What is a green hotel?

Consumer demand for greener more environmental friendly products is growing at a relentless pace driven in no more small part by indisputable evidence that climate change is the biggest threat the world faces. Hotels are extremely energy intensive , create mountains of waste and use astronomical amounts of water, the challenge is to find ways that save energy and water as well as improving recycling and reducing waste without impacting on the service provided to guests.

So what makes a green hotel? There is no perfect formula; no set rules however a number of initiatives have become common place amongst hotels looking to reduce their carbon footprint. A hotel that hopes to be more eco friendly should look at replacing standard light bulbs with low energy bulbs in all rooms. Guest bedrooms should have low energy lighting, energy rated electrical appliances, washable glasses (no plastic bottles) in the bathrooms low flow showerheads and aerators on all taps should be standard, complimentary toiletries kept to a minimum and recycled toilet paper should be used. The hotel menus should be based around local produce that is in season with coffee and tea from sustainable sources.

Guests should be politely asked to reuse towels if possible, switch of lights, not leave electrical appliances on standby and participate in any hotel recycling initiative. Staff should be knowledgeable about the local area in particularly public transport in doing so encouraging guests not use their cars.

The suggestions above do not define what is a green hotel, they simply act as guide and are just a few of 100’s of initiatives currently undertaken by hotels across the UK. Hotels that go green will achieve a profitable return on their investment while demonstrating an environmental and social sound commitment.

16 Nov 09
Anne G
I take the statement “eco friendly hotel” with a pinch of salt, it seems to me very much in vogue to put the word eco before your business name, the questions I ask myself as a consumer is a hotel green or green washing itself for marketing purposes. I very much want to stay in hotels that take their responsibility to the environment seriously however with no one recognized rating system I think it’s important that hotels tell us what they are doing to reduce the environmental impact of their business, I also think it’s important that they pass on any savings they make to the consumer if the steps they take require customer participation. I want to see hotels going further than asking us to reuse our towels or switch the lights of when we leave the room. I am aware of a hotel for example which has implemented a campaign to turn kitchen grease into biodiesel and another that supplies guests with two reusable bottles which they can fill up with water. Innovation is the key to tackling climate change Hotels that go the extra mile will benefit by receiving my custom and many more like me.

24 Sep 09
I think we have to be careful with the definition ‘Green Hotel’ so many companies are jumping on the green bandwagon and see the obvious PR benefits in claiming to be green. Hotels are no exception and while many are making genuine attempts to reduce carbon emissions others make very superficial changes that make no difference what’s so ever. As your article points out the economic sense in going green has been proven however you fail to mention a number of surveys conducted in the UK and USA that show that a consumer will choose an eco friendly hotel if price, location and service are all equal in addition 10% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for eco friendly hotel accommodation. I think consumers in the future will expect a hotel to be eco friendly and those that are not will struggle to survive.

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