Hotelier Jerry Schwartz has launched a ‘green corridor’ between his hotels in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory to highlight the potential of environmental initiatives in the tourism industry.
Electrical vehicle charging stations have been installed for free usage by guests in Schwartz Family Company properties in the Hunter Valley (Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley), Blue Mountains (Fairmont Resort and Leura Gold Club), Sydney (Mercure Sydney, Rydges Sydney Central), and Mercure Canberra will be shortly added to the network.
In addition, the Blue Mountains has been turned green with the installation of 100kw solar panels on the rooftop of the Fairmont Resort and 30kw solar panels on the adjacent Leura Golf Club. The Blue Mountains installation follows the inauguration of a major solar plant at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley earlier this year.
The solar installation (376 panels) at the Fairmont will produce CO2 savings of 155,658kg per annum.
The use of solar is part of an integrated environmental energy management strategy at the Fairmont, which also includes a ‘smart’ system allowing lights and air conditioning to be turned off in rooms when the guest is away and for ambient room temperature to be varied according to the outside temperature. The Resort’s infinity pool will stop flowing over the edge after dark to save considerable heat loss, and a variable speed drive system on all air conditioning pumps will allow better management of flows according to demand from guest rooms and common areas.
“The measures that we have introduced will have long term benefits for the environment and our energy management,” said Dr Jerry Schwartz.
“When you have properties in pristine areas such as the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley it is really important for operators to respect the environment and do their utmost to reduce their footprint.
“Use of electric vehicles is still in its infancy, but if people are aware they can drive from Sydney to the Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains and Canberra and recharge their vehicles for free, it provides added incentive to make the switch.
“This is a small step, but an important one because Australian tourism should be at the vanguard of promoting environmental sustainability.”