How Hotels Are Going (and Saving) Green

Since we’re celebrating Earth Day this month, we’d like to share some ways that hotels are promoting a more energy efficient environment. Edison Electric Institute’s Director of National Accounts, Steve Kinser, projects that electrical demand will decrease at least 30 percent by 2035. Hotels race ahead of the curve when it comes to controlling energy expenditures, a trend partly motivated by cost savings. In fact, energy conservation can save a full service hotel chain with approximately 100 rooms an estimated cumulative total of 4.1 million, according to Energy Star. Plus, no one can argue that energy efficiency ranks low on risk for a hotel business. Why? Saving energy does just that: save. The green initiative encourages hotels to conserve more energy and financial resources with very little commitment to capital investment. So many hotel owners ask themselves, “why not cut energy and spending by committing to an earth friendly business?”


So, how are hotels going green right now? One way is by prioritizing energy efficient awareness in their staff training programs. Housekeepers play a vital role in helping hotel businesses stay green because they have access to thermostats, lamps, and other electrical devices even before guests check in. Opening curtains on sunny days during colder months helps to heat rooms on the cheap. Even shutting off a light or dripping faucet really adds up over time. And those controversial thermostat temperatures that no one seems to agree on? Most hotels default to 68 degrees Fahrenheit as a comfortable temp for conservation-minded properties.


Focusing on big picture changes that effect longer term advancement proves an resourceful measure in any energy savings program. For example, many hotels have successfully implemented solar panels for heating water and high efficiency plumbing fixtures; such units reduce water consumption by over 30 percent. Much like thermostats, hotels are turning their water heat down to about 110 degrees when laundering linens. Hotels use a shocking 219 gallons of water annually, which is comparable to the volume of water used by a person taking a non-stop shower for 277 years! Speaking of showers, many hotels advise guests to cut shower time by just a few minutes to save energy, but we’ll save that for the next blog when we talk about how guests influence environmental impact!


Overall, green hotels reduce energy usage by about 10 percent per year. Like dieting, the key to energy efficiency’s success often lies in finding “simple swaps.” If hoteliers could break down energy conservation into digestible, easily applicable steps, the overall effect would have a hugely positive impact on the environment. For example, even small thermostat changes could add up over time. Think of it this way: If all hotels went green, there would be enough water to fuel the cities of San Francisco and Orlando! Sometimes, making a difference can be as practical as providing environmental knowledge to staff, switching to greener energy measures, and considering small changes for large scale benefits.

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