Sustainability signs are popping up in hotels all over the country. You know the one — it’s the inevitable note from your hotel telling you about its green program and asking you to consider reusing your towels. That, however, is just the beginning. More hotels are incorporating other green aspects into their sustainability programs in an effort to use fewer resources. “While they’re not a major polluter, hotels do consume a significant amount of resources,” said Arthur Weissman, president of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. However, all hotels proceed cautiously when embarking on green missions.
According to Brian McGuinness, senior vice president of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, research shows that guests do care about going green as long as their overall experience isn’t compromised. “We’ll recycle, but we don’t expect guests to take their green bin downstairs. They want to save water, but they don’t want that shower head from high-school gym with a weak spray. We need to find a balance.”
Whether you find yourself on a business trip in North Carolina or in Las Vegas enjoying a Sin City weekend, here’s a list of the five best hotels offering you stylish sustainability.
Believe it or not, Las Vegas hotels have enthusiastically jumped on board with the sustainability trend. Las Vegas Sands has been deemed as an “eco-pioneer” of sustainability. According to Nicholas Rumanes, the Sands Corp.’s president of development, “we realized that we have such an ability to make a difference in the environment because of our sheer volume and buying power.” The company focuses on using less water, electricity and utilizes the largest solar thermal system in the U.S.
The Benefit: According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the company’s sustainable goals save nearly 100 million gallons of drinkable water per year, have saved enough electricity to power more than 6,500 average American homes annually, and recycle 55 percent of daily trash and 75 percent of food waste.
Another Vegas occupant, the Palazzo, which is also owned by the LVSC, has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver award. It includes a revolutionary water-recycling project, minimal use of energy and has been labeled as one of the “top ten eco-friendly, yet stylish hotels in America,” according to a hotels.com poll. The hotel has installed special sensors to automatically adjust the temperature in each room to a comfortable level according to guest occupancy. Rooms also include master light switches making it easy for guests to remember to switch off the lights before leaving.
The Benefit: “Savvy travelers are seeking accommodations where they can have a comfortable stay while conserving the Earth’s valuable resources,” says Taylor L. Cole, APR, travel expert for Hotels.com. The hotel reuses all waste energy and is even self-sustaining in certain sections, greatly reducing its environmental impact.
This hotel in North Carolina has won a gold LEED award. It has an extensive roof garden, which boasts two fully contained bee hives that include 60,000 honeybees.
The Benefit: The energy-conserving roof is home to a chef’s herb garden, 18,000 plants and the two beehives, which will assist in pollination and provide all-natural honey for the hotel. Approximately 70 pounds of chemical-free raw honey are expected to be generated by each hive in a year.
Kimpton has pioneered several ways to help reduce the impact of its hotels and restaurants, while ensuring a high-quality experience for you. The company has several procedures in place to keep the hotel using as few resources as possible. Here are a few.
Paper: All hotel in-room materials and bills are printed on recycled paper, centralized printers are set to double-sided default printing and there is a phone book-by-request policy.
Water: The hotel has implemented water-efficient shower heads, faucets, and toilets.
Energy: A focus on energy savings has resulted in the implementation of energy efficient T8 and/or T5 fluorescent lighting in back-of-house areas, motion sensors in low occupancy storage areas and implementation of LED lights on all exit signs.
The Benefit: Lighting is the second largest energy expenditure in a hotel. With Kimpton hotels’ focus on reducing lighting and energy costs, it’s helping to cut down on a major resource. According to the Florida Power & Light Company, interior lighting accounts for 19 percent of electric usage in hotels and exterior lighting accounts for 4 percent.
Programs at Loews Hotels include guest room recycling, water-reduction efforts, environmentally friendly cleaning products, minimal lights left on in guest rooms during evening turndown service, room light sensors and ice water by request only.
The Benefit: Cooling, lighting, water heating/cooking/refrigeration and ventilation account for 85 percent of total electric usage in hotels and motels. Reducing electricity consumption in these equipment areas represents considerable energy and cost savings.
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