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EmiratesGBC: Green Key gains strong momentum in UAE

Council’s Technical Manager spotlights growing interest among hotel operators with 30% increase in number of certified hotels in 2019; says programme’s ‘energy’ criteria accounts for adequate control of AC systems based on seasonal changes, thermal insulation and efficient glazing, amongst other aspects

| | Sep 29, 2019 | 12:14 pm
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Majd Fayyad

DUBAI, UAE, 29 September 2019: Green Key has gained strong momentum in the UAE, said Majd Fayyad, Technical Manager, EmiratesGBC, who pointed out that by July 2019 there were 42 certified hotels across the country, an increase in number of more than 30% compared to the previous year. “In addition to Raffles [Dubai], a number of hotel groups in the UAE have joined hands with us for the Green Key programme,” he said. “We have certified these hotels and look forward to continuing the collaboration with these hotel groups and others.” Fayyad said that the growth in number of Green Key hotels underlines the mounting interest among hotel operators to go green. “Hotels in Dubai are now mandated to comply with 19 sustainability requirements outlined under the Dubai Sustainable Tourism initiative of the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing,” he added. “This further highlights the governmental commitment to advancing sustainability performance across the hospitality sector.”

Fayyad said that the positive trend is set to continue, considering that Green Key and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts have just signed a collaboration agreement at the global level, which will help increase the number of certified properties in the UAE. Interest, he said, is also growing, owing to the many benefits Green Key certification offers. “Green Key provides proof for customers and partners that a tourism establishment has high sustainability standards – assured through third-party verification,” he said. “[It also] provides a step-by-step framework for hotels to achieve their sustainability goals, helps in reducing a hotel’s utility bills through reduction of energy and water use, and it can be used as a marketing tool to further attract and engage eco-friendly customers and partners.”

Elaborating on the mandatory and voluntary benchmarks needed to achieve the certification, Fayyad said that the Green Key baseline criteria list covers 13 categories: Environmental Management, Staff Involvement, Guest Information, Water, Washing and Cleaning, Waste, Energy, Food and Beverage, Indoor Environment, Green Areas, Corporate Social Responsibility, Green Activities and Administration. These, he said, are, then, divided into two categories – Imperative, which comprises 63 criteria and Guideline, which comprises 68 criteria. “The Imperative criteria must be fulfilled in all Green Key certified establishments,” he said. “The Guideline ones must increasingly be fulfilled to show continuous improvement year-on-year.”

Discussing the impact of the criteria on HVACR operations, Fayyad confirmed that the energy performance of hotel properties does play a significant role in achieving Green Key. He said, “Energy criteria include proper registration of consumption, adequate control of AC systems based on seasonal changes, installation of efficient lighting, proper maintenance and cleaning, usage of energy-efficient appliances and systems, thermal insulation, efficient glazing, usage of renewable energy, key card control systems, motion detectors and heat-recovery systems.” Fayyad added that Green Key also puts a concerted focus on indoor environmental quality (IEQ), especially with regard to an establishment’s smoking policy, the use of environmentally friendly products, disinfection substances and fragrance spray and perfume in connection with washing and cleaning.

Fayyad said that it is important to understand that the Green Key philosophy addresses both resource efficiency, with regard to environmental management, and environmental education, with regard to staff training, guests and suppliers’ engagement. “As Green Key is operated as a non-governmental and non-commercial certification programme, national operators can keep audit and certification costs low, allowing hotel properties to focus their spending on their operations rather than certification costs,” he explained. Admittedly, Fayyad said there are some investment costs required to meet the Green Key criteria, such as installing flow restrictors and LED lights, depending on the hotel and situation. “In a nutshell, achieving Green Key requires the appointment of an environmental manager from amongst the staff of the establishment, and periodic meetings with the management and staff to review progress and set goals,” he said. “It is highly recommended to involve all departments in the application process, so that each department can assess its compliance and provide all necessary information to achieve certification.”



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