By Mark Chesnut
Protecting the environment is an increasingly popular topic in many industries. And hoteliers are no exception, as several companies have taken new steps to create a comfortable guest experience with a decidedly “green” hue.
Element Hotels, a Starwood brand that includes properties around the country, recently announced that its entire portfolio of hotels are 100 percent powered by renewable energy, by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits from their local utility or other provider. These credits guarantee that the energy each hotel uses is added to the power grid from a renewable source, such as wind, hydroelectric, solar or geothermal sources. The chain also uses low-flow faucets, dual-flush toilets, recycled tile flooring and has electric vehicle charging stations. Even the gym has become greener: Element Hotels has also launched what it calls Pedal Powered Charging Stations in its fitness centers, allowing guests to power up their personal devices during a stationary bike workout.
In Wyoming, Hotel Terra Jackson Hole is another property that offsets its electric and natural gas power with the purchase of alternative, clean energy. Its roof shingles are 100 percent recycled, and water conservation systems are used in public and guest room bathrooms; in men’s public restrooms, the urinals are waterless and all public restrooms have solar-powered faucets.
In San Francisco, the Orchard Garden Hotel is a leading example of eco-friendly accommodations in the city by the bay. This LEED-certified property offers a “Green Meetings Package” that includes use of meeting space with recycled notepads with soy-based ink pens that attendees can keep, as well as recycled/recyclable to-go containers for boxed lunches. The hotel’s eco-friendly approach also includes low-flow water faucets and toilets, recycled paper, and composting for kitchen waste. In-room recycling bins allow guests to separate their own glass and paper as they throw away things—after all, everyone can play a role in conversation.
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on travel to Latin America. He recycles.