Historic Norwich hotel proves it is keen on green

Maids Head general manager Christine Malcolm charges her hybrid car

Maids Head general manager Christine Malcolm charges her hybrid car - Credit: Archant

The Maids Head Hotel in Norwich is proving that the latest green technology can fit perfectly well into one of the city's most historic buildings.

Its latest green innovation, revealed this week, is an electric car charger that can charge three vehicles, both fully electric and hybrid, at the same time.

The facility is being offered free to both guests and staff and is being championed by general manager Christine Malcolm who drives her hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander to work every day.

She said: 'I charge it at work and then I charge it again when I get home, and that only costs me £1.50 a day. Doing a 52-mile return trip to where I live between Dereham and Swaffham, I am only spending about £10 a week on fuel.'

Other staff were also talking about switching to a hybrid car. If the facility was well used the hotel would increase the number of charging points to eight, she added.

The Maids Head has put itself forward for the EDP's Green 100 - promoting businesses with eco-friendly aspirations - and Mrs Malcolm said the green drive had come from the very top from hotel group owner David Chaplin.

Since he had taken over the hotel, which claims to be the oldest in the UK, a new emphasis had been placed on ensuring it meets guests' demands for more environmentally-friendly operation.

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Mrs Malcolm highlighted the hi-tech energy efficient capillary heating and cooling system that was being installed in 46 bedrooms in the oldest part of the hotel, dating from the 15th century.

She said: 'The £300,000 system will keep rooms warm in winter and cool in summer and will reduce heating costs by a third. We are hoping to go live in the first 10 to 15 rooms by the end of May.'

The hotel is the first in Norfolk to install the system, which features capillary mats hidden in bedroom ceilings and some 2000 metres of piping connecting the capillary mats to a heat pump, which will drive hot and cold water through the piping.

Temperature is controlled by a dial in each bedroom. There are also plans to extend the new heating system to the hotel's public areas.

Mrs Malcom said: 'As a further green measure we have replaced all the light bulbs in the hotel with energy efficient bulbs and plans are being developed to add solar panels to the roof to further reduce energy costs.'

She said they were also conscious about sustainable purchasing practices; local and regional suppliers were being used to source food and drink and they used local tradesmen where possible, including the company installing the heating system.

<Blob> Key criteria for entering the Green 100 are: Businesses or organisations which have demonstrated innovation or growth through the adoption of sustainable procedures, products or services; businesses or organisations working with partner companies to ensure the adoption of green/sustainable processes into their supply chain; businesses working in the 'green economy' producing innovative products and services to help customers become more sustainable.