Alto Hotel
1st Carbon Neutral Hotel


Krauskopf Investments Pty Ltd


The complete refurbishment process and the expansion of the building original area in over 55 per cent occurred in 2005.

Typology & Function

Leading case typology

   Leading case function



   Industrial, services, etc.

Main Features

  • Develop an environmentally efficient building both in the use of energy, water and HVAC and refrigeration processes;
  • Gaining an annual saving of 35,530.25€ ($50,000);
  • Attain a 100% green energy acquisition policy;
  • Implementation of an annual EarthCheck audit and certification program under the umbrella of Green Globe initiative;
  • Deploy an annual CO2 audit under the criteria of the Carbon Reduction Institute.

Alto Hotel is located in the centre of Melbourne’s business district, and becoming the 1st carbon neutral on its sector by combining environmental construction technology and best practices initiatives.

The building, which brings together a completed refurbished and classic architecture of late 19th century and a new contemporary expanded area, is rich in environmental features including double insulation, lightweight walls and ceilings, double glazed windows and 100% green electricity power.


Green retrofitting process

The ancient building was originally built in 1914 under the dynamism and strength of the owner organization – Victorian Railways Union – to serve its growing membership. In 1981, the building was substantially renovated and enlarged towards the Little Bourke Street.

Following a declining period of the ownership, the building was sold in 1999 to the Krauskopf Investments Pty Ltd, who started in 2005 an intensive refurbishment process of the existing building and initiated a new six storey structure at the northern end of the building.

The entire re-building process conserved the original walls and ceilings, but the internal walls and the mechanical systems were entirely new, using materials and techniques more energy efficient. Following the main objectives determined for the refurbishment process, the project intends to develop an environmentally efficient building both in energy and water use, and minimise noise transfer in and around the building.

Although many of the early architectural features have been replaced over time, the building was listed on the Heritage Register in 2005.


Alto Hotel Environmental Sustainability Fact Sheets


  • All windows are double glazed, heat reflecting and are able to be opened. Balcony glass doors are heat reflecting and are 13mm thick, which reduces dramatically lowers air-conditioning use;
  • All building materials were selected to require very low heating and cooling, thereby saving energy;

Energy load and HVAC

  • 100% of all electricity used is generated from renewable sources;
  • 95% of all lighting is based on energy efficient, FCL or LED globes;
  • Rooms are fitted with energy saving key-tags that switch off lighting on leaving the rooms; and the energy use (electricity & gas) is limited to 36.3 Megajoules per guest, per night;
  • Air Conditioning (HVAC) plant has a 6 star energy rating that uses inverter & movement sensor technology;


  • Rain water is used for public toilet cisterns, gardening and cleaning duties;
  • Water flow restrictions to all showers and taps are 8 liters and 6 liters per minute, respectively;
  • The water use is limited to 123.1 litres per guest, per night;
  • Hot water is heated "on demand" thereby the energy savings of this process are substantial;


  • The guests were involved in the recycling process by using a double chamber waste bin provided for recyclable or non-recyclable materials;
  • The hotel landfill waste production was calculated in 3.9 litres per guest per day, thus demonstrating the achievement of almost 60% better than best practice set for hotels;


  • Carbon audit conducted by the Carbon Reduction Institute shows a one night stay at Alto Hotel produces an average 11.8 kilograms of carbon, compared to the estimate for hotels as set by Sustainable Tourism CRC of 24-26 kilograms;
  • In September 2009, the Alto Hotel achieved the prestigious NoCO2 or Carbon Neutral Certification through the Carbon Reduction Institute, Australia’s leading climate change certification consultant. Having achieved NoCO2 certification means that the Hotel’s operations have zero impact towards climate change;
Environmental awards
  • 2010 Victorian Tourism Award for excellence in Sustainable Tourism;
  • Worldwide winner of the Conde Nast Traveler – WORLD SAVERS AWARDS 2010 for Environmental Preservation.