Located in the central business district of Melbourne, Alto Hotel on Bourke is a new boutique apartment hotel that has received the top environmental awards and certifications of Australia. Without sacrificing any comforts or luxuries of its guests, Alto Hotel maintains style and modern design along with eco-friendly practices that separate it from the competition in the hospitality industry. Here’s the lowdown on all the ways Alto Hotel keeps to its green initiatives.
It was time to build a new hotel in 2004. With a little forethought, the plan came to mind that a new hotel with sustainable practices would be an advantageous pursuit amidst the world’s growing environmental concerns. Rather than tearing down what was already in place, the designers thought it better to use what already existed and modify it to produce a refurbished, eco-friendly establishment for hospitable purposes.
Inside and Out – What Makes It Green
The Alto Hotel set out to be the greenest of all in Melbourne with eco-friendly initiatives throughout construction and operations. To maintain the greatest efficiency and benefits for the environment, each part of the rebuilding process had to be considered carefully. Here are just a fraction of the eco-friendly adjustments that were made to ensure Alto on Bourke as incomparable.
- Electricity: All electricity is generated from renewable sources – it’s completely green as it comes from 100% wind power. More than 95% of lighting is energy efficient, using FCL and LED bulbs of no more than 15 watts each. Each room has a key-card switch that turns off lighting and air conditioning upon exiting.
- Water: Rainwater is collected and used for public toilet cisterns, gardening, and cleaning purposes. All toilets, faucets, and showers function with low-flow mechanics for maximum water conservation. Guests are given the option to not have their towels and linens changed daily.
- Windows: All windows are double-glazed and can be opened to reduce the need for air conditioning. They are also heat-reflecting so that heat does not become trapped indoors during summer months.
- Insulation: Walls are double-insulated and studs are offset to minimize heat escape. Floors and ceilings contain up to six layers of Regupol for sound reduction, which is made of recycled car tires. Room doors are also sealed to limit temperature and noise attenuation.
- Toiletries: All plastic soap bottles have been replaced by refillable dispensers, which are only used with biodegradable shampoos, conditioners, and handsoaps. All toiletries are biodegradable and some are organic.
- Paper: The hotel library works as a book exchange for guests, and the complimentary newspapers are delivered only upon request. All consumed paper products, including toilet tissue, are made of recycled or plantation timber paper.
- Waste: All waste is segregated by type (paper, organic, plastic, glass, and general). Organic waste is collected for on-site composting, and used cooking oil is recycled into biodiesel. Guest rooms are provided with dual-chamber waste bins so they may contribute to proper waste management and recycling.
- Transport: Alto offers free parking and recharging of electric vehicles using 100% renewable resources. Airport transfers are offered by hybrid limousine and guests are encouraged to walk to nearby attractions and public transport facilities.
- Community: The hotel participates in local, statewide, and national environmental programs and donates lost or unclaimed properties to the homeless and disadvantaged. Massage chairs are donated to hospitals for use in dialysis treatment.
Other initiatives assigned by the management include the production of promotional pens made from cornstarch, the use of non-hazardous chemicals, and recycling or refilling of printer ink cartridges. All energy, water, and waste reports are also submitted for review by outside environmental agencies. The hotel is constantly working to test and improve products and concepts to enhance its environmental programs.
Alto Hotel established a “Green Team” to monitor and enforce all environmental policies of the establishment. While demonstrating their commitment to sustainability, these members provide support for the hotel staff and conduct monthly meetings to discuss any possible improvements that may benefit the environment.
Alto Hotel on Bourke didn’t put a halt to its environmental efforts in its restaurant either. While establishing the dining facility, Alto Hotel kept eco-friendly practices in mind and managed to become a member of the Green Table, which is an Australian certification program for restaurants with sustainable practices. To become a member of the Green Table, Alto had to show proof of the following practices:
- Consistent, proper recycling techniques that separate paper, glass, plastic and metal
- Sending food waste to compost or green waste
- Manage stocks properly to reduce spoilage and unnecessary waste
- Using only energy-efficient lamps and bulbs
- Maintaining energy-efficient practices to reduce energy consumption
- Considering investment in carbon offsets
- Using water-saving equipment and fixtures
- Using biodegradable and non-toxic cleaning supplies and products
- Using recyclable and reusable products whenever possible
Alto’s restaurant also manages to be eco-friendly with its beverage selections. Its wine list contains only wines from local wineries that maintain sustainable practices. Its beers are also locally produced, and the options include a “Green” beer that happens to be carbon neutral. All suppliers for ingredients and other products are carefully selected to ensure local contributions and organic agricultural support whenever possible.
The Green Results
All of these efforts by the designers and staff of Alto Hotel contribute to maintaining the most eco-friendly hotel in Melbourne. It has been able to cut its waste practically in half per nightly room contribution. All 100% of Alto’s carbon emissions are offset through the Carbon Reduction Institute. The hotel’s actions for sustainability have earned it many environmental awards such as the following:
- The Conde Nast Traveler World Savers Award for Environmental Preservation (2010)
- Victorian Tourism Award for Sustainable Tourism (2009, 2010)
- HMAA Awards for Excellence – Best Serviced Accommodation (2007, 2008, 2009)
- HMAA Awards for Excellence – Sustainable Tourism (2008, 2009)
It has also gained accreditation and memberships in various tourism programs promoting environmental sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Alto’s success is unmatched until today with its commendations, awards, and recognition as the greenest hotel in Melbourne. As a 100% carbon
neutral hotel, Alto on Bourke sets the local standard for excellence in environmental efforts to transform the global initiative on climate change and