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  • Writer's pictureRyan Haynes

Hoteliers' Voice S3E9 - How Lamington Group lives and breathes Hotel Sustainability

We deep dive into hotel sustainability with Angeliki Krania, Senior Sustainability Manager at Lamington Group to understand what it takes to be a truly sustainable hotel brand and commit to the policy authentically.


As part of our Hoteliers' Voice Season 3, Angeliki explains;

  • How the industry can incorporate sustainable approaches to design and development

  • How Lamington Group implements a sustainable culture

  • The wider business case for sustainability

  • Engaging guests in the programm

  • Working in collaboration and the supply chain

  • The role of AI


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Programme Notes


This episode has been automatically transcribed by AI, please excuse any typos or grammatical errors


Ryan Haynes:

Travel Market Life is backed by Haynes MarComs, a B2B marketing communications, and PR consultancy, specializing in the technology travel, Hospitality and property sectors, creating meaningful connections and visibility to grow. Hans Marcoms cuts through the noise to resonate with target buyers, decision-makers and influencers. From contextualizing your mission to positioning your value proposition. Haynes Marcos helps you address the issues that matter. Marketing, PR and social build profile. Gain momentum shape strategy with Haynes MarComs.


Ryan Haynes:

Joining me now is Angeliki Krania, a senior Sustainability manager at Lamington Group. Thanks ever so much for coming along and talking to us today because I know you've just launched a brand new hotel and has set sustainability is a really hot topic right now and a difficult one for hotels. I'd love to find out a bit more from you today about how can the industry really incorporate sustainable practices and approaches to design and development.


Angeliki Krania:

Hello, Ryan. Thank you for inviting me here today and I hope I can be of help in terms of areas where hotels can innovate a bit and like introduce sustainability in the Hotel design and construction. I think that it's incorporating design principles within the hotel what during the design stage of the hotels, which is designing less or choosing natural materials or prioritizing local and focusing a lot on creating timeless spaces with a focus on the people like designing for the people mainly I, think that it's a bit about introducing green infrastructure within the building and making sure that they're targeting energy efficient systems and introducing if possible, where possible like renewable, renewable resources on site as well.


Ryan Haynes:

I mean, it's fascinating. There are so many different aspects to it that you have to be considering, but obviously, there are frameworks in place by the sounds of it and you've been working really hard within the Lamington group to actually apply this to your properties. Is this, was this sort of like really the starting point when you launched this new business, new property in Belfast?


Angeliki Krania:

I think that it started a bit before the first, the first property where we engaged with sustainability, and we did quite a lot of work with it was Chiswick. So, when we last Cheese Room to Chiswick, it was designed, it was the first hotel to be designed to net-zero standard. And what net zero means, that's a bit of a difficult topic nowadays. So, net zero whole life, net-zero hotels mean two things looking into the operational carbon from your property and the embodied carbon of your property throughout the lifespan of the building. So, from when we look at the embodied carbon side of things, we're talking about the extraction of raw materials changing or designing for less and then building the building, transferring them to the site, building the site, then operating the site, the operational carbon, while you're operating the site, you still have some embodied carbon through the refurbishments or renewals of the building.


Angeliki Krania:

And then towards the end of the lifespan of the building, how do you dispose of it as well? That's, that's in short like a net zero whole life net zero approach when designing a building.


Ryan Haynes:

I mean, let's start with the first part because I mean you've got some really interesting perspectives on that, particularly, you know, how we look at our forefathers and we're only talking a couple of generations ago where you've actually sort of recycled and reupholstered and reused, but there's also this aspect of utilizing or recycling different types of materials. Tell me about some of the applications and, and approaches that you've taken there.


Angeliki Krania:

So, when we are designing a new site, what we prioritize quite a lot is, I mean, we look at the buildings like material banks. So, if you're building a new building or if you're refurbing an existing one, we look a lot at the long-term value of the elements in the space. So, for an existing building, we try to maintain as much as possible for the original construction and then we start building on that. When we are building a new site, we are making sure that we are maximizing the cycle content that can go within the space. So, we already, have reclaimed still we will still be using high GDPS content in our concrete. These are like the hard elements, the big bits in the building.


Angeliki Krania:

But also, when we are designing the space internally, we prioritize quite a lot of sourcing existing resources. You'll see that if you walk around, for example in Belfast, in the US you'll see that we have a counter, like we have the reception area at the reception table that is made out of recycled bottles. Or if you walk around the breakfast and cafe, you can see that most of the tables they have reclaimed tiles. Some of our tables are vintage. We've sourced locally and vintage items. We have that. My favourite one is a table that's made out of train sleepers. So basically, we've reclaimed that, and we've turned them into tables.


Angeliki Krania:

So, there's lots, lots and bits and pieces around The Hotel during the design of the actual building, but also during the interior design of the building where we've incorporated quite a lot of sustainability.


Ryan Haynes:

That's fascinating. How did you source the right partners then from the interior designers to the property developers that were actually going to be able to build to the sustainable value values of Lamington group?


Angeliki Krania:

So this is, this is very challenging because it, there's no, there's no straightforward answer as to what, who is a sustainable supplier, if that makes sense, apart from certain big suppliers that they do have accreditations that can back up their claims In terms of sustainability, we try quite a lot to source locally and we try quite a lot to boost the local economy where we're very respectful of the local economy and we try to do boost that. So how, how do we get the right suppliers? So, we screen them, we have a sustainability procurement policy, and then we have a survey that we send out to all of our suppliers or potential suppliers and then we screen them based on that, see how they perform against different criteria around ESNG, environmental, social and governance.


Angeliki Krania:

And then we have a ranking behind that, and we balance the sustainability of course with the cost of it. And this is how we, we sort of pick our partners and pick our suppliers, but we are always looking for any opportunity for us to use existing resources before choosing a new resource. At the same time looking at the environmental impact of the materials that we choose whether we're not, they're very high in terms of chemicals, like the chemical’s concentration, how healthy this material is for the space, because end of the day we do design for the people.


Angeliki Krania:

So, we want this to promote healthy air quality, and to have access to natural light. We always think that our principles are more around not choosing nature, prioritizing local, going for a timeless space and designing for the people.


Ryan Haynes:

That must be really fun actually. Yeah,


Angeliki Krania:

It's, it's super creative.


Ryan Haynes:

I mean you, you're problem-solving as well as, as you say, trying to bring that real eco angle to it at the same time. So, you know, there I can see that feel-good factor in what you do, but as you say, you know, finding the right materials, making sure that they're made up correctly. I mean, one of the things that I found fascinating recently when I was talking to a fabric supplier in fact was that they, you know, went on about their, their, their credentials around reusing or recycling plastics, particularly in their poly synthetic mat fabric materials. And that you have to be careful because there are actually companies out there that are producing bottles that are just going to be straight back recycled and don't ever actually enter the consumer chain.


Ryan Haynes:

So, it's, you know, you as you say, you've got to be very careful of, of the certificates that are in practice and, and, and check that they actually meet your values and it's just not, you know, eco for eco's sake.


Angeliki Krania:

Yeah, this is, this is why we have the survey, and this is why we're screening our suppliers, but then there are frameworks that help quite a lot. For example, B Corp normally likes companies that they're B Corp certified, they've gone through a very strict audit mapping out their supply chain, understanding where the income comes from, where the materials come from, how they operate, then, even the buildings where they produce the materials like they're being assessed against all sorts of areas. So, it is a very challenging field to navigate, but I think that we need it within the next, because it's a data issue end of the day, I feel like within the next two to five years we will have a lot more clarity about our supplier.


