You are viewing items 51-60 (Page 6 of 23)
Companies in every industry are identifying ways to reduce the costs, energy use, and carbon footprint of their operations. However, an elite few are broadening their scope by quantifying the downstream environmental impact of their products to more holistically address their actual environmental footprint. For instance, Apple recently published their carbon footprint using a “comprehensive lifecycle analysis,” which estimated the lifetime energy use by all of their products, above and beyond the emissions from their manufacturing facilities. Apple calculated 22 billion pounds per year of carbon dioxide equivalents. This begs the question: Is it possible that other industries could make a similar effort to address their downstream environmental impacts?
Since re-launching our Sustainability practice in late 2011, HVS has contended that sustainability initiatives should focus on utility efficiency and be driven by the bottom line. We believe that a valid business case exists for numerous types of investments in building equipment and enhanced operating practices, and across the hospitality sector there are literally thousands of good projects with strong return on investment that are waiting to be undertaken. While we have observed a growing number of case studies that describe the cost and savings of various building equipment upgrades, it would be remiss to have a conversation about investment without some consideration of risk. This article provides a perspective on several key areas of risk.
When it comes to greening carpet cleaning, many hotel and hospitality facilities that have taken significant steps to implement green cleaning strategies tend to overlook a key environmental concern. What’s happening? Are they using environmentally preferable carpet care chemicals, spotters, and related products? In most cases, yes. Are they employing high-performance carpet extractors to more effectively remove moisture from carpets, helping to reduce drying times and prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and other contaminants? Again, in most cases, yes. To conserve water and use it more efficiently, are some properties using carpet extractors that recycle water and solution? Are they taking steps to ensure the wastewater generated as a result of cleaning carpets is properly disposed of?
The most effective way to set up viable recycling programs is using a method that I call parallel access. Recycling bins for most commonly-discarded materials should be located next to but be visibly different than the trash bins. The decision the guest makes of whether or not to participate in the recycling program should only take a fraction of an instant and the effort required to do so shouldn’t take much longer. For example, if your guest has a trash bin in their room, but has to walk down the hallway to get to a recycling bin, that is going to limit the number of people who participate in your program. Conversely, if it takes the same effort to recycle as it would have to throw something into the trash, more of the guests staying at your property will recycle more often.
Did you know that an average household will spend approximately 40 percent of their annual budget on heating and cooling costs? Did you know that windows are responsible for as much as 30 percent of the total cooling loads in a commercial building? Both of these facts come from the Department of Energy. The question is what product can reduce your energy costs and pay for itself in a relatively short period of time? Window Film. You may have heard of it but have you incorporated window film into your energy conservation plan? Window films work around the clock 7/24, 365 days a year. From the moment you install the product, your company will immediately start benefitting. Your window treatments do not need to be closed in order for window film to work.
As someone who’s been in the laundry equipment business for more than 30 years, I can say without any doubt, that these are the most exciting times I’ve experienced. Technology in this industry has progressed to a level where it’s no longer just about throughput. Programmability and engineering have made the machines immensely important management tools. Automatic weighing systems are now adjusting water fill levels and chemical dosing to match the loads. Residual moisture technology can continually measure the dryness level of the load and step down the heat, before shutting the tumbler off when the preset moisture level has been attained. Exciting engineering, indeed. However, what I think I’m most enthused about is the changing mindset within the hospitality industry.
For the hospitality industry, managing the infrastructure of buildings, facilities and equipment is critical to the operational success of the hotel. At the same time, the hotel must comply with strict quality and safety guidelines, along with the many service level standards to meet the needs of their most valuable assets—their guests. A property can easily focus on top-line growth for revenue management, distribution strategies and creating profitability via customer loyalty, but sustainability is intrinsically difficult to quantify. And, even though sustainability typically touches nearly all aspects of hotel enterprise ownership and management, aligning environmental, social and financial factors to promote responsible business operations over time can be daunting for staff.
A guest first arrives at your property. When they do, those first few moments will likely be what they remember and set the tone for their entire stay and experience. So how do you imprint the green behaviors that you want your guests to have, or convey the “green facility” features that you want to convey? If you miss that window and your guest harbors negative perceptions of your facility, you will likely spend their entire stay trying to overcome that. The moment your guests arrive is an incredibly busy moment for them. They are likely tired from their trip. They want to get through the check-in process quickly. This is not the time for unsolicited lengthy diatribes or lectures about environmental actions or ethics. They don’t need a litany of details about the tightness of your building envelope.
Since its founding in 1989, Green Seal, a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., has developed standards for more than 375 categories of products and services, from paints and adhesives to cleaning products. These standards are designed to address the environmental and social impacts of a product using a lifecycle approach—considering everything from the raw materials used to make the product to the manufacturing process and the product’s eventual disposal. This evaluation involves independent, third-party testing protocols using state-of-the-art scientific technologies that are internationally accepted. One of Green Seal’s latest standards applies specifically to the hotel and hospitality industries for both in-house laundry and laundry sent to outside services.
When it comes to green cleaning, an often underemphasized area is the need for matting at all hotel entries. Stopping dust, soils, and contaminants before they ever enter a facility helps reduce the need for cleaning and enhances indoor environmental quality. This is why it makes sense to place effective matting systems at the heart of any green cleaning program. The most effective type of mats are referred to as high-performance mats, which are higher-quality mats that have a performance life of several years. These mats are often part of what is called a soil “source control” strategy. It is common to overlook the impact that sidewalks, parking lots, entries, and other areas can have on the health of the indoor environment. But, as much as 90 percent of the dust and dirt that enters a facility “walks in” through building entries.
Jump to a specific page: