Earth Month Spotlight: Hotels & Resorts
In celebration of Earth Day, we are dedicating the month of April to sustainability awareness in the industries we touch. Each week, we are going to take a look at how businesses are making a positive impact on the environment through both design and human behaviors, starting with the hotel and resort industry.
But first, a primer on Earth Day itself:
The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, and involved 20 million Americans protesting against the deterioration of the environment and led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and legislation such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. Today Earth Day is celebrated by more than a billion people—the largest civic observance in the world! Last year, 192 countries participated in activities that aided the environmental movement.
The hotel industry has been a leader in green initiatives since the 1990s due to a number of significant motivators, including cost savings, regulatory compliance, consumer demand, customer loyalty, increased brand value…and, of course, doing the right thing.
Many hotels have helped green their properties by introducing water-saving techniques like reusable linen programs and installing water-efficient plumbing in bathrooms; installing energy-efficient lighting; and replacing high-waste products with recycled or reusable items. While these are great starting points, some hotels have taken their sustainability efforts to a whole new level.
The LEED Gold-certified H2hotel in Healdsburg, California, was built on the site of a former gas station. To make the land healthier, the property owners removed contaminated soil, restored the creek bed, and employed an erosion-control plan to minimize runoff. To reduce energy consumption, H2hotel installed solar panels to heat the pool and water in guest rooms and opted for energy-saving elevators that use 60 percent less electricity than standard elevators. On top of that, the elevators do not require oil to run, removing the risk of soil contamination and fire.