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Gandum – um hotel rural para além da Sustentabilidade / Gandum – a rural hotel beyond Sustainability

The Gandum is a rural hotel with an urban touch. A 4 star hotel with 18 double rooms, a studio and a T2 apartment. In the middle of the countryside (Alentejo), with a deep connection to nature, and the design and comfort that one finds in the city. It is good to see that the demand and offer for hotels and sustainable tourism is growing. However, there is still little knowledge about what is really relevant in the sustainability of tourism in general, and in Portugal and rural areas in particular. They decided to put into practice the knowledge they have acquired over the years and teamed up with professionals in different areas to ensure that it is a hotel that is truly as sustainable as possible. That’s why the new construction, the Cloister building, is in mud; the solar panels that cover almost 100% of the needs; all the water in the toilets and kitchens is recycled to irrigate their agro-forestry, among many other aspects. They created and offer practical and affordable solutions to sustainability challenges, from the food they produce to the architecture and energy in their spaces. At Gandum, it is believed that there are many ways to be happy eating and drinking. For this reason, they have deployed their gastronomic proposal – sustainable, seasonal, simple, healthy and local, mostly vegan and vegetarian, but not only – in three spaces designed for different moods and occasions: the Gandum restaurant, the pool bar and the cork kitchen. Thus, those who stay there and those who visit it can enjoy their dishes that take the creativity and authenticity of Alentejo gastronomy further, bringing it closer to contemporary cuisine: sustainable, simple and healthy food, made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, produced on the farm or very close by. Mostly vegetarian, with quality animal products and responsibly produced, mostly in agroforestry. Gandum is not only a hotel – it also focus on daily workers: for freelancers, teams or companies, in private or shared spaces. To work in workation mode or on a special project. In coworking, meeting rooms or professional kitchens. To focus on one’s project and achieve one’s goals, using their coworking and meeting rooms, while discovering and enjoying everything that Gandum has to offer: nature in abundance, activities for children (in case one’s traveling with the family), sports and leisure activities, gastronomy and rest. Like in the city, but with more sense: super fast wifi; honesty bar 24/7; lockers; offcoustic cabins; cleaning service; networking events; printer available; security; inspiring place; wi-fi in outdoor areas; air conditioning; 100% renewable electricity. Their sustainability plan covers several areas, but goes beyond the standards. From project design to daily practices at Gandum, everyday sustainability is created. 100% solar energy: they produce all the energy they need through solar panels (zero net balance) and all the energy they import is renewable too (Cooperativa Coopérnico). Reuse and recycling: whether in construction, maintenance or daily use, they always tried to reuse as much as possible, thus reducing waste, from food to plastics. Local construction: they value local construction as a fundamental part of their sustainable approach. They work closely with local suppliers, using building materials sourced from the region. By choosing local materials, they reduce the carbon footprint associated with transport and support the local economy, strengthening the community. In addition, by favoring local companies, they promote the preservation of traditional techniques, guaranteeing the authenticity and cultural identity of the region. Financially viable: Gandum can only exist if revenues are effectively greater than costs. In this sense, the business plan is conceived as a company for profit, striving for transparency and reinvestment of profits in the space itself or in local or international projects for environmental regeneration or social and cultural development. Low-impact mobility: they encourage low-impact mobility, promoting transport options with a lower carbon footprint and offsetting the carbon emissions generated by our activities, by supporting the use of public transport, electric vehicles and car and bike sharing practices. Promotion of local value chains: they value local value chains, promoting collaboration with local producers, farmers and artisans. By prioritizing the acquisition of local products and materials, they support the regional economy and promote the preservation of local traditions and knowledge. By valuing local products, they offer guests authentic experiences and contribute to the sustainable development of local communities. Ethics and corporate responsibility: they act in accordance with the highest standards of integrity, transparency and corporate responsibility, promoting fair relations with employees, suppliers and partners, respecting human rights and supporting social and environmental initiatives. Construction in rammed earth: the Cloister building, where the 18 rooms of the hotel are located, is built from scratch in rammed earth, thus replacing large amounts of cement or cementitious pastes, which have a much higher environmental footprint than excavation earth. Circularity: from the waste they compost to the water they reuse, they are always thinking of ways to create short, circular value chains that are solid and sustainable. Smart Buildings: to apply advanced smart building techniques to promote energy efficiency and sustainability. They use active monitoring systems to track hot water, cold water and electricity consumption in real time, both at the individual level of each room and at the building level. This information is made available to guests, allowing them to make informed decisions about the use of resources and contribute to a more sustainable stay. Regenerative agriculture: adopted regenerative agriculture to promote soil health, conserve water resources, and foster biodiversity. Through sustainable agricultural practices such as crop rotation and agroforestry, they cultivate a sustainable future to ensure food quality and ecosystem resilience. Impact entrepreneurship: they support entrepreneurs who seek innovative and sustainable solutions to social and environmental challenges. Through partnerships and support programs, they promote an entrepreneurial ecosystem that drives sustainable development and the creation of purposeful businesses. Fair Trade Promotion: They value fair trade and they seek to support local suppliers and producers who follow fair trade principles. They prioritize organic, sustainable and certified products, contributing to the preservation of the environment and to the appreciation of ethical work. Energy efficiency: the design of the buildings and the nature of the building materials were selected to minimize building temperature fluctuations and energy losses.