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Sustainability

Part 44: 6 ways to add nature into interior design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 44:
6 WAYS TO ADD NATURE INTO INTERIOR DESIGN

Getting in touch with nature has moved from the eco-friendly fringes to the mainstream in the hospitality industry. Designer and author Angelina Schmidt shares tips on how designers can seamlessly add natural elements within an interior design scheme… 

The indoor-outdoor trend is about more than adding some greenery into hotel lobbies. It’s rooted in the term “biophilia”, which refers to our desire as humans to connect with nature. “Biophilic design” refers to using these principles in architectural and interior design. Here are some tips on how you can extend these ideas to your room design.

Wood

From floor to ceiling and all the space between, wood is a natural choice when using nature in guestroom design, but should not be limited to the bedroom. Wooden floors in common spaces are durable, easy to clean, and blend well with countless design themes.

Minimalist room with wooden coffee table

Image credit: Pixabay

Make a statement in these areas with a wood ceiling (these are a trending design feature right now). Wooden accent walls add warmth and cosiness that’s hard to duplicate with other materials. Consider smaller touches like wood accent shelves or wood fireplace mantles. Wooden coffee tables, desks, lighting fixtures, and accessories will also bring a touch of nature to any room.

Stone

There are so many ways to incorporate stone into interior design. From flooring to feature walls to decorative accents, stone offers a timeless and natural charm. Surround a fireplace or cover a wall with stone veneer.

Image credit: Pixabay

In rooms with kitchens, perhaps use stacked stone as a backsplash or around a kitchen island. Remodeling the bathrooms? How about a river pebble shower floor or slate tiles for the shower walls? Be sure to properly seal the natural stone in bathrooms and use slip-resistant materials for the floors.

The power of plants

Biophilic design is about more than plants. Greenery can play a role in helping travellers feel connected to nature. Potted plants help green up common spaces and individual rooms. Aloe, jade, and snake plants are good low maintenance choices.

Whit room with white bed and plants

Image credit: Pixabay

For an upscale touch, consider luxe plants such as a bird of paradise or bonsai tree. Add pops of colour with strategically placed floral arrangements. Dried flowers last longer than fresh ones, and they’re the epitome of low maintenance. Faux flowers and greenery have come a long way, and they don’t need any care.

Natural light

The more the better! Natural light feeds our minds, bodies, and souls and can promote a sense of wellbeing. Take advantage of natural light in as many rooms as possible. If you’re redesigning a property or building a new one, incorporate windows to let in the light and maximise the view.

Glass windows in coffee shop

Image credit: Pixabay

Choose lighter colour palettes to reflect light rather than absorb it. Remove heavy window coverings and keep windows clean. Clean windows allow in more light and improve the appearance of your space.

Breathe life into your walls 

Living or green walls are having a moment in interior design. They’re popular in office buildings, shopping centres, and hotel lobbies.

Living wall

Image credit: PxFuel

Living walls need regular care and an adequate watering system. Make sure you’ve planned for this because dead or dying plants are an eyesore.

Accessories, with Nature in Mind

Hang pictures of natural settings or landscapes, or display art made from natural items like stones, wood, or shells. Wallpaper or carpet with nature-inspired patterns is another option. So is bedding or accent pillows with floral or leaf designs.

Modern interior scheme with cow-like rug and stone objects on the wall

Image credit: Pixabay

Your guests’ connection to the outdoors doesn’t have to end at your property’s entrance. Use these biophilic tips to help incorporate nature into your room design. While these ideas won’t replace going outside, they can provide your guests with an environment that helps them feel connected to nature.

Main image credit: Pixabay

Part 43: Installing EV charging points in your hotel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 43:
INSTALLING EV CHARGING POINTS IN YOUR HOTEL

As businesses are changing, and demand for electric cars on the rise, hotels are installing EV charging points into car parks. Utility Team explains what hoteliers should consider when modernising to cater for the eco demand…

It is clear that the future of automotive is electric and if you’re not already, maybe you should be considering installing EV charging points at your business premises.

The number of all electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles is forecast to increase exponentially over the coming years, this is something even the most ardent fan of the combustion engine and petrol head would find difficult to dispute. With this, the need for EV charging points will similarly need to grow with some degree of correlation.

