Hotel Verde is nothing less than a statement project. With a budget of R 170 million, this building is ambitious and striving for two international certifications: LEED Gold and Heritage Platinum.

The list of sustainable features is extensive:

  • rainwater harvesting
  • subsoil drainage
  • recycling greywater
  • reducing onsite waste to zero
  • wind turbines
  • solar panels
  • regenerative drive technology
  • geothermal installations
  • water efficient landscaping
  • gabion walls
  • insulation
  • green roof
  • living wall amongst others

The LEED Gold certification indicates that a building has acquired 60-79 points out of a possible 110. A key element of this certification is energy efficiency and Hotel Verde can be described as an insulated, airtight envelop with thermal mass and carefully controlled solar access.

The ground-source heat pumps use the earth to heat the building in winter and as a heat sink to keep the interiors cool in summer. The geothermal system entails 100 boreholes sunk 70 m deep connecting 14.5 km HDPE pipes to form the geothermal field. The exchange between the two systems allows standard air-conditioning to be bypassed saving at least 25% compared to a conventional system. The 220 solar panels and three vertical axis wind turbines further reduce the need to draw on the municipalities energy supply.

Installing this type of technology means that a considerable portion of the budget is set aside for this purpose – in the case of Hotel Verde R 20 million was dedicated to sustainable features.

The Heritage certification is based on the internationally recognised sustainability and responsible business standard codes based on four pillars: economic, social, environmental and cultural. Membership is evaluated every year and can be adjusted according to whether or not criteria is met.

Hotel Verde aspires to educate, inspire and challenge the industry – it seems to be well on route.


*The full article appears in the Aug-Sept 2013 issue of earthworks magazine. Images: Jason Buch (