Recipient of LEED Platinum certification for the greenest hotel chain in the world, the ITC Grand Chola is a shining example of sensible architecture and green initiatives
ITC Hotels’ flagship property ITC Grand Chola, in Guindy, Chennai embodies all that is grandeur in its name and each of its features stands out as the best. Built in the Chola architectural style, the five-star luxury hotel is a recent addition to the landscape of Chennai. Situated approximately 5kms away from the airport, the hotel has 600 guest rooms, suites, and serviced apartments.
Thoughtful engineering initiatives have gone into the construction of ITC Grand Chola. During construction, when the ground is dug, the usual practice is to throw the soil away. But the top soil takes millions of years to form and has to be protected. However, in the case of this hotel, 35% of the top soil that was excavated has been reused by re-distributing it around the periphery for horticulture needs.
Moreover, there is high percentage of recycled materials used in the construction. The bricks have more than 30% fly-ash, a by-product of power plants and the stones are locally sourced. Since most of the surface in the hotel is marble, it reduces the requirement of painting and also maintains the temperature.
As it does not require any chemical cleaning, the chemical load on the building is very less. Only green-field certified chemicals are used. All the wood that is used for construction in the hotel is procured from those vendors who are certified by Forest Stewardship Council.
Windows and doors offer a delightful symphony to the cascading arrangement of the structure. The positioning of windows is such that a proper balance is struck between receiving and conducting sunlight, maintaining optimum temperature difference and permitting noise. The building is totally insulated and the roof is coated with paint that has a high solar reflexive index. It reflects the solar radiation and so very little amount of heat is conducted between inside and outside. The energy loss is thus minimised and because of the construction methods, the hotel stands as an inherently energy efficient structure. This contributes 5-6% cut down on A/C requirement.
Additionally, Hartman LOOP, the break-through technology used for air-conditioning controls, optimises air-conditioning in the structure. Hartmann Loop is an intelligent system which assesses ambient conditions and building conditions and optimises plant loads to peak efficiency point and optimises load on ancillaries to minimise energy use. ITC Grand Chola is already seeing 12-15% lower consumption compared to a conventional system. Further fine tuning is being done and it is expected to perform even better.
The hot water generation system, designed and working purely in unconventional methods, is highly energy efficient with precise controls on hot water temperatures. The digital hot water system is based on a very accurate and agile computer control system which mixes steam and water to obtain hot water precisely at the set temperature without fluctuations. This minimises steam use and provides superior customer experience. Since it is instantaneous, one does not need the conventional hot water mixing tanks which occupy considerable space.
Though not planned as an energy-saving feature, one of the three swimming pools on the fifth floor of the hotel situated right above the banquet hall absorbs the heat below and keeps the consumption of air conditioning low.
At ITC recipient of LEED Platinum certification for the greenest hotel chain in the world, care has been taken to address the usage and recycling of water. The idea is executed through using custom-designed automatic taps with precise flow rates. All the water that is consumed in the facility is channelized to the sewage treatment plant. The recycled water is close to potable quality. Presently some of the treated water is used for gardening and toilet flushes. The hotel is also in talks with neighbouring properties about sharing the considerable excess volume of good quality treated water that currently goes down the drain.
The hygiene faucet is another addition to promote the thoughtful use of water. The faucet also replaces the use of tissues. This alternative helps prevent used tissues getting clogged in the water lines.
In terms of waste management, ITC Grand Chennai follows the chartered course that is part of practice in all the ITC brand hotels across the country. Most of the food waste is converted into compost. The entire facility functions on energy generated by the group’s privately owned windmill. The hotels get nearly 12.6MW of energy and it satisfies more than what they spend. For all ITC group hotels, 30% of the total consumption comes from energy sources and they are trying to take it to 50%.
As far as ITC is concerned, its benchmarks are self-regulated. Research and Development happens on a continuous basis to upgrade them.