World’s first net zero carbon hotel opens in London

It looks like a typical boutique hotel room – with stylish furnishings, abstract art on the walls and a comfy bed for a good night’s sleep.

But this place has some serious eco-friendly credentials. The bathroom taps limit the release of water, lamp shades are made of recycled glass and the mirrors use locally sourced wood.

This is room2, a hotel in Chiswick in west London. It’s been built in response to growing concerns about the hospitality sector’s impact on the climate. There are even electric bicycles out front for guests to hire.

It’s the brainchild of Robert Godwin who wants to revolutionise the hotel sector by introducing environmentally-friendly features.

The result is what he claims to be the world’s first net zero carbon hotel.
Net zero carbon means it removes as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it emits.

The hotel has installed technology to understand how guests consume energy.
“We have rooms which are fully fitted with data capture, I suppose, for the energy that’s drawn from the sockets, how much energy we draw from the appliances, TVs and then dishwashers and so on, along with checking air quality, checking how much hot water we use, so ultimately we’re learning how guests use our rooms,” says Goodwin.

“And over the course of time we can basically build up a picture about guests’ habits and behaviours so that we can make interventions and ultimately see if that has a positive or negative influence on essentially the energy which is consumed from the bedroom. That allows us to learn and make improvements on this building and also into our specification of future sites.”

Even in the privacy of their hotel rooms, the system is keeping an eye on guests.
Goodwin points out three infrared sensors which make sure energy is not being wasted, switching off lighting and heating when the room is unoccupied.
Energy renewal is at the heart of the operation.

The hotel relies on its own energy sources for much of its power needs.
“We maximise renewable energy generation on site so that’s made up of solar on the roof and 17,200 metre bore holes that go down into the ground, underground to convert 100 percent of our heating, cooling and hot water needs. That way we are maximising the energy that we can generate here on site and minimise what we need to pull from the grid,” says Goodwin.

These ground source heat pumps convert 100 percent of the energy needed for heating, cooling and hot water, room2 claims.

In warmer weather the ground acts as a heat sink by taking the heat away from the building. This is reversed in colder weather, when the ground acts as a heat source to warm the hotel.

On the roof, solar panels provide an estimated 11,190 kWh of on-site renewable energy each year.

Attention has been paid as much to the interior of the hotel as the exterior, with style and substance going hand in hand.
“100 percent of our loose bespoke furniture has all been constructed on a very local basis, so in this case within 10 miles of this site. And that’s a choice which we made in order to effectively source locally, use local materials, local labour and also minimise the amount of distance that products would have travel to get to us,” says Goodwin.

That extends as far as the stairwells which are covered with carpets made from recycled plastic fishnets collected from the ocean.

But the hotel does still need to draw part of its power needs from the grid.
So do room2’s sustainability claims stand up to scrutiny?

Environmental sustainability and climate change consultant Emelia Holdaway says there are further steps that the hotel could take.

“One area that they might look at is when will they be zero emissions, particularly for their use of fossil fuels, heating and electricity within the project. So they’re looking at around half, halving those emissions by 2030, it would be really nice to see their trajectory out to say 2035. It will be possible and there will be solutions for bringing those emissions down to zero, not just net zero,” she says.

But she believes the processes they have in place are a good start.
“It is going to be a leap of faith when we don’t have all of the answers so I don’t think you want to shoot someone down just for saying they’re net zero. I think you want to look at how they’re being transparent about that, are they doing the best that they can at this point in time and what’s the scope for them to go further and are they committed to going further when they can,” she says. (


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