Waste to wealth: ITC's success story
Anyone who has stayed at the swanky, 16-acre spread of the ITC Sonar Bangla in Kolkata [ Images ] will tell you that the energy requirements of the luxury hotel must be staggeringly high.
Even so, when it opened on introductory tariffs and low occupancies, only to be served up a whopping electricity bill of Rs 7 crore (Rs 70 million) in the first year, the management knew it would have to look for alternative solutions.
Immediately, consultants were hired on the simple mandate: reduce energy consumption. But that would have meant changing and revamping ducting and fittings while guests were staying at the hotel.
Instead, the pumps were retrofitted; the electric heaters were replaced by solar heaters; power-guzzling boilers were removed and condensed steam used to generate hot water; and variable frequency valves were used in the fans (needed for the air-conditioning), so that speeds could be adjusted, thereby eliminating energy wastage.
The result has been amazing. The company's electricity bill has dropped by 20 per cent (while occupancies have gone up by three-fourths). But it's not the reduction of the electricity bill alone that has put the smile back on the face of the management team. By reducing its energy consumption, the hotel has also brought down its carbon dioxide emission levels.
Is that a big deal? Apparently, yes. And that's because you can trade carbon emission reduction certificates in the marketplace just as you sell shares. Which is why ITC is now in the process of getting certification for a reduction of 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission - certificates it will use for carbon trading.
And if that sounds like so much futuristic gobbledygook, explains Subhash Rustagi, executive vice-president, corporate EHS: "Under the Kyoto protocol, corporates and countries that have not met their emission targets can take credit for our carbon emission reduction by buying these certificates at a...