With ever-growing pollution and threats to our natural environment from climate change, the need for sustainable business practices has never been greater. People are becoming increasingly eco-conscious and choosing to stay at greener hotels. In fact, according to a survey conducted by TripAdvisor, 62% of respondents consider the environment when choosing hotels.
But what makes a hotel eco-friendly? In addition to reducing its own carbon footprint and minimizing its negative impact on the environment, an eco-friendly hotel is one that also encourages guests to follow similar environmentally friendly practices.
Keep reading to find tips on how to go green at your hotel.
Embody the 5Rs
One of the core components of an eco-friendly lifestyle is embodying the mantra of refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle. And while these 5Rs may seem to only apply to an individual, hotels can practice them, too. One of the largest opportunities to do so is with the most common hotel items – towels and linens. Offer guests the chance to reduce their water usage and resource consumption by reusing their own towels and linens over a multi-day stay. For an added bonus, show them what their impact of simply refusing certain housekeeping tasks means with easy-to-read graphics.
From a business perspective, programs like these can save your hotel money with a reduction in water, energy, detergent and towel costs.
Do Away with All Things Plastic
The Hotel industries across the world are finally waking up to the problem of plastic waste. If you want to turn your hotel into an eco-friendly one, move away from disposables and head straight to reusables. You can begin by offering your guests metal or bamboo straws instead of regular plastic ones. You can also swap the plastic water bottles with glass bottles, and substitute paper cups with glasses or ceramic mugs. Canopy by Hilton and Even Hotels have been committed to providing a sustainable hydration experience for guests by using water stations and reusable water bottles since 2014.
In the rooms, you can switch to toiletries that use biodegradable packaging. In addition, consider allowing your guests the ability to request only the toiletries they’ll be using during their stay to help reduce plastic waste, rather than pushing the smaller generic items they may not consume.
Choose Sustainable Sources of Energy
Sustainable energy, such as harnessing energy through solar, wind, or hydropower, is a cleaner method of producing energy and reduces the amount of pollution. Selecting the appropriate source of sustainable energy depends on where your hotel is located.
Hotels use nearly 219 billion gallons of water a year, and with water being a precious resource, minimizing water usage is a great way to make your hotel eco-friendly. If you’re in an area that gets a fair amount of rainfall, and you’re able to spare a little area for rainwater harvesting, you can significantly reduce dependence on an outside water supply while also lowering your water bill. Additional tips include installing low-flow showerheads, toilets and sink aerators to reduce water usage.
If your hotel can’t switch to sustainable energy sources, there are still ways you can conserve energy, which can help the environment while also positively impacting your bottom line. For example, switching to long-lasting LED lights can reduce your electricity consumption and lower your bills. Also, using computer-based systems that control and monitor the hotel’s ventilation, lighting, power, fire and security systems can improve the efficiency of otherwise energy intensive facilities.
Reduce Your Building Carbon Footprint
Zero energy (ZE) buildings, or zero net energy (ZNE) buildings are ones that optimize the use of renewable energy produced on or around the buildings. Buildings account for 40% of energy consumption, making them a major contributor to global CO2 emissions, which impact the climate adversely. Zero energy buildings are not only more durable than normal buildings but are also comparatively healthier, more efficient, provide more comfort, and have better indoor air quality. The LEED in Motion Hospitality Report highlights how the hotel industry is gravitating towards a sustainable green building rating program. Incorporating LEED as a part of their design strategy includes green building practices such as having sustainable site development, water savings and energy efficiency practices, as well as evaluating materials used and adhering to indoor environmental quality standards.
Aim for Sustainable Wellness
The world is continuously on the lookout for greener well-being solutions, such as performing yoga instead of going to the gym, and hotels are no different in this pursuit. Instead of offering expensive spa services for your guests that use a lot of cosmetic and synthetic products, you can provide natural spa alternatives that could include locally sourced eco-conscious soaps and amenities. Using chemical-free cleaners and air-fresheners is also a great way to not only ensure the health and wellbeing of guests but also your employees.
Food service is yet another area where you can take steps to sustainable wellness. One way is to source local and organic vegetable produce and supplies, which will support the local economy and reduce pollution from fossil fuels. Another way is to buy sustainably sourced fish that is not overharvested or endangered. And if any food is left over, donate it to charity or turn it into nutrients via composting. All these actions will have a positive effect at the local level and show guests that you take sustainability seriously.
Branding your hotel as a green hotel has long-term benefits for both your business and the environment; your hotel stays competitive and relevant while also improving its bottom line. So opt for eco-friendly choices and give your guests one more reason to choose your hotel during their next vacation.