How to create the perfect eco hotel room (and why it matters)

Posted on

October 18, 2018

Posted in

Hotels

Creating the perfect eco hotel room has benefits that will put your property ahead of the competition, cut costs and reduce your environmental impact.

So what makes a hotel room effectively eco? It’s a perfect combination of energy and water-saving services allied to an overall environmental programme that makes your hotel business sustainable and attractive to guests.

Here’s how to transform your hotel rooms for the green generation, without compromising on quality of experience for all your guests.

Energy saving

  • LED lighting

Make your lighting super-efficient by choosing LED lights. Quality LED bulbs, strips, emergency lights and other fixtures in the eco hotel room deliver energy savings of up to 85%, compared with traditional light sources.

They contain no harmful chemicals so can be disposed of safely at the end of their very long life (ten years or more of quality light). They emit no harmful rays that can degrade fabrics and the best quality LEDs provide vibrant natural light.

  • Make sure the HVAC system is energy efficient
  • Fit energy-efficient windows to improve insulation
  • Install low-energy TV and other in-room appliances
  • Use window film to reduce heating/cooling loads and glare
  • Ensure maximum insulation throughout the hotel
  • Invest in renewable energy sources (solar panels, wind turbines)
  • Buy energy from renewable generation sources
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85%
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energy savings can be achieved by switching to LED bulbs
  • Install energy-efficient appliances in hotel kitchen and laundry
  • Encourage staff to switch off lights and turn down HVAC in unoccupied rooms
  • Make the most of daylight in common areas
  • Investigate skylight installations
  • Deploy an Energy Management System to tie in air-handling units, HVAC, and lighting to optimise usage
  • Replace electric package terminal air conditioner units heat pumps or other geothermal technologies

Water saving

  • Fit eco shower heads, saving 50 per cent on water use
  • Install tap aerators to cut water consumption by 50 per cent
  • Fit low flow toilets to reduce water use by more than 80 per cent
  • Recycle using the “grey water” from kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Bedding and furniture

  • Encourage guests to reuse towels and sheets
  • Source natural fibre sheets, linens, towels, and mattresses
  • Use recycled and reclaimed materials in flooring and building
  • Buy furniture made with sustainable source materials
  • Decorate with non-VOC or low-VOC paints

Food and drink

  • Buy foods from local sources
  • Source other products locally to reduce transportation effects
  • Experiment with green dining and if successful try for certification
  • Plant an organic garden for fresh produce
  • Use reusable dishes and utensils always
  • Leftover food can be helpful for local charities; otherwise you can compost it

Air quality

  • Have hotel room windows that open
  • Use a fresh air exchange system
  • Avoid air fresheners, loaded with chemicals
  • No smoking in rooms and common areas
  • Buy plants for common areas that absorb toxins
  • Use non-toxic cleaning products and laundry detergents

Recycling

In general for the eco-focused hotel, it’s good to have recycling bins all rooms as well as the common areas and back-of-house areas. Where feasible, deploy hybrid, electric or solar-powered vehicles while offering bicycle services for guests and ensure use of eco-certified toilet paper and tissues.

The “100 per cent” recycled theme can be extended to marketing print material and guest stationery. Cut waste with locally sourced and bulk-buy soap, shampoos and lotions for guests rather than individually wrapped and small-container options.

You can recycle old beds and mattresses through a reputable company. Remember a mattress takes more than two decades to decompose with some materials like plastics never degrading. Charities will be glad of old furniture and appliances so keep them in mind for this purpose.

Other considerations

Make sure you monitor, record and publish rates of energy and water use with a fully funded programme for equipment repair/replacement equipment as well as a detailed programme for HVAC and other maintenance.

Think about discounts for eco organisations and create incentives and education programmes to encourage your staff to become eco ambassadors for your hotel.

Why is it important to create eco hotel rooms?

The number of people seeking eco-friendly options is growing with 68% of tourists preferring to book green accommodation. Recent figures predict a 36% growth in those wanting eco friendly options compared with two years ago. People interested in eco travel is projected to grow by 39%.

At the same time people are showing greater concerns for the environment, increasingly moving away from from meat and unhealthy foods to greener options with more of them choosing bike rather than cars to get to work, for example.

Looking across the generations, the eco focus is predicted to be a more important issue when the biggest generation, Millennials born between 1981-2001, have settled down. They value sustainable consumption and are well-informed to make preferred choices. Among them, 66% are willing to pay more for services from companies committed to positive environmental impact.

The older generation born between 1946-1964 (Baby Boomers) and those born between 1961-1981 (Generation X ) are eco-focussed. For example, 44% of Baby Boomers and 42% of Generation X describe themselves as ‘environmentalists’.

While Millennials age and move more into the eco travel arena, the two older groups are currently the prime customers for your eco hotel rooms.

It’s not only consumer travellers who are making conscious eco choices. Businesses are also focusing on this area. For example, data from JW Marriott Denver shows that 75% of businesses ask about green initiatives when they choosing a venue and 51% of businesses hold meetings in environmentally friendly locations according to another survey.

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42%
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of Generation X describe themselves as ‘environmentalists’

The adoption of sustainable eco policies should mean greater customer loyalty and the opportunity to dominate in any market niche. A Harvard Business Review study indicates that 64% of consumers give their loyalty to brands that mirror their values. Focus on sustainability at the core of your hotel business should attract loyal and enduring customers with growing brand awareness.

As well as evolving guest expectations, the benefits for those owners who move to eco hotel status are also financial, with much reduced operating costs and a sustainable strategy for efficient and effective business over the longer term.

Corporate responsibility is an adjunct of this process and sustainability embedded in business strategy provides long-term benefits with studies showing that companies with environmental, social, and governance policies outperform those without these.

Conclusion

Creating the perfect eco hotel room is not only great for the environment, it is also sound business strategy, with an eye on long-term and sustainable development.

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