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Savoy reopens, claiming title of London’s greenest five-star hotel

Michelle Ward
12th October 2010
The historic Savoy Hotel has reopened after three years of renovation, claiming to be the most eco-friendly luxury hotel in the city.
After a £200 million refurbishment project, the Savoy Hotel opened on Sunday with £2.4 million worth of green technology, which could reduce the hotel’s energy bills by up to 50 per cent and reward it with the title of London’s most environmentally responsible luxury hotel, according to management.

"The restoration has been a wonderful opportunity for us to install the latest in green technology behind the scenes," said Debra Patterson, Savoy’s Green Team chairman. "We have been working with the very best affiliate companies to ensure that the systems are the most efficient and have the best environmental advantages."

Green restoration
The three year renovation of the landmark establishment introduced environmental technologies and efficiencies whenever possible, according to its owner Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. 

The energy efficient technologies and other improvements installed will result in a 40 per cent reduction in overall energy consumption and an annual carbon reduction of around 3,000 tonnes. In addition, 90 per cent of waste will be diverted from landfill, food waste turned into electricity, and a green procurement policy implemented. In keeping with its luxury standards, the hotel has added a dedicated Green Butler to the 25-strong butler team and offers a green stay package for guests.

Energy reductions
A new combined heat and power (CHP) plant will reduce the hotel’s reliance on the National Grid by approximately 50 per cent, the company said. The CHP unit cost £2.7 million, but the calculated payback is within four and half years, according to management.

A new central refrigeration plant with a heat exchanger was also installed, which will reclaim the exhaust heat from all kitchen appliances and reuse it as energy to preheat domestic hot water.

To further reduce energy consumption, smart thermostats in all bedrooms and suites are designed to control lighting and room temperature and use natural ventilation to regulate the temperature inside the room. Low energy light and low flow water systems have also been introduced where possible.

Utilising and recycling waste
Leftover food from the kitchen and hotel restaurants will be collected daily by recycling group PDM, sent to a biomass-to-energy renewable power plant and the resulting biofuel will be fed into the National Grid. This new system of diverting kitchen waste from landfill will save an estimated £22,000 a year, reduce CO2 by 11 tonnes and create enough electricity to power 20 per cent of the guestroom lights, according to Patterson.

"A lot of hotel waste goes to landfill, so I started by thinking about what we could reuse," said Patterson in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "I donated old towels to Battersea Dogs Home, and used slippers went to Help the Aged. Our soap goes to St Mungo’s, the homeless charity."

Other sustainability efforts
Menu options in all of the hotel’s restaurants will use organic produce from local growers. An herb garden has been developed in partnership with the management team of Westminster Council’s Victoria Embankment Gardens. Adjacent to the Savoy’s riverside, the garden will contain 15 herbs grown for use in the hotel.

The Savoy’s main charity partner is Thames 21 and through Adopt-A-River Scheme, the hotel employees will take care of the stretch of the Thames River that flows directly outside the hotel.

The Savoy will introduce its Green Butler, Nicolas Ollivier, who will advise guests on the areas of the city using cutting-edge sustainable technologies, eco restaurants, eco bars, environmental architecture, eco-retail as well as a knowledge of the Savoy’s own environmental initiatives and of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ Green Partnership Programme.

The hotel’s Elements Stay package provides guests with the opportunity to experience a green London. The package includes, among other things, a three-hour eco-tour of London, luxury transportation in a hybrid vehicle, access to a BMW bicycle, and a one-day pass for London’s public transportation.

Environmental Accreditation
The Savoy is currently completing the audit for the Green Key Eco-Rating Programme and is awaiting final grading from the Green Tourism Business Scheme, a formal accreditation scheme. The hotel is already a member of the UK Sustainable Restaurant Association, a member of the World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, and a partner of the Considerate Hoteliers Association.

"Every element has been thought through and analysed and we are on a continuing journey to make sure that our guests have the most luxurious stay possible safe in the knowledge that it is also the most sustainable stay," said Patterson.

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Savoy reopens, claiming title of London’s greenest five-star hotel
London's Savoy Hotel has re-opened after a green refurbishment
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