‘Green’ hotels reduce impacts of recession

Efficiency measures carried out in so-called ‘green’ hotels have better prepared such establishments for the latest economic downturn, lessening its effects on them.

Water and energy savings, and reductions in solid waste are the first goal of all Green Hotels Association (GHA) members, says GHA President Patricia Griffin. Environmental schemes vary from simple actions, such as reusing towels and sheets for guests staying multiple nights, recycling stained table cloths into napkins and aprons for kitchen staff, and the reduction of gardens being regularly mown, to the use of locally generated renewable energy, such as that at Aurum Lodge in Alberta, Canada, where 50-90% of electricity comes from solar and wind power, and 90-100% of heat comes from solar power and wood.

“Our member hotels are reporting the impact of reduced revenues has been less severe because of the hundreds of conservation measures they have initiated,” said Griffin. “While ‘green’ hoteliers know firsthand that conservation saves money and conserves natural resources, their planning has better prepared them to weather this economic downturn.”

The financial benefits do not come only from direct cost savings. At the Hotel Mocking Bird in Jamaica, the establishment’s environmental programme has generated such goodwill from within the local community that it has resulted in a significant number of referrals from taxi drivers and shopkeepers.

The GHA provides advice to its members on innovative methods of being more environmentally sustainable. “Because general managers, chief engineers and executive housekeepers generally do not have time to seek out all the ideas and suggestions for conserving water and energy and reducing solid waste, Green Hotels Association has devoted itself to that task,” said Griffin. Membership costs $1 per guestroom per year, with a $50 minimum and a $500 maximum, and GHA promises that its members will earn back that money through environmental savings.

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