Partnership is key for InterContinental Hotels Group’s circularity goals

September 18, 2020 by  
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Partnership is key for InterContinental Hotels Group’s circularity goals InterContinental Hotels Group, which has tens of thousands of properties currently in operation or development, has a large footprint. But did you know that many of its properties are run by third parties? That makes working toward sustainability goals challenging, according to Catherine Dolton, vice president of global corporate responsibility at the company. “It’s all about influencing those third parties to make changes,” she said. Still, it’s striving toward big goals. Earlier in 2020, the hotels group set science-based targets to address its water and waste impacts, as well as how it works with the communities in which is operates. And it’s started working in partnership with other companies to try to reach its circular economy goals. “We do have the power to make a difference,” Dolton said. “It’s not just about collaboration outside the industry. We also work with out peers through the International Tourism Partnership.” Shana Rappaport, vice president and executive director of VERGE at GreenBiz Group, interviewed Catherine Dolton, vice president of global corporate responsibility at InterContinental Hotels Group, during Circularity 20, which took place August 25-27, 2020. View archived videos from the conference here . Deonna Anderson Fri, 09/18/2020 – 16:34 Featured Off

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Partnership is key for InterContinental Hotels Group’s circularity goals

Prefabricated, luxury eco-pod sits high in the Swiss Alps

September 2, 2020 by  
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With sweeping views of the Rhône Valley just south of Lake Geneva, the Zen Suite is the latest addition to the Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel. Designed by Montalba Architects, the minimalist-meets-luxurious pod immerses guests in the Dents-du-Midi mountain range of Switzerland. A creative combination of natural materials and sustainable construction, the hotel’s series of pods is aimed at creating spiritual harmony with the surrounding alpine ecosystem. The architects minimized environmental impact by raising the pods on platforms and leaving the surroundings mostly untouched. The eco-pods are positioned on elevated, stadium-style deck platforms along the side of the mountain, giving guests private and unobstructed views of the stunning landscape from almost every angle. Related: Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment The Zen Suite’s central circle is surrounded by curved wooden walls that are finished with fine details and tatami floor mats. The entire pod measures about 150 square feet, with an additional 220 square feet provided by the connected terrace. The platform, pod and bath box are all prefabricated elements of the structure. Hidden closets and storage compartments add to the contemporary feel of the space. In the simple bedroom, a sunken bed faces the front of the pod to make the most of the views. The wooden bathroom is constructed locally to minimize waste and transportation. The bathroom also utilizes an Ozone system to filter water without the use of harmful chemicals. A bathtub centers the distinct, circular design. The zen concept found throughout the design is inspired by the Wu Xing movement, which states that all things are connected and made up of energy. The five elements connected to the Chinese philosophy are represented through earth, water, wood, metal and fire. Each corner and space of the Zen Suite is meant to revolve around simple human ritual and self-reflection based on this theory, resulting in a transformative experience. Prices range from 650 to 1,250 Swiss Francs ($670 to $1,287) per night. +Montalba Architects Via An Interior Magazine Photography by Delphine Burtin via Montalba Architects

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Prefabricated, luxury eco-pod sits high in the Swiss Alps

Modular hanging suites are built to drop into any setting

August 21, 2020 by  
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Located in the tourist-friendly Spanish village of Santa Maria de Palautordera, the Drop Box N-240 is a transportable, modular suite that is ready to “drop” into practically any location via crane. The models, designed by In-Tenta, are manufactured offsite, transported and quickly assembled. Along with wood as a renewable and sustainable building material for the frame, suites come with either natural wood cladding or composite panels made of cement and wood particles as exterior finish. The hotel property provides views of the Montseny Massif mountain range in Montseny Natural Park, included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. This park is located in the Catalan pre-coastal mountain range, 25 kilometers from the stunning Mediterranean Sea and 50 kilometers from bustling Barcelona. Related: This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days In a project designed to increase in size without interfering with the natural environment, the prefab suite is suspended in the middle of the forest with a panoramic view over the trees. The floor plan includes a living room, a fully equipped bathroom and a platform with space for a queen-sized bed. The pod-like suite and attached terrace is installed like a treehouse , elevated over a metal structure to adhere to the sloped terrain while minimizing impact upon the site. The entire layout is designed for minimal occupation of land, giving the rooms a small, yet comfortable, ambiance. The cement-wood combination panels are low-maintenance, non-toxic, impermeable to water and aren’t susceptible to damage from living organisms. There are also several colors to choose from to customize the suite. The design company can also customize the floor plan depending on a client’s needs. In the case of the Santa Maria de Palautordera property, the entrance door is made of the same cement and wood mixture that makes up the rest of the facade, rather than the default transparent glass. The standard Drop Box N-240 layout includes a kitchen and a shower, but this particular suite ditched the kitchen and swapped a shower for a bathtub to save space. + In-Tenta Photography by estudibasic via In-Tenta

