NATIONAL REPORT—Yes, the hotel industry is always urging us to reuse our towels, for decades now. But, we’re gradually moving beyond that. Fairmont St Andrews Bay, for instance, is replacing disposable plastic water bottles with “special refillable water pitchers.” What’s the ripple effect? Well, they’re driving down the number of bottles dumped each year by a reasonable 55,000.
In the meantime, Melia debuted as the third most eco-friendly hotel on the planet (behind InterContinental and Hilton) according to RobecoSAM, a sustainable investment agency.
The long and short of it is that the hospitality industry is going green. So, if you’re serious about reducing the eco-footprint of your hotel, here’s what you should ask yourself:
What Energy Saving Measures are You Putting in Place?
Switch to energy-efficient appliances and automatic thermostat systems. On top of that, use occupancy sensors in your guestrooms. That way, the temperature control units will go into an energy saving mode when lodgers leave their rooms.
E.c.h.o Milan is an excellent example of a sustainable hotel with outstanding green technologies including a computerized LED lighting system. The management estimates that their efforts to conserve the environment help reduce carbon dioxide by about 130 tons every year.
Are you Following the Best Water Saving Practices?
Many hotels around the world are adopting measures to conserve water especially in areas with little to no rainfall. What do you need to do? You can install low-consumption toilets and low-flow showers to help manage consumption.
Or, you can recycle grey water from sinks, laundry machines, bathtubs, and showers. You’ll then use the water to irrigate gardens and lawns. Still, as EasyMerchant explains, it makes perfect sense to install an underground sewage system to get rid of excess grey water and foul discharge from the above-drainage mounted in your hotel.
Are You Using Alternative Energy Systems?
Consider using solar or wind energy, especially for water heating. Rocksresort, Switzerland, uses hydroelectricity to power its operation. Even more impressive, this five-star ski resort uses renewable biomass energy to heat the rooms. More than that, it has massive solar energy panels to run chairlifts. With such initiatives, it’s not hard to figure out why the Rocksresort is one of the best green ski hotels in the world.
What Vegetation Are You Growing in your Garden?
Vertical and rooftop gardens are increasingly becoming a standard with many hotels. Think of it as a way to improve air quality by decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide. Rooftop gardens can also offer insulation, reducing heat and energy costs. Be sure to use native plants to the region because they can adapt to local environmental conditions easily.
Are You Using Natural Toiletries in Your Bathrooms?
It’s hard to see bottled bath gels and shampoos in hotels these days. In their place are pump-styled dispensers. Sustainable hotels are taking it a notch higher by using chemical-free soaps and conditioners.
Marriott and InterContinental Hotels in North America are notable examples of chains that are serious about improving their green credentials. Here, you’ll find luxurious Aveda body wash, conditioner and creams, made of natural and organic ingredients.
What Are You Doing to Reduce the Use of Chemicals?
Some hotels are taking steps to limit the level of exposure to harmful chemicals by switching to facilities such as saltwater pools that require less chlorine. Others are using ozone washing systems to regulate the use of chemical-laded ingredients.
Take Herman K, Denmark’s first chemical-free hotel plying its trade in Copenhagen, for example. The management is using ECA water; a toxin-free substance generated through electrolysis and water for cleaning. They’ve even used this odorless compound to seal guestrooms and suites walls, creating a coat against bacteria.
Are You Using Green Transportation?
City hotels are now providing green transportation to their guests. Most are encouraging carbon-free and car-less holidaying by offering bicycles or shuttle services to lodgers. So, consider availing walking maps to your guests so that they can explore the city on foot. You can even introduce a fleet of electric scooters as is the case with Slovenia based Union Hotels group.
The world is going green, and it’s inspiring to see the hotel industry taking the lead. Sure, there’s still a lot to do, but it is the small steps that will get us there. It’s all about making a positive change to communities and by extension, the entire world. It starts with the management, employees and of course guests who insist on staying at eco-friendly hotels. It’s time to shift, don’t you think so?