Just reading an article from Hotelsmag and thought that this is worth recording as it makes total sense. (Below are some texts extracted from that article)
I totally agree with this – both hands up. Today, hotel trends are going towards sustainability, energy-saving, getting greener.
As an architect, when we design the building for the hotel, with hotel owners, their biggest concern is often, to keeping to the minimum floor area and basic external envelope design, while still trying to look good (according to the stars rating of the hotel, of course), and needless to say still complying to the specifications of the hotel brand. Spending the least money on construction cost is their ultimate objective at design and construction development stage. Even I, someone who is not directly involved in the budgeting of the building cost, since I am always on the side of the design team, tend to realize how shallow and naïve this mentality is. Having spending low construction cost may ultimately (which actually usually happens) lead to more energy and operating cost in future, once the hotel begins to operate. I am not even trying to bring up how better materials and better design will have an impact on the image of the hotel hence influencing how the hotel is being perceived by the public and guests.
Not much concern is emphasized on introducing better details or any sustainability measures unless it is necessary by regulation, at the design stage, unless the hotel brands insisted, which is often a little late in the decision making process.
‘No budget’, they would say, ‘let’s take out the unnecessary sun louvers on the façade, they are merely decorative and additional cost, the guest can draw the curtains if they want! Double-glazing? Do we need that here? The weather is pretty warm here compared to the Scandinavian, no? Rainwater collection and recycling? Do we have any extra space to locate the tanks? Oh, unlike Spain, we are not allowed to put water tanks on the roof top. Earthquake, you know what is that? Moreover, the additional set of piping might increased the thickness of the wall? We don't have budget nor floor area for that!’
So, in the end, the hotel ends up spending much more (than imagine) on energy consumption and water usage.
‘Let’s use thinner walls and floor slab systems so that we may be able to squeeze in one more smaller room! Oh, can we also squeeze in a mezzanine with the reduction of height with thinner slabs? Exceeding the total floor area? How about making the back of house area smaller? Staff resting rooms? Why do we need that? Shouldn't they be working? Acoustic quality? Isn’t this measure the minimum by law that is allowed? So be it!’
Sometimes I seriously wonder, in today’s world, how could anyone still have this kind of backward, conservative, short-sighted thinking? I had thought that with the world keeps changing and everyone getting so competitive, the brains would gradually evolved in order to keep up. Conservatives and backwards thinkers would be phased out and put into ancient museum. Yet, here they still are. For how long more, no one knows.
The point here is, please Start At The Beginning in order to achieve the best results. Do it right, from the start! Go green, go Day One. The hotels’ sustainability team/program/mentality/principles should be involved before operations -during building design decision, not after!
Just imagine how much more we can actually achieve by starting at ground zero.