Our Green Story

Having won multiple sustainability awards and retaining the title of Africa’s Greenest Hotel, The Hotel Verde Cape Town design has sustainability at its core.

Not only is the building sustainable, but green principles, processes and measures ensure all operations are eco-friendly and continually assessed for improvement.

Download our Sustainability Overview

How it started

On 27 August 2013, Hotel Verde opened its doors after just over two years of hard work and dedication. From the very start, the firm intention of the entire project team, spearheaded by the client’s conviction and passion, throughout all the planning and work, was to make it a flagship project rooted in sustainability. So much so that we are now Africa’s Greenest Hotel.

“For many years, my life motto and the belief of my family has been that we have a responsibility as a company, as employers and as visitors on this planet to live as sustainably as possible. The seed of Verde Hotels germinated from this very thought,” Mario Delicio, owner and director of Hotel Verde explains.

“Once we started the process of creating a sustainable hotel, I quickly realised that my dream of providing something luxurious and truly sustainable was not only possible, but also a business model worth sharing, with the potential to change lives and the industry as we know it.”

In May 2014, Hotel Verde achieved LEED Platinum for new construction. This made Hotel Verde the first LEED platinum hotel in Africa and the sixth in the entire world. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental design) is an internationally recognised green building rating and certification system.

This system, developed by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) and administered and audited by the GBCI (Green Building Certification Institute), provides third party verification that a building was designed and built to be sustainable.

In this sense, ‘sustainability’ refers to a comprehensive list of factors including, but not limited to, energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 and other greenhouse and harmful gas emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

During the development of Hotel Verde several considerations, active and passive designs, technologies, and equipment were incorporated into the design of the building. These range from the simple and obvious like recycling during construction, and passive designs like natural ventilation and night cooling; to technically demanding and complex installations of equipment like photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and a grey water recycling plant.

Other installations that play a large role in ongoing sustainability include an active intelligent building management system that controls the super-efficient heating, air-conditioning, and ventilation system. However, an efficient system like this is of little value if the building is not thoroughly insulated.

As such, Hotel Verde has insulated roofs and doors, double-glazed and spectrally selective windows, as well as air tight windows and doors. These are but a few examples of the more comprehensive list overleaf.  SEE A FULL BREAKDOWN BELOW.

In 2014, Hotel Verde also became the first hotel in Africa to offer accommodation and conferencing that is 100% carbon neutral. In addition, the hotel received platinum certification from the Heritage Environmental Management Programme for its meaningful environmental management system.

Also the first accommodation venue to bring many other sustainable innovations and achievements to Africa, the hotel runs 70% more energy efficient than any other Cape Town hotel and has won many awards for its green features and water and energy saving technologies.

Green Overview

Hotel Verde Cape Town Airport was the first hotel in Africa to offer 100% offset carbon-neutral accommodation and conferencing. Here’s a brief overview of our sustainable features:

  • LED low-watt lighting
  • Sophisticated heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system to reduce energy consumption
  • Renewable energy generation
  • During design and construction, the project has followed the criteria of the Green Building Council of South Africa and is pursuing 5-star certification
  • Regenerative drive elevators
  • Responsibly sourced, recycled and eco-friendly furniture and products used where feasible
  • Grey water recycling systems installed
  • Recycling greywater from showers for use in toilet cisterns

All waste sorted on site and, where possible, recycled

  • Venues have separate bins for items that can be recycled
  • Eco-friendly stationery, recycled paper, carbon-neutral printer
  • Energy-efficient air-conditioning, lighting and technology
  • Sustainable procurement – conscious purchasing decisions
  • Recycling and waste management

