Green Ideas That Make One Feel At Home
Ascott Makati takes the lead in setting green trends in the hospitality industry that benefit residents and staff
Issue: Jun 2011
Ascott Makati offers 306 exclusive apartments from studio to three-bedroom residences
Ascott Makati in Manila, the Philippines, is a premier serviced residence that offers its international guests all the comforts of modern living. But this development is not just a leader in prestigious serviced residences, it is also a forerunner in the drive to be eco-conscious.
"Green is the new black for me," said Lew Yen Ping, General Manager of Ascott Makati, the mastermind behind the green drive at the serviced residence. "It's a growing trend in all industries. With Ascott being a market leader, I also wanted to make sure that we will be the leader when it comes to environmental change. I want us to be a leader in leading the change, implementing the change and encouraging the industry to move forward."
At these Green Meeting rooms, work can be done even as the earth is taken into consideration
At Ascott Makati, being earth-conscious helps the bottom line for the development and its guests. One such novel idea is the Green Meetings package which was made available to residents since January this year.
"The main objective of this package is to encourage people to become more responsible for the environment. Our green initiatives are also our selling point because we pass the savings brought about by going green back to our residents," said Lew.
On top of the usual meeting facilities, the Green Meetings package includes eco perks. Almost every possible green idea has been incorporated. For example, recyclable writing materials like white boards instead of flip charts and recyclable notebooks that can be used for the duration of the entire meeting are provided. Instead of bottled water, guests can look forward to flavoured water dispensers filled with refreshing cucumber water or orange water. Paper cups are also replaced with personalised water goblets with name tags for use throughout the day. To save energy, temperatures are kept at an optimal level of 74°F or 23.3 degree Celsius and natural sunlight is favoured over artificial lighting in the meeting rooms. Every room also has trash bins for recyclable items to discourage wastage. In addition, unique green touches to propagate the green message like green apple stress balls are included in the meeting room instead of the usual mints.
"Through the implementation of these initiatives, our guests have become more diligent in recycling waste and more conscious about their usage of utilities," shared Lew.
Taking the green idea further is an eco-menu offered as part of the Green Banquet Meetings package. The menu offers items that require less cooking and, therefore, less energy consumption.
Since the packages are more economical than regular ones, they have been warmly received.
"Our guests are generally supportive of our green initiatives. We have received compliments from the guests both in writing and online," said Lew.
Green Idea that Grows
The Square Foot Garden makes residents feel at home with their own garden where they can pick herbs for their own cooking needs
Being a home away from home, Ascott Makati offers unique homely touches like the herb garden which was started in 2009. Located at the Barbecue Patio, Square Foot Garden grows mint, chilli finger, coriander, basil, oregano, dill, pandan, lavender, onion chives, keylime, and arugula.
"Our guests are encouraged to pick the herbs for their own cooking needs. It is all related to the concept of making our guests feel more at home by having their own garden," said Lew.
One long-term resident, Martina Murphy, has even joined in the effort to care for the garden. Last year, children from the residence's very own Cubbies Kid's Club joined in to plant herbs in conjunction with the Earth Month. The kitchen of the café on the 6th floor also uses the herbs.
Said Lew, "I thought the herb garden was a good move to reduce wastage in the kitchen. With our own garden, we don't have to keep unnecessary stock in the kitchen so that controls our supplies. It also reduces cost by making as many of our areas as productive as possible."
Going Green as a Family
At Ascott Makati, going green is a family endeavour and residents and staff gladly join in. Residents are encouraged to bring their own mugs to the fitness centre. Alternatively, paper cups are personalised to reduce the number of paper cups used.
Ascott Makati's reusable I.C.E. tumbler and eco bag available at the residence for purchase lead to less wastage paper cups and plastic bags
Residents can also purchase green collectibles such as reusable ICE tumblers for use during exercise or meetings and eco-bags for their shopping trips from the residence.
Three months ago, Ascott Makati launched another new green initiative.
"We asked our residents to refuse unnecessary housekeeping services in exchange for Php 100 Food & Beverage vouchers at our café," revealed Lew.
So far, every month, about 50 guests signed up to participate in this initiative. This works out to more than one year of no housekeeping provided for residents, saving water and energy.
A paperless voice message system has also been implemented since 2009. By dialling an extension number, guests can retrieve their messages. Guests notices are also no longer printed but publicised via dedicated television channels and on LCD screens strategically placed in common areas. This reduces lots of paper wastage.
Children of the residents are also taught to be green at Ascott Makati through green drawing competitions and eco-Christmas décor-making activities
Effort has also been made to involve children in the residence's green activities. From green drawing competitions to making Christmas decorations with recycled material, the residence is determined to grow a new eco-conscious generation.
"I believe that children are the future generation and thus we should start their education and their environmental awareness early, when they are still young," explained Lew.
Being a green leader also includes living it up in the day to day operations. Ascott Makati created a Maintenance Work Order Online Tracking System to reduce the amount of paper usage. In the past, the work order system for guest was done by manually encoding a printed form. With the online system, administrative work is reduced, staff productivity can be redeployed to other areas, the staff efficiency in response to service calls can also be measured. The system also enables the manager to spot common guest concerns through a database, which helps the residence identify areas for improvement more easily and quickly.
"The Maintenance Work Order Online Tracking System led to savings of Php 4,250 a month. It saves 60 pads of forms and 4,320 man hours per year," shared Lew.
Another paperless technology that has reduced paper usage is a biometrics system that replaced a printed meal stub system, to record the number of staff who take their duty meals at the staff cafeteria.
With staff and residents joining hands to make a difference, Ascott Makati is right on track to lead the green movement in the industry.
Stay with us at…
Glorietta 4, Ayala Centre
Makati City 1224, Philippines
Tel: (63-2) 729 8888
Fax: (63-2) 728 0000