Home Publisher's Point of View Use Nature as a Design Guide When Developing Your Hotel

Use Nature as a Design Guide When Developing Your Hotel


Last week I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Janine Benyus. For those of you not familiar with Janine, she is the author of “Biomicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.” She is also president of the Biomimicry Institute, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to naturalize biomimicry in our culture by promoting the transfer of ideas, designs and strategies from biology to sustainable human systems design. Simply put, she advocates using nature’s designs—ones that have developed over billions of years—in the design of buildings and products.

Picture a sunflower. Moen, the company well-known for products such as kitchen and bathroom faucets, has developed a showerhead with spray nozzles positioned just as seeds are positioned in the head of a sunflower. In Zimbabwe, the ventilation system in one building was designed to mimic that found in a termite mound. The structure, in the heart of hot, southern Africa, requires no air-conditioning. One species of beetle is able to survive where water is scarce by collecting fog moisture off its back. The water rolls right to its mouth. Researchers studied how the beetle does this and now are building structures on buildings that collect water from fog.

The next time you take a walk around your property, look at your building like you never have before. In what ways does the interior and exterior mimic nature? What is it about it that does not jibe at all with the surrounding landscape? Where are there opportunities for design improvement? Nature is highly efficient. Most of the time, we are not. Fortunately, designers are beginning to look at hotels in ways they never have before—as buildings that can work with nature and not against it. If you are developing a new hotel or renovating one, be sure to look at everything through an environmental lens: lighting, material selection, design, air flow, etc. “Use nature as an innovation tool,” Janine Benyus emphasized in her speech. I could not agree more.

New Green Product Directory Partners

Green Lodging News welcomes Master-Bilt and Unique Amenities as Green Product Directory partners. New Albany, Miss.-based Master-Bilt provides a complete line of refrigerated coolers and freezers—from ice cream dipping cabinets to refrigerated warehouses. Many products are designed with energy-saving features and options such as demand defrost, alarms and light management systems. Master-Bilt also offers Energy Star and CEC certified reach-ins, milk coolers and other equipment. Call 800-647-1284, e-mail sales@master-bilt.com for more details, or go to Master-Bilt.

Unique Amenities provides natural ingredient toiletries that are made from environmentally friendly, GE-free (not genetically engineered) ingredients, and are 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable. All of the company’s products are imported from New Zealand for purity and cleanliness. Call (845) 578-5700, ext. 201, go to www.uniqueamenities.com, or e-mail lsheiner@uniqueamenities.com for more information.

Vendor Case Study Addition

Two weeks ago I announced the addition of a new Vendor Case Studies section to the Green Lodging News website. I am happy to announce that Excel Dryer has purchased the first spot. Their case study focuses on the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston and how it successfully implemented the company’s XLERATOR hand dryer. The success story applies to any hotel with public restroom facilities. Click here to read that case study.

Finally, the Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize, Central America, is in search of an intern who would be willing to spend from six to 12 months working at that lodge. The ideal candidate will have an interest in ecotourism. Contact Jeff Pzena at jeff@cottontreelodge.com if you are interested.

As always, I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.