This is a workcation series where we personally visit and review hotels, resorts, and more, to find out how well they cater to digital nomads and hybrid professionals. Our whole team is fully vaccinated, boosted, and have tested negative on the first and last day of our trip.
Today’s consumers are more educated than ever, and they’re much more sensitive about a company’s environmental footprint.
Our latest workcation spot, Element Kuala Lumpur by Westin (Element KL) is a brand that’s not only aware of that but also doing something about it. All 60 Element hotels across the globe align with the brand’s sustainability-focused design philosophy.
For starters, Element KL resides in the Ilham Tower, a Green Building Index (GBI) certified structure.
GBI looks at specific criteria when assessing a project. Namely, it considers the building’s energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, sustainable site planning and management, material and resources, water efficiency, and innovation.
When Element KL was built, materials like 100% non-PVC flooring, low volatile organic compounds paints, and recycled-content carpeting were used.
During our workcation at the hotel, here are some other initiatives we saw that justify its green certification.
1. Rain harvesting for plant watering
The facade of Ilham Tower is decorated by these diagonal trusses that seem to form a steel armour wrapping around the building. On top of being architecturally interesting, this exoskeleton actually serves a functional purpose.
This frame actually harvests rainwater that undergoes non-chemical treatment. The treated water is then used to water the greenery around the hotel’s vicinity. These trusses can be seen from inside the building due to the large floor-to-ceiling windows.
2. Large windows to maximise natural light
Thankfully, these windows also have daylight glare control so you get all the sunlight and gorgeous city views without any of the tropical heat.
Each guest room has the same floor-to-ceiling windows too, so on brighter days, there’s less need to turn on the lights (which are LED and energy-efficient anyway), and the daylight glare control keeps the room cool.
3. Air quality monitoring and regulation
Marriott International has made a goal to lessen the negative impacts of carbon emissions by committing to 30% carbon intensity reduction by 2025 (from a 2016 baseline).
Aligning with that goal, there is a CO2 monitoring system that regulates the air quality in the building. In fact, the whole building has indoor air quality sensors that monitor CO2 levels.
This helps Marriott keep keep track and understand its carbon footprint, while also allowing the hotel to identify areas will poor ventilation so it can take appropriate measures to fix that.
4. In-room drinking water filters
The water filters were a game-changer for me, allowing me to drink as much water as I wanted, whenever I wanted.
This meant I didn’t need to keep calling room service for countless plastic bottles of water that would later go to landfills. Sustainability aside, I found it to be an extremely practical feature in the room.
5. Refillable dispensers for shampoo and body wash
Another way Element KL cuts down on single-use plastic waste is through the refillable dispensers of shampoo and body wash in the bathroom.
For any waste that you do create during your stay, you can sort and dispose of them in the recycling bins that are provided in every room, and in various common areas around the hotel.
6. Energy efficient appliances in the rooms
During a tour of the space, we were informed that the dishwasher, fridge, induction cooker, and Smart TV in my room were energy efficient appliances which use less electricity.
Another example was in the bathroom, where low flow rainfall and shower heads cut down on water wastage.
7. Locally-sourced produce for the restaurant
The dining option in Element KL, TRACE Restaurant & Bar, does its part by using local produce. Shopping locally doesn’t just help the economy, it also means less transportation emissions, reducing the carbon footprint of the hotel.
8. Recycled paper notepads and glass cups in meeting rooms
Sustainable meeting practices are also encouraged in the hotel’s meeting spaces. For example, post-consumer recycled paper is used for printed materials such as notepads. Here, glass cups are used to replace plastic bottles too.
9. Bike programme for recreation and greener transportation
Element KL’s Bikes to Borrow programme allows guests to get around the city in an eco-friendlier way. Instead of taking your car out for the short trip to nearby malls and attractions, you could opt for a bike with safety pads and a helmet.
If not for getting around, then it also serves as a fun recreational activity.
We took the bike for a spin by the greenery
Being conscious of our environmental impact is one thing, while doing something about it is another.
A common misconception is that consumer sustainability is a difficult concept to practise. At Element KL though, the tools needed for it are readily provided, and ways to be greener are already integrated into your stay.
To add, all this is done without inconveniencing guests or compromising on the luxury feel of your workcation there.
|What workcation crowd is Element by Westin Kuala Lumpur fit for?||Eco-friendly tip|
|Solo hybrid worker||Get your tummy filled at TRACE knowing that the produce is sourced locally with a smaller carbon footprint.|
|Professional creatives||Take the bikes out for a spin to feel re-energised by the mix of cityscape and greenery.|
|Long-term travelers||Never worry about having to call room service for extra bottles of water, as filtered water is readily available at all times.|
|Business meeting attendees||Rest assured that the hotel has taken care to provide glass cups and recycled paper to encourage more sustainable meeting practices.|
- Learn more about Element Kuala Lumpur by Westin here.
- Read other articles we’ve written on workcations here.