One of Sri Lanka’s biggest hotel chains is being hailed for its ambitious vision to make the air conditioning—major energy guzzlers—at all its properties carbon neutral by 2020.

German media-development website DW reports that Jetwing is using the woody byproduct from the production of cinnamon spice—a major export crop—to power its air-con systems.

It says: “Air conditioning consumes more than half the energy used by the hotels. Conventional systems use harmful coolants and are powered by electricity. Now Jetwing is switching to climate-friendly absorption chillers, which cool using steam.

“To generate the steam, the hotels will burn wood waste from the cinnamon industry. As a result, only as much CO2 is released as was initially absorbed when the cinnamon wood was grown.

It notes that “tourism in Sri Lanka is booming. In 2013, more than 1.3 million visitors came to the island – this number is expected to triple by 2020.

“But many hotels use outdated cooling systems that guzzle electricity and use coolants that are very powerful greenhouse gases. The hotel chain Jetwing, one of the largest in Sri Lanka, is now modernizing its system, and plans to be carbon-neutral by 2020.”

Read more here.

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