Lori Zimmer

Montreal's Historic Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel Grows its Own Produce on an Edible Roof Garden

by , 01/27/12
filed under: Architecture, green roof



green design, eco design, sustainable design, Fairmont Resorts, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, sustainable tourism, eco-tourism, eco-luxury, green roof, edible garden, Bed-In, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Give Peace a Chance, Montreal, Climate Savers Program, Four Green Key awayrd, EV charging station, BMW Bicycle

The lobby of the hotel has all the features that luxury hotels are made of:  friendly staff, ample suites decorated with historic flair, award winning 5 star restaurants, and furnishings and décor that echo the regal style of its namesake. The hotel was built in 1958, and is the largest in all of Quebec. Many heads of state have stayed here, including Queen Elizabeth II (four times). The hotel was made further famous for a week in 1969 when John and Yoko were refused entry to the U.S. and thus staged their bed-in protest in room 1742, recording “Give Peace a Chance” in the room on June 1, 1969.

But aside from traditional luxury, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth has been using sustainable and energy efficient practices for years. The massive hotel is heated by steam, uses water conservation strategies, and has had a rigorous recycling and composting system in place for over 21 years.  A computerized HVAC system monitors rooms to make sure no energy is wasted when rooms are empty. A member of the Climate Savers Program, the hotel is committed to a 20% reduction of carbon emissions by 2013, and has won both the Sustainable Tourism prize in 2012 as well as the Four Green Key for its programs. Leftover food from their three restaurants and unused guest soap and toiletries are donated to local shelters for the city’s needy. Guests can take advantage of free green transportation, and borrow one of the hotel’s BMW bicycles to tour the city, or connect to the underground walkways or central train station that is located two levels below the lobby. The hotel is also in the works of designing an in-house charging station for electric vehicles.

Last year, the hotel installed a self-irrigating edible roof garden, which mainly grows edible flowers, produce and herbs for its three restaurants. In 2011, the 70 containers grew over 400 edible flowers and 30% of their needed produce, including the heirloom Montreal melon. They have even been known to grow mushrooms in the lobby, as a lesson of the ease of small, urban farms. The hotel will expand the garden in 2012, and also add a network of their own beehives, with a trained beekeeper on staff. The hotel also makes their own goat cheese, thanks to their white goat, Blanche Neige (Snow White), who lives on a farm a few miles away.

Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel combines historic tradition with eco-tourism. They seek to show the world that luxury and sustainability go hand in hand.

+ Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth

Images ©Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

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