Heritance Tea Factory Hotel: An epitome of environmental conscience


By Ravi Ladduwahetty

The global and local award winning Heritance Tea Factory hotel, owned by leisure rich blue chip Aitken Spence is a role model in environmental consciousness. As an organization, Heritance Tea Factory maintains the highest levels of ethics and practices pertaining to environmental thereby having benefited immensely while also deriving financial benefits, General Manager of the Hotel Roshanlal Perera told The Island Financial Review yesterday.

"We converted our 25 acre tea estate to an organic tea estate, ever since nobody could stop us in making this place one of the most environmentally friendly locations in  Sri Lanka," he said

"The butterflies along with birds have returned due to the environment we have created. This was not built as an environment friendly hotel like our sister hotel-Kandalama, we did have opposition from the plantation sector due to their ignorance in tourism, but was never aggressive as Kandalama. So Kandalama became a purpose built environmentally - friendly hotel," he said

Bio Mass Gasification

The Heritance Tea Factory generates 300 kilowatts of thermal power. It consumes Glyricedia and produces gas which is used as fuel for the boiler

The objective is to reduce the consumption of Diesel which is used for heating and hot water, reduction of green house gases Carbon Dioxide to the atmosphere, preserve the environment and as a solution to the soaring petroleum prices and also to provide employment opportunities to the villagers by encouraging them to grow Gliricedia along with the main crops.

Among the achievements has been using 59130 litres of Diesel per year for the hotel and for the environment.

Beneficial impact of obtaining 59% Charcoal on firewood which is put back as fertilizer to the tea plantation

Net profit earned for 40 months of operation has been Rs. 7,298,167.00 and a saving on 447,783 kilograms of Carbon Dioxide.

Bio Gas Project / Organic Vegetable and Tea Garden

The hotel’s bio gas project is a testimony of this consciousness. By converting wet garbage to bio-gas, the hotel conserves energy, as it pipes the bio gas and uses the same for the manufacture of green tea. The cost saving of using bio gas against LP gas per annum had been Rs. 23,490.00

Carbonic manure is used for bio garden, cultivating vegetables. The whole tea garden of 25 acres which had been absorbing chemical fertilizer for many generations have been totally converted to organic tea by using only organic fertilizer such as compost obtained from the Bio-gas silos as a by product and the carbon obtained from the newest addition to the hotel, which is the Gasifier.

Setting examples

We have also been able to convince the farmers who have been using chemicals to use compost for their vegetations

Waste Water Treatment

In an endeavour not to waste even a drop of water, waste water is treated and used to water the lawns and the tea plantation.

Gotukola grown in the Tea Plantation as an underlayer

As a measure of preventing the growth of weeds, we are growing Gotukola (a type of a herb- Centella Asiatica) as an under-layer. This also prevents soil erosion, whilst enriching the soil with nitrogen with a cost saving of Rs. 4500.00 per month. This fresh herb is used in salads and soups and are picked freshly for the day’s consumption, Perera prophesizes.

Maximum Use of Day light

Many areas of the hotel have been fitted with transparent roofing sheets to make the maximum use of day light with an annual saving of Rs. 21720.00

Prevention of Soil Erosion Using Coloured Bottles

As a preventive measure against soil erosion in the tea plantation, we have reused green coloured bottles in certain sections of our plantation and in flower beds. The cost saving against constructing a retaining wall had been Rs. 118,000.00, Perera said.

Reduction of electricity consumption

Previously we have been using 11 Nos. of 50 watt bulbs in each room, which amounted to utilization of 550 watts at any given moment. By using energy saving bulbs the usage has been reduced to 138 watts per room and an annual saving of Rs. 665,000.00


Vermi Culture

Vermi Compost /Liquid organic fertilizer. An annual saving of Rs. 10,000.00 is achieved through this process

Environmental Friendly Fly control system

The Biological process of minimizing the breeding of flies is made use of, where, the poultry droppings are collected, and allowed to breed a type of a worm. The Flies lay their eggs on the poultry droppings, and the eggs are attacked by the worms in the droppings, thereby, controlling the breeding of flies, considerably

Global and Local Awards

There have been a record 27 local and the global awards that Heritance Tea Factory has won over the years. The latest of them all has been Green Apple Award for Architectural Heritage in June 2011 which was one of the two awards, the only two outside the United Kingdom, the only other hotel being Heritance Kandalama, also owned and managed by Aitken Spence.

The awards were made by Trevor Baylis, MBE, the inventor of the wind up radio at the University of Westminster on June 20. HTF General Manager Roshanlal Perera received the award on behalf of his hotel

The HTF has won a record 22 local and international awards, which includes 10 Awards locally and a further 12 awards locally an elated Roshanlal said with obvious pride.

The hotel which had won a mere three awards, from 1996- 2003, until he joined the hotel as General Manager in June 2003. All these awards and accolades go to the team without which they would not have been possible, he said.

In addition to the Green Apple Award for Architectural Heritage in June 2011, it has won the Asia Pacific best hotel construction and design- 2010, Winner of Most Innovative Product award at the Travel & Tourism Fair in Ahmedabad in 1996, Building Conservation Award from Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors(RICS) in 2000, UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Merit Award 2001, Green Globe Award and bench mark on 28th March 2006

ISO 22000 certified since 2nd October 2006, Magnificent Seven Icons of modern Hotel design in the world by Observer UK, in 2006, One of the Best five factory hotels to stay in the world by Independent UK in 2007, one of the Best 100 hotels in the world by the Sunday Times UK 2007, Asia Pacific best hotel construction and design- 2010, ISO 22000 renewed w.e.f. 02.10.2009, and the ISO 14001 certified since 24.11.2009 Of the local awards, the Star Awards 2009 for Productivity presented by the Department of Industries Development & Enterprise Promotion, Central Province- Medium Scale, Greening Sri Lanka Hotel Certificate for joining the Greening S/Lanka hotel Opitimizing Energy Efficiency and Natural Resources Sustainability Programme by the Ministry of Tourism and Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority and Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Bronze medal at Sri Lanka National Energy Efficiency Awards 2010 (Large Scale category of the hotel sector), the 5S Productivity Award 2010 – for Central provincial medium scale service sector best performing entrepreneurs, the Star Award 2010 - for Central provincial medium scale service sector best performing entrepreneurs, National Cleaner Production Awards 2010(NCPC) – Silver Award in recognition of Excellence in cleaner production practices in Service Category, the North Central Provincial Council Awards 2010 - Special award in recognition of achievement in energy efficiency in Service category, the North Central Provincial Council Awards 2010 - Special award in recognition of achievement in material efficiency in Service category the North Central Provincial Council Awards 2010 - Special award in recognition of achievement in water efficiency in Service category, the Best Four Star hotel in Sri Lanka at Tourism Awards 2010, the Silver medal at Sri Lanka National Energy Efficiency Awards (large scale hotel sector), the National Green Awards 2011 – Hotel Sector Silver award the Presidential Award for the Best Four Star Hotel in 2008 and the Promotion of Eco Efficient Productivity (PEP) Merit Award presented by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2009.

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