Travel can be a life changing experience for many. A passageway into a new world. Some people travel only to get from point A to Point B. Others travel because they have to, some travel to escape war, famine, and poverty and some people travel to escape, to see what our amazing world has to offer and to explore something utterly different. Whatever your reason for traveling; our world is a glorious and awe inspiring place. Filled with many cultures, languages, climates, plants, animals and people. The one thing we all have in common is our world and we all need to do our part in protecting it. In 2014 over 1.1 billion people traveled as tourists around the world according to the World Tourism Association. That is 1/6th of our world population. With the majority of these people staying in hotels it is evermore important that we are responsible tourists.
Why Picking a Green Hotel Matters
The Tourism industry contributes to 9% of the global GDP and 8% of world employment with over 250 million jobs. It is also one of the biggest polluters in the world for greenhouse gas emissions.With that in mind they are a huge influence in the lives of not only their employees but the guests that pass through them. When hotels make sustainability a key focus not only do the help the environment but they improve the lives of the people in their communities and the experiences of their guests. From choosing renewable and local building products to buying earth friendly cleaning products there are hundreds ways for hotels to make a difference. Green Certified hotels have passed stringent guidelines about their water management, waste management, energy consumption, food and beverage management, staff training, heating and cooling systems and several other categories pertaining to buildings, staff and resource consumption and disposal.
Hotels have a moral and a commercial need for conserving water. Water can account for more than 10% of a hotels utility bills as they often end up paying for both clean potable water and the price of disposing of it as wastewater. However, most hotels can save up to 50% on their water usage by changing certain policies and monitoring their water usage. Many global hotel brands are enacting big changes in their business models to do just that.
We are seeing more and more hotels around the world installing their own grey water treatment plants, enacting consumer involved towel and linen reuse programs, planting native plants and filing pools with salt water instead of chlorinated fresh water.
Did you know that commercial buildings are responsible for almost 40% of energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions? So when hotels around the world start reducing their consumption it can make a huge difference. Green hotels often have their own in house renewable energy or buy from renewable sources when available. Installing in room occupancy controls that turn the power off when unoccupied can save thousands of kilowatt hours. Hotels are also maintaining a standardized room thermostat temperature which saves energy and heating costs.
Trash is a huge problem not just in the tourism industry but worldwide. It affects every living creature on this planet and the improper disposal of things can kill things big and small not to mention make a big mess. Reducing the amount of waste that is produced is hugely important especially in places were waste disposal is more difficult. Many hotels are working hard to not only reduce their waste but to reuse, recycle and create new energy out of what we throw away.
Food waste accounts for the majority of waste at hotels and properties with on site food preparation, so many hotels have teamed up with local organizations to make sure this excess doesn’t go to waste. Other properties donate their used bedding, furniture and electronics or make sure that it is properly recycled. Recycling of papers, plastics and other materials is also growing worldwide. Plastic is one of the biggest polluters worldwide, killing countless birds, fish and wildlife every year.
Green Hotels not only track and monitor their waste but they implement ways to recycle, reduce and eliminate the waste they create. By implementing community driven recycling and reuse programs, composting, purchasing green products and informing guests of their initiatives, most green certified hotels produce 30% or more less waste than their counterparts.
Hotels can be a great blessing to the communities they are built in, they can also be greatly hurtful when they don’t protect the animals, environment or the people nearby.Green certified hotels try to make a difference not only in their resource management but in the lives of the people and animals that surround them. Some hotels put portions of thier sales into buying clean water for schools, or planting trees and crops. Others buy and source food locally, buy local crafts for their rooms and lobbies and put money into conservation work for local plant and animal species.
Globally there are more than 30,000 green certified hotels and ever growing. They are forging a new standard for hoteliers around the globe with their innovative ideas on building, water usage, waste planning and management. Picking a green hotel will not only help the world but it will help you become a socially responsible tourist.
Read more about our certifications.