What is a “Green Hotel”?

“Thinking Green” is something that we hear a lot nowadays — with carbon emissions becoming a serious issue it’s no wonder people are concerned with making a change. With this shift in attitude towards efficient, environmentally-friendly practices more and more people are making an effort to support businesses that make “thinking green” a priority.This mindset of ‘protecting the earth’ is spurring change in how many businesses operate, and the hotel and the leisure industry are no exception. In the hospitality industry this change can be seen in the form of “Green Hotels” — certifications, recycling programs, and other standards have risen in the past decade with the hope of attracting the eco-minded tourist or traveling business person.

So how does one know that their hotel is “Green”?

There are several certification organizations that oversee environmental practices and award certifications:

Green Key Global awards up to five “Green Keys” based on a 140-question audit on environmental compliance, and even offers guidance in switching to green for reduce operating costs and a lower eco-impact.

Energy Star is a well-known brand that covers 13 types of of commercial buildings and has recently joined the hospitality industry to help their businesses meet energy efficient standards that are expected today. They measure a building’s energy performance on a 100-point scale and award an “Energy Star” label to showcase a company’s dedication to energy-efficiency. Buildings with this label use “almost 40 percent less energy than average buildings, and emit 35 percent less carbon”.

Green Seal is another science-based certification which has serviced the lodging industry since 1995. To qualify for the green seal a hotel must be evaluated for their efforts in:
• Waste minimization, reuse and recycling
• Energy efficiency, conservation and management
• Management of fresh water resources
• Waste water management
• Hazardous substances management
• Environmentally sensitive purchasing

Green Hotels” is an association that connects green-minded hotels together in order to help “save water, save energy and reduce solid waste—while saving money—to help PROTECT OUR ONE AND ONLY EARTH!”. Organizations joining this group have access to guides and techniques to reduce hotel operating costs such as towel rack hangers and sheet changing cards — something you might have seen if you have stayed at a hotel recently.

Being green is more than just a badge or a sheet of paper hanging in an office — it means taking steps to reduce the impact a business has on the environment; this doesn’t automatically mean spending more money, and in some cases thinking green can dramatically reduce operational costs — planning ahead and leveraging technology can even improve an experience for guests! Installing heated towel racks for guests to hang their used towels is one example where thinking green has multiple benefits: Laundry loads are reduced by not having to wash towels daily, as well as allowing the lodgers the luxury of having a warm towel on demand, all while promoting the fact that the hotel is a forward-thinking “Green” machine! Green-thinking tourists will appreciate the comfort and luxury of their stay, while having peace of mind that they are supporting a company doing their best to promote efficiency. Everyone wins!