Thursday, August 9, 2012

How to save money on water conservation

These tips can help accommodation services to understand and reduce their water needs. It is full of suggestions for water efficiencies and will result in cheaper water bills for hotels, along with guest satisfaction in knowing that their accommodation of choice is responsive to the nation’s water shortage. It Highlighting that your hotel is water-efficient and demonstrates you are acting responsibly for the environment, which also boosts the image of your hotel.

  • Install reduced flow shower heads. Some come with filters that filter out chlorine.
  • Repair leaky taps and toilets. Implement a preventive maintenance program to catch leaks.
  • Install waterless urinals.
  • Install dual flush toilets. These can use less than one gallon per flush compared to standard 1.5-gallon models.
  • Install low-flow faucet aerators in kitchen and bathroom sinks. In most cases, aerators can be installed without having to replace the entire faucet.

  • In public areas of the hotel, use faucets that incorporate motion sensing or infrared on/off technology.
  • Purchase water-efficient dishwashers.
  • Investigate high-tech sprinkler controllers that know when not to water.
  • Consider drip irrigation systems as they are much more efficient than sprinklers.
  • Consider closed-loop or reclamation systems that recycle water. Some laundry systems offer this capability.
  • Incorporate separate water meters throughout the property.
  • Retrofit flushometer (tank-less) toilets with water-saving diaphragms, which save one gallon (20 percent) per flush.
  • Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats up.

  • Modify cistern flush volumes by modifying the ball valve or float in the cistern. 
  • Replace inefficient toilets with at least 4.5/3 litre dual flush systems. 
  • Regularly maintain and replace valves and ballcocks to ensure cisterns do not leak and water is not wasted. 
  • Reduce water flow rate by adjusting flow valves or installing flow control regulators where appropriate. 
  • Where possible, fit aerators on taps to increase air flow in the water stream, while providing equivalent water pressure without increasing the flow rate.
  • Periodically install/replace restrictors where required. 
  • Periodically check taps for leaks.
  • Install low controls on showers, such as new heads, ‘between flexible hose and supply line’ flow regulators and/or ‘in cold/hot supply line before outlet’ flow regulators. 
  • Replace shower heads with water efficient models such three-star rated shower heads that use 7.5 L/m. 
  • Ensure jets of spa baths are located low in the baths so they can be operated effectively with minimal water. Install signage for guests asking that consider less use of the spa in this time of drought.

  • Modify urinal flushes by adjusting the fill level within the cistern and effectively reducing the cistern volume. 
  • Modify urinal flushes by adjusting the solenoid valve operation as appropriate. 
  • Where appropriate, the flushing regime will be modified by adjusting the movement sensor to increase the time interval between flushes as well as optimising the volume per flush while maintaining adequate amenity value (no offensive odours).
  • If replacing urinals:
    •  install waterless urinals. More information on waterless urinals is available in City West Water’s Water Conservation Solutions Handbook; 
    • replace existing units with water-efficient models with at least a three-star efficiency rating; 
    • replace cyclic flushing cisterns with sensor-operated flushing units.
  • Periodically inspect motion sensors and adjust them so they function well and are water efficient. 

  • Do not use running water to defrost food. Plan ahead and defrost frozen goods in the refrigerator.
  • Do not let the tap run while cleaning vegetables. Rinse them in a plugged sink.
  • Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste.
  • Pre-rinse nozzles in the kitchen can save tens of thousands of gallons of water per year.
  • Clean floors with brooms and mops, not by hosing down.
  • Reduce water flow rate by adjusting flow valves or installing flow control regulators to kitchen taps to ensure an appropriate flow rate and where possible, fit aerators to existing taps to increase air flow in the water stream while maintaining equivalent water pressure without increasing flow rate. 
  • Install pedal-operated tap controllers to ensure valves are closed when not in use. 
  • Install sensor-activated taps so water flow is triggered only when needed to 
  • eliminate wasting water and to improve hygiene practices. 
  • Use pre-rinse sprayers designed with automatic shut-off valves to supply water only when needed. Install low-flow, high-pressure spray heads or a flow reduction valve. 
  • Advise staff to hand scrape dishes and utensils before loading into dishwashers rather than rinsing them with water. Alternatively, pre-soak utensils and other items before loading into dishwashers. 
  • Only operate rack machines when they are full. 
  • Investigate recycling rinse water from dishwashers or reusing it to operate the garbage disposer. 
  • Install an auto-timer or electronic sensor to allow water flow only when dishes are present or running through the system. 
  • Investigate alternatives to a mechanical garbage disposal system, such as composting and food donation, or consider using a commercial food waste collector. 
  • If replacing your garbage disposal system, use strainers or traps that employ a mesh screen to collect food waste for later disposal.
  • Modify the settings of your ice machine so it dispenses only the required amount of ice. 
  • Consider using an air-cooled machine instead of a water-cooled machine. 
  • Investigate a closed circuit cooling system, a more efficient process for air-conditioning. 
  • Check seals on your ice machine regularly. 
  • In Asian-style kitchens, replace existing water woks with waterless woks that are air-cooled rather than water-cooled. 
  • When using water woks, ensure valves are switched off when stoves are not in use.

