BPI, IFC fund 'green' hotel in Palawan

By Raffy Santos, ANC

Posted at Mar 22 2011 07:39 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2011 03:39 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Palawan is one of the country's more popular tourist destinations. It has a fair number of hotels geared to accommodate tourists, one of which is the Sheridan Hotel and Resort located on Sabang Island.

But what makes the Sheridan hotel different is that it markets itself as a "green" hotel.

The hotel has invested in equipment and technology considered sustainable. These include using LED and CFL lights, solar-powered street lamps, a rainwater harvesting system and a comprehensive recycling system.

According to Sheridan, the use of green technology enables them to save 30% on energy costs and 40% on their water bill.

Over the past 3 years, the company has invested over P400 million to build and operate the facility.

Sheridan Hotel vice president Jacqueline Tan says the hefty investment is justified by the reduced carbon footprint and savings they get.

To help fund its investments, the hotel secured a P230-million loan from Ayala-owned Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) through the latter's Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) program.

The program is supported by World Bank unit International Finance Corp. through a risk-sharing facility. This was set up specifically for funding renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

The Sheridan Hotel believes it can pay off the loan in good time as it sees tourism in the area picking up significantly in the coming years.

One of the selling points of this new green hotel is that it's just 20 minutes away from the famous underground river, which is in the running to become one of the 7 new wonders of the world.

BPI believes there is a "promising" market for energy efficiency and renewable energy funding in the country.

The bank says lending money to sustainable energy projects is a big part of its corporate social responsibility initiative.

It added it plans to expand the SEF program in order to help more enterprises become cleaner, greener and more efficient.