Numerous statistical figures demonstrate that in 2008, there were more than 922 international tourists, raising revenue to more than $900 billion globally. In numerous countries, the tourism industry accounts for a large percentage of the workforce. For example, in Egypt, the tourism industry workforce accounts for more than ten percent. Because of the importance of the hotel industry in the international economy, many have adopted a number of green technologies to assist in making the environment better. Here is what ten hotels are doing around the world to make the world greener.
1) Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa in Queensland, Australia, is located in the oldest rainforest in the world. This Eco Lodge and Spa uses a number of sustainable energy practices, including solar power, and low energy LED lights. The hotel even has its own personal organic farm that it uses to grow produce used in the meals at the hotel. This hotel is involved in ecotourism to preserve and protect natural properties, including mangroves, river systems, and the rainforest. They have developed a number of management systems to guarantee a number of best practices are carried out each day, including energy management, environmental management, and waste management. Daintree also works with the Australian Greenhouse Office and complies with international sustainable tourism standards set up by the World Conservation Union, World Tourism Organization, and the International Ecotourism Association.
2) Chumbe Island Coral Park in Zanibar, Tanzania was created on the island to showcase environmental protection, including the coral reef ecosystem. This park is known worldwide for its intense eco-tourism by using 100 percent solar power and water heating, composting toilets, rainwater collection and grey water systems. Chumbe Island Coral Park is known for having one of the healthiest reef ecosystems throughout East Africa. The hotel is listed as a Long Run Destination, meaning that it strives for high standards of sustainability through the complete balance of commerce and conservation.
3) Hotel Alexandra in Copenhagen, Denmark is more than one hundred years old but has been revamped to be more sustainable as Copenhagen is known for a number of green initiatives. The entire structure of Hotel Alexandra is completely carbon neutral. The hotel has been awarded the Green Key from the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, which is an international eco-label tourism organization. They won this award due to the large number of eco-friendly features, including an organic breakfast buffet and a floor that is 100 percent free of allergens.
4) Adrere Amellal in the Siwa Oasis, Egypt is located along the foot of the White Mountain and provides insight into the rigors and thrills of desert life. What is the most impressive feature of this rustic hotel is the fact that this 39 room hotel does not even have electricity. All lighting is done by beeswax candles and all meals are made strictly using organic ingredients. There is natural ventilation that uses the dry climate in the desert. This has decreased the cost of energy and maintenance plus completely reduces the carbon footprint to almost zero. They use bio-gas technologies and water comes from a natural spring that is on site. All food waste is composted and most items on site are biodegradable.
5) Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colorado has received the Environmental Protection Agency Award for Responsible Development and Historic Preservation. Located on 5,000 acres of land, the structure only takes up about 8- acres, and the rest of the land is used as a preservation point for exotic wildlife. All the buildings at the ranch are heated using geothermal energy to reduce total dependence on electricity and natural gas. Duel flush toilets are used to conserve water and florescent light bulbs are utilized. The ranch has a number of recycling initiatives implemented, all cleaning and spa products are biodegradable, natural and organic, all restaurants on site use sustainable, organic, and locally grown produce and meats when they can, and linens are changed every three days (unless otherwise requested) to conserve energy and water.
6) Hotel Mocking Bird Hill in Port Antonio, Jamaica has practiced sustainability for over 15 years and has won a number of awards including the Green Globe Certification award and the American Express/CHA prize for most Environmentally Friendly Small Hotel. Some of the things the hotel does includes solar energy, rainwater harvesting, natural air conditioning, anaerobic wastewater treatment, low chlorine pool that runs on renewable energy, no pesticides and insecticides used on the gardens, and utilizing local organic items then they can. The hotel also promotes an active waste avoidance policy – whenever possible, the hotel minimizes, reuses, and recycles waste products.
7) Strattons Hotel in Swaffham, England is not only known for the multitude of activities it offers or its breathtaking location along the Norfolk coastline, but is also widely recognized for the number of energy efficient measures it has taken. The Strattons Hotel was the first hotel in the United Kingdom to receive the Queen’s Award for “Outstanding Environmental Performance.” Food, rooms, and services use natural products that are sourced locally and organically when they can to promote the environment and the earth. The Strattons Hotel continually monitors its energy use, water management, and waste reduction. Furthermore, guests that come to the hotel via public transportation are provided with a ten percent discount on their stay.
8 ) Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa in American Canyon, California is the first Gold LEED certified hotel in the world. The Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa utilizes a number of energy efficient techniques, including water usage reduction techniques, natural lighting via solatube tubular skylights, and organic cleaning products. All materials that are wood-based are Forest Stewardship Council approved and the carpeting is made using recycled materials. The hotel has been able to reduce water use by 40 percent through the use of a number of techniques, including DDLow flush toilets and the use of recycled water in the koi pond. Other features include energy efficient HVAC systems, low energy transmittable windows, a cool reflective roof, recycling bins in all rooms and throughout the property, and bulk soap dispensers to reduce plastic packaging associated with mini soap and shampoo bottles.
9) Soneva Fushi Resort in Baa Atoll, Republic of Maldives has won a number of awards for the green initiatives it has made, including winner of The President of the Maldives’ Green Resort Award for several years. In 2010, the hotel became 100 percent carbon neutral. Environmental initiatives include increasing energy efficient, reducing resource waste and consumption, preventing the release of harmful toxins throughout the environment, and island preservation. The hotel uses natural ventilation, sources materials locally, installed energy saving light bulbs, pools use filtered seawater, collects rainwater, has a waste management program, and the resort was designed to minimize the overall impact to the island’s natural environment.
10) Quarterage Hotel in Kansas City, Kansas started going green in 2007 with complete renovations and has not gone back. The eco-plan contains a number of points. The hotel only uses Energy Star products, including digital guestroom thermostats and florescent light bulbs, utilizes environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals, gets 100 percent post consumable recycled products for all tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, paper coffee cups and other items, puts recycling bins in every room, and has a number of water conservation techniques.
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at email@example.com