The Government has declared a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars to begin in 2035, this is to work towards the overall net-zero target put on the UK of 2050. The BBC clarify the point “When will petrol and diesel cars be banned? The ban is being introduced in 2035 – five years earlier than previously planned. Experts said the original target of 2040 would be too late if the UK wanted to achieve its target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050. The ban is also being expanded to hybrid cars and plug-in hybrids, which had not been included under the original proposals. As a result, people will be able to buy only electric or hydrogen cars and vans.”

This may lead many occupiers of business premises to consider installing EV charging points. There are of course many different options and providers. Should you opt for rapid charging points? How will these be supplied? Do you have enough capacity? These are just a few of the questions you will likely ponder.

In order to make an informed decision, it is important to understand what you are trying to achieve; this will very much depend upon the type of premises you occupy and what type of business you operate.

For example, the owner/operator of a retail park/shopping centre will want to attract visitors but will also want them to remain on-site for a while. So a rapid charging point where the user may sit in their car for 15 minutes and then drive off may not be the best option. Similarly, a slow charging point that would mean a space is occupied for hours by the same vehicle would not be suitable.

Occupiers of office buildings may want to provide charging points for staff and visitors, again which type of devices are best? How do you decide who can use them? How do you determine if there is any ‘benefit in kind’ that needs to be considered? How do you stop disruption to work with people moving vehicles around the car park to allow others to use the devices?

These again are all questions that should be considered before any installation takes place.

Currently, demand for charging points in comparison to the traditional petrol station is low, you will rarely see a queue at locations that are available to the public, however, this will change. The Guardian highlighted an interesting point ‘Electric vehicle (EV) sales are accelerating rapidly, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures for September 2019 showing a 236.4% rise year-on-year.’  Whether you are considering installing these devices to attract customers or to benefit employees there are many factors to consider in order to avoid the project becoming a token gesture or something that causes more problems than it solves.

Taking independent advice is key to ensure your installation caters for your current and future demand scenarios as well as providing a system that manages the use of the devices throughout your organisation.

Utility Team can advise on a variety of green energy initiatives, managing the project from start to finish (if required) as well as providing interest-free funding opportunities for energy-efficient equipment or initiatives. In particular, we can help you with any EV charging point project from trickle to rapid chargers and self-owned to leased charging points.

Main image credit: Utility Team

Part 39: Sustainability in hotels – are you doing your part?

1024 683 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 39:
Sustainability in hotels – are you doing your part?

Sustainable tourism is not just a rising travel trend. Sustainability also quickly becoming a priority – if not a moral imperative – for hospitality leaders and hotel businesses around the world. Hotel Bookings resource STAAH explains…

Guide to Hotel Design
Image credit Inhabit Hotels

Over the past several decades, hoteliers have turned their focus to the importance of sustainability in the hospitality industry as it relates to hotel development and operations, including the environmental, economic and social impact.

Sustainability is one of the most important issues currently facing our world. Here are some ways that you can put your best green foot forward and get amongst the initiatives used by other hotels around the world:

Cutting down on food waste.
For example, by growing food onsite, sourcing food locally, and shifting social norms to ensure that “plate waste” is no longer considered acceptable.

Eliminating plastic.
A step beyond recycling, doing away with single-use plastic products can help limit the huge amount of waste stemming from creating and discarding these items. Getting rid of plastic water bottles and plastic bags is a good place to start.

Creating a paperless hotel.
A task made easy by a modern property management system, which will simplify operations and streamline the guest experience while reducing carbon emissions.

Minimising water usage beyond the hotel room.
In addition to encouraging guests to be mindful of their water and towel usage, some properties are turning to innovations such as showers that filter their own water.

Integrating sustainability into the hotel architecture.
In building new properties, there is a “three-zero-concept” approach: using local construction materials and skills (zero kilometers), prioritizing energy management and lower emissions (zero carbon dioxide), and introducing life-cycle management into the building process (zero waste).
These are just a few steps that your property can take to minimise its environmental impact. Many hospitality businesses have made a useful commitment to sustainability by making simple changes to their usual practice.

For example, in the accommodation sector, some properties have had success with encouraging guests to reuse towels and to request a change of linen, rather than making it a daily norm. This small gesture can save a hotel a great deal in costs, while also reducing the hotel’s impact on the environment.

