From small, limited-service properties to deluxe accommodations, a range of properties have found innovative means to make going green work for their bottom line. The following highlight success in Energy, Operations, Certifications, and Water conservation strategies from properties and organizations nationwide to give you ideas for implementing strategies that your guests, employees, and your profit margin will appreciate.
To view a complete listing of Best Practices, please visit AH&LA's Member's Only Energy Management and Green Resources page.
For any inquiries on green practices within hospitality, contact Kathryn Potter at email@example.com or (202)289-3130.
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According to the Food Research and Action Center, 2012 was the fifth year that the Gallup organization posed the following question to hundreds of thousands of households: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” Of all households, 18.2 percent answered “yes” to this question. As of 2013, 49 million Americans (16 percent of the total population) are food/toiletries insecure. One in four men between the ages of 25-34 earned poverty level wages in 2013. In May 2009, following a meeting the New York Marriott Marquis management team including Mike Stengel, Diana Shapiro, and Corlette James, we piloted our first Hotel Wrap! asset recovery program of toiletries generated from the hotel. The recovery covered toilet paper, tissue boxes, shampoos and conditioners and other vanity items which had previously been discarded when guests checked out of their room. The Marquis, with 1,950 rooms, has allowed us to conduct a training and awareness workshop for the entire housekeeping staff covering the social and environmental impact of helping the poor and reducing waste to land fill. Representatives of Rock and Wrap It Up! partner agencies, who would be conducting the recovery efforts also addressed the house staff. Emphasis was placed on the fact that all collected items were staying in the New York area. We received great feedback and started the collection.
The hotel implemented numerous strategies to help the hotel go “green.” In general, the hotel is recycling aluminum cans, glass, plastic water bottles, and corrugated cardboard. Blue boxes in which guests and associates can discard their used beverage containers have been placed throughout the hotel. Cardboard, newspapers, and office paper are also being recycled. In guest rooms, the hotel has a linen and towel reuse program in place. When the linens and towels are no longer usable in the hotel, they are donated to a local shelter. Any used soaps are also sent to a local charity. And, guest room lamps, where appropriate, have been fitted with energy saving bulbs. In back-of-house operations, batteries and light bulbs are being recycled. Recycled paper is being used for all in-house printing and, where possible, double sided copies are being made.
In general, the hotel has become a non-smoking hotel. They installed energy efficient exterior windows and doors and used recycled carpets throughout the hotel. The indoor pool and whirlpool have been converted to mineral saline. In the guest rooms, they installed low-volume toilets and shower heads, as well as energy efficient fluorescent and LED lighting where appropriate. Each guest room is also equipped with auto censors for heating and cooling. As an added benefit, they installed four sheets of drywall between each guest rooms. This acts as an insulator for each room. In back-of-house operations, the hotel installed energy efficient washing machines in the laundry.
The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort motivated its staff to share the common goal of preserving the environment and reducing its carbon footprint. By creating the Shawnee Green Team, the property was able to educate its staff and implement a variety of programs; including installing new recycling bins in all offices, replacing disposable goods with compostable alternatives, using green cleaning products for the entire property, and replacing an old washing system with a machine that supports biodegradable detergent. In addition, the property:
- Naturalized areas for birds and other wildlife on its golf course.
- Uses mowers that place clippings back into the ground to facilitate the growing process.
- Serves bulk perishable items such as ketchup, butter, and cream cheese, rather than individually wrapped items.
- Provides incentives for staff who carpool to the Shawnee.
- Installed energy efficient windows throughout the resort.
- Replaced old golf carts with electrically-powered ones.
The Arizona Biltmore initiated its green tactics in 2007 when the property modified its spa practices and created a green spa experience. After experiencing the benefits and receiving praise from guests, the hotel implemented an all-encompassing green program one year later, hoping to significantly reduce its global footprint, create a more efficient and environmentally friendly operation, and establish the property as a leading eco-friendly resort. Under the guidance of green committees, the property began using chemical-free, organic and vegan products in the spa, using electric lawn mowers, initiated paperless check-in & check-out, and instituted green office operations.
With a new honey program, Fairmont Washington, D.C. is responding to the nation’s honey bee shortage by welcoming 105,000 Italian honey bees to their rooftop as part of the hotel’s environmental stewardship program. The three honey beehives will enhance the culinary program of the property by providing 300 pounds of honey within the first year to be used in soups, salad dressings, pastries, ice cream, and others at the Juniper restaurant.
