By Elliot Rieth
In today’s modern age of increased eco-consciousness and sustainability, hotels have joined the wave of environmentally conscious practices.
According to a case study conducted by Impact Energy, an independent environmental consulting company, hotels spend an average of $2,196 per room on energy each year. This represents approximately six percent of hotel operating costs as a whole.
With costs like this, it very literally pays for hotels to be environmentally innovative.
More hotels are becoming LEED certified for efforts such as environmentally effective designs or compostable and renewable in-room products. And the hospitality industry is constantly evolving to stay at the forefront of the environmentalist movement.
Whether increasing recycling or building to be a part of the surrounding nature, there are a few environmentally conscious hotels that stand out as leaders in terms of eco-friendliness.
Camp Glenorchy, New Zealand – A Sustainable Eco-Retreat
Located between the Humboldt and Richardson mountain range, Camp Glenorchy is a sustainable “eco-retreat”. It boasts non-toxic construction materials, native plantings, and collaborations with native artisans.
Designed to align with the principles of the Living Building Challenge, Camp Glenorchy has spent the past two years working to achieve the highest standard in connection with nature and environmental equity.
Camp Glenorchy has committed itself to use 50 per cent less water and energy through:
- the use of solar panels,
- smart lighting,
- high-efficiency water, and
- energy management systems.
Through these methods, they are also able to produce 105 per cent of the energy they use over a year.
The retreat doesn’t just strive to be environmentally conscious. They also use their profits to benefit the Glenorchy Community Trust, furthering the values and vision of the community.
Proximity Hotel, Greensboro, North Carolina – An American First in Sustainability
Voted the number one eco-friendly hotel of 2019 by TripSavvy, Proximity Hotel is the first hotel in America to achieve LEED Platinum status. They did so primarily by adhering the design and construction of their facility to the LEED Green Building Rating System.
With features such as a rooftop that houses 100 solar panels over 4,000 square feet, Proximity prides itself on being at the forefront of environmentally conscious businesses.
Truly every inch of Proximity is eco-friendly. The building itself was made using recycled materials, with 87 percent of construction waste being recycled even after construction was complete.
Other green features include:
- High-efficiency Kohler plumbing systems
- Geothermal powered refrigeration, and the
- Regenerative Drive Otis Gen2 elevator
A first-of-its-kind, the Regenerative Drive Otis Gen2 elevator reduces net energy usage by redirecting the system’s excess energy back into the hotel’s power grid.
Beyond energy standards and widespread waste reduction, Proximity, much like many other “green hotels”, sources its materials from regional vendors and artisans. This not only provides its local community with an economic boost but also reduces pollution caused by transportation and packaging.
Blue Waters Resort & Spa, Antigua – Plastic Waste Reduction
The sustainability practices of environmentally conscious hotels extend to Antigua and Blue Waters Resort & Spa. Here, their main environmental sustainability goal is the reduction of plastic waste.
Located on the Caribbean island of Antigua, it is easy to see why the protection of the crystal blue waters surrounding the island is an important mission to this hotel.
Blue Waters is making waves with plastic reduction by changing single-use plastic habits and partnering with sustainability inclined companies. Upon arrival, guests receive a BPA-free water bottle for use during their stay. Guests are encouraged to use the bottle in place of single-use plastic bottles. Staff are trained to educate guests on the dangers of single-use plastic should the opportunity arise.
The bottle can then be taken home as a gift and reminder of the memories and message that Blue Waters provides.
Blue Waters has partnered with hotel product provider Neem Avenue to reduce the use of single-use plastics for in-room amenities. Neem Avenue operates from the Caribbean and focuses on providing clean, environmentally, and biologically healthy beauty products to hotels.
According to their website, Neem Avenue products come in larger, refillable bottles. This allows hotels to eliminate the annual waste caused by nearly 115,000 single-use plastic bottles. They stand apart by creating a product that is not only good for the earth but good for the user. They do so by removing all harmful chemicals, byproducts, and allergens from their work.
Environmental Sustainability – Going Green, One Step at a Time
Not all hotels can achieve this level of environmentalism, but that does not mean that the modern hotel can’t take steps to reduce their carbon footprint whether it is increasing their level of recycling, or sourcing materials that are local and biodegradable. When it comes to helping the earth, every little step counts.
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