NATIONAL REPORT—Being green is becoming increasingly important for big and small businesses around the world as everyone strives to make a difference in the advent of global climate change. For many hotels, that means taking a special interest in how they can become more sustainable, finding ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle, while still attracting enough tourists to maintain their profitability. More and more, it’s not just an afterthought—people are trying to implement green design principles in every part of the process, from building and furnishing to amenities and activities. Some hotels have made it their mission to help create a better world for all, and their dedication has become a point of interest and a heavy draw for global travelers. Everyone from inn to hotel owners are taking a stand against global climate change, each taking their own approach to it.
1. Cultivating Bees
One of the most unusual ways to go green was started by Hotel Rinner in Soprabolzano, South Tirol. This family-run hotel has made every aspect of a stay about beekeeping. From honey tastings to spa treatments made exclusively from bee byproducts, everything is about educating, preserving, and raising awareness of bee importance in today’s world.
While in this case, beekeeping came before the hotel itself, there are many other resorts that can contribute to the natural world by cultivating educational animal husbandry as part of their tourist attractions.
2. Living off the Land
While living off the land isn’t for everyone, some people want to get a taste of the wild side. This attraction to living in nature has encouraged new hotels to pop up in remote regions that allow people to experience life off the grid. From treehouse hotels to igloo resorts, there are many ways hotels offer tourists a chance to rough it out with minimal amenities and access to luxuries. Preserving natural areas and interconnecting them with needed structures is a key feature of green design and a principle that Ken Yeang and Arthur Spector discuss in their book, “Green Design: From Theory to Practice.”
A number of these hotels are striving to increase their environmentally conscious activities by choosing durable, all-weather furniture that doesn’t need to be replaced as frequently. From recycled plastic to aluminum furniture materials, longer lasting pieces are saving hotels money and helping the environment as well.
Many people consider recycled materials exclusively for furniture and decor. But, with a raised awareness of the importance of maintaining ecological sustainability, many hotels are using recycled building materials in an effort to ensure that an entire structure is more eco-conscious. Some hotels transform old carpeting into animal bedding, carpet padding, and mulch while others choose to recycle by donating to homeless shelters and charities. Sustainability has become a major concern for many hotels, and they actively choose to focus their efforts on reducing their carbon footprint.
4. Reducing Water and Energy Waste
The Hyatt Regency in Seattle and Parisian Macao are just two of the hotels that are placing their sustainability efforts on reducing water and energy waste. These eco-conscious hotels are working to close the loop on wasted water. Some of the biggest ways these hotels are choosing to reduce their carbon footprint include:
- Light colored roofs to reduce heat absorption.
- Sensors reduce a building’s energy usage by automatically turning off chillers, boilers, air-conditioning, lights, and more.
- Water conservation through reclamation for landscaping, laundry, and public areas.
- Using local vendors for construction, food sourcing, kitchen equipment, and more to reduce transportation emissions and support regional businesses.
5. Adding a Garden
Whether it’s a vegetable patch to supply the kitchen or a vertical vegetation installation for improving air quality, adding a garden is a visually pleasing and useful way to create a more sustainable hotel. A vertical garden was installed in Green Hotels, Paris in 2016, and has flourished ever since. Not only does it add a visually stunning element to the hotel, but it filters contaminants and pollutants for the entire area. Rather than just incorporating a green space to have it, eco-forward individuals are looking at what plants will thrive in the area—such as hypertrophic gardens in Trinidad and drought tolerant landscaping—and how they can be used and have a positive impact going forward.
6. Car Charging Stations
While hotels are making huge strides in sustainability, other industries are also making efforts to go green. When hotels can integrate the advances of others into their own spaces, it makes a big difference for consumers. One such integration involves installing EV charging stations in hotel parking areas. In addition to supporting another industry in its sustainability endeavors, these hotels are also adding singular amenities that aren’t offered everywhere.
Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and fan of the eco-friendly. She enjoys writing about events, travel, sustainability trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate and finance.