Pro-invest launches a ‘hotel for the times’: Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Southbank

Pro-invest launches a ‘hotel for the times’: Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Southbank aims to reduce energy consumption by 25%, targeting 4-star comfort and 5-star environmental rating

Pro-invest’s newest hotel development, the Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Southbank, launched today incorporating the Australian hotel industry’s most significant energy and environmental initiatives, designed to deliver a 25 per cent reduction in energy usage compared to other typical city hotels.

In its first investment in the hotel sector, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation partnered with Pro-invest providing approximately $40 million construction and term debt facility to substantially cut the Southbank hotel’s energy use and target a 5-star energy rating under the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS)*.

There are no current 5-star rated NABERS energy-rated hotels in Australia, and Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Southbank aims to become Australia’s pioneering 5-star energy-rated hotel once its status is confirmed after a 12-month qualification period.

To help achieve the 5-star rating, the Holiday Inn Express has incorporated high-performance glazing, high-efficiency air-cooled chillers and condensing boilers and solar photovoltaic systems on the roof into the hotel development.

Other initiatives include regenerative lift drives rather than standard lift motors which will enable the hotel to recycle energy, and integrated building management and guestroom energy management systems to both monitor and drive building performance.

The CEFC investment has been used to effectively lift the project from the original target of a 4.5-star rating to a 5-star NABERS rating – producing a hotel energy consumption saving of approximately 25 per cent.

Even fittings such as carpets have been selected for their environmental sustainability, with Interface flooring delivering 100% carbon neutral carpets for the hotel.

The Melbourne hotel will build on Holiday Inn Express’ commitment to reduce use of disposable plastics – which has already seen the phasing-out of plastic straws and water bottles – by being the first Holiday Inn Express in Australia to replace miniature bathroom amenities with larger, more sustainable options.

The new dispensers, containing high-quality shampoo, conditioner and soaps, will be introduced into the hotel from mid-year and then across the Australian Holiday Inn Express network over the rest of the year. The initiative has the potential of reducing plastic waste by over 20,000 bottles per year, per hotel.

The City Road project features a 22-storey mixed-use development consisting of a 345-room hotel, 370m2 retail space, 4,500m2 of commercial space and car parking.

Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Southbank is the first Holiday Inn Express hotel to open in Melbourne, and fifth in Australia, joining properties in Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle and Sydney’s Macquarie Park. Pro-invest is developing new Holiday Inn Express hotels in Sydney Airport and Queenstown (2020), Melbourne (Little Collins Street), Sunshine Coast and Auckland (2021), Parramatta (2022) and a voco hotel in Auckland (2021). This will grow Proinvest’s hotel portfolio to a total of 12 hotels and 2,864 rooms.

Pro-invest has financed and developed the Melbourne hotel, and operates all Holiday Inn Express hotels in Australia under a master franchise agreement with the IHG hotel group.

Pro-invest Group CEO, Mr Ronald Barrott, said the Group’s commitment to the highest levels of sustainability was driven by the opportunity to work with CEFC to establish a template for environmentally-sensitive urban hotels and also as a strong response from both investors and travellers calling for more sustainable industry initiatives.

“Our partnership with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will see the Southbank hotel and all our future new-build hotels complying with strict energy-saving initiatives to ensure attainment of a 5-Star NABERS energy rating,” said Mr Barrott.

“By its very nature, the hotel industry is a high energy user, with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership estimating that tourism contributes about 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s important for new hotels to invest in energy efficiency design and construction and incorporate state-of-the-art environmental measures across the fulloperation of the hotel.

“A 25% reduction in energy-use pays both environmental and economic dividends. It certainly requires greater investment, but in the long-term we are very confident that the measures will increase the overall value of the property. In fact, given that a recent survey indicated that sustainability was the most important factor for 52% of consumers when selecting a hotel, we believe our initiative can become a significant competitive advantage for the property and the brand.

“Investors are also increasingly demanding that hotel projects incorporate premium sustainability and energy-efficiency initiatives into development projects, and this has been reflected in CEFC’s additional investment of $50 million in the Pro-invest Australian Hospitality Opportunity Fund II – Australia’s first hospitality real estate fund to integrate energy sustainability in its investment criteria.”

*NABERS is a national rating system that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and homes. NABERS measures the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment.