A new hotel in Copenhagen is promising to be one of the world's greenest, as hotel chains expand their offerings outside of guest comfort alone.

A hotel that hosted delegates during the recent Copenhagen COP15 climate conference has to live up to some pretty high expectations. And whilst the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers may not be one of the world's prettiest hotels, owner InterContinental claims it's up there with the greenest. It is, in fact, the largest solar panel building installation in Northern Europe, with every centimeter of the 85 meter-tall sunny façade and the roof covered in panels.

Insiders estimate that the system can generate approximately 170,000 kw/h worth of power on a yearly basis. Whilst that may not be enough to make the hotel self-sufficient, it will undoubtedly help it on the way; the average European household consumes around 5,000 kWh per year.

The hotel also uses the first groundwater-based heating and cooling system. By drawing water from 100 meters underground, the system effectively uses the earth as a heat source in winter and heat sink in summer. It is expected to reduce the energy needed to heat or cool the 366-room hotel by around 90 percent.
According to the hotel's management, low energy lighting, computer equipment and kitchen equipment has also been installed to save energy.

"Future hotel guests will require hotels to run their businesses and operations based on environmentally friendly principles, without compromising on modern comforts and luxury," said Mr. Allan L. Agerholm, the general manager. "We have therefore made the decision to build the most environmentally friendly Hotel building in Denmark- even the hand dryers in the public toilets have been selected based on their energy consumption."

The hotel meets EU Regulations for an EU Green Building, meaning that its emissions are a maximum 5.7kg per guest per night, compared to 8.4 kg per guest per night. In actual fact, when using renewable energy sources, the action CO2 emissions are 0 kg per guest.

The competition to be green is hotting up in the accommodation industry. In October 2008, the Proximity Hotel in North Carolina became the first hotel to achieve the US Government's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum green building standard, similar to the EU's own program. Since then, the hotel has regularly been voted the world's greenest hotel. The hotel features 100 solar panels on the roof to heat approximately 60 percent of the hotel's hot water, and a geothermal cooling system for the restaurants refrigeration equipment.