Green Business Bureau Blog
What Are Hotels Doing to Be Green?
The first time I came across the ‘please re-use your towel’ policy at a hotel, I was stumped. They even said they would change the sheets daily if I demanded it, but not otherwise. What was the point of living at a hotel if I could not lord it? But in retrospect I realized what a simple do-able thing it was. We do not throw towels in the wash after a single use at home, do we? Neither do we change the bed linen every day. Contrary to popular belief, going green does not cost more. As the above example proves, this cost-effective green idea is something we use in running our households daily.
A green business that implements green policies at every level, essentially uses as much is truly required (no wasteful spending) and finds more efficient ways of doing so. These call for innovation, unlearning and an ability to think outside the box. Hotels run on green principles have realized that simply going green has brought them more customers by virtue of the sheer goodwill this generates.
At this point let me explain what LEED certification is. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is the most universally accepted third-party certification for standardized building and development practices. Architects, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, construction managers, all use LEED to help build environmentally sustainable hotels and convert existing ones to smartly run green businesses. The certification is awarded by the U.S.Green Building Council on the basis of performance (no they do not visit the site) in five core areas. These are as follows:
• Water savings
• Energy efficiency
• Materials selection
• Indoor environmental quality
• Sustainable site development
LEED certification not only saves energy and reduces operating costs of a hotel, it says to the customer that this hotel is green and has received third party verification. As more and more hotels start adopting environmentally sustainable policies and practices, finding a green hotel in almost every city gets progressively easier.
While Marriott replaces incandescent bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent ones, the Accor group has been fitting its Motel 6 rooms with occupancy sensors. Thus the thermostat settings change when there is no one in the room.
The Hilton is conserving water a drip at a time. By using green business thinking, they are rapidly eliminating wasteful water practices by adopting better faucets, low flow showerheads and toilets that require lesser water per flush. Marriott further conserves an astounding 6 million gallons of water every year by buying towels that do not require prewashing.
The Starwood group is using water efficient landscaping in its new constructions. It has also been seen that sticking to the local flora is the smartest thing to do. Thousands of years of evolution have rendered local trees and plants the best fit vegetation for that geographic area. Who is man to challenge Nature’s decrees?
Hotels have enormous potential to recycle plastic. From bottles and key cards to shampoo and lotion containers, nothing has to reach a landfill. The in-room recycling bin policy championed by Marriott is a commendable innovation.
Green hotels, like all green businesses, are already reaping the rewards of their ethical and thoughtful practices by seeing smaller running costs, more customers and bigger profits.