One of the reasons for travelling is to get an experience of new worlds and cultures. But what if that world is filled with polluted air and inadequate clean water? That's reason enough to make hotels shudder and clean up their act - like The Imperial New Delhi is doing...
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: June 10, 2011
The card read ‘You are invited for a Green Luncheon’. The dress code was green. But the backdrop of the invitation card was photograph of leaves in black and white. How ironic! – I thought. Or rather, it was apt. The card was designed in this way to focus our attention on the dilapidated condition of the world and environment – after all, the green luncheon was to celebrate the June 5, 2011 World Environment Day. The concept seemed interesting and I headed towards The Imperial New Delhi.
At the entrance of the hall, where the luncheon was hosted, easels had been placed with posters and paintings made by The Imperial employees, portraying their thoughts on saving the environment. It took me back to school days when we had painting and poster making competition, and I liked the stream of thought which the hotel had chosen to raise environmental awareness.
The luncheon, which was hosted for editors, opinion makers and country representatives, featured only vegetarian food – again a way to celebrate life. It was one of the few times when I didn’t have to check the placard for the green or the red sign!
But this is just it. The Imperial held a week-long set of activities to preserve and conserve the environment and raise awareness about green methods as much as possible.
Mr Vijay Wanchoo, Sr Vice President & General Manager, The Imperial New Delhi, was also present at the luncheon. He said, “The green luncheon is another feature in the wide list of eco-initiatives that Imperial has been conducting to combat various environmental issues. Elucidating the outcome of what a responsible act of any individual can produce for any exponential impact, The Imperial has undertaken an array of activities, pledging towards becoming a green hotel in operations, advocating and inducing actions at all levels within the hotel, and instigating the city to become conscious about the environment it lives in.”
Mr Wanchoo mentioned a few initiatives which had been undertaken at the hotel, including processing all printed stationary for notes, internal posters, etc. and discouraging deforestation; conserving electricity by dimming corridor lights for one hour every week; working on an ecologically sustainable environment by using natural products like composite pencils and herbal soaps; and protecting non-renewable resources of water by rain water harvesting. Hotel guests were also made a part of the plan by encouraging them to contribute by not changing towel and linen unless absolutely required.
Cleaning drives were conducted at Janpath and Jahanpanah forest in Delhi. Apart from the painting and slogan competition organised for the hotel staff, an art installation at the lobby level stimulated guests to contribute towards environment conservation and be conscious about it.
Going towards a more technical side, activities also included using Halon free fire extinguishers, recycling of aluminum and oil wastage, discouraging the use of fuels like diesel and LPG, PNG (Pipe Natural Gas) in boilers and kitchens, and using CFL lamps. Future actions include installation of CFC- free equipments in cold storage and other refrigeration plants, replacing the pumps with VFD systems (Variable Frequency Drive) that will consume electricity as per the requirement; installation of solar lighting fixtures for plantation areas and solar water heating system; and placement of water recycle plant for gardening, flushing systems and cooling towers.
Though, at this stage, it is quite difficult to become a 100% eco-friendly institution, The Imperial seems to be making significant efforts in encouraging green initiatives and becoming, at least, partially green. Healthy tourism and eco-balance is, of course, the ultimate motive. That won’t be far off if other hospitality players also contribute towards green endeavours the way The Imperial is doing.
By the way, the green and vegetarian luncheon was delectable…