In many ways, the hotel industry is leading the way in sustainability. And, why not? The economics are too overwhelming to ignore.
In an article in the Howard County Times, Judy Colbert provides a fascinating summary of what hotels are doing to get more sustainable and more profitable.
“The American Hotel and Lodging Association figures a 300-room hotel can save nearly $36,000 a year by using digital thermostats in guest rooms and throughout the hotel; $17,000 by using compact fluorescent lamps instead of incandescent bulbs; and $35,000 in water savings by using 2.5 gallons per minute (or less) shower heads in guest rooms and employee shower areas. Kurt Krause, general manager of the National Conference Center, Lansdowne, Va., reports that the Green Seal people estimate that the average hotel purchases more products in one week than 100 families will purchase in a year.”
She also cites some incredibly innovative ideas being tried at hotels throughout the country:
• The Fairmont Washington has rooftop beehives for 105,000 Italian honey bees that will produce 300 pounds of honey per year for use by the hotel’s restaurant staff.
• The Fairfield Inn and Suites, in Baltimore, where the Baltimore Brewery once stood, an old grain silo captures water for the hotel’s landscaping. The system is solar and wind powered.
• Many hotels are replacing mini soap bars and shampoo bottles with dispensers. It’s estimated that hotels throw out more than 10 billion partially-used toiletries each year.
So, if you’re looking for economically-driven ways to make commercial real estate more sustainable, just take a vacation. Then, after you check into your hotel, keep your eyes open and take notes.