On the grand scale of greenliness, the Radisson Blu scores pretty low, but they are making an effort that is worth writing about. On a recent visit to their branch in Dubai’s Media City, Michael Strauss, a contributing editor to the Green Traveler Guide, found their efforts to go green “sincere.” Committed to scouting out the most conscientious and sustainable innkeepers and hoteliers around the globe, this online guide doesn’t pander to the green-washers at all. So when we learned that they were willing to recommend the Radisson Blu, we had to take note.
Seven years ago Nicholas Fernandez was an air-conditioning mechanic at the Radisson Blu. Now he is the hotel’s chief engineer and main eco-advocate who is largely responsible for the Blu’s green makeover. Fernandez came into the hotel on his day off to take Strauss on a tour of the various initiatives he has helped to implement.
They started in the lobby. The bespoke waterfall there no longer uses fresh water, which is important given the extent to which Dubai and other Emirates rely on desalination to meet their water needs. Instead, Fernandez devised a system that harvests and recycles water created as a byproduct of the hotel’s air-conditioning units.
Energy-saving initiatives include motion sensors that only activate lights when there is someone around. When they leave, they automatically switch off. In a six-story hotel, this small measure amounts to significant savings. So do the new compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Fernandez has also started growing vegetables on the hotel’s roof – a “thumb nail” garden according to Strauss. So far there are eggplants, green peppers and okra growing despite the extraordinary heat, as well as cilantro.
Although there is a limit to the hotel’s greening, Fernandez has also helped to raise social awareness – an important part of any healthy community. In particular, he started “The Box Appeal,” to collect razors, clothing and other daily essentials for the many migrant workers who live on the city’s fringes.
This was then taken up by the Belgium-based managing company behind Calson Rezidor Hotel Group throughout the region, resulting in collections amounting to $270,000!
Of course, the Radisson is not a great option for budget travelers, but if you are interested in traveling through Dubai and don’t want to rack up an enormous carbon footprint in the process, this hotel seems to be one of the best available options.
All images via Radisson Blu