  • Collect rainwater and use it for lawn and landscaping irrigation.
  • Water grass and plants only when needed.
  • Water early in the morning or late in the afternoon when evaporation is minimal.
  • Water the roots of plants, not the leaves. Place mulch around plants to reduce evaporation.
  • Use a broom rather than a hose to clean outdoor paths and paved areas.
  • Reduce your lawn area by using native shrubs and plants. They require less water.
  • Plant drought-tolerant plants.
  • Switch off automatic sprinkling systems during rainy periods. 
  • Mulching can prevent up to 70 percent of evaporative loss.
  • Water only when wind is less than 16 kilometres an hour.

  • Cover your pool to reduce evaporation. Pool covering also helps to keep the pool clean and will reduce heating bills. 
  • Drain pool only when necessary.
  • Install drainage barriers around pools to collect overflows or splashes and reuse for pool make-up water. 
  • Pool or beach showers should be controlled with a pull chain.
  • Reduce losses from splashing by lowering the level of pool water. The recommended water level is one inch above the bottom of the top tile. 
  • Assess the filter back-wash schedule. Where possible, reduce back-washing to a minimum without compromising public health and safety standards. 
  • Divert filtered backwash onto lawns and shrubs or collect for reuse. 
  • Install a check-meter on supply lines of pools and water features. These should be regularly read and recorded to identify leaks or excess use. 
  • Repair swimming pool or spa leaks.

  • Serve water in the restaurant by request only.
  • Reduce water flow rates
  • In meeting rooms, serve water in pitchers but do not pre-pour water in glasses.
  • Set urinals with programmable automatic flush valves to a water-saving mode that flushes the urinal after more than one use.
  • Water-softening systems can reduce the amount of scale build-up in pipes and ultimately help reduce water consumption as well.
  • Insulate your water pipes.
  • Check all drain stoppers in bathtubs and sinks regularly to ensure proper function and seal.
  • Clean all aerators and showerheads regularly to ensure optimal water flow.
  • Make sure spout diverters in the bathtub are in working order.
  • Implement an ozone laundry system that requires less water to wash linens and towels.
  • Implement a procedure for staff to report problems involving water waste.
  • Implement a linen and towel reuse program.
  • Place signage at the back of the house to encourage water conservation.
  • Replace potable water with another water source. Potential alternative water supplies can include re-use of stormwater, rainwater harvesting or re-use of water for toilet flushing, cleaning or laundry processes. It is important to assess the quality and quantity of water required before using alternative water sources, as this will determine its potential uses and treatment required. 

  • Implement an awareness program to inform staff and guests about your water savings targets and explain what they can do to help save water.
  • Set targets for water consumption.
  • Establish a monthly monitoring program. Monotoring should begin before water audits are conducted to allow you to contrast past consumption with present consumption. 
  • Evaluate the achievements of the program you implement, and address areas where expected water savings have not been achieved. 
  • Create prompts to encourage behaviour change. 
  • Educate guests.
  • Participate in programs such at the EPA’s WaterSense initiative and your city's waterwise programs.

  1. green lodging news
  2. save water 
  3. City of Melbourne, Total Watermark 2004, 2004. 
  4. Sydney Water Corporation’s, Every Drop Counts program, Best Practice Guidelines for Hotels, 2001. 
  5. Brisbane Water, Watersense program, Best Practice Guidelines for Hotels Fact Sheet, 2006 
  6. The Office of Energy and Efficiency Natural Resource, Canada (NRCAN). Saving Energy dollars in Hotels, Motels and Restaurants, 2003. 
  7. City West Water, Water Conservation Solutions Handbook, 2006 
  8. Accor Group Sustainable Development Department, Accor Hotels Environment Charter Practical Guide, March 2006. 
  9. Doug McKenzie-Mohr and William Smith, Fostering Sustainable Behaviour, New Society Publishers, 1999. 
  10. Sydney Water Corporation, Every Drop Counts program, Best Practice Guidelines for Cooling Towers, 2001.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Introducing Tri-generation

Tri-generation is an extension of cogeneration, adding cooling to electricity generation and heat production. Tri-generation involves therefore the simultaneous production of heat, cooling and electricity. 

