Qatar launches green hotel interest group in preparation for COP18

Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) is encouraging the rapidly expanding hospitality sector to adopt best environmental practices in preparation for the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties Nº18 (CoP 18) by launching its Green Hotel Interest Group (GHIG).

The CoP18/CMP8 UNFCCC Conference will take place in Doha from November 26 and attract thousands of delegates from all over the world.

The GHIG launch, which took place on Monday September 17 at the Wyndham Grand Regency Hotel, Doha, saw leading hotels, organisations and individuals come together to create a forum that will support and advance greater sustainable practices within Qatar’s hospitality sector.

Eng. Meshal Al-Shamari, Director of Qatar Green Building Council, said “The establishment and launch of the Green Hotel Interest Group is timely amidst the flurry of activity following last year’s announcement that Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA® World Cup and the forthcoming CoP18.  All eyes are really on Qatar right now.”

He also highlighted the importance of sustainable development as a main pillar of the Qatar Vision 2030.

As part of the organisation’s ongoing programme to share and encourage good sustainability practices in the built environment, GHIG will join forces with hospitality partners across Qatar and work towards offsetting the Carbon monoxide (CO2) emissions generated by the hospitality sector.

Alongside the already large number of housing developments currently underway in the country, 800 additional buildings, including hotels, are planned within Doha’s City Center alone, and this figure is expected to rise over the next few years when development in the rest of Doha is also taken into account.

AshwinShetty, Food and Beverages Manager at the Wyndham Grand Regency, said, “At an international level, people are beginning to understand the changes that need to start taking place in order to protect the environment.”

“Hotels are not exempt from this and there is now an expectation from our guests to see changes taking place within the hospitality sector. Green changes that hotels can easily implement range from serving water in jugs to avoid using plastic bottles, to renting iPads for meetings to reduce the use of paper.”

“We are hopeful that the Green Hotel Interest Group will bring together like-minded organisations in Qatar to feel inspired and conjure up fresh ideas to start making a difference. Working with hotels, future initiatives could include collectively composting leftover food to reduce waste,” he added.

The event featured a number of specialist guest speakers who discussed topics that ranged from the importance of initiating a Green Hotel Interest Group in Qatar and low energy lighting for hotels to the potential of establishing an Annual ‘Green Hotels Award’.

John Bryant, a professor at Texas A&M University, discussed the topic of ‘Continuous Commissioning’ which focuses on the ongoing evaluation of a building’s energy consumption.

Bryant led his discussion with a thought-provoking question to the audience, asking, “There are about 13,500,000 hotel rooms in the world and within the MENA region alone, there has been an annual growth of 2.4 percent in the past decade. We need to ask ourselves, are these rooms doing the best they can?”

QGBC has already established a number of interest groups within its Research and Innovation Department, including the Solid Waste Interest Group, the Water Interest Group, and the Green Infrastructure Interest Group. The Green Hotel Interest Group represents the latest addition.

By Maxwell Awumah

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