In the initial stages of hotels going green it was enough for them to communicate "if it's okay with you, we aren't going to wash your sheets and towels everyday." Circa 10-15 years ago, they may have also put a brick in the toilet to conserve water! Times have changed, but one thing's for sure, hotels going from green to greener is a trend that's not going away. Green has morphed from a nice to have to a full-blown expectation with guests leaving perturbed if basic green initiatives (different for everyone) aren't followed.
An Accidental Green Topic Discussing all things hotel with one hotel executive recently, not surprisingly, the topic of green came up. She mentioned how any reference to green has to be well-documented because potential guests are seeking out these properties and following up on the claims before they book! Further to this, if some eco-lovers see a few green claims, they take it a step further and ask about a host of sometimes-obscure items, like if the mattresses have green composition.
FrontRunners Now, hotel chains and boutiques are competing for green status and accolades just like they are for star and diamond ratings. Some frontrunners include: Accor including its Motel 6 brand, Fairmont and Bayan Tree. Interestingly, within these groups there's even some friendly competition to out-green one another.
What Does Green Mean at Hotels? Aside from not washing linens daily, here are some of the ways hotels have been greenifying themselves:
- recycling (even though this one sounds obvious, it's incredible how many hotels don't yet even offer this service)
- green roofs
- honeybee programs
- herb and veggie gardens
- solar panels
- geothermal heating/cooling systems
- low-flow toilets and showers
- low voc paint
- motion-sensor lights and thermostats
- food-waste composting
- free valet for hybrid vehicles
- free bike use to encourage cycling vs driving
- doing away with plastic water bottles
- installing reusable dispensers vs countless packaged hotel toiletries
- landscaping with native plants requiring less water and care
Are hotels' green initiatives important to you?
- LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the grand-daddy of all certifications sparingly handed out by the U.S. Green Building Council and Canadian Green Building Council. LEED certification indicates a building has been designed and constructed to meet standards in energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, and stewardship of resources.
- The Hotel Association of Canada's Green Key Program (affiliated with the global eco-rating program)
- Perform a green hotel travel search using Travelocity.
Related Content Want more travel trends? Check out our other Travel Trend posts published the second, third and fourth Thursday of every month.
[photo by pnwra]