Drakensberg Sun – an environmental success story

Filed in Environment by on January 30, 2014
Drakensberg Sun Resort - © Alexander Smith

Drakensberg Sun Resort – © Alexander Smith

Being situated on the boundaries of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg  UNESCO World Heritage Site, it stands to reason the Drakensberg Sun Resort would be compelled to be environmentally conscious, and they have done an excellent job, being led not by legislation, but by complete passion. Spend an hour or two with General Manager, Darron Moore or any member of the ‘Green Team’ and you’ll be tossing your obnoxious chemicals, and planning your own wormery and recycling centre with just as much enthusiasm and understand why they recently achieved a Diamond rating through the Heritage Environmental Management Company.

 To ensure that environmental policies are upheld and practiced, a ‘Green Team’ has been formulated, consisting of the majority of the HOD’s, who meets on a monthly basis.  “We are trying to educate our current suppliers and affiliate ourselves with eco friendly suppliers and contractors, in a bid to make our property more ‘green’.  In the process, we are trying to raise awareness of environmental challenges,” says Darron. The kitchen and in-house laundry switched over to eco friendly chemicals resulting in less consumption, and less harmful elements reaching the environment.  On arrival all guests are given an in-house welcome newspaper (printed on recycled paper) that includes relevant information on Drakensberg Sun’s environmental practices, as well as relevant information on the hotel’s general operations.

 

THE SUCCESS STORY:

Energy conservation

  • 70 % of the hotel is equipped with energy saving lamps to reduce energy consumption.  They have a MAC1 (programmable logic controller) that limits the consumption of power in peak periods in the boiler room, laundry, and chalet geysers, without affecting the hotel’s efficiency.
  • A full BMS (Building Management System) is currently being installed, which will be linked to air-conditioning plants, fridges & freezers and boilers, resulting in better controls of energy consumption.

Waste plant

  • They do their own garbage separation, and employ three local people to assist in the separation area.  An external waste company collects the sorted waste, from where it gets sorted further.  The waste company employees are certified safe waste disposal technicians.
  • All organic waste is fed to the worms at their on-site wormery.  The worms create worm tea, which is used in the production of natural fertilizer.
  • On site compost heaps comprising of natural vegetation are used to fertilize all their gardening requirements.
  • 75 % of all waste created by the hotel is recycled, limiting the amount of waste going to landfill.
  • Old kitchen oil is donated to a local farmer (who is their vegetable supplier) for use in the production of bio diesel, which is used to run his delivery trucks.
  • Used paper is donated to local schools in their bid to recycle.

Sewerage plant 

  • The Sewerage Treatment plant at the Drakensberg Sun Lifestyle Resort has gone totally green since May 2009.  No chemicals are used, and a state of the art UV light system has been installed.  The raw sewage passes through a bar screen splitter which removes solids like paper and plastic and foreign objects, it then goes into air ration tanks where all the nitrates and ammonias are removed.
  • Then it goes to another tank where samples are taken and if unsatisfactory, can be pumped back into the air ration tanks for further churning. If the tests are satisfactory the water then goes into drainage beds that separate any further solids that may exist. These solids are placed in tightly sealed drums and removed from the property by a certified hazardous waste removal company.
  • The water then gets gravity fed into a baffle clarifier system where any sludge is allowed to settle to the bottom and then be pumped back to the starting point. The distilled water passes under a bank of ten UV lights for sterilisation before it goes to the final tank for testing then it is gravity fed into our settlement dams.
  • The water that is discharged back into the natural source (from the settlement dams then back into the natural water table) is cleaner than the original river water.

Water plant

  • The water plant is totally environmentally friendly – no chlorine or harmful chemicals are used. Activated carbon filters and UV lights are used for sterilisation, and a natural flock agent to remove the iron content from the water.

 

 

Contact Details:

Tel: +27 36 468 1000

Email: drakreservations@tsogosun.com

www.tsogosun.com

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