Posts Tagged travel

Sustainable Hotels

Posted by on Friday, 21 May, 2010

Staying at a hotel requires a lot of resource usage. One of the biggest reasons for this is that hotels have a new person staying in the room each night, and constant travel through the building, so they have to spend a lot of money on cleaning products, washing sheets and pillowcases, and running the baths and showers. Travelers are often reminded that they can save some water, as well as save the hotel some money, by not having towels washed when not necessary during multiple day stays.

Hilton provides several types of sustainability features. Their website on sustainability mentions specific targets for reducing carbon usage, greenhouse gas emission, and water usage. This is a helpful feature since it provides a comparison that can be applied to other hotels. The Hiltons I have stayed at were relatively upscale, so a percentage drop in resource usage here could have more impact than an initiative of a cheaper hotel.

Looking up the cheaper hotel chain Motel 6 reveals that it is one of several chains which the company Accor manages. Accor also controls the Sofitel, Novitel, and Studio 6 chains. Accor installs sustainable lighting, recycling fluorescent bulbs and switching over to compact fluorescents. Older fluorescent lamps contain dangerous chemicals, so a professional must dispose of them. Motel 6 offers Ecolab laundry detergent. The motel installs efficient water faucet aerators, and it buys sustainable power generated by wind turbines.

Days Inn is another favorite for travelers on a budget. It turns out Days Inn, Super 8, Travelodge, and several other chains are owned by the company Wyndham. Wyndham provides information about its green initiatives, including some unique features. The hotel staff uniforms are made from recycled plastic bottles, which saves a huge amount of energy. Not sure how comfortable these are or how they hold up to wear and tear versus other hotel staff uniforms, probably polyester. The uniform initiative has the potential to reduce power and water usage in manufacturing by a great deal in any company that requires uniforms.

Green Hotels

Posted by on Saturday, 13 March, 2010

Business travelers have a wide selection of hotels to choose from when they are on the road. Many consultants spend more time traveling than they do in their home. Ever wonder how green the hotels you stay at are? Here are some hotels that have made an effort to use sustainable practices.

The Waikiki Sheraton has made an effort to create options that are good for the environment. The focus is on meeting rooms for their business clients. Conference rooms are only cooled by the HVAC system while in use, a good idea that can be applied to any building that holds rooms which are not always occupied. There are several other improvements, such as fluorescent lighting, and a parking discount for hybrids. The Waikiki Sheraton also offers a service common at many hotels, you can request to reduce linen washing. Many hotels tell you to leave the towels and washcloths in the bathroom in a certain area if you want the hotel to wash them, and another if you plan to reuse them. This is most useful if you plan an extended stay, but be aware of your water usage.

Further research shows that there is an organization dedicated to green hotels. This site is helpful as it includes members from many different cities in many different states. Summaries are mostly written in standard hotel terms, so many of them don’t focus on the green strategies of the hotels themselves. Making the effort to join a green hotel initiative does show promise by itself, as it shows that the hotels are at least conscious of their environmental impact. Not all members of this site are hotels; there are some members that make items such as cleaning products and paper, and there are some organic food vendors. It’s not always easy to know where the hotel you stay at buys its supplies, but this has the potential to make a big difference.

Fortunately, another website has reviewed many hotels by state and has graded them on their environmental performance. Green Hotel Reviews mentions the California Green Lodging Program. This is a
government initiative which has several criteria to grade the hotels in California. It gives some reasons why green initiatives for hotels are important. Since hotels may rent out hundreds of rooms a day, their environmental impact is much greater than any individual family. Hotels have large water, food, and energy bills, so even a reduction of a few percent can make a big difference. California offers some green resources for travelers if you want to know more about this topic.