One of the emphases coming out of Washington is on the creation of “green jobs.” That is readily seen in auto and manufacturing positions, but it is also true in the hospitality industry. There is a push on to develop “green lodging.” This is a state certification program (now active in several states) that recognizes hotels that have programs to conserve natural resources, reduce energy consumption and waste, and minimize pollution.
What are some of the things being done to become “green”?
In the Guest Room . . .
· Offer the option of having towels and linens changed every other day to decrease the usage of water, energy, and harmful detergents.
· Install water-saving faucets, showerheads, toilets, and an effective irrigation system for surrounding landscape.
· Convert to compact fluorescent bulbs. Energy-efficient lighting fixtures can save up to 75 percent on energy usage and reduce labor.
· Purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified TVs and appliances.
· Use refillable dispensers for soap and shampoo to reduce waste, and save time and money.
· Offer guests the opportunity to recycle bottles, cans, plastics, and paper to reduce solid waste.
Hotel Operations . . .
· Replace lighting and equipment with energy-efficient alternatives.
· Reduce or eliminate the number or wattage of lamps in lighted signs and vending machines.
· Install Light Emitting Diode (LED) EXIT signs.
· Install water-efficient low-flow toilets and faucet aerators in public restrooms.
· Purchase office equipment, copiers, and computers that are ENERGY STAR-certified. Recycle fax machine and copier cartridges; make double-sided copies; make scratch pads from discarded paper.
· Purchase ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators, boilers, lights, and windows.
· Set up a routine maintenance schedule for heating and cooling systems.
· Weather proof windows and doors to prevent air loss.
· Use proper insulation and reflective roof coverings.
· Set hot water temperature at the lowest practical setting for clothes and dish washing.
· Buy non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning products to keep hazardous chemicals out of the water, air, and soil.
· Cover indoor and outdoor swimming pools while not in use to reduce pool heating costs, evaporation, chemicals usage, and cleaning time.
Studies claim that hotels can expect a profit of $6.25 for every $1 invested to “green-grade” their property. At the same time, 43-million Americans label themselves as eco-tourists and would pay an additional 8.5% for an environmental friendly facility. A survey of American travelers found that 87% would choose a green hotel over non-green. Another advantage of going green is participation in the program which allows the state to recommend the hotel as a place to stay.
While the claims of going green are yet to be realized, the promises based on surveys and studies, one thing is sure: the shift to green lodging will open new opportunities for those with experience in installing and maintaining green systems. And that is a green job.
By Joe Fairchild - Joe who writes for Nexxt, has a strong background in employee training and customer service. Semi-retired, he continues working in the hospitality industry for the customer interaction and travel discounts. A veteran financial advisor and public speaker, he delights in helping others find their path and achieve their goals. Read more of his blogs at HospitalityJobsiteBlog.com.