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Modular hanging suites are built to drop into any setting

Cargotecture meets wine country in Paso Robles

July 27, 2020 by  
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Sipping a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon while gazing out over rows and rows of grapes is a thrill for any wine aficionado. But the Geneseo Inn at Cass Winery in Paso Robles, California offers something even more exciting — now wine-lovers can wake up to those vineyard views inside a repurposed shipping container . Cargotecture has come to wine country at last. The new, eight-unit bed and breakfast is now open and accepting guests. Ecotech Design, collaborating with the container fabricator CRATE MODULAR and the winery co-owners, Steve Cass and Ted Plemons, chose a 60-foot live oak tree as the centerpiece of the property. Ecotech Design integrated 20 factory-built, steel containers with conventional construction and set them in the rolling hills of the vineyard. Related: Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project The units incorporate two containers each. The interior of each container is made from locally sourced, sustainable materials and features a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Parking is built underneath the units, so that cars don’t mar the landscape views. The 12-foot high clerestory, cathedral ceilings have multiple operable windows to invite light and fresh air inside. Guests can regulate the temperature and conserve energy by opening and closing these windows. The bridal unit suite is larger and more deluxe than the other units; it is built with a 40-foot and a 20-foot container. There is also an office cluster, which uses four 20-foot containers and features reception areas and a communal deck shaded by an oak tree . The B&B’s earthy exterior color palette complements both the landscape and the wine labels used at Cass Winery . “The design was inspired by the vineyard itself,” said Walter Scott Perry, founder and principal of Ecotech Design . “The most compelling attribute of this project is the use of modular components, in combination with recycled materials, to enhance visual interest and create an impressive panoramic openness that connects interior spaces, walkways, and decks. These connect with the vineyard vistas beyond.” Perry has been a leader in sustainable building design since the 1970s, when he was a part of the passive solar design movement in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In the last 15 years, he’s built with shipping containers at sites around California. The winery personnel are excited to welcome guests to stay on the 145-acre vineyard and to serve them an estate breakfast prepared by the executive chef. Many ingredients are grown on-site in the chef gardens . In addition to a deluxe food and wine experience, guests can book a private massage, yoga session, archery lesson, photography workshop or horseback excursion. + Ecotech Design Photography by Paul Vu Photography via Ecotech Design

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Cargotecture meets wine country in Paso Robles

Natural pink walls make up this eco-friendly hotel in Oaxaca

July 7, 2020 by  
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Designed by studios Taller Lu’um and At-te, the Monte Uzulu boutique hotel in Oaxaca, Mexico has doors made from  local wood  and walls crafted with a combination of concrete, earth and natural lime. The name comes from the word gusulú, meaning “beginning” in the region’s indigenous Zapotec language. As the hotel resides in the small fishing village of San Agustinillo, the designers wanted to honor the land surrounding the site by modeling the hotel to be close to nature. The  Pacific Ocean  can be found just a short walk away from the property, and construction kept as many trees as possible intact to make less of an environmental impact. According to the architectural team, a roughly 1,000-year-old jungle surrounds the hotel, so respecting the trees became a pivotal part of the design plan. Related: Ancient Mayan-inspired Casa Merida operates off the grid in Mexico Monte Uzulu’s balance with nature shows in its construction materials, which include natural elements such as locally-sourced wood,  soil  and dried palm leaves. A pink rendering of earth, lime and natural pigment covers the concrete walls, applied by hand and palette knife. The open-sided structure, moveable wood walls and thatched roof are modeled after the palapa design that is native to this part of western  Mexico . This design promotes natural ventilation and less sun exposure, making it perfect for the area’s hot weather. Six rectangular structures with gabled roofs connect with a series of stairs, making up 11 guest suites and about 7,782 square feet of total area. Each room has a terrace overlooking the jungle and ocean, with interior  concrete  walls left exposed to match the concrete floors and fixtures. Local artisans crafted the furniture, such as shelves and bed frames, using local wood. Sustainability measures, including a  rainwater collection system , water recycling system, natural water pools and a biodigester to convert organic waste, are implemented to reduce the hotel’s environmental impact even further. + Monte Uzulu Via Dezeen

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Natural pink walls make up this eco-friendly hotel in Oaxaca

