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Caravelle in HCM Invests in Sustainability with Waste Water and Green Chemicals

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The Caravelle Hotel in Saigon recently completed installation of a wastewater treatment facility that recycles 40% of the property's water.

The innovation was a central plank of the hotels efforts to set the stage for ISO certification. The hotel earned the internationally recognized standard last week.

The hotel's previous wastewater recycling facility was installed in 2006 but lacked sufficient capacity to make an appreciable impact. The new state of the art model - an investment of $75,000 - is proving significantly more effective. The water is used for flushing toilets and to supply the hotel's cooling tower. Every month between 2,500 - 3,000 cubic meters of wastewater is recycled.

The hotel has also embarked on a major drive to reduce electricity consumption by switching to energy saving light bulbs and installing a high-efficiency chiller to power its air-conditioning system.

Another recent innovation is the use of 'green' chemicals to clean all the floors. At almost 1.5 times the cost of regular chemicals, these products represent quite an investment but are biodegradable within 24 hours.

"You can't put a price on safeguarding the planet for future generations," said John Gardner, General Manager of the Caravelle. "That's why we won't be cutting any corners when it comes to being the best we can be in terms of our commitment to looking after the environment ... As one of the most recognizable hotels in Ho Chi Minh city, we realize that we are in a position to lead by example and that is something we are determined to do."

Accordingly, the Caravelle has a number of major green goals for the year ahead. Targets for 2011 include a 4% reduction in harmful Co2 emissions. To achieve this the hotel will replace its current diesel fuelled boiler with a high efficiency heat pump. Work on the project is planned to start in July and will be carried out step by step to ensure that guests are not affected.

Another priority aspiration for the hotel is the attainment of Green Globe certification, which is regarded as a premier standard for environmental sustainability development worldwide, especially in the field of tourism.

"It's very easy to pay lip service to the environment," said Gardner. "The tourism industry is rife with talk about green innovations and sustainability, but often the truth is outweighed by hype."

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