Adding a green sheen
Why eco-luxury needn’t be an oxymoron
The climate on planet Earth is changing. For many, this is indicative of the excesses of mankind. As a result, many manufacturers are seeking greener ways in which to produce their goods and operate their services, and consumers are increasingly taking a product’s ethics, integrity and environmental footprint into account when making purchasing decisions.
The superyacht world – which notoriously drips with excessive consumption and personal indulgence – is an unlikely candidate for greening, being perceived as the antithesis of green. In an address to superyacht professionals, designer Michael Peters went so far as to call a ‘green superyacht’ an oxymoron.
With careful thought and the appliance of science, however, improvements can be made. Though the moniker ‘eco-friendly’ is pushing the boat out a little far, ‘eco-friendlier-than-before’ is certainly attainable and is already being achieved by certain shipyards and vessels worldwide.
Inspiration for the superyacht nation
There’s no shortage of visual and conceptual inspiration when it comes to what can be achieved with insight, foresight and commitment to the green dream. British designer, Alastair Callender, was the winner of The International Superyacht Society's Excellence in Innovation - Award of Distinction, 2010 and received the coveted Condé Nast Innovation and Design Award in the Sustainability category for his stunning 58m eco-cruiser concept, Soliloquy.
Her zero-emission propulsion system combines wind and hybrid marine power, with cutting edge technology from Solar Sailor Ltd. Alastair succeeded in his aim to prove that eco and luxury could become bedfellows without cynical eyebrows being raised.
While Soliloquy remains on the drawing board at the model makers, Dutch yard Royal Huisman has already built Ethereal – the eco-friendly sailing yacht of Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Micro Systems. Nicknamed ‘the green superyacht’, Ethereal achieved her goal of becoming the most efficient large vessel afloat when she was launched, becoming an industry ambassador for green technology.
Designed by Pieter Beeldsnijder with naval architecture by Ron Holland, the yacht set new standards in energy-efficient sailing yachts. At the owner’s behest, noisy generators were dispensed with and much of the energy-efficient equipment aboard was custom built specifically for the yacht, allowing her to mirror the silent lifestyle of family cruising vessels a tenth of her size.