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Sustainable Solutions for Greening a Hotel

 This page lists sustainable practices that can be implemented in the process of making your hotel ‘green’.


1.     Start a linen reuse program (both towels and sheets) in all guest rooms. Give the guest an option to have the towels and linens changed every other day or longer, rather than every day. You can save 13.5 gallons of fresh water by choosing not to replace bath towels and linen daily, just imagine the potential for cost savings! You can purchase durable and elegant linens by clicking on this link (www.being-sustainable.com/index.php?cPath=28)

2.     Install low-flow showerheads and sink aerators.

3.     Switch to low-flow toilets or install toilet-tank fill diverters.

4.     Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs in guestrooms, lobbies, and hallways. Use sensors and/or timers for areas that are infrequently used.

5.     Whenever possible, buy food and guest amenities in bulk (i.e., use refillable hair and skin care dispensers).

6.     Educate your staff to turn off lights and turn down heating/air conditioning when rooms are unoccupied. Also, during summer months, to close the drapes.

7.     Install window film to lower heating and cooling loads and reduce glare in guestrooms.

8.     Provide guestroom recycler baskets for newspaper, white paper, glass, aluminum, cardboard, and plastic.

9.     Provide recycling bins both in public areas (i.e., poolside), in the kitchen, and in the back office (including one at each desk) to make recycling as easy as possible.

10. Buy office and guest amenity products that contain recycled material.

11. Buy organic, fair trade, cruelty-free guest amenity products whenever possible.

12. Use recycled paper products (with high post-consumer recycled content) that are either unbleached or bleached using a chlorine-free process. Minimize the amount of paper used for each guest (i.e., reduce paper size of invoices, etc.). Print with soy-based inks.

13. Use nontoxic or least toxic cleaners, sanitizers, paints, pesticides, etc. throughout the hotel. Make sure all chemicals are stored safely in a well-ventilated area.

14. Purchase "Energy Star" appliances wherever possible (Energy Star for Hospitality (www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=hospitality.bus_hospitality) provides detailed information about energy saving appliances and monitoring systems). Replace old washing machines with both water and energy conserving models.

15. Use placards in the room to inform your guests about your "green" efforts.

16. If the hotel has a pool and/or hot tub, install solar water heating systems and use pool and hot tub covers when the pool area is closed.

17. Provide your guests with bicycles, walking maps, and information on public transportation.

18. Provide reusable items such as cloth napkins, glass cups, ceramic dishes, etc. with all food and beverage services. You can purchase really elegant and durable tableware here (www.being-sustainable.com).

19. Provide glass cups and ceramic mugs (instead of plastic) for in-room beverages. Place cups and mugs upside down on paper doilies (instead of covering opening with a plastic wrapping).

20. Use daylight exclusively in your lobby, bar, and restaurant for as much of the day as possible. Consider installing skylights if needed.

21. Create as many outdoor spaces as possible (outside dining, pool lounge, ourdoor bar, outdoor lounging area) to capitalize of daylight and minimize the need for air-condition.  Click here (www.being-sustainable.com/index.php?cPath=26) for a wide range of really hip and elegant, yet sustainable and durable outdoor furniture.

22. Donate leftover food to a local nonprofit organization and/or use a compost bin.

23. If your hotel has a restaurant, consider transitioning it into a Certified Green Restaurant.

24. Buy organic, locally-grown food and/or plant an organic garden to provide fresh produce for your guests.

25. Switch to drought resistant native plants in garden areas. Replace mowed landscaping with native ground cover.

26. Replace exit signs with Light Emitting Diode (LED) exit signs.

27. Include filter changes, coil cleaning, thermostat calibration, and damper adjustments in your ongoing maintenance plan.

28. Monitor, record and post rates of energy and water use. Make repairs or replace equipment when rate changes indicate problems.

29. Use an energy management system (EMS) to tie in air handling units, HVAC, and lighting to prevent conditioning space when it is not necessary.

30. Create an incentive program to encourage your staff to participate in and improve upon environmentally-friendly practices.

31. Use proper insulation and reflective roof coverings.

32. When doing construction or remodeling projects learn about the accepted standards for green buildings (called LEED). Buy previously used or recycled-content products whenever possible.  We have a wide range of recycled-plastic lumber (www.being-sustainable.com/index.php?cPath=27) for construction purposes that can be used instead of normal wood.

33. Consult outside sources to evaluate the total system when replacing major mechanical equipment (such as chiller, water tower, etc). Often, this can lead to downsizing and other opportunities to reduce both the initial investment and operating costs.

34. Replace electric package terminal air conditioner (PTAC) units with more efficient heat pumps or other geothermal technologies.

35. Donate leftover guest amenities, old furniture and appliances to charities.

36. If available, schedule an energy audit through your local energy provider.

37. If your hotel has a gift shop, consider purchasing fair trade products.

38. Offer discounted rates to sustainable living/environmental organizations who would like stay at and/or hold meetings at your hotel.

39. Use refillable soap and shampoo dispensers.

40. Install energy-efficient lighting fixtures in each room. Compact fluorescent fixtures can be screwed into many existing lamps and ceiling fixtures. To prevent theft, hotels are installing new fixtures with the CFL's hard-wired into the fixture. Compact fluorescent bulbs last 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs and use 75 percent less energy – meaning that one bulb can save you $25 over the lifetime of the bulb.

41. Change out current television sets with LCD units, which are more energy- efficient.

42. Look into replacing your current terry/bedding/shower curtains with products made from organic cotton and PEVA.

43. Use glazing on windows throughout the hotel to prevent heat from building up, while still allowing light through. Consider purchasing energy-efficient windows if you need to upgrade.

44. Use old towels and linens as rags for cleaning.

45. Establish strict maintenance schedules for heating, cooling and appliances throughout your facility.

46. Utilize paperless check-in, checkout, and billing procedures to minimize use of paper.

47. Print marketing and registration materials (whenever possible) on recycled paper using soy-based ink.



Other Resources:

1.     Descriptions of available hotel certification programs

2.     EPA's Energy Star for Hospitality

3.     Green Seals Lodging Certification (http://www.greenseal.org/programs/lodging.cfm)

4.     U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Certification (http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=64)

5.     EcoLogo for Accomodation Facilities (from TerraChoice and Audubon International) (http://www.ecologo.org/en/seeourcriteria/details.asp?ccd_id=365)

6.     Green Globe 21 - Sustainable 21st Century Tourism (www.greenglobe21.com)

7.     "Green" Hotels Association (www.greenhotels.com)

8.     Sustainable Tourism Development – A Practical Guide for Decision-Makers.

9.     Great examples of green hotels/eco lodges: www.orchardgardenhotel.com, www.best-ecolodges.com

10. Successful Hotels and Resorts – Lessons from the Leaders