Q Hotel & Spa's 38-Point Plan Keeps Green Efforts on Track

9/8/2008 By Glenn Hasek

KANSAS CITY, MO.—Doug Gamble, managing partner of the Q Hotel + Spa, is on a mission to make his 123-room hotel as sustainable as possible—even to the point of turning off lights in the lobby during the day and hanging clotheslines to help dry washed linens. Gamble’s company has owned the hotel since April 2007. It was originally built in 1986. Renovations began in July 2007 and were completed in March of this year. It formally opened as the Q Hotel + Spa on April 1.

“It was a cool little boutique hotel,” says Gamble of the Kansas City, Mo.-based property. “We were trying to figure out what to do with it. I was really interested in sustainability and green hotels.”

A green program that started out with in-room recycling has morphed into a 38-point plan that has garnered national attention, generated new business, and earned it a place on Pineapple Hospitality’s EcoRooms & EcoSuites website. The hotel’s sustainability program is explained in a brochure that is available in each guestroom.

To minimize waste to landfill, the hotel recycles aluminum, paper, plastic, glass and cardboard. Recyclables are not picked up but are taken to a recycling center—an additional cost, Gamble says. He adds that he would like to find a company willing to take the hotel’s food waste for composting. Eliminating plastic has been of particular interest to Gamble. Water bottles have been eliminated. Cups used in the bar area are made from corn resin and the paper cups in each guestroom have a high percentage of recycled content.

Bulk Amenity Dispensers Used

Dispensers that feature high-quality body wash, shampoo and conditioner are positioned in each tub/shower area. This helps to reduce the volume of plastic waste generated. A lotion amenity bottle is still offered in the sink area, as well as a bar of soap.

“Guest reaction to the dispensers has been a pleasant surprise,” Gamble says.

Restrictors are used in sinks and showerheads to minimize water consumption. Toilets are low flow and Gamble says he expects to purchase waterless urinals soon for one of the property’s public restrooms. He adds that he has had zero complaints from anyone in regard to reduced water flow in the guestrooms. To hold water for irrigating outside of the hotel, Gamble recently purchased two rain barrels.

To reduce the amount of laundry-related water consumption, housekeepers do not change sheets unless asked by guests to do so. Most guests stay just one or two nights. So far, no guests have complained. A device that mixes the laundry chemical with water prior to being introduced into the washer helps save 31 percent on related water consumption.

To minimize energy consumption, compact fluorescents are used throughout the building, and guestrooms feature digital thermostats. “We are experimenting with turning off half the lights in the building during the day,” Gamble says.

Other Resource-Saving Measures

Here are some other examples of what the Q Hotel + Spa is doing to reduce its impact:

• A Toyota Prius is used for 80 percent of the hotel’s shuttle runs.
• Bicycles are made available for guests.
• In the breakfast area, individual packets have been replaced by bulk dispensers.
• When printing is done, both sides of sheets of paper are used.
• Reusable cloth bags are made available to guests who intend to go shopping.
• For cleaning, the hotel has switched to Green Seal approved products. This includes laundry operations.
• For pest control, the hotel has switched to bio-friendly products.
• The hotel uses 100 percent post consumable recycled products for all toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, office printing paper and paper napkins.
• Unused amenities are donated to the Kansas City Westside C.A.N. center. • Organic wines are offered at the bar.
• All coffee served in the lobby coffee bar is Fair Trade certified and Rainforest Alliance approved.

All of the Q Hotel & Spa’s efforts are impacting business. It is us 41 percent to date—not a bad increase considering the direction the economy has taken this year.

“I have bumped into numerous people in the lobby who said they have read about us and selected us because of our green commitment,” Gamble says.

Go to the Q Hotel + Spa.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.


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