I read two articles recently – one which saddened me and another that gave me hope.
The first was a piece in The New York Times, which reported that scientists have discovered that a large section of the polar ice cap in Antarctica is breaking up and melting—due in part to global warming.
The second piece, in Hotel Executive magazine, reported on two breakthroughs in waste-to-energy technology that have the potential to “dramatically change” how waste is used in the lodging industry.
The first advance involves the recovery of heat from the wastewater that leaves buildings. Not only the “greywater” from laundry, showers, and dishwashers, but also the “blackwater,” which is water from toilets.
This heat recovery is not yet being deployed in hotels. But here’s the kicker: every year in the U.S., roughly $40 billion in energy from hot water goes down the drain! Hotel Executive says that “a great deal” of that energy loss occurs in the wastewater generated by hotels.
The second breakthrough, involves the recent opening of the Central Florida Energy Garden, in Bay Lake, FL. Apparently, the facility is transforming food waste, fats, oil and grease (FOG), as well as biosolids from an adjacent water treatment plant into electricity and useable fertilizer. Hotel Executive reports that “many hotels are already sending their food waste” to the Central Florida Energy Garden.
I was greatly encouraged to read about these innovations. Even more encouraged to read that more hotels are taking responsibility for their waste and, with it, making the earth a greener place.
What can I do? I can’t stop the polar ice cap from melting. But I can encourage corporate travel and meeting buyers to make sure that a good portion, or all, of their RFPs are going to hotels that practice earth-friendly operations that:
- Recycle wastewater
- Use locally-grown produce
- Give guests the option to keep the same sheets on their beds for more than one night
- Install solar energy panels, as well as more efficient cooling and heating systems
If you’ve never sourced green hotels before, ask your RFP technology provider for guidance. The best technologies allow you to tailor RFPs to ask about whether properties recycle, use efficient lighting, cooling and heating, compost waste, conserve water, and other practices.
After all, when it comes to the earth, aren’t we all in it, or rather, on it, together?
Please share here how you source for green hotels? Your best practices will help others!