COVID-19 disrupts recycling programs across the US

July 7, 2020 by  
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The pandemic is impacting yet another part of our world: recycling programs. The recycling industry is being riddled by budget shortfalls, an increase in single-use items and a shortage of centers open to receive reusable items. Since people have become more cautious about person-to-person transfer of COVID-19, single-use items are increasing. Many stores have banned reusable bags, and places, like Starbucks, aren’t refilling customers’ personal coffee cups. Restaurants have upped their use of plastic takeout packaging. Related: Starbucks suspends personal cup use because of coronavirus But most people are staying home, where they generate more garbage . The Solid Waste Association of North America noted a 20% average increase in solid waste and recycling in March and April, and some cities have reported even higher increases. Chicago’s waste has gone up by almost 50%. People are suddenly finding it harder to recycle and reuse. Spring cleaning became a popular pandemic activity, but charity stores weren’t open to accept donations of household goods. Meanwhile, many municipalities responded to severe budget shortfalls by axing their recycling programs. The U.S. recycling problems predate the pandemic. Since 2018, when other countries stopped buying poorly sorted recyclables and dirty food packaging from the U.S., recyclers have been strapped for customers. China used to buy up to 700,000 tons of scrap from the U.S. every year. Compounding that, oil prices are at the lowest they’ve been in decades, pushing the cost of virgin plastic down and making it less profitable to recycle plastics like PET (#1) and PE (#2 and #4). COVID-19 has also changed waste collection. Waste companies have come up with new procedures to protect workers from disease exposure while handling trash and recyclables. Recycling requires hands-on sorting, because machines aren’t as skilled as people at making sense of the collection stream. As companies try to minimize germ contact, they’re slowly improving automation. While recycling is down, the full picture of the pandemic and waste is not yet clear. “Historically, waste output from the commercial and industrial sectors has far outweighed the municipal stream,” co-authors Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland, a professor of materials science and engineering and a PhD candidate in macromolecular science and engineering, respectively, wrote on EcoWatch . “ With many offices and business closed or operating at low levels, total U.S. waste production could actually be at a record low during this time. However, data on commercial and industrial wastes are not readily available.” Via EcoWatch Image via Manfred Antranias Zimmer

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COVID-19 disrupts recycling programs across the US

Appalachian Trail spared from Atlantic Coast Pipeline

July 7, 2020 by  
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Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy Inc. have canceled the controversial 600-mile-long Atlantic Coast Pipeline that the companies planned to build under the Appalachian Trail. The  energy  giants called off the $8 billion project “due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty which threaten the economic viability of the project.” This news comes as a win for the environmentalists who have spent years fighting this disruption to the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. The pipeline’s route was supposed to start in the gas fields of Harrison County,  West Virginia , then travel southeast through Virginia, ending in Robeson County, North Carolina. This route would have crossed both the Appalachian Trail and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway. Related: Dakota Access Pipeline placed under environmental review Anti-pipeline activists took their battle to the Supreme Court, striving to preserve nature and protect local  endangered species . In June, the court ruled in favor of the utility companies. So, the pipeline cancellation announcement came as both a surprise and cause for celebration. “Its effective defeat today is a huge victory for  Virginia’s  environment, for environmental justice, and a testament to the power of grassroots action, the hundreds of driven, determined, frontline advocates who never stopped fighting this misguided project,” Michael Town, executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement. Greenpeace also weighed in. “Duke and Dominion had hoped to carve up beautiful mountains, ignore catastrophic climate change, and delay a just transition to renewable energy to build this pipeline, but, thanks to the courageous activists who stood up to them, they have failed,” the organization said. But not everybody was rejoicing. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued a statement of regret, insisting the pipeline would have been safely constructed and that the surrounding areas would have been protected. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce also lamented that the estimated 17,000 jobs the  pipeline  project would have created will not come to fruition. “Unfortunately, today’s announcement detrimentally impacts the Commonwealth’s access to affordable, reliable energy,” the chamber said in a statement. “It also demonstrates the significant regulatory burdens  businesses  must deal with in order to operate.” + Huffington Post Images via Fibonacci Blue

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Appalachian Trail spared from Atlantic Coast Pipeline

This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo

June 30, 2020 by  
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Adventurous glamping meets the soft sounds of the Indonesian rainforest at Hideout Horizon in East Karangasem, Bali. This entire home is made out of bamboo and completely open, with ladders and ramps connecting floors and bedrooms. A custom, overhanging grass roof helps shelter occupants from the elements. Designed by Studio WNA for Hideout Bali, the property measures over 860 square feet in size. The open design helps guests get up-close-and-personal with the unique natural environment of Bali, with added creature comforts such as options for meal service, a fully functional kitchen and multi-layered mosquito nets. Related: Treehouse hotel in Bali offers maximum views with a minimal footprint Start on the ground floor, where the kitchen opens to a comfortable living area with a hanging hammock. You’ll also find an exposed bathroom with an artfully designed outdoor shower and a sink made of bamboo and stone. Just outside the kitchen, access a serene indoor-outdoor plunge pool surrounded by tropical greenery. The second floor contains a bamboo ramp that leads to the master bedroom and a 240-centimeter-wide round bed. The third floor is dedicated to a small loft area with two single beds in the highest point of the house. Potential renters will want to keep in mind that there are no doors on the property, and the company reminds guests that privacy is hard to come by in the open-air setting (time to get comfortable with your traveling companions!). Climb up via the bamboo shelves or through the master bedroom to access an overhanging net, which elevates guests above the pool and provides treehouse-like views of the property. From here, the active volcano of Mount Agung, the highest point in Bali, is visible in the distance. Because of the natural ventilation achieved by the open layout and the surrounding environment, Hideout Horizon has no need for air conditioning or fans. The bamboo used in construction also helps stabilize the temperature. Hideout Horizon is available to rent on Airbnb through Hideout Bali . + Studio WNA Images via The Freedom Complex via Hideout Bali

