Energy and Water Reduction: "Green" Hotels

Patricia Griffin created "Green" Hotels Association in 1993. The goal of this association is to reduce the amount of energy and water consumed by the lodging industry. GHA provides hotels around the world with easy access to environmentally friendly products and ideas. Hotels consume massive amounts of water and energy daily; by providing hotels with a variety of "green" ideas, the stress placed on our natural resources can be substantially reduced. "Green" Hotels Association is also interested in reducing the amount of solid waste produced by the lodging industry. Managers can add their hotel to the growing list of "Green" Hotels Association's members by simply paying an annual membership fee of one dollar per room. There is a minimum payment of $50, and a maximum of $500. Members receive a book consisting of over 85 pages listing different ways to save energy and cut back on waste. The hotel's name is also placed on GHA's website, By staying at a green hotel guests are letting the hotel industry know that the efforts made by green hotels are appreciated. Hotel managers may be initially enticed to join "Green" Hotels Association because the ideas they suggest can help hotels save significant amounts of money. Two of the most popular products provided by GHA are the printed towel rack hanger and sheet-changing card. These two items give guests the opportunity to decide if they need new towels and linens everyday. These cards also act as reminders for guests who would otherwise forget to mention that they do not want their towels and linens changed daily. The towel rack hanger informs guests that if they leave their towels on the rack they will not be replaced. If towels are left in the tub or on the floor they will be exchanged for fresh ones. The sheet-changing card informs guests that each day millions of gallons of water are used to wash bed sheets. If guests find this unnecessary they can simply leave the card on their pillow. Leaving the sheet-changing card on the pillow tells the room attendant to simply make the bed, and not to change the linens. Hotels can save significantly by utilizing these cards. GHA reports that hotels can save approximately $1.50 per day per occupied room by using these two products. Guests who decide to use these cards help reduce the amount of water, detergent, labor, and utilities used by a hotel in a given day. Many guests eagerly participate in their hotel's green program because they want to help protect the beautiful destination they are visiting. Very few people wash their linens and towels daily at home, and it is time that we recognize doing this in hotels is unnecessary and wasteful. By using GHA's towel rack hangers and sheet-changing cards hoteliers are taking the first step toward keeping our earth green.

At most hotels participation with the towel and sheet cards has been 70 to 90%. This high level of participation translates into a 5% savings on utilities alone at most hotels. ITT Sheraton Europe saved 25-30% in water and detergent use by utilizing the towel and sheet cards provided by GHA. These savings encouraged the expansion of the program to all ITT Sheraton hotels. The Regal Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles has saved approximately 1,700 pounds of detergent and 375,000 gallons of water annually. Hotels can purchase 500 towel rack hangers for $135, and in just one year some hotels can save approximately $70,000. With results like these GHA is hopeful that all hotels will soon go green.
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