‘We are being responsible citizens’

Bhaskar Gurunath, Director of Engineering, South Asia, Marriott International, talks about implementing sustainable practices and regulating air quality at hotels

Changing times have brought newer challenges for the hospitality industry. To be at the same level with today’s dynamic atmosphere, it is important to implement strategic changes at the grassroots level. Building a strong infrastructure with rigorous sustainable practices and offering guests a safe environment remains a regular practice for most hotels. To provide strategic direction to engineering projects and operations of the brand for the designated area at Marriott International is Bhaskar Gurunath, Director of Engineering, South Asia who holds the responsibility of ensuring effective delivery of results along with keeping the brand promise.


Elaborating on the steps taken by the brand to contain Covid19 transmission, Gurunath says, “Timely deep cleaning of HVAC equipment and filters and ensuring maximum fresh air as per regulatory guidelines are some foundational steps undertaken to reduce the risk of airborne contamination. Portable air purifiers with HEPA filtration installation programme has been approved as it is a significant added layer of protection to improve air quality and helps mitigate airborne transmission of pathogens. Effective August 30, 2020, electrostatic sprayer use is a global standard. Its use is required in the designated heart of house and public or guest spaces. As a global player in the hospitality industry, all our standards and procedures are applied across our portfolio of managed properties, except where local regulations differ. Products used are also standardised.”


“Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure around the globe is useful in accessibility by patrons and general public where regulations permit. Range anxiety is one of the largest stumbling blocks for a customer moving from IC to EV. Building on the strength and presence of the Marriott network globally, we want to play a part in reducing that anxiety by providing chargers in our properties where people can park and recharge their vehicles as well as themselves, availing our warm hospitality and efficient services,” he says.


“On a global scale, we follow several practices, some of which are localised. In Delhi-NCR, we use electrostatic precipitators that have been installed to supply clean air to guest rooms, corridors, meeting rooms and restaurants. These filters entrap pollutants and as the air is passed through activated carbon filters, it helps in eradicating odour,” says Gurunath. As responsible waste management has a positive environmental impact, Marriott International has included waste reduction targets as part of the sustainability and social impact goals, he shares, adding that by 2025, it will reduce waste landfill by 45 per cent and food waste by 50 per cent. “Waste to landfill has a huge negative impact on the environment, including the release of greenhouse gases and pollution the surrounding land and water. Marriott’s waste reduction goals ensure that we, as a company, are being responsible citizens within the communities we operate and do business in,” he adds.


“Our top three focus areas of sustainability include going in for renewable energy as the source to power our hotels is a big ticket item. We are more focussed than ever before to adopt renewable energy (hydroelectric, solar and wind) as per the guidelines and regulations of each Indian state and reducing single-use plastic bottles by installing our in-house water bottling plant and improving on our chiller and hot water generation systems with available technologies and advancements,” he shares.


Talking about energy efficiency practices of the brand, Gurunath says, “The implementation of energy efficient plant, machinery and equipment right from the design stage is highly taken care of. In existing buildings, we do continue to make necessary retrofits and upgrades to improve efficiencies. Some recently implemented projects include reducing the approach temperature of our cooling tower, installing demand flow system for chiller plant, use of recycle water from STP, upgrading starter panels to VFD, installing heat pumps for hot water needs and condensate recovery from the laundry are shown promising results.”


“We are fortunate to have the full support of our owners and partners who are aligned with our efforts and goals. This shared responsibility ensures our priorities are well integrated in the planning and build stage itself resulting in highly efficient hotels that support environment-friendly operations without compromising on the overall guest experience in any manner. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) as its fondly called is going to play an even more significant role in time to come,” he concludes.

This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'INVESTMENT SPECIAL ISSUE VOL 7, ISSUE 6'

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