Sponsored by Bidvest Foodservice
Hub by Premier Inn, London
That certainly is the view of the judges of this award, who believe Hub by Premier Inn, the new city centre budget brand, could have an invaluable influence that will inspire other operators far and wide.
Launched in November 2014, the 163- bedroom property on St Martin's Lane in London's Covent Garden was developed with a strong focus on environmental considerations. Its intention from the outset was to use 30% less energy than current building regulations, with energy-efficient equipment and 100% renewable energy supplies.
As a result, during the first three months of operating, Hub used nearly 20% less energy than 10 Premier Inn hotels in London with a similar number of bedrooms, while consistently achieving almost 100% occupancy.
Key energy-saving initiatives have included the installation of variable refrigerant flow air-source heat pumps, resulting in lower carbon emissions than traditional systems; solar shading and high-insulated windows; and the ventilation of bedrooms and the ProvenDough deli and bar by a central air handling plant, which incorporates heat recovery. In addition, dual-flush WCs and low-flow showers and taps have resulted in the supply of more than 50% of the water use by grey water. As a result of these schemes, the hotel is the only one in the UK to be awarded an outstanding rating in the environmental assessment by BREEAM.
When it comes to waste, Hub sends nothing whatsoever to landfill and any general waste goes to refuse-derived fuel, which can be used to produce energy, and food waste is sent off for anaerobic digestion.
Gavin Dunn, director of BREEAM, said Hub by Premier Inn's commitment to innovation and sustainability provides "an exemplar for the industry as a whole".
A bio-diverse roof, incorporating a mix of 12 wildflower species, helps with water attenuation and contributes to enhancing the wildlife value of the site.
Guests can participate by using the Hub by Premier Inn app on their smartphone, tablet or - in an industry first - Apple watch. This enables them to control the temperature and lighting in their bedroom.
Hub by Premier Inn in Covent Garden is just the first of what is expected to be a significant brand, with three properties due to open in the next three months and a total of 3,500 rooms launched by 2020. Never before has sustainability in hospitality been so significant.
What the judges said
"This entry promises a game-changing opportunity for a sustainable hotel model, now and into the future. Well done, Whitbread."
Mike Hanson, head of sustainable business, BaxterStorey
"Whitbread has demonstrated an innovative and scalable approach to achieving cost-effective ways to reduce its environmental impact while ensuring a comfortable guest experience."
Dominic Burbridge, associate director, business advice, Carbon Trust
"Hub by Premier Inn has provided an opportunity to showcase best practice, which will have a forward-thinking impact on the industry."
Debra Patterson, sustainability manager, the Savoy
Hub by Premier Inn London
Llangoed Hall, Brecon, Powys,
The Oakley Court Windsor, Berkshire
Past winners (award previously known as the Green Hotel of the Year)
2014 Red Carnation Hotels
2013 The Savoy London
2012 Lancaster London
2011 Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant, Wark on Tyne, Northumberland
2010 Langdale Hotel & Spa, Ambleside, Cumbria
2009 One Aldwych, London
2008 Bedruthan Hotel & Spa, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall
2007 Novotel London West