Starter suggestions for greening your accommodation: Instituting sustainable practices improve outcomes and help to protect the local environment. Many guests are attracted to eco-friendly hotel practices and many of the practices can save money and make the process efficient, a win-win outcome!
1. Get the guests motivated to use green transportation options. Provide your guests with bicycles, walking maps, and information on public transportation.
2. Try green dining. If your hotel has a restaurant, consider transitioning it into a Certified Green Restaurant. Buy organic, locally-grown food and/or plant an organic garden to provide fresh produce for your guests. Consider Vegan options, more healthy for guests, better for environment and for our friends animals.
3. Buy organic, fair trade, cruelty-free guest amenity products whenever possible. Make it clear that you are supporting such products and try to obtain these products across a diverse range of products, such as:
- bedding and guest robes
- hair and body care
- coffee, tea and chocolate, etc.
4. Start a linen reuse program in all guest rooms. This is now commonplace in many hotels and is a cost-saving, water-saving and time-saving measure that works well. Many customers avail themselves of the opportunity to hang up their towel instead of tossing it in the bath immediately for changing. Place signs in your guest rooms indicating that this program is operational; either make your own or have them printed locally. There are also online sites that will sell ready-made signs.5. Save water. There are several ways to reduce water usage in each guest room. Some include:
Installing low-flow shower heads and sink aerators.
Switching to low-flow toilets or install toilet-tank fill diverters.6. Save energy. Reducing energy usage reduces your fuel bills, so it makes common sense. Here are some ways you can achieve this:
- Switch to LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting to reduce electricity use. LED’s have the lowest carbon footprint, last 5-20 times longer, and are safe (do not use compact fluorescent light bulbs: they all contain mercury, a hazardous heavy metal) in guestrooms, lobbies, and hallways. Use sensors and/or timers for areas that are infrequently used.
- 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.
- Use daylight exclusively in your lobby, bar, and restaurant for as much of the day as possible. Consider installing skylights if needed.
- Install window film to lower heating and cooling loads and reduce glare in guestrooms.
- Replace exit signs with Light Emitting Diode (LED) exit signs.
- Purchase “Energy Star” appliances wherever possible.
- Replace old washing machines with both water and energy conserving models.
- If the hotel has a pool and/or hot tub, install a solar water heating system and use pool and hot tub covers when the pool area is closed.
- Use an energy management system (EMS) to tie in air handling units, HVAC, and lighting to prevent conditioning space when it is not necessary. Replace electric package terminal air conditioner (PTAC) units with more efficient heat pumps or other geothermal technologies. 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.
- Use proper insulation and reflective roof coverings.
- Install some renewable energy if location and weather conditions are suitable.
7. Monitor, record and post rates of energy and water use. Make repairs or replace equipment when rate changes indicate problems. Include filter changes, coil cleaning, thermostat calibration, and damper adjustments in your ongoing maintenance plan.8. To encourage green practices over the world, provide discounts to eco-oriented groups. Offer discounted rates to sustainable living/environmental organizations who would like stay at and/or hold meetings at your hotel.9. Garden with consideration for protecting the ecosystem and water-saving. Switch to drought resistant native plants in garden areas. Replace mowed landscaping with native ground cover.
10. Avoid disposable products or throwing away useful items. Disposable products fill up landfills and create garbage on your property. There are suitable alternatives:
- Provide reusable items such as cloth napkins, glass cups, ceramic dishes, etc. with all food and beverage services.
- 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).
- Donate leftover food to a local nonprofit organization and/or use a compost bin.
- Donate leftover guest amenities, old furniture and appliances to charities.
11. Create an incentive program to encourage your staff. The program should be tailored to encourage participation in and improving upon environmentally-friendly practices.
12. Clean green. Use nontoxic or least-toxic cleaners (White vinegar or Black soap for instance), sanitizers, paints, no pesticides (use natural ways), etc. throughout the hotel.
13. Recycle. Recycle your hotel’s waste in the kitchen, guest rooms, dining room etc. There are several ways in which you can encourage guests and staff to recycle:
- Provide guestroom recycling baskets for newspaper, white paper, glass, aluminum, cardboard, and plastic.
- 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.
- Buy office and guest amenity products that contain recycled material.
- 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. Use electronic invoice and marketing.
- Whenever possible, buy food and guest amenities in bulk (i.e., use refillable hair and skin care dispensers). This saves extra journeys and packaging.
…and more, give your input, we will add them.