Reducing Your Hotel's Carbon Footprint: ​ Sustainable Practices for Hotel Owners

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Hotel renovation cycles offer a great opportunity to reduce a hotel’s carbon footprint through sustainable best practices.

The potential options are numerous and varied, from construction methods, to renewable energy, to products and materials, to guest amenities. With thoughtful strategies and proper execution, hotel owners can adopt green initiatives and realize significant benefits for the environment, building performance, guest experience, and overall asset value.

Renewable Resources

Renewable energy and other renewable resources can offset a hotel’s environmental impact, lower operating costs, and attract guests seeking eco-friendly accommodations. Solar and wind are two of the most popular energy options. Solar panels are relatively easy to install and maintain, and a great way to generate electricity. While many people associate wind turbines with large rural or offshore wind farms, urban properties have installed rooftop turbine systems. These systems can account for a significant portion of a property’s energy needs.

Green building technologies, like rainwater collection and green roofs, offer additional creative ways to reduce environmental impacts. Rainwater harvesting helps to conserve water and reduce runoff. Hotels can use stored rainwater for various non-potable needs, such as flushing toilets, charging fire suppression systems, and landscape irrigation. Green roofs use soil and vegetation to insulate rooftops. By reflecting more incoming sunlight than traditional darker roofs, they can reduce rooftop heat loads and control cooling needs. They also create potential for unique rooftop guest amenities.

Sustainable Construction

During renovation projects, design, procurement, and construction each offer opportunities for sustainable best practices. When cross-disciplinary teams collaborate, they can uncover unique environmental opportunities. For example:

1. Design and procurement can select and source sustainable materials that are aesthetically suitable and readily available;

2. Design can use durable materials that might be reusable during future renovations and construction can install them using mechanical fasteners in place of adhesives, facilitating recovery and reuse during future renovations.

3. Design can identify options to reuse select materials, enabling construction logistics to divert waste from landfills.

Eco-Friendly Products and Materials

Beyond the building structure, hotels can incorporate eco-friendly products into operations. Examples include biodegradable and/or recyclable toiletries, linens, and other guest room amenities. Introducing environmentally friendly cleaning products is an easy way to reduce the use of harsh chemicals and help protect local waterways and ecosystems.

Green Transportation

As location allows, hotels can take advantage of existing urban infrastructure, encouraging guest use of public transit, shared bicycle systems, pedestrian paths, ride-sharing services, and more by providing information about available local transportation amenities. Some hotels have installed electric vehicle charging stations. Many offer shuttles.

Green Certifications

Increasingly, hotels are seeking certifications such as LEED or Green Seal to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Green certifications can assist a hotel in reducing its carbon footprint, by placing increased focus on the initiative, and connecting staff with resources to help the hotel “go-green”. For example, LEED certification includes benchmarks that assess building sustainability, taking into account energy efficiency, water conservation, air quality, and more. Hotels that pursue this certification often employ new green initiatives to obtain it. Renovations offer opportunities for environmental retrofitting for things like efficient lighting, insulation, and heating systems which will help reduce their energy consumption in the long run. Green certifications are an excellent way to appeal to guests who are seeking environmentally friendly travel options.

Are you interested in increasing sustainability and decreasing your hotel’s environmental footprint? Innspace understands the complexities of hotel renovation. Our holistic approach can help identify the green initiatives that make the most sense for your asset and for your guests. With our strategic planning process, you’ll be able to prioritize your options and realize net benefits for your hotel, your guests, your portfolio, and the environment.

Contact us today and let’s strategize a more sustainable future for your hotel.