Tri-generation is specifically beneficial in a variable climate, such as Victoria’s (Australia), with strong heating demand in winter alternating with high cooling demand in summer.

Also, tri-gen has its greatest benefits when scaled to fit buildings or complexes of buildings where electricity, heating and cooling are perpetually needed. Such installations include but are not limited to: data centers, manufacturing facilities, universities, hospitals, military complexes, colleges, hotels and resorts.

Fuel is burnt in an engine which drives a generator to produce electricity. The waste heat from the engine is used for space, water or process heating, or can be converted to cold water for cooling through the application of an absorption chiller.

The trigeneration concept can also be used with solar photovoltaic cells. By removing and storing the heat from behind the PV panels, the heat can be used with an absorption chiller, cooling down the home.

An absorption chiller is basically an air conditioner driven by a heat source rather than electricity, utilizing excess heat and converting it into cold water or cold air. This is the same process as used in gas camping fridges.

Trigeneration brings significant economic, social and environmental benefits.
  • Greenhouse gas emission reductions of around 60% 
  • Overall energy efficiency typically 80% (compared to 30%): Additional efficiency is gained from reducing electricity transmission losses which are great when heat, cooling and electricity are produced individually. 
  • More affordable energy costs (CPRS mitigation) 
  • Improved energy security and reliability of plant 
  • Less electrical infrastructure to new sites (thermal chiller) 
  • Reduced daytime peak electricity demand: with tri-generation, electricity supply and demand are linked better, peak load demand can be reduced and security of supply is enhanced due to an increased number of diverse electricity generation alternatives. 
  • Building Rating improvement (NABERS) 
  • Network upgrade savings (plants run during daytime peak hours) 
  • Create new jobs

In addition, in some places such as the UK, trigeneration operators also benefit from the following:
  • Exemption from the Climate Change Levy (CCL) for self supply or supply over private wire networks 
  • CCL benefit (equivalent to the financial value of CCL Exemption) over public wires 
  • 100% Enhanced Capital Allowances 
  • 100% Exemption from Business Rates

Source: Moreland Energy Foundation
              UTS - Institute of Sustainable Future
              City of Sydney
              Clean Energy Council Australia

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Types of Accreditation Held by Key Respondents in Australia

Green accreditation is a public acknowledgement that an organisation has met agreed standards of CSR policies and practices. The business events industry was asked about what types of green accreditations they currently hold and their plans to seek accreditation over the coming years. Respondents were also asked about barriers to seeking accreditation. 

One third of total Audit respondents and almost half (46 per cent) of the key respondents reported holding at least one green accreditation from a list of 18 programs (refer to Chart 4). Green accreditation is considerably higher among large organisations employing over 100 people and international chains, where around 60 per cent hold at least one accreditation. 

The most advanced sectors of the business events industry in Australia in terms of CSR accreditation are Convention & Exhibition Centres and Venues, with two thirds (63%) currently holding at least one accreditation. More than half (56%) of accommodation providers, retailers and travel agents are also accredited. 

New South Wales and Victoria are leading the way when it comes to accreditation, reflecting that more operators are within these states and that it is a particular focus in these areas.

While ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) 14000, 14001 accreditations are held by 16% of Audit respondents and 25% of key respondents, most reported being accredited with at least one of a wide range of programs, including Australian travel and tourism accreditations, building-related accreditations and other more general green accreditations. 

There is no industry concentration around a particular Australian accreditation program. 7% are accredited with Tourism Accreditation Australia (TAA), which is the highest level of support for any one form of accreditation, followed by the Australian Building Greenhouse Rating (now NABERS Energy) at 4%. 

While no one Australian accreditation dominates, certain types are favoured by different sectors of the business events industry. For example, half of the Convention & Exhibition Centre respondents hold the Green Globe Bronze accreditation, and one quarter of attractions hold TAA accreditation and 10% of transport operators are Australian Building Greenhouse Rating accredited.

