Giving Back To Lake Te Koutu
Sustainability is an opportunity
Like most travellers, we increasingly appreciated where we came from and how special it was through experiencing other cultures and landscapes. Having grown up in the Waikato, we already had a strong connection with this part of the world and a keen desire to preserve the beauty of it for future generations. Designing a new hotel on the shores of Lake Te Koutu in the town of trees was the perfect opportunity for us to give back.
A ‘whole of hotel’ approach
Our design team was asked to think responsibly and explore every opportunity for sustainable practice that building something new gave us. We poured all we knew about responsible actions and achievable practices into the plan which is something we will audit regularly. A commitment to sustainability is a lifelong practice.
It’s in the song and cry of the wildlife
For Lake Te Koutu domain, the importance of environmental responsibility is immensely obvious. The domain that the hotel overlooks is largely natural habitat. Lakewood has been designed to minimise impact to that. While providing an exciting new mix of barn-like shops and cafes, the hub maintains a respectful footprint. It provides an EV recharge station. The Cambridge Tree Trust has for many years accepted responsibility for upkeep of the domain’s glorious trees. We wanted to play our part.
A commitment to no paper no plastic may sound easy to achieve. As with all the environmentally conscious decisions we made (reusable glass bottles, housekeeping, organic gardening, sustainable partners, the bicycle station), the most difficult part was the process of making each one a reality. There have been many sleepless nights but the results prove it can be done.
Reducing waste and increasing harmony with the environment is a global responsibility. It requires a long-term mindset. Being aware that whatever you are not recycling is contributing to landfill is essential to environmental sustainability. We plan to offset our emissions. Guests can participate by forgoing a service to help us donate the cost of the service to the domain’s environmental fund. Lakewood is fitting solar panels to generate power for Cambridge and we are constantly searching for new ideas and ways to support the environment we live in.
Despite the many complexities of building a modern hotel in the countryside of the North, we had no hesitation in adding ‘sustainability’ to the essential requirements. It was the right thing to do.
Supporting local industry
Sustainable thinking is nothing new to the Waikato. Many of the district’s farmers and gardeners and market growers and rural suppliers operate responsibly. While Hidden Lake Hotel has been purpose built for the modern traveller it is designed to sustain local industry as well. Being the new kids on the block we get to introduce tried and tested and new and exciting opportunities for earth conscious developments in hospitality, all for the greater good.
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