Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara emerged the most energy efficient hotel in Sri Lanka by winning the highest accolade awarded in the large scale hotel sector at the Sri Lanka National Energy Efficiency Awards 2012, which concluded recently. This is the second consecutive year that Aitken Spence Hotels has been recognized at the awards.
Last year, Heritance Kandalama emerged the winner of the Gold Flame award and this year Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara won the Silver Flame Award which was the highest accolade awarded in the large scale hotel sector. Situated on the south-western coast of Sri Lanka, the former Neptune Hotel was recognized for the efforts taken to leverage on innovative strategies in the area of renewable energy.
In addition to the Silver Award, Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Tea Factory were awarded merit certificates in the large scale hotel sector category, while Bandarawela Hotel was awarded the merit certificate in the small scale hotel sector category. The hotels were honoured for their ability to demonstrate year-on-year energy reductions along with ongoing sustainability processes and energy management strategies.
The Sri Lanka National Energy Efficiency Awards is an annual national event conducted by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority for private and public sector institutions with the aim of recognizing their contribution towards an energy efficient Sri Lanka.
“We are delighted to have been recognized for the efforts we have taken towards efficient utilization, conservation and management of energy. Our hotels are constructed and operate with a strong, focused commitment towards reducing the environmental footprint associated with the development and operation of a hotel,” said Rohitha Rajaratne, Vice President, Engineering, Aitken Spence Hotels.
Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara recently broke new ground by being the first hotel in the country to enter into a Net Metering Agreement using solar photovoltaic as the renewable energy source. The Government of Sri Lanka approved the concept of Net Metering in August 2009. Net Metering is a special metering and billing agreement entered between utility companies and their individual customers which facilitates the connection of small, renewable energy generating systems to the power grid.
In addition, the hotel also has a solar hot water system for pre-heating the water before it is sent to the heat exchanger which acts as a storage for hot water. This reduces the furnace oil consumed by the boiler. The hotel will be saving 1,417 liters of furnace oil annually thus mitigating its carbon footprint by 4.6 tonnes. The hotel’s biogas plant uses kitchen garbage as the primary source for the production of biogas which is utilized in the herbal preparation unit of the up-scale ayurveda resort.
Heritance Hotels and Resorts believe passionately in sustainable tourism and have been very active in engaging both guests and communities in promoting these ethics. Its sustainable practices have ranged from simple, hands-on activities like planting trees to more sophisticated areas such as on-site generation of renewable energy.
The group has a comprehensive energy conservation policy and has concentrated on reducing its dependency on fossil fuels by switching to renewable energy. In a first for any hotel in Sri Lanka, a biomass gasifier was installed at Heritance Tea Factory and thereafter at Heritance Kandalama. The gasifier reduces 750 tonnes of carbon emissions per year by replacing diesel with grilicidia wood. The use of locally farmed grilicidia wood instead of imported, and pollution causing, diesel not only saves the environment but also creates substantial employment opportunities for local farmers.
The central heating and hot water in the hotels are supplied by this sustainable energy source. This not only reduces the carbon footprint but also paves the way to alleviating poverty by generating more employment opportunities locally, while reducing the foreign exchange drained out on purchasing imported crude oil.
Heritance Ahungalla, Sri Lanka’s first five-star resort, is the first resort to receive ISO 50001:2011 certification in the world. With the introduction of an Energy Management System, Heritance Ahungalla is now able to effectively manage energy consumption without compromising the guest comfort. It has enabled the hotel to meet the current and future mandatory energy efficiency targets and requirements of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction legislations.
“Aitken Spence Hotels have been practicing sustainability even before the advent of the triple bottom line approach. We are proud that we have been able to follow in the trend that has been set for us by our sister hotels. This commendation reflects Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara’s commitment towards energy efficiency and we are delighted that our efforts have been recognized,” said Samantha Gunarathne, General Manager, Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara.
Aitken Spence is Sri Lanka’s largest resort operator and the largest international hotel operator in the Maldives. The group also manages a portfolio of hotels in India and Oman. The company’s premier resorts operate under the brand Heritance.