The Audit results show that levels of green accreditation among respondents in Australia are rising and are set to remain a focus over the next few years. Almost one third (31%) of total respondents report they are currently seeking accreditation, including three quarters of Convention & Exhibition Centres, and just over half (55%) of accommodation providers, venues and business events services. 

Green Globe Silver, Bronze or NABERS accreditations are the most popular in the industry, currently being sought by 35-50% of businesses. These businesses also have Green Globe Gold accreditation in their sights over the next five years. The Ecotourism Australia- Nature Tourism and Ecotourism Australia-Advanced Ecotourism are prized by attractions, with one fifth of this sector currently seeking them. 

Those sectors which have been slower to take up accreditation aim to do so over the next 12 months. Almost one third (31%) of transport operators and one quarter of attractions plan to get accredited, along with one quarter of industry representative bodies. 
One in five respondents has not yet initiated green certification or accreditation with the Audit results identifying a number of barriers to seeking accreditation: 
  • 30 % say they don’t have enough time to seek accreditation 
  • 28 % say they don’t have the information they need to seek accreditation 
  • 23 % say they lack guidance from industry bodies and/or associations, and 
  • 19 % say the accreditation process is too costly and requires too much effort to pursue. 
Some organisations like business event service providers do not believe they have a need to become accredited. These operators in the sector tend not to have regulatory or planning obligations to become accredited, unlike infrastructure operators such as venues and hotels. 

Of those organisations not yet accredited, half employ less than 10 people. 60% of this group reported that accreditation was of minimal value to their business, suggesting that the perceived costs of accreditation outweigh the benefits for smaller businesses. This view is shared by almost half of those with between 10-99 employees, and by 30% of large organisations. 
The Audit results show that two out of every three industry participants are not familiar with, or do not understand the different types of accreditation available. This lack of familiarity with accreditation programs naturally makes it difficult for industry participants to decide which are the most relevant for their business. 

Even where there is significant familiarity with a program, it may not be seen as relevant for that business. One third of respondents in the accommodation sector stated that the Green Building Council of Australia’s accreditation only related to new buildings. Similarly, one third of respondents were familiar with Ecotourism Australia’s Nature Tourism and Advanced Ecotourism accreditations, and one quarter with the Green Building Council of Australia programs, but commented that they felt these accreditation programs were not relevant to their organisation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Green Advantage - Chain Hotels vs Independent Hotels

A recent study on green hospitality conducted by Washington State University noted that chain hotels have a distinct advantage over smaller independent hotels when it comes to implementing green initiatives. From the standpoint that larger chains have established corporate guidelines, purchasing restrictions and proprietary monitoring systems, this may be true.  However, independent hotels have much more to gain, and when accessing the right resources can actually develop more strength and flexibility in sustainable hospitality than the chain hotels. 

Because independent hotels don’t have ready-made green programs to rely on, they must take the initiative to boldly move forward on  the sustainability journey on their own. The good news is that there are resources available.  One of the most valuable and impactful decisions a hotel can make is to seek third-party certification.  A  hotel making a green commitment can use a scientifically developed standard such as Green Seal’s GS-33 standard as their guideline to ensure that they are implementing the green practices that make a difference for a hospitality operation. Using this standard as a green compass, hotel executives can be confident that their sustainability program is well-rounded and addresses the most impactful concerns. 

Some hotel chains have developed their own environmental tracking and measuring systems that they require each property to use.  However, there are other systems available that can help hotels track and measure utility, water, waste and recycling.  Independent hotels can use the EPA Wastewise ReTRACsystem to track their waste and recycling volume, as well as the Energy Star Portfolio Manager to track and measure their energy and water usage.  Both of these programs are free, provide benchmarking and analysis, and will also provide reports on related GHG emissions. 

One of the biggest advantages that chain hotels have is their power to enforce purchasing agreements, with preferred vendors and specific product requirements, which does not afford a hotel the option of selecting products that might be less expensive but have a greater environmental impact.  But this advantage may also limit a property from searching out new innovative products, services and solutions as they become available. 

While chain hotels may provide guidelines and resources, the responsibility of establishing a green culture at the property level remains with the on-site property managers.  With this being true, a chain hotel may have established green procedures, but may not be encouraging and monitoring daily green work habits.  Therefore, the shades of green between chain hotels may vary widely. 

On the marketing front, an independent hotel can truly establish its identity as a green hotel, whereas a chain hotel’s identity is established by the corporate marketing department.  Typically, the green marketing strategy of a hotel chain will be conservative, to protect against the risk of greenwashing accusations.  An independent hotel can take more control over their public image in marketing by consistently infusing a green message associated with their hotel name. 

