Sustainable Hotel Design: How Hotels Are Going Green and Why It Matters

With so much talk of green innovation across the domestic and commercial sectors, it seems only right that hotels are a part of the action – making changes both inside and outside to nurture a greener footprint and to support the environment.

But what can hotels do, and what support is available, to help hotels become greener with regards to their carbon output? And more than that, what impact can these changes have in the long run?

The impact of hotels on the climate

It’s not just the hotel itself that has a carbon footprint. Hotel owners and managers should also consider the environmental impact of the transportation of goods to and from their restaurants, from their supply chain to the importing of food and beverages on a regular basis.

While offering an exotic menu and a broad array of different spirits and alcohols might be good for marketing, the impact of this kind of hotel innovation on the environment is huge – with hotel owners and operators needing to strip back their reliance on far flung supplies if they have any hope of keeping up with sustainability trends.

But why does it matter?

Well, in the simplest sense, the more sustainable your hotel, the better it is for business – in light of modern consumer demands, which seek out green alternatives and are increasingly concerned with the energy efficiency and environmental output of the businesses they support. Consumers want to see sustainable changes being made across all markets, with hotels and other hospitality venues at the forefront of these changes.

So, what exactly can change – and how can hotels get on board with sustainable upgrades this year and into the future?

Green upgrades that hotels owners could consider

Sustainable hotel room

There are a number of approaches which are already being adopted across the hotels and hospitality industry, which allow businesses to become greener and more sustainable both in terms of in-house logistics and customer-facing activities.

1. Embrace modern technology

The first and most obvious is a renewed reliance on modern technology. One way to do this is to eradicate car parking tickets and paper receipts in favour of greener and more modern alternatives such as email receipts and ANPR technology across all onsite car parks.

Rather than giving guests menus in their rooms and letting them write down their breakfast order on an order form, invite them to use a digital app which connects them to all the different customer service portals within the hotel – optimising their stay and reducing wastage at the same time.

2. Adopt energy efficient upgrades

This is one which may require some significant investment at first, but which will be worth its weight in gold in the long run. Changes such as switching out old lighting for LED and sustainable lighting solutions; opening rooms and communal spaces out to more natural light; installing energy efficiency HVAC systems and technologies; even insulating the walls of the hotel more effectively; all of these can have a positive impact on how much it costs to run a hotel over the longer term.

And if you’re considering some hotel interior design or renovation work within your hotel site, it’s important to consider the type of materials that will be used. Opting for recycled and renewable materials may be an option and sourcing as much as you can from local suppliers (reducing your reliance on imported goods) can also help.

3. Increase the amount of green space available

This is an interesting one because while many consumers feel more sustainable and “greener” when they’re surrounded by green space, the existence of a garden and some trees doesn’t necessarily mean that a venue or site is sustainable or environmentally friendly. Ideally, hotels should be identifying native plants and trees which suit their space, through a combination of gardens and indoor green walls, as well as natural materials and well landscaped outdoor spaces which boast a variety of habitats.

Will going green be good for my hotel?

It’s a good question – after all, all of the above trends and ideas come at a cost. However, the benefits can far outweigh the initial output: from the economic benefits in terms of driving new custom and repeat customer loyalty, to nurturing a business with lower operational costs thanks to the energy efficiency of the building and building a business which is future proof in the eyes of both consumers and you as a business owner.

Becoming green is not a quick fix for those in the hotel sector, however it is one worth considering, with a wide range of trends that you can tap into, mimic, and expand upon to suit your own business model.

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