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AH&LA Survey Identifies Hotels’ Top Green Initiatives, Challenges

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AH&LA) Green Assessment Survey results reveal the top 10 green initiatives hotels are enacting, the top 10 green programs hotels can improve upon, motivations and challenges for implementing green lodging practices, and quantifiable measurements of green action being taken around the nation.

Among the many findings, the survey revealed the following notable statistics:

• Eighty-eight percent of respondents’ properties have a linen reuse program for guests who stay multiple nights, and 83.5 percent offer a towel reuse program;

• Nearly half (43.4 percent) of responding properties have programmable on/off timers or sensors used for lighting in low traffic/occupancy, though only 16 percent use occupancy sensor controls for guestroom thermostats;
• The majority (82.3 percent) of properties surveyed train maintenance staff on conservation and energy procedures;
• Environmental benefits and building guest loyalty tie for the biggest motivation responding properties cite for implementing green practices; and
• Respondents note that having enough capital to invest and achieving ROI are the top two biggest barriers to implementing eco-friendly initiatives.

“Results of this survey show that the hospitality industry is serious about the environment and is addressing eco issues head on,” said Joseph A. McInerney, CHA, AH&LA president/CEO. “Of particular interest is successful linen reuse programs at many of our member hotels across the country. In addition to reducing the hotel’s environmental impact, programs like these engage the guest, increasing their awareness of environmental concerns and offering an easy way they can minimize their eco footprint while they travel.”

“This survey spotlights the potential for eco-friendly practices in the many diverse aspects of hotel operations, at properties large and small,” added AH&LA chairman Tom Corcoran. “As AH&LA does more in-depth research into successful initiatives and evaluates areas where improvement is still needed, we’re extremely optimistic as we work to develop a baseline for industry sustainability initiatives.”

Green Assessment Survey results were compiled based on 217 responses from AH&LA member hotels. Results provide necessary feedback and real-world examples of various levels of green operations in different levels of properties across the country and assist in the association’s development of a baseline for industry-wide green programs. Several successful AH&LA members’ programs are highlighted on the association’s Green Best Practices Website, an online resource featuring cost-effective and eco-savvy practices in energy conservation, hotel operations, certifications, and suppliers producing environmentally-friendly products.

Additionally, in conjunction with the Green Assessment Survey and in honor of Arbor Day, AH&LA donated funds to the Nature Conservancy to plant trees around the country via their Plant a Billion Trees Campaign.

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