Sustainability Features

  • Waste Management
  • Waste reduction
  • Recycling
  • Re-use
  • Hazardous material reduction (Portland cement, Volatile Organic Compounds)
  • Dematerialisation
  • Use of Cobiax void formers in concrete slabs
  • Eco friendly or rapidly renewable materials and products as far as available and feasible, for example carpets, paints, countertops, wooden doors, plaster, decorations
  • Thermally (and acoustically) well insulated structure and services
  • Double glazed windows
  • Spectrally selective windows
  • Insulated roof
  • Roof has high SRI (Solar Reflectance Index)
  • Insulated ductwork and piping
  • Airtight windows, doors, entrances to minimise losses of conditioned air
  • Northern facing windows shaded by photovoltaic panels
  • Natural ventilation in strategic areas
  • Utilising indirect sunlight for lighting, esp. for corridors, lobby, and other general areas
  • Utilising light interior colours to increase light penetration
  • Skylight for natural lighting
  • Green Roof (provides improved insulation)
  • Reduced heat island effect
  • Living wall
  • Tiered building for sectional occupation for complete shutdown of unused tiers
  • Strategic filling of more efficient rooms
  • Low-flow fittings
  • Dual flush toilets
  • Waterless urinals
  • ‘Drip’ irrigation systems
  • Only selected rooms have baths
  • Three vertical-axis wind turbines
  • Photovoltaic panels on North facing roof and façade
  • Energy generating gym equipment
  • Elevators with regenerative braking
  • Intelligent Building Management System to optimise efficiency actively and continuously and autonomously report malfunctions or inefficiently running equipment
  • Energy efficient and intelligent Heating Ventilation and Air-Conditioning system using geothermal ground loops coupled to heat pumps for central heating/cooling and domestic water
  • Utilising geothermal ground loop technology
  • Utilising heat pump technology
  • Strategic zoning and placing of thermostats
  • Public area demand control ventilation
  • Occupancy controlled ventilation
  • Carbon monoxide monitoring activating additional ventilation in basement only when necessary
  • Energy and/or water efficient equipment
  • Motion/Occupancy controlled lighting in e.g. corridors and bathrooms
  • Main power isolation switch to each bedroom, office & meeting room
  • Demand controlled ventilation to bedrooms

Grey water recycling plant (from baths and showers) generates water for:

  • Toilet flushing
  • Irrigation
  • Car washing
  • Hardscape cleaning
  • Aquaponics units

Waste Management:

  • Recycling
  • Composting

Responsible Use of Resources:

  • Use of eco-friendly or recycled products sourced mainly locally ◦ Eco- friendly soap, dishwashing powder, washing detergents, cleaning agents
  • Utilise organic and sustainably cultivated or bred ingredients in our kitchen
  • In-house water filtering and bottling
  • Small urban farming setup/ vertical garden (Aquaponics)
  • Operational Materials Management Plan (OMMP)
  • The already reduced carbon footprint of every guest stay and/or conference venue use is offset through the responsible purchase of carbon credits.
  • Guests and conference delegates are issued with an accredited certificate to prove that their experience at Hotel Verde was carbon neutral which they can use in their own business records.
  • The already reduced carbon footprint of the hotel is calculate on an annual basis according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) and offset through the responsible purchase of carbon credits making Hotel Verde carbon neutral.
  • Guests educated through interactive screens and awareness posters
  • Guests encouraged to minimise paper usage (electronic invoices, etc.)
  • Guests incentivised by the Verdinos program to make sustainable choices during their stay
  • Green channel on in-house TV
  • Weekly ‘earth-hour’ where non critical equipment and lights are switched off for one hour
  • On-going staff training and education
  • Staff incentivised to recycle by using recycling rebates for staff functions
  • Paperless office operation as far as possible
  • Green team / environmental committee
  • Staff participation in waste sorting
  • Reducing wastage
  • Electricity usage sub-metering, monitoring, and optimisation
  • Photovoltaic panel cleaning
  • Repair leaking fittings immediately
  • Conservation and stewardship of neighbouring Wetland
  • Beehives on site
  • Landscaping & area upliftment
  • Food gardens
  • Eco Pool

Verdinos

Verdinos are our in-house currency, rewarding you for being involved in our hotel’s sustainability and making green choices.

Ways to earn Verdinos:

  • Using the stairs instead of the lift
  • Correctly sorting waste in rooms
  • Reusing towels
  • Not using additional pillows
  • Using the power-generating equipment in the gym
  • Taking a walk or jogging around the wetland

Ways to spend Verdinos:

  • Use Verdinos to off-set your accommodation cost
  • Reduce your bill at Nuovo Restaurant

Sustainable In-Room Initiatives

Guests are encouraged to reuse towels
Waste bins to separate recycling
Responsibly sourced furniture and other products
A greywater plant implemented for water treatment
Grey water from showers recycled for use in the toilet cisterns
LED low-watt lighting and a sophisticated heating, natural air ventilation and air-conditioning system to reduce energy consumption
Double-glazed windows


Hotel Verde Awards

Save, the Energy Efficiency Forum for Commercial Buildings – Winner 2013
South Africa Business Premier Awards – Finalist and winner of the Green Award – 2014
Eco-Logic Awards (by Enviropaedia) – Water Category, Winner 2013
Internorga – Trendsetter Category, Winner 2014
Sanea Energy Awards – Energy Project Category, Winner 2014
Eco-Logic Awards (by Enviropaedia) – Energy Saving Category, Winner 2014
Lilizela Tourism Award 2014
WTM 2014 (World Tourism Market), Responsible Tourism Awards, Winner for Best City Hotel, 2014
Trip advisor – Traveller’s choice award (top 1% of hotels on Trip Advisor)