Ryan Haynes:

I mean, yeah, let's just touch on that actually about the supply chain because I guess you've got to look at sustainability beyond just who the, the building and the how do you,


Angeliki Krania:

First of all, we have a Sustainability team, but it's two people. It's me and a sustainability officer and as a business, as Lamington group, we have two campaigns, two internal campaigns. One of the campaigns is called Team Planet and the other one is called Culture Club. So, Team Planet is educating the staff, like we have a session once per month where we are educating our staff around sustainability principles. We have, we are following a framework called, called One Planet Living. And one Planet Living has 10 principles that span around health and wellbeing, and energy waste. So every month we have a session about one of these topics where we explain the topic and then we explain the standards and then we explain how we deliver this as a hotel and how they can help us meet our wider sustainability strategy In terms of the different people that we have on-site, like as you said, the GMs, what we do is we have knowledge by sessions as well as part of that where we, we have mapped out where the impact of the different functions of the business, like where, where the function of the different functions of the business impact the wider sustainability agenda.


Angeliki Krania:

And we have trickled down the responsibility to the people on site. So, if, let's say I have a DMM that is choosing what type of beverage is going behind the counter, he's already aware it's questions that other suppliers are going to be able to answer easily. Like bigger supplies, if you're supplying from like, I don't know, let's say Coca-Cola, like they're going to have that readily available, then you have smaller supplies, which we would like to prioritize because you want to source locally that they're not going to have readily available that information. And for that reason, we provide education to them. We have prepared like presentational or educational material where we say, okay, we've asked this question, we're not going to penalize you if you've not there in your journey yet.


Angeliki Krania:

However, here are some resources as time passes, we're not going to be the first ones asking this question. It's good if you engage with a topic. So, it's a bit of a balancing act and it's not a straightforward answer. We choose these over this, it's more assessing case by case, but we train very well our staff to be prepared. And then if they, if they hit the roadblock and they have questions like they always come to sustainability and we discuss it,


Ryan Haynes:

I can see, you know, the challenge as you say, you know, there's one thing sourcing locally, but there's another thing sourcing locally and sustainably and actually local businesses having a lot of those processes and policies in place and that takes time, that takes education and, and you're certainly part of that puzzle to help influence change amongst more local businesses. Now I know that there is a wider business case for Sustainability. It's not just about climate change. Can you talk us through some of the key impacts that it has on commercial to businesses?


Angeliki Krania:

I think that there, there are a few things when it comes to the business case for sustainability, you have economic benefits, you have long-term value, you have a brand reputation, and you attract more conscious guests. These are the four things from the top of my head. When it, in terms of economic benefits, you have cost savings, you have waste reduction definitely, or you're repurposing your waste, you have automated processes on the energy side of things, you have properties that they reduce a lot less energy as well. They use a lot less water. In terms of the long-term value, I think that there is a thing that needs to be mentioned.


Angeliki Krania:

I think that it's a lot about risk mitigation. We've seen quite a lot of the impact of climate change, especially this summer. So, by reducing the environmental impacts and adopting more resilient practices in The Hotel sector, you can mitigate risks that are associated with climate change and natural disasters and avoid very costly damages. For example, designing a property that is designed for flood mitigation, like it's, it's self-explanatory. Or having a blue roof at the top of your building sort of concentrated like the excess water, rainwater, the these are things that's futureproof you’re building. It definitely helps with the brand reputation because the commitment to sustainability enhances the brand reputation we've had; we've attracted a lot of press with Chiswick.


Angeliki Krania:

When we opened Chiswick, it was advertised as the first whole life net zero hotel and we had a lot of press and we have lots of guests as well that they're really, really connecting with the brand because of it. Because end of the day, it's a lifestyle that we're pushing for. It's a change. We're not going to be sacrificing comfort or the comfort of our guests, it's just that we'll be doing business in a better way I think. And we're following standards and frameworks like Net Zero by UK DBC UK, DBCs UK Green Building Country, which has a lot of guidance about what is net zero, what is biodiversity, and how to go about your offset.


Angeliki Krania:

So, there's so much information available. We have been certified by Green Tourism, which is a recognition of our efforts, and we have very high Brim ratings as well. EPCs for the newest properties are both a, which means they're very energy-efficient properties. But yeah, the past year we've been, we've been receiving lots of awards because of these strategies, which is great because it sort of gives us exposure to audiences that we wouldn't have otherwise. And I think that it invites for a healthy competition between us and the rest of the industry. We definitely want to educate the industry. We definitely want to take everyone on board, sustain week, it's not, it's all of us or none of us.