The bee population has been decreasing in size due to habitat loss and pollution, which in turn effects the pollination of plants. Without pollination, insects, birds, and animals all find it difficult to thrive as deforestation and pollution progress. The Fairmont Washington, D.C. is the only hotel in the area currently raising honey bees.
Cavallo Point, next to the scenic village of Sausalito in the Golden Gate National Parks, has a pending LEED certification, a commitment to sustainability through the Institute at the Golden Gate, and boasts a comfortable environmentally-responsible lodge. Cavallo Point believes in stewardship and preservation, focusing its team’s efforts on re-using historic materials, restoring landscape with native plants, using green building elements, and partnering with Good Night Foundation, which raises funds to support local and global programs that improve the safety, health, and appeal of various tourist destinations around the world.
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is encouraging employees to take additional green initiatives through an educational environmental impact program. The training program focuses on aligning Hyatt’s corporate environmental mission to minimize carbon emissions and other harmful pollutants with that of its hotels and resorts. It will continue Hyatt’s efforts to minimize the company’s impact, yet never compromise guest services. Through Hyatt Green Teams, which are placed at every full-service hotel, employees will learn more about the necessary steps to decrease consumption of valuable resources in their daily lives.
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Kimpton’s Hotel Burnham, located in Chicago, received the Green Seal Silver certification for its hotel’s sustainability efforts. The pursuit for certification began with the city’s Chicago Climate Action Plan and Green Hotels Initiative. The hotel began to assess its operating procedures focusing primarily on waste minimization, energy efficiency, water conservation, and environmentally-friendly procurement. Faced with retrofitting a 114-year-old building, the Burnham team dealt with many problems in order to meet modern efficiency standards. In October 2008, the Hotel Burnham became one of the first five hotels to receive its certification in Chicago. Specifically, the hotel began purchasing products in bulk to reduce packaging waste, updated its lighting, put its systems and appliances on a preventative maintenance schedule, improved the energy efficiency of its windows, uses “gray water” – waste water from laundry or bathing—to wash its sidewalks, has switched to less harmful cleaning agents, including biodegradable dishwashing detergent, recycles clothes hangers, and reuses nylon bags for removal and return of newly-cleaned clothes.
Marriott International continues to show commitment to the environment through a variety of initiatives, ranging from protecting the rainforest to greening their headquarters. Marriott recently announced that it will pursue LEED certification for its Maryland-based global headquarters as well as for 30 additional hotels.
By 2010, Marriott will have a variety of brands in multiple locations certified by the United States Green Building Council. The hotels will either seek greener alternatives in design, development, construction, or management. Initiatives will range from offering eco-friendly amenities, to preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles, to solar tracking skylights, and to switching to biodegradable disposable containers. Employees will also be encouraged to use public transportation. A few hotels currently seeking LEED certification include the Residence Inn Arlington Courthouse in Virginia, and Courtyard Hotels in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Portland, and Pittsburgh.
The Hyatt Place in Wyoming, Michigan geared toward business travelers, opens its doors as the first Hyatt LEED-built hotel in Michigan, and in the world. The 5-story, 113-room hotel offers many LEED-related features:
- Use of green cleaning compounds
- Boasts in-room motion sensors to control heat and lighting
- Recycles leftover shampoo and soaps onsite. The property then converts the remains into laundry detergents, which are used to wash the hotel’s linens.
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A property committed to the environment, Kalahari Resorts has added the AquaRecycle system to its long list of green programs. The 740-room property located in Wisconsin and the 884-room hotel in Ohio both hope to reuse 70 percent of their laundry water, a substantial savings in cost and wasted water. It didn’t take long for Kalahari Resorts to be recognized for their conservation efforts; after one year of efficiency endeavors, the company won the 2006 Wisconsin Partners for Clean Air Recognition Award. Both hotels use low-flow showerheads and dishwasher sprayheads, HVAC energy management systems, LED exit signs and fluorescent light fixtures in the indoor waterparks, and motion-sensored lights in public areas. Individually, the Wisconsin hotel’s greening includes the installation of a 103-panel solar hot water system, and the installation of an energy control system for the guestrooms, while the Ohio property installed a transparent roof system to allow natural light to heat the indoor waterpark, and an ozone laundry system for faster washing and drying, all done with less chemicals and energy.
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