BOULDER, COLO.—With a simple flip of a switch, The Best Western Plus Boulder Inn recently became the most solar powered hotel in Boulder County. The newly installed 880-kilowatt system that includes 88 solar panels will save 28,694 kWh of electricity production annually, and provide approximately 25 percent of the hotel’s overall electrical needs. A digital reporting device located at the hotel’s front desk provides real-time and cumulative information on CO2 savings and power production. This and other sustainability tracking initiatives applied throughout the hotel will provide a true look at the hotel’s overall environmental impact.
“Our goal is to reduce our guests’ carbon footprint during their stay and to become the most environmentally conscious hotel in the market,” said Steven Wallace, general manager. “I want our actions to reflect our words, so we’re investing tremendous time and resources in leading by example. I want the hotel to be a good steward of the asset that is Boulder.”
In addition to the new solar panels, Wallace has completed several other environmental initiatives over the past two years, striving to make The Best Western Plus Boulder Inn the greenest hotel in the county. Those efforts include:
• Being one of the first hotels in Boulder to install dual flush toilets—low-flow toilets which offer 0.8/1.28 gallons per flush water use. This equates to 44 percent water savings compared to traditional 1.6 gallon toilets.
• New upholstered chairs throughout the hotel are made from 91 percent post industrial recycled material, and 9 percent post consumer recycled material.
• Bicycles are available to guests at no extra charge.
• Guestrooms utilize compact fluorescent lamps in place of traditional incandescent bulbs where possible to reduce electrical use.
• All guestrooms have 40-inch flat screen Energy Star rated, LCD high definition units.
• All Boulder Inn employees are encouraged to use alternate methods of transportation, and receive a free RTD Eco Pass.
• Housekeeping uses environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals.
• Rather than disposable cups, guestrooms are outfitted with drinking glasses and coffee mugs. All disposable dishware for the breakfast service is made from recycled paper. No Styrofoam is used at the hotel.
• Hotel-wide single-stream recycling program, including guestroom trash. The goal of the hotel’s recycling program is to divert 90 percent of waste from the landfill by December 2012.
• Reusable hand towels are offered in all public restrooms to reduce paper usage.
• Motion sensors control lighting in low-traffic areas.
• All exterior lighting is controlled via photo sensors to avoid unnecessary daytime usage.
• Linens that have been replaced and unused toiletries are donated to local shelters and charities.
• Hotel guests are rewarded with additional Best Western Rewards points for choosing to forego housekeeping.
• All guestroom windows are double-paned to minimize energy loss.
• The hotel tracks and evaluates electricity, gas, and water usage to find additional savings.
• All employees are required to use their own refillable beverage containers.
• Bromine is used in the hotel pool and hot tub instead of chlorine.
Future green initiatives planned include an in-room energy management system, LED lighting throughout the hotel, installing an electric car charging station and offering carbon-offset rates for hotel guests who want to help further reduce their travel impact.
The Best Western Plus Boulder Inn works with a professional consultant to help identify areas of improvement and growth for the environmental practices of the hotel. A Green Team, comprised of volunteer Boulder Inn associates, meets regularly to brainstorm, plan, manage, and implement environmentally based programs.