SYDNEY, March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- HotelsCombined.com, the world leader in hotel price comparison, today announced the most innovative ways that hotels strive to achieve a positive impact on the environment, culture and local economy. Green hotels come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges, and can be found almost anywhere, from the streets of San Francisco to exotic island hideaways. With the number of ecofriendly options on the rise, why not reduce your footprint and "go green" on your next trip!
James Ferguson, who heads up the HotelsCombined.com Green Hotels and Responsible Tourism Initiative, commented, "It has been estimated that seventy-five percent of environmental impact that hotels have on the environment, can be directly related to excessive consumption. It is due to this waste and inefficiency that '"green'" hotels are rapidly gaining popularity. More and more properties are choosing to reduce their environmental footprint by performing upgrades to reduce energy and water consumption, recycling, composting food, buying from local food producers, and being less wasteful."
Several hotels around the world have implemented creative cost saving initiatives to reduce their impact on the environment. The following are best practice examples from various hotels of differing sizes, ownership and location.
- Energy – Hotels generally use more energy per visitor than local residents, as they have energy intense facilities, such as bars, restaurants, and pools, and have more spacious rooms. Excessive energy use is extremely costly however by installing energy-efficient technologies such as appliances, lighting and heating/cooling systems, hotels can produce cost savings on their monthly utilities bills. The Crowne Plaza Towers Copenhagen has taken efficient energy production to the next level by installing electricity producing bicycles in its gym giving guests the chance to help power the hotel. In return, guests producing 10 watt hours of electricity or more are given a locally produced complimentary meal encouraging guests to not only get fit but also reduce their carbon footprint and save electricity and money. And the Willard Intercontinental Hotel Washington D.C. is now running on 100% wind energy power resulting in a 12% decline in energy consumption over the past five years. The hotel also offers hybrid cars to their guests.
- Water – Water conservation is necessary in all areas of the world. Several hotels have implemented water saving initiatives for example, the Maho Bay Camps Saint John utilizes low flush composting toilets, spring action faucets and showers, rain water catchments and solar heated water to conserve natural resources and minimize the footprint that the hotel and visitors leave on the island. And at Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay, there's no need for imported bottle water here as the property mineralizes their own water on site then donates 50% of their water revenue to global clean water charity programs.
- Waste – Approximately 30% of waste in hotels can be diverted through reuse and recycling. The Westin St Francis Hotel San Francisco introduced a recycling program that promotes the recycling of 22 tons of materials and a savings of $6000 annually. And the New York City Palace Hotel donates up to 500 pounds of gently-used soap and guest-room amenities per month to Clean the World, where the soaps are sanitized and then provided to homeless shelters and impoverished individuals in 30 countries around the world.
- Food Choices – As the consumer demand for better food choices continues to increase, hotels are catering to guest preferences. For example the Orchard Garden Hotel San Francisco, uses organic produce, sustainable seafood, naturally raised meats and when deciding what to eat guests will be looking down at a recycled paper menu with soy-based ink. At the Damai Lovina Villas Bali, the restaurant sources 80% of its ingredients from its own organic garden and local farms. By practicing sustainable farming, such as using permaculture to reduce water consumption and increasing crop health, and composting in lieu of using chemical fertilizers, the farm was able to reduce crop production costs by 90% and increase crop production by 20%. And the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel Vancouver shares its 2,100-square-foot herb garden with 500,000 honeybees on the hotel's third-floor terrace. Since introduced, the bees have since increased the productivity of the herb garden with pollination, as well as inspired creative new dishes on the lunch, dinner and cocktails menus.
- Social Responsibility – Social responsibility, such as becoming involved in your local community or the community at large, benefits the organization in a number of ways. Accor Hotels has an Earth Guest Policy which focuses on the local development, child protection, fight against epidemics, and food elements of social responsibility. And the Heritance Kandalama Hotel Dambulla, situated within Sri Lanka, actively supports the community of basic resources by investing funds to provide access to electricity over 750 families, access to safe drinking water to over 600 families and built 6.5km of road access to the village for common public use. This has created tremendous impact in boosting basic services and economic activity in the village. Even the Savoy Hotel London has partnered with the charity Thames 21 to look after the stretch of the River Thames in front of the property.
- Conservation – Several hotels have been doing their part to conserve the natural environment and protect species. The Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts consider corporate conservation a core part of its business. The company has developed environmental programs in the Maldives and Seychelles for marine conservation, in Phuket for gibbon rehabilitation, and in Bangkok for elephant protection. Sarova Hotels throughout Kenya and East Africa has a sweeping ecological policy, wherein all guests are encouraged to plant an Acacia or Commiphora tree in the Taita Wildlife Sanctuary during their visit. And the Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa Daintree, set in the world's oldest rainforest protects and preserves the property's natural environments (rainforest, river systems and mangroves), biodiversity, ecosystems and the rich Aboriginal cultural heritage.
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