Istanbul's first "green" hotel. Photo via Best Western The President Hotel.
It was two years and $5 million in the making, but one of Best Western's Istanbul hotels has received a "Green Star" from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism for its environmentally friendly practices, the first such designation awarded in the city.Upgrades in the air conditioning, heating and cooling systems, and boilers at the Best Western The President Hotel have created energy savings of 18 percent and water savings of 40 percent at the hotel in Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district, where staff receive monthly trainings on environmental issues. According to managing director Ersin Durgut:
This year, we have prevented the cutting of 103 trees with recycling projects. We have enabled recycling of 950 kilograms of waste oil. And through the recycling of waste batteries, we have prevented the contamination of around 26,000 square meters of soil.
The hotel has also reduced its detergent use by an average of 300 kilograms a month and will be working with local businesses in the new year that are interested in receiving the same kind of environmental training the Best Western provides for its staff.
A Green Star Hotel on the Mediterranean
The country's first Green Star was awarded in early 2009 to the Calista Luxury Resort Hotel in Belek, a resort town on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. The investment group behind the resort is also planning a large green project in the capital city of Ankara.
The voluntary Green Star criteria, which include water and energy savings, detergent use, use of local produce, and waste disposal, were announced in August 2008, with an eye toward attracting European tourists who take such features into consideration when making their travel choices. Thus far, it seems, Turkish consumers have not demonstrated the same preferences.
A environmental awareness and implementation survey of 120 hotels conducted as part of the World Water Forum's Green Forum Initiative drew just 24 respondents. Though almost half said they have an environmental policy, and the majority said they have programs for recycling and reducing water usage, few reported communicating with their customers to inform them about their
environmental policies and programs -- perhaps indicating that such measures are not yet seen as a selling point.
The Best Western's Durgut thinks that is changing. "When it comes to making choices, guests do not ignore the environmental criteria anymore," he said.
More about green hotels around the world:
Stay at Green Hotels When You're On the Go
9 Questions You Must Ask Before Booking a 'Green' Hotel
Marriott to Expand 'Green' Hotels by 1000%
Is there a Hotel Greenwashing Police?
Fairmont Hotel Joins WWF's Climate Savers Program
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