Green Means Green: A 90 Day Process to a Money Generating Eco-makeover
By Jeff Slye Senior Consultant, Five Winds International | August 10, 2010
However, many hotels when presented with the operational aspect of going green face some perceptional challenges. The reality is that these challenges are misperceptions and hotels can tap into this market without much effort. Furthermore, these steps have real positive benefits to the environment and can demonstrate a hotel's commitment to reduce their ecological footprint on the planet.
This approach and these steps are based on the understanding that most hoteliers and hotel management companies were not 'born green,' meaning they didn't start their businesses and hotels with being green in mind. However, we have now seen from hotel groups like Kimpton Hotels and Fairmont Hotels that it is completely viable to incorporate environmental awareness and practices into traditional business models and still continue to provide high quality hospitality experiences. This approach to becoming green creates a much different context for 'eco-friendly,' than those 'born green' businesses such as a Costa-Rican eco-lodge and companies like Clif Bar or Organic Valley.
Quick and easy steps that can make a big difference and put your hotel on the path of being environmentally responsible.
STEP 1 - Use non-toxic cleaners
It is important to recognize that there is a myth going around that non-toxic means it will cost more money. That is not the case. Non-toxic cleaning companies are anxious to be part of this greater environmental movement within the hospitality industry and will work with hotels in creating deals that work for all parties. In fact, several of my clients, such as the Villa Florence in San Francisco and the Hotel Monaco in Seattle, actually saved money through this process. Not to mention the environmental impact of diverting toxic liquids from our rivers, lakes, seas, and water supplies. In only 3 months, Kimpton Hotels' non-toxic program diverted over 10,828 gallons, the equivalent of 208 bath tubs. A quick phone call to your district EPA will provide you with several options.
When getting started, the goal is to replace at least one of the core cleaning products with a non-toxic product, with the long term objective of replacing all cleaning products with non-toxic options. This step has the most significant benefits in terms of health and well being of employees and in reducing our damage to the environment.