Hotels try sustainable strategies
From Alaska to Florida and 43 states in between, hotels are turning green. The Green Hotels Association — now with 375 members — is on track to double its roster this year as property managers commit to saving energy, conserving water and reducing solid waste.
Formed in 1993 by Patricia Griffin, the association began with a simple card encouraging guests to leave clean towels hanging and toss soiled towels on the floor for laundering.
"Hotels don't want to come across as cheap, so they order our cards to make the point," she says.
Chains such as Best Western and Holiday Inn are also installing low-flow water fixtures, compact fluorescent light bulbs and asking guests to turn off lights when they leave their rooms in order to save the environment. Some states have their own green hotel requirements. In Virginia, certified green lodging partners must offer optional linen service and recycling bins for guest rooms.
The Proximity Hotel and Print Works Bistro in Greensboro, N.C., has registered for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, and hopes to earn a platinum rating this month from the U.S. Green Building Council. Featuring solar panels on the roof to heat water, the 120,000-square-foot building uses 41 percent less energy than a comparable hotel.
"We want [our customers] to know we're a luxury hotel," says Proximity's chief designer and CEO Dennis Quaintance. "Green doesn't have to be ugly, and it doesn't have to be in your face. I hope what we've done here is commonplace tomorrow."