Saturday March 22 2014

Towards a greener world


The earth hour is approaching fast, March 29, 8.30 pm. We are supposed to switch off lights for one hour to save energy and show commitment to our planet. And with these drastic changes in weather patterns that we are witnessing around the world, sooner or later we will realise that it might be too late.

In many countries, intensive campaigns begin to bring awareness and caution about the lurking danger of a world that is going on the road of self-destruction. Deforestation being one of the first enemies of nature, the dilapidated number of forests is causing the destruction of many natural habitats of plants and animals that bring about the needed balance that environment needs to provide us with clean air and water.

While in some countries of the world “going green” is moving very fast, others remain oblivious that they too should make a serious move to correct the bad habits generated from the growing industrialisation in parts of the world and abject poverty in other parts.

A few months ago, I was looking for a hotel in Cape town, my criteria was; the hotel to be near the international airport. While searching, I landed on Hotel Verde (Verde means green in Spanish), and looking at the pictures, I saw that the hotel was green. I assumed it was the hotel’s colour theme.

Green hotel
However, as soon as we were allocated our room, the receptionist went ahead to explain that the hotel was nominated Africa’s greenest hotel. In this context, green refers to being environmental- friendly by using means and products that save energy and cause less damage to the environment while preserving natural resources in the world, also using alternative energy such as sun and wind.

Many of us are used to seeing notices in hotels that if we do not require our towels and bed sheets to be changed on daily basis, we can leave a message indicating that, hence we contribute to saving lots of water and electricity. But, Hotel Verde has done much more that can also inspire us in our own homes.

Unique measures
To start with the hotel has installed photovoltaic modules that catches the sun rays and helps produce a good portion of the hotel’s electricity . They also have a huge underground stainless steel tank that catches water from rain and few other sources. It is used for irrigation and sometimes washing.

Recyclable water
In the same way, the water used in showers is recycled by first being filtered and then all detergents are biologically broken down, it then passes through a sterilisation system and finally is used again in toilet cisterns, this is called grey water recycling. And knowing how some of us love staying under the shower beyond necessary, this system is very comforting .

In case you have not thought about it, while building your house or changing your tabs and shower heads, remember there are ones that are meant to save water, this will help us also economically and will send less shock waves when receiving water bills.

Jog to power machines
Many more features in the hotel included wind turbines, double-glazed windows and light sensors, however I loved the idea that in their gym one could use the machines that were also connected to power production units, so while you are jogging or cycling, you too could convert this into energy for the hotel. How much better can this get.

Remember to switch off the lights for one hour starting 8.30pm on March 29, that is of course, if Umeme has not already done that for you!