What can be done to reduce the carbon footprint of your hotel?

To complement our own carbon offsetting initiative with Climate Care we actively endorse hotels, B&B's and guesthouses that operate sustainable environmental programmes that promote and encourage energy conservation, recycling, waste management and community outreach.

The hospitality industry is extremely energy intensive accounting for 1% of the total end use energy in the United Kingdom which in turn results in the releasing of huge amounts of damaging greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere. The simple economics of rising utility bills are of a major concern to hoteliers large and small and are forcing them to look at ways to reduce energy costs and become more environmentally friendly. The argument for a planed well thought environmental policy becomes even more persuasive with research published recently that points out that the mindset of consumers is changing, price and quality will always be a major consideration when making a choice of accommodation, however many are becoming environmentally aware and will given the choice opt for accommodation that not only provides value and service but is actively seen to be reducing environmental damage.

The challenge facing hoteliers is how best to implement measures to improve energy efficiency and reduce utility bills well still maintaining high levels of customer service and comfort. Many of the measures required to reduce energy consumption do require some customer cooperation, however it is entirely possible to reduce energy by up to 20% without any negative effect to the service you provide to the customer.

Many if not most of the measures can be implemented by any establishment from the smallest bed and breakfast to the largest hotel.

Use fluorescent light bulbs
In each guest room positive steps can be taken by asking guests to reuse towels as they would at home, place a recycling bins in each guestrooms so they can easily recycle their waste such as papers, cans and plastic bottles again something we all do at home. Place information on public transport in each guest room, switch to compact florescent lighting and place a polite notice at the door asking guests to switch off all lights, electrical appliances and air conditioning before they leave the room. The common theme with all the above is that they require guest cooperation and relatively inexpensive to put into place.

To further improve the environmental standing of your guest rooms look at installing low-flow shower heads, lo-flow aerators and low flow toilet tank diverters in the bathroom which help to conserve water (in some cases 30% reduction in water consumption) and reduce water bills without having any detrimental effect to the customer. Complimentary toiletries should were possible be environmentally friendly with all packaging sourced from recycled products and also recyclable themselves. Cleaning products used in the bathroom should be non toxic, biodegradable and not be from aerosol cans. In the bedroom itself programmable thermostats can massively reduce energy consumption by simple setting the thermostat a degree cooler in winter. In the summer months displacement air conditioning systems which operate by circulating cool air at ground level which slowly rises to the cool the room are far less energy intensive than the more traditional window air condition unit. Significant energy savings can be made by replacing regular bulbs when they go with compact fluorescent light bulbs which, with each bulb you replace you will save a total of 68kg of CO2 per year.

recycle bins in all public places
The reception area of your hotel should not be overlooked when implementing environmentally friendly measures. A guest will get a general feel of an establishment in the reception area, the staff, decor and services are all vitally important in proving the right first impression, this is also true when it comes to environmental measures. Take steps to ensure recycling bins are available and clearly labelled, try were possible to furnish your reception with furnishings which are from recycled products or sustainable sourced, use compact fluorescent lighting to create a welcoming ambiance and save energy and look into reducing paper use as manufacture of paper is highly energy intensive were paper is used ensure it is from recycled products.

The steps outlined above do require a determination on behalf of management and the guests to make a difference, however all the measures described above are good for business and the planet what more incentive can there be.

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