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This glamping hideout in Bali is made entirely out of bamboo

Snhetta completes stunning Norwegian cabins for glacier hikers

June 24, 2020 by  
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The breathtaking landscape of Luster in the western part of Norway has recently been joined by Tungestølen, a cluster of timber hiking cabins with cozy interiors and panoramic glacier views. Designed by international design firm Snøhetta for Luster Turlag, a local branch of the Norwegian National Trekking Association, the pentagonal and oblique cabins were built to replace the original Tungestølen Tourist Cabin that had been destroyed by a cyclone in 2011. The new structures are engineered for extreme wind resistance and feature sturdy glulam frames, cross-laminated timber sheeting and ore pine cladding. Perched on a small plateau overlooking the spectacular Jostedalen glacier, Tungestølen is designed to accommodate up to 50 visitors across nine cabins , each of which features a unique, beak-like shape to slow down the strong winds that sweep upward from the valley floor. The sharply pitched roofs give the buildings a playful feel and create dynamic interiors with angular and panoramic windows of varying sizes. Timber lines the light-filled interiors to create a cozy and warm atmosphere.  Related: Elevated, green-roofed cabin minimizes impact on mountain in Norway Because Tungestølen was designed with group hikers in mind, the development is centered on a main cabin that serves as a social hub and meeting spot with its spacious lounge anchored by a large, stone-clad fireplace and panoramic windows that take advantage of the building’s tall ceilings. Built-in benches and furnishings help maximize interior space, which is primarily built of unpainted timber. A restrained color palette that complements the minimalist interiors takes cues from the muted tones of nature and range from charcoal grays to mossy greens. The eight other cabins on site will be used for dormitories and include a single private unit that can accommodate 30 visitors. One of the cabins is based on the original model for the Fuglemyrhytta cabin, another hiking cabin designed by Snøhetta in Oslo that has become a huge hit among hikers since its opening in 2018. Tungestølen was officially inaugurated by Queen Sonja of Norway; the cabins open to the public in June for the hiking season, which spans summer to fall. + Snøhetta Images via Snøhetta

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Snhetta completes stunning Norwegian cabins for glacier hikers

Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment

June 3, 2020 by  
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Developed by Nomadic Resorts, these prefab suites provide the perfect opportunity for a luxury eco-vacation  pretty much anywhere. The Looper tented suites incorporate recyclable materials and renewable energy to bring customizable accommodation to isolated and environmentally sensitive wilderness areas — such as rugged yet beautiful Yala National Park in southeast Sri Lanka. The tents can be popped up in all types of environments from deserts to mountains and everything in between, and are  prefabricated  off-site to allow for quick and easy assembly, disassembly and relocation. Related: These colorful glamping pods are tucked into a South Korean mountain range The Looper suites were created to use as little material as possible while leaving a minimal physical footprint, a feat accomplished by steel arches and a recyclable, weather-resistant tensile fabric exterior meant to last decades. The modular pods accommodate 28 square meters worth of living area with a 14-square-meter bathroom. A wrap-around deck is elevated on stilts so that the surrounding natural elements, such as  wildlife  and small bodies of water, can remain uninterrupted. The openings are made with low-E double glazing and the indoor/outdoor living areas come equipped with sustainable PV panels and a  rainwater  treatment system. The solar elements can be customized to reflect the unique outside conditions or the client’s specific needs. Style was certainly not compromised in the design of these versatile eco-pods, with the addition of materials such as copper, brass, leather and teak wood to elevate the interior. There is a spacious four-poster bed inside the main air-conditioned sleeping area and a freestanding copper bathtub inside the open-style bathroom, so guests can enjoy private views of the  outside terrain . The Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Sri Lanka, where the pods first debuted, arranged 28 Loopers in the shape of a leopard paw print on a beachfront property. Four of the luxury tented villas feature private pools and smaller “urchin” pods are also available to be used by families with children. + Nomadic Resorts Images via Nomadic Resorts

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Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment

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