The key to making these changes successfully is educating guests and customers on why you are asking them to make these changes with you.

STAAH is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Tap with water

Part 37: Putting sustainability front and centre in the bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

PART 37: PUTTING SUSTAINABILITY FRONT AND CENTRE IN THE BATHROOM

Recommended Supplier Roca discusses sustainability in order to highlight how the international hotel design industry can save water and reduce wastage… 

Water consumption varies in hotels depending on the presence of swimming pools, saunas, laundry and catering facilities. However, water accounts for 10 per cent of utility bills in many hotels, with taps, toilets and showers comprising around 40 per cent of this total.

Any way we can reduce water consumption is going to be good for the hotel and good for the environment.

Bathroom manufacturing has become more sustainable in recent years and Roca has remained at the forefront of sustainable design by creating products that conserve water and protect the environment. For example, the bathroom manufacturer has reduced the capacity of its WC cisterns to optimise water consumption and developed plumbing products that shrink energy usage.

Guests are also being far more aware of the need to reduce water and energy consumption. In-roads have already been made in this regard, with a growing number of bathrooms now having a dual-flush cistern.

The objective is to stop unnecessary waste of water, without negatively impacting the perception of the user.

The right choice of products plays an important part in the management of water usage. And we deliberately say ‘management’ of water usage, because, although the overall aim is to reduce water usage, each of the products still has to work effectively. The objective is to stop unnecessary waste of water, without negatively impacting the perception of the user.

Water saving developments

Firstly, let’s look at some products that have been designed to reduce water-usage.

One of the latest innovations to hit the market are rimless toilets. The box rim has been eliminated, making the pan much easier to clean and eliminating areas in which bacteria can accumulate. The shape of the pan has also been redesigned, allowing us to flush very efficiently with as little as a 4/2L dual flush cistern. Considering that the average flush for new WCs is between 4L and 6L, a product like this can help to save considerable amounts of water.

Water saving technology can also be found in many brassware solutions. For example, Cold Start technology ensures water is only heated when it is required. Traditionally, when you turn on a tap, the water will be warm. This will automatically trigger the boiler, which can be expensive and wasteful, especially in a home where multigenerational families use water at different times.

Roca also has an exclusive piece of technology in its ECO disc cartridge, which helps to save water and energy. As the tap handle is raised, a slight resistance is reached at 50 per cent of the water flow and lifting beyond this bite point produces a full flow. The cartridge includes a temperature limiter which can be set at installation to eliminate the risk of scalding.

Innovation and product development are making significant headway in delivering greater water savings. For instance, the ground-breaking W+W from Roca uses waste water from the basin to fill the WC cistern, thereby reducing water usage by up to 25 per cent compared to a standard 6/3 litre dual-flush WC. The W+W basin has two wastes – the basin waste and one further down the waste pipe. The user has the option of either diverting it to the mains or recycling it by storing it in the cistern ready for the next flush.

Our Responsibility

As well as delivering bathroom solutions that save water and reduce wastage, Roca actively works to improve sanitation and increase access to water across the world. 

Created in 2010, the We Are Water Foundation is a Roca initiative which reinforces the brand’s historic engagement with society. On a planet with about 768 million people without access to drinking water and 2.7 billion without basic sanitation infrastructure, the Foundation aims to achieve two main objectives. First, to contribute to the spread of a new culture of water which is more caring, just and sustainable, and second, to help the world’s poorest and those with major water and sanitation problems.

The vision of the We Are Water Foundation is to continue growing worldwide, especially in countries where the Roca Group can, through its activities, participate more intensively to identify collaboration projects and contribute to the solution for water and sanitation problems.

Sustainable manufacturing

Roca also knows that how its products are produced is important so has created the Eco-Roca project, which looks at the production processes at its factory, as well as the development of its products and the social activities of the company. The project has two core goals, to cut CO2 emissions and to manage waste-free industrial processes via its Zero Waste Programme.

We have a greater understanding of the value of water and its wastage than ever before. Hoteliers and guests are mindful about the amount of water they are using and want ways to reduce it. It’s time to think seriously about water conservation.

Main image credit: Roca