A green hotel is an environmentally friendly hotel geared toward minimizing its negative impact on the earth and environment while still providing guests with the best services possible. Large and small measures are taken to save water, lower electricity usage, and recycle. Most of the ways in which the hotel goes green are behind the scenes, but sometimes a green hotel needs to rely on the help of the guests as well.
To save on water, many green hotels install features in each room that lower the water consumption of guests without having them do anything differently. Low-flow showerheads and aerators decrease the amount of water used in each shower without shortening the duration, while low-flow toilets use less water per flush than regular toilets. Linen cards give guests the option to reuse their towels if they are staying more than one night, reducing the amount of laundry the hotel has to do. Hotel restaurants are a major consumer of water, and serving guests water only on request, updating dishwashers, and simply telling the staff not to let water run continuously can drastically cut back on water consumption.
Green hotels often feature energy-saving devices such as fluorescent light bulbs, motion sensors for public areas, and heating units that turn off when a room is unoccupied. Some green hotels go so far as to install recycling units for gray water, reusing water that is run through sinks. Others use solar panels for energy generation or heating, and some even collect used oils from their kitchens to donate to local biodiesel vehicles.
Waste management is an important part of the mission of a green hotel. Many start recycling programs to cut down on items that are dumped in landfills, while some request their vendors deliver products in minimal containers and wrapping. Guests may find recycling bins in their rooms alongside garbage cans.
A green hotel relies on vendors as well as guests to help cut its environmental footprint. Environmental agencies have approved lists of vendors for products from soaps and coffee to laundry equipment and even electric vehicles for taxi services. Some vendors supply the hotels with one-time updates, but implementing strategies and hiring companies that help keep the efficiency continuously high is crucial.
Going green not only has less of an impact on the environment, but cost savings go right back to the hotel. After recovering the costs of the initial investments, a green hotel often finds that lowering the water and electricity usage lowers the bills as well. With the help of guests, these hotels can also lower the amount of garbage put in landfills and turn much of the trash over to recycling centers.