The hospitality group's flagship ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, and ITC Windsor in Bengaluru, have been certified with the US Green Building Council (USGBC)’s LEED Zero Carbon Certification.
Two of ITC's signature hotels in South India have been bestowed with a rare distinction. The hospitality group's flagship ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, and ITC Windsor in Bengaluru, have been certified with the US Green Building Council (USGBC)’s LEED Zero Carbon Certification.
The recognition makes both hotels the only ones in the world to have a net-zero carbon status, while the 600-room ITC Grand Chola — the group’s largest property — becomes the largest commercial building on the planet to be accorded the distinction. The acronym LEED stands for ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’.
Simply put, the certification implies that both hotels leave no carbon footprint on the environment on account of their eco-friendly operations and sustainable practices. The ITC Grand Chola for instance has risen to prominence for powering its electric boilers through a wind farm while using the steam emitted from the boilers in laundry services.
Even water consumption at the hotel is by way of atmospheric distillation, which literally means the ITC Grand Chola’s primary water source is the atmosphere, subjected to rigorous purification techniques.
"In several of our processes, the by-product of one process becomes the fuel for the other, and in a nutshell that’s how we drive sustainability at the hotel," said Zubin Songadwala, general manager of ITC Grand Chola and area manager, South, ITC Hotels.
"The best part about our certification is that we have managed to make changes to our processes without changing the way we operate and do business," he added, "We don’t switch off ACs or turn off the water. We’ve just invested in new technology and made changes at the back-end."
What also makes the achievement more special is that luxury hotels are generally regarded as energy-guzzlers, thanks to the scale of their operations. The ITC Grand Chola, for instance, consumes an average of around 70,000 units of power every day.
"It's a challenging job since going green is something that must be conceptualized at the design stage of a hotel," says P Gopalakrishnan, managing director (APAC & Middle East), Green Business Certification Inc, "Once the hotel starts operating, its performance needs to be monitored to constantly to check if it meets LEED standards."
In India, only one building has a LEED-certified zero water status: DLF Cybercity in Gurugram. Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to achieve net-zero emissions in India by 2070. Only a day ago, Tamil Nadu finance minister P Thiagarajan said Tamil Nadu could aim for net-zero status by 2050 — two decades ahead of the national target. ITC Hotels converting two of its properties into real-world working models of net-zero emissions could now serve as a blueprint of how to get to the coveted goalpost.
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(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)