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Hotel QO in Amsterdam: perfect sustainability

The QO in the Amstelkwartier in Amsterdam was designed to set new standards for 'responsible hospitality', while meeting guests' needs and expectations without damaging the environment. The hotel, boasting 288 beds, has from the very start set its sights on LEED Platinum, an internationally recognized standard of sustainability.  

Energy requirements are minimised by intelligent climate control that senses whether and how many people are present in a space, and adjusts ventilation, heating, and cooling accordingly. The exterior of the hotel consists of a glass shell made of thermal panels that adapt and react to the climate outside. Sliding aluminium panels create additional insulation on colder days or allow light to enter to add heat. 70 m underground lies an energy storage system; a thermal aquifer that stores heat from the warm season and releases hot water when required - for instance for doing the dishes. A greywater system reduces wastewater; water from showers and sinks is re-used to flush toilets.

A greenhouse on the roof uses integrated aquaponics to breed fish and grow plants in a mutually beneficial ecosystem; the fish waste provides a biological source of food for the plants, the plants in turn purify the water for the fish. Almost a third of the concrete used for the construction of the QO was taken from the iconic old Shell building in Amsterdam. Dutch naval history returns in the shape of tapestries made out of 100% recycled fishing nets. Kitchen waste is recycled into compost which is used in the greenhouse and supplies fuel for a bio-cogeneration plant for heat and electricity.

All food service activities are run by Executive Chef Alexander Brouwer. Restaurant Juniper & Kin on the 21st floor serves 'pure food' and cocktails made with vegetable ingredients that are taken from the greenhouse every hour. "The dishes served here are brought to the minimum cooking temperature, which is never higher than 41 °C, ensuring that each taste can be experienced in its purest form". Restaurant Persijn on the ground floor is based on the pioneering Dutch kitchen movement: prioritising local, sustainable seasonal products. The menus are adjusted daily to take into account the pruning of the 'super fresh' specialized veg, fruit and herbs from the greenhouse.

Maximising sustainability

The kitchen facilities for the ground floor and the 21st floor, and the stainless steel equipment for the bars, were advised, installed and commissioned by Bert Muller, a company that has designed, installed and serviced professional kitchens for over 120 years. "In the Netherlands, customers expect advisors for catering installations to also be kitchen contractors", Willem van de Kaa, director of Bert Muller, explains. "Co-director Edward Vinke and I were responsible for the design of the facilities and the selection of equipment for this project, and had to bear in mind that we needed to meet LEED Platinum requirements." Bert Muller advised and installed kitchen equipment for the kitchen in the basement, the kitchens for the meeting rooms, the restaurant and bar on the ground floor, the bar on the first floor, and the kitchen and bar on the 21st floor.

"To meet LEED Platinum requirements, we had to be able to quantify and diversify several aspects of the equipment, among other things for instance consumption of water, power and chemicals, but also where it came from and how many kilometres it had travelled. Every piece of equipment was discussed, from the large conveyor to the wooden serving plates, " thus Van de Kaa. "We for instance wanted proof of better environmental performance and chose brands that could deliver on that score. "When it comes to the large M-iQ rack type dishwashing machine, MEIKO was able to substantiate the water, energy and chemical consumption of the machine. We've worked with MEIKO in the Netherlands for 30 years. They create solutions and keep their promises. Their machines lead the way worldwide when it comes to reducing water consumption, heat waste, noise, service and in terms of better installation. MEIKO provides transparent and honest information and delivers on its promises."

Environmental performance

The main dishwashing machine of the QO is a M-iQ (K-M54 V8) rack type dishwashing machine which mainly processes kitchen utensils and tableware. The drying zone is integrated into the 180 degree return loop. Besides the main meals the machine at night also washes all the hotel's water bottles in special racks. The bottles are filled via an internal system and are used in the restaurants and bars, plus two per hotel room.

MEIKO M-iClean front loaders have been installed in all bars to process glassware. A GiO MODULE for reverse osmosis watertreatment has been placed separately from each of the machines, so they could be installed neatly under the bar. Next to the kitchen on the 21st floor a MEIKO DV 80.2 GiO pass-through dishwasher has been placed, where the dishwasher has a wonderful view over Amsterdam!

Chef Alexander Brouwer is responsible for the day-to-day management of the restaurants and bars. "We took good care that the kitchens and dishwashers were the most sustainable package for our needs", says Brouwer. "Every piece of equipment from the wooden serving plate to the dishwashing machines and the kitchen programme, was discussed and evaluated for environmental performance, including the kilometres of travel to get here. The main dishwasher by MEIKO will be in use almost 24-7. The blue elements on the main dishwasher help our staff to determine which parts need regular cleaning ... blue is work for you!'. The GiO reverse osmosis watertreatment is particularly important for glassware; it helps deliver top quality dishwashing results and our glasses come out sparkling and spotless, without polishing them."

"Our experience with customers using M-iQ machines is that they are always satisfied with the results", says Willem van de Kaa. The results of the M-iClean front loaders with GiO reverse osmosis are simply excellent. And our customers notice that consumption is reduced by 50 percent compared to their previous MEIKO machines in terms of energy, water and chemicals. If we need technical advice, especially in unusual situations, we turn to MEIKO. MEIKO matches our goals; they are reliable, offer good service and first class technical assistance. MEIKO Netherlands also offers specific support to its dealers like Bert Muller. This includes dedicated technical training for our employees and improved customer service, which saves us time and money while simultaneously resulting in better service for our customers."

reverse osmosis system
Reverse Osmosis for sparkling clean dishes and glassware

For clients who want their glasses and dishes to sparkle, improving the water quality is essential – and that calls for demineralisation or osmosis.