Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Palace Hotel Sabah - Going the extra green mile

THE footpath winds under the green canopy of tall trees.

Stalks of ferns, swaying gently in the breeze, brush against one another, creating a swishing sound amidst the tweets of songbirds.

Yellow butterflies flutter lazily by. On a piece of flat land, a few chilli plants grow alongside vegetable beds and lemon grass as well as pandanus — a perfect secluded garden that can be found in any rural homes in Sabah.

But this is not a rural scene but one within a modern hotel right in the middle of Kota Kinabalu that boasts amenities both modern and contemporary.

Based on these attributes, The Palace Hotel, situated on a hill overlooking the techcity Karamunsing, has just been inspected for the ‘Green Hotel’ certification and it hopes to be accorded at least two ‘leaves’ if not three for its greening efforts.

Its general manager Phang Joo See said the hotel has been following environmental practices for a while now — such as reduction of energy and water and waste management.

“I believe we have a part to play in raising environmental awareness among our staff and guests through our ‘green’ programme.

“This includes programmes for recycling and linen changing and installing energy efficient lightings,” she said, adding that they did not only send this message to the staff but also their guests.

According to Phang, they have started a linen reuse programme in all guest rooms where towels are not changed unless requested or thrown on the floor while bed linens are only changed once in 48 hours.

“We are also using low flow toilets to save energy and water,” she revealed.

The hotel collects and supplies old newspapers, white papers, glass products, aluminium cans, cardboard, and plastics to recycling companies.

“Our used cooking oil is also channelled to our customers — not to those recycling it into cooking oil but to the brick makers,” she added.

The project the hotel is proud of is, of course, the disposal of wet waste from the kitchen.

According to Phang, the waste is collected and given to a company that makes compost which is turned into organic fertiliser and then sold to oil palm plantations and orchards as well as padi planters.

She said because the fertiliser was organic, it replenished the soil’s natural fertility instead of sapping it as would chemical fertilisers.

“I know, because I use the fertiliser at home as well as for our hotel gardens.”

Which, of course, takes us to the gardens at the back and front of the Hotel where many types of herbs, plants, flowers and shrubs are grown.

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