Ryan Haynes:

That's excellent. I mean, congratulations on all of that. And as you say, you know, those guests that are very conscious around sustainability would already recognize a lot of those certifications and, and the awards that you've got. How do you engage those, maybe some of the wider guests in that and why is it important to really engage guests in those sustainability practices?


Angeliki Krania:

So, we do, we do quite a lot of guest engagement, but in a very subtle way. So we have the pre-comms where we educate a bit our guests about our property like it's sustainable property. You may see certain things on-site that you can interact with. There is a sustainability wall. When you enter all of our properties, you'll find a sustainability wall where you can play around on a night, but with the different initiatives in, and also, we have like quite a little of gamification on site. So you walk around on site and like you reach the elevator and you may get the program, why not take the stairs or like when you are, when you're opening a window, there's like a, there is a, the gamification aspect of it, did you know how much energy like you would save if you just close the window when you're, when you have the air con on the other way around, like just make sure that your air con is off whenever you're like opening windows and I think that you take that back home and it's a big, big piece sort of learning from the space because the spaces we occupy like really change how we experience life.


Angeliki Krania:

No,


Ryan Haynes:

Absolutely, absolutely. Yes, I certainly agree. So, Angeliki, finally we're going to come to a question that is really a hot topic again, in the industry, artificial intelligence meets sustainability. Where are you seeing and exploring the role of AI currently?


Angeliki Krania:

AI is going to be the new internet. You can automate a lot of things around your property, gathering the data and filling in the gaps where you don't have the data. Understand how you, as your asset are performing occupancy patterns and how you can optimize the way you operate your property, how you allocate the rooms or how your systems like electrical, sorry, mechanical systems are working within the space. That's definitely an area where it can benefit and at the same time energy usage within the space. How do you use the energy within the space for us the next, the next area where we would be utilizing AI in the future, near future is probably the lab room.


Angeliki Krania:

So, we have been collecting data, we are collecting data on energy, water and the different plates, the energy drivers. So, we'll understand what the patterns are and then how can we improve existing and future Designs to reduce, reduce consumption, and basic reducing waste. Definitely, I think it can help if you have visibility over your waste, you can understand your waste patterns and you can definitely improve on that. If I knew that I had X amount of waste made out of paper, then maybe that's a resource but I can use it, I can monetize that. The other area where AI can help quite a lot is during the design stage.


Angeliki Krania:

So, the typical engineer can probably test how many 10 scenarios of a design hotel design, but you can test a thousand different design options for a building in a click of a button and you can have the results in like within half an hour. So, we are talking about a lot more options. So, I think that our Designs are going to be a lot more like detailed and maybe more intelligent the way we design.


Ryan Haynes:

That's brilliant. I mean as you say, you know, there's so many different ways and places that you can utilize AI and I know that AI has been sort of explored a lot more within architecture and design and I think we've seen some very interesting results as a consequence of that. Angeliki, that's been a fantastic exploration of hotel sustainability and really informative and you know, congratulations on the recent opening of the Belfast Lamington Group hotel and you know, what you've achieved from a sustainable standpoint.


Angeliki Krania:

Thank you very much for inviting me here today. I've had a lovely time. I hope I helped Thank you very much.


Ryan Haynes:

Wonderful Angeliki, thank you again. So that was Angeliki Krania, a se senior Sustainability manager at Lamington Group, really exploring that hotel sustainability there. If you've got any questions, please don't hesitate to drop us a line either on my email Ryan at Haynes Marcos agency or through the LinkedIn channel and we will be in contact and will share these questions of Angeliki and know that she will also be available if you want to connect with her on LinkedIn for all of our podcast, head to your podcast channel, whether that is your Apple, your Diesel, your Spotify, or now on Amazon. Alexa, I'm your host, Ryan Haynes. Thanks ever so much for joining me.

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