Sunday, November 3, 2013
Green Travel - What Hotels Are Doing to Go Green
Perhaps you have already started to "go green" at home. If so, you undoubtedly understand the importance of conserving resources and reducing the amount of waste that you generate.As someone who is working to establish a green lifestyle, you will have already taken some steps to improve the energy efficiency of your home.All your old light bulbs have been replaced with CFLs (and of course, you know that CFL stands for compact fluorescent lights). You now use less water than you did before, taking shorter showers and washing your clothes in cold or lukewarm water, thereby lowering your water bill and the cost of energy for heating water.I am willing to bet that you no longer buy as much bottled water, and the plastic bottles that you have go into the recycling bin, rather than going into the trash. You might even be driving a hybrid automobile, saving on gas.This green lifestyle you have created works well when you are at home. But what about when you travel? Can you maintain a semblance of a green lifestyle when you are away from home?Thanks to efforts made by companies in the travel industry, the answer if a resounding "yes." Front and center in the movement to improve the greenness of travel are the hotel companies.At many hotels, the companies, their employees, and even the guests work together to conserve power and resources and reduce waste.Here is what you can expect at most major hotel chains today.Most hotels have an advanced energy management system that allows for efficient programming of heating, cooling and air handling in the rooms and common areas. Lighting in public areas is also programmed to dim or go off in unoccupied areas and during times when few people are around. In the guest rooms, occupancy sensors allow for power to be shut off when guests are away. Some hotels even use the key cards to activate the temperature control and lighting in the rooms. When the key card is removed as you leave the room, power will be shut off automatically.Of course, most lighting uses CFLs or newer light emitting diodes (LEDs) inside and out, including in parking structures, for big savings of electricity.To conserve fresh water, hotels now routinely offer guests the option to reuse towels and bed linens for multiple night stays. In addition, low flow showerheads have been installed in most bathrooms. In the public bathrooms, motion-sensing faucets and flush sensors on the toilets are the norm. Automated tissue dispensers are also increasingly common in public bathrooms.To further conserve resources, virtually all hotels today have extensive recycling programs. Paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum cans and glass are all recycled. In restaurants, food sharing and composting programs are in place to limit food waste.Even the containers for "to-go" food items are often compostable.Nowadays, staying in a hotel does not stop you from living the green lifestyle that you are accustomed to at home. By establishing programs to "Go Green" hotels work with their guests to reduce, recycle, and reuse, conserving resources and saving energy and water.