Hotel Diaries A Story of a Green Hotel, 128°


Michael W., 7 years, 11 months ago

Hi Tom, the blog link doesnt seem to work? I get a 404 error.

I'd love to hear more about what building technologies, insulations, finishes, infrastructure (sounds like geothermal is a go!), etc you're currently looking at using.

I'd also be interested in knowing what, if any (if not - why not?), certification standards you're following or trying to go for. I believe, as you do, that (building) ecological footprints can be heavily reduced and that doing so can make good financial sense.

I'm building a small strawbale house (600 sq ft) for myself and am following LEED criteria to make sure I address as many issues as possible, even though I have no intention to be certified. My ultimate goal is a "passivhaus" designation.

Tom Rand, 7 years, 10 months ago

Hi Leslie -
The context is to get the Mayor directly engaged on the issue of allowing large-scale duplication of what we've done. We have already been granted the use of our laneway.

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About This Project 

A derelict building in downtown Toronto is being converted into a hotel. This will be no ordinary hotel, however - the goal is to build a cutting-edge 'green' hotel, one that uses roughly 80% less carbon than business-as-usual.

I am a software entrepreneur turned green venture capitalist. This project is my foray into green building technologies. It is my intent, not only to reduce the carbon footprint of this building by 80%, but to make public every decision along the way. All of these decisions shall be economic in nature, no technology shall be incorporated on a 'feel-good' basis. It is my contention that I can reach the 80% reduction goal using only profit-driven analysis.

This project is to make public what I do, and solicit advice along the way. I intend to make a clear and quantified economic and engineering case that we can reduce our carbon use in buildings by enormous amounts, we can do it today, and we can do it using existing technologies.

5 Project Updates
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My TED Talk: A Short Story about a Green Hotel in November 2009 by Tom Rand

Check out my TED Talk:

It's about this green hotel I've built in Toronto - In less than 4 minutes I explain how we can lower global carbon emissions by a third, make money doing it and fix the economic mess. No kidding!

If you find it interesting ... please pass it on.

Going City-Wide with Geothermal in August 2008 by Tom Rand

On Open Letter To Mayor David Miller

Topic: Geothermal Energy and City Laneways

Dear Mayor Miller,

Mayor Miller, City staff have handed you an opportunity to be the greenest Mayor in North America.

There is a once-decrepit building at 357 College Street that is being proudly transformed into Planet Traveller Hotel - the greenest hotel in North America. As part of that effort, we have formed a unique partnership with the City of Toronto. That partnership could be the start of start of something really big.

Here’s why. The laneway alongside the building is City property. Over the past 6 months we have been worked successfully with City staff to obtain approval for a pioneering project. We will bury geothermal pipes for heating and cooling – a technology known as geoexchange - in the public laneway.

As you know, geoexchange reduces energy use and carbon emissions by up to 70%, and lowers peak electrical load in the summer months. Geoexchange is, in our view, the lowest hanging fruit on the carbon-reducing tree.

The problem we faced was to find space to bury the pipes. A house can bury them in the back-yard, a new building can drill down beneath the foundation. We don’t have those options.

The solution was in the City granting permission to use the laneway, enabling us to act as our own utility. We will drill 10 420’ vertical holes alongside the building, put the geo pipes in, and pave it over. After we’re done, you won’t even know they’re there.

Here’s the kicker. Not only did Council approve our project, but they also recommended that the City set up guidelines for the use of these sorts of laneways for similar projects throughout the city. They recommended, in part, that:

“ the Deputy City Manager… and the Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer, in consultation with a stakeholder group from the development and design community, develop guidelines for the use of public right of way for geo energy projects.”

Imagine that! The City enables a new kind of utility, opening up public laneways for geoexchange throughout the city! The ground beneath our feet can be used to heat and cool buildings all over the dense downtown urban core. There is no city that I know of that has acted in this in this visionary, pro-active way.

Mayor Miller, I encourage you to take the lead on the recommendation that has been approved by Council, and develop guidelines that would allow thousands of building owners to do what we have done.

The upside for Toronto? Lower carbon emissions, lower peak electrical demand and a claim to be at the forefront in the fight against climate change.

The upside for you? A legitimate claim to being the “greenest’ Mayor in North America.

Planet Traveller has taken the first step, and we proudly claim the City as our partner. The next step is yours.

Kind Regards,

Tom Rand & Anthony Aarts
Project Traveller Hotel Project
357 College Street, Toronto

Blog Series in July 2008 by Tom Rand

Read the whole blog series here: