responsibility.

"Now we are looking at setting company-wide goals for our business to deliver real benefits to the environment, based on a clear understanding of where we can make a difference and guests' needs. People who do their bit for the environment when they are at home are likely to be interested in doing the same when they are staying in a hotel.

"Responsible tourism is about growing in a way that makes sense for business, while managing our impact on the environment and community. We want to know what green features are important to guests before making them part of our brand standards. This gives customers a chance to weigh in with their ideas."

Furniture in the virtual hotel is made from recycled material, the décor features low-emission paint, the use of local artwork ensures a low carbon footprint and there are recycling bins.

To limit food wastage all unused food is delivered to local food banks and charities and leftover scraps are composted to create fertiliser for use on the hotel's lawns. All fittings and furniture are made from recycled materials and mattresses and carpets made from natural fibres, including horsehair.

Bathrooms have low-flow showerheads and toilets with dual flushing.

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