Five years in the planning, the Biohotel Organic Suites is just a couple of weeks from opening in Bogota, Colombia in the district of Usaquen, known as the culinary and cultural hub of the city. The seven-story, 72-room property is “my retirement plan,” says Samuel Huertas, majority owner. Huertas is aiming for LEED Gold certification for the hotel that includes the Green Piece restaurant and meeting space to accommodate up to 150 people.
True to its name, the Biohotel Organic Suites is green throughout. The exterior of the building features windows made from recycled glass and vertical “gardens” that help to minimize heat gain from the hot Colombia sun. A 110-panel solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the hotel will supply about 10 percent of the hotel’s electricity and a solar thermal system will help raise the temperature of water coming into the building from 50 degrees to 70 degrees. In the center of the building are mirrors that help direct natural light into the building’s interior. The mirrors move in synch with the sun. A high-efficiency HVAC system from Germany keeps heating and cooling costs to a minimum.
The majority of the materials used throughout the hotel are from sources certified to be natural or organic. For example, the hotel partnered with the Spanish firm Carré for its furniture. Carré sources its wood from sustainable forests and uses particle board and adhesives with low formaldehyde content that comply with European E1 standards. Flooring is made from bamboo.
Rainwater is collected in tanks and later used for irrigation. LED bulbs will illuminate guestroom and public spaces. Bicycles in the fitness center will generate electricity. The hotel is close to public transportation and bicycles will be available for guests to use outside the hotel.
Garden Located Inside the Hotel
The menu at the Green Piece restaurant will feature organic and sustainably grown products. Vegetables will be grown on-site in a 120-square-meter garden inside the hotel. The garden is expected to generate two tons of food every three months. The garden area shares space with the Gin Bar where herbs and plants grown on-site will be utilized in drink concoctions. Local suppliers will provide organic meats and organic wine also will be sold. A food waste decomposition machine will convert food waste into reusable water. Wait staff will wear uniforms made from organic cotton.
Building a hotel that is as efficient as possible was important to Huertas, who said that he once went through a period in Bogota in 1992 when there was no electricity for six months. Huertas has an accounting background and was looking to create a business for his retirement. He was inspired by other sustainable hotel properties he studied. The hotel is 46 percent owned by Huertas and his family with the remaining 54 percent owned by other investors. The hotel will target travelers from the United States and Europe as well as locals.
The Biohotel Organic Suites is the first of what Huertas hopes will be many members of the Sustainable Hotels Group, a group of properties in the Chile, Peru and Colombia area that meet specific membership criteria. Members can earn either a Bronze, Silver or Gold leaf level and benefit from reservation, technical, marketing and accounting support. Having 75 hotels within the Group by August is the goal of Huertas.
This article first appeared on the Green Lodging News website. To sign up to receive the weekly Green Lodging News newsletter, go to www.greenlodgingnews.com. Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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