Ultimately, when getting started with green initiatives chain hotels do have the advantage over independent hotels in that much of the groundwork is done for them.  However, while some chain hotels continue to pursue ongoing improvement, many will not progress above and beyond the corporate mandates, whereas independent hotels may be more likely to pursue and utilize third-party certifying standards, such as Green Seal and Green Key, which encourage and promote ongoing continuous improvement.  Both chain and independent hotels can take a stand for environmental stewardship and demonstrate green leadership by achieving third-party certification. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite Expansion

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts has earned double Silver LEED certification at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, an all-season resort located just outside of Yosemite National Park in Fish Camp, Calif. Both certifications follow a yearlong project that expanded Tenaya’s banquet, event and meeting spaces and office area, plus added a destination spa.

Delaware North, which owns and operates Tenaya, followed a process laid out by its environmental program, GreenPath, to ensure environmental stewardship and measurable green practices. The company worked with Layton Construction Company and architect Peter Grove of Collaborative Design Studio.

The Silver LEED-certified expansion brings Tenaya Lodge’s total indoor meeting area to 15,000 square feet of flexible, full-service conference space. This includes a 10,000-square-foot ballroom, 4,500 square feet of pre-function space and 14 meeting rooms. Taking full advantage of its national forest setting, Tenaya’s outdoor function space features the new 3,000-square-foot Signature Grand Terrace and a 3,000-square-foot outdoor pavilion.

The new Ascent Spa at Tenaya Lodge also earned Silver LEED certification. The 10,000-square-foot destination spa features 12 treatment rooms, men’s and women’s dry saunas and steam rooms, three relaxation rooms, and a wellness center with exercise and fitness rooms. The Ascent Spa boutique features lines with indigenous, local and organic products.

“We are extremely proud that both of our construction projects earned Silver LEED environmental certification,” said Tom McCann, general manager for Tenaya Lodge. “Our banquet, event and meeting spaces are first-rate, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the spa. Traditionally, spas are incredibly wasteful of water. So this is a significant achievement and speaks a lot about GreenPath and Delaware North’s dedication to environmental stewardship.”

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance. LEED focuses on key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

LEED certification is based on a series of points earned through each action completed to LEED standards. One of the ways Delaware North earned points was using several LEED-accredited professionals on the design and construction teams for the spa and conference center, such as senior project manager Mike Gilbert.

“It wasn’t possible to meet every point,” Gilbert said. “So when we couldn’t achieve a point, we lived up to the spirit of the point.”


• Water Efficiency: Based on similar buildings, the Tenaya Lodge spa and conference expansion reduced its water consumption by 40 percent. This was accomplished by using low-flow water closets, low-flow urinals and ultra-low-flow sink faucets.

• Energy and atmosphere: The Tenaya Lodge spa reduced its air-conditioning energy consumption 15 percent compared to a typical space. The Tenaya Lodge conference center addition is designed to reduce its total energy consumption 14 percent below the national standard. These facilities also use Energy Star equipment to minimize electricity consumption.

• Indoor Environmental Quality: Among the construction highlights are the use of non-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, and low-VOC carpet glue, sealants and caulking. None of the adhesives, sealants and paints used in the expansion emit harmful fumes. Extra effort was made to keep ducts closed while installing the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. This strategy kept the ducts clean and stopped the filter from recycling dirt and dust.

• Materials and Resources: Many of the materials used to construct the Tenaya Lodge spa and conference center contain recycled content. More than 20 percent of the materials in the building (based on material value) are recycled, reducing the environmental impacts of processing and manufacturing efforts. This includes the original office furniture. The majority of the wood used for the Tenaya Lodge spa and conference center was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and is formaldehyde-free. Wool carpet was used to provide a natural material. Locally-sourced materials were used as often as possible.

“One area where I think we made an outstanding effort was garbage,” Gilbert said. “We had an incredibly high diversion rate from the landfill.”

All of the construction waste and demolition debris was moved into a series of dumpsters in the hotel’s parking lot. All of the debris was sorted on site. About 89 percent of the debris was diverted from a landfill by recycling numerous dumpster loads of steel, concrete and carpet pad.

Delaware North’s GreenPath program contributed significantly to the silver LEED certifications by earning substantial points for innovation.

“The U.S. Green Building Council found GreenPath unique enough and innovative enough to satisfy its highest requirements,” said Roy Olson, vice president of facilities project management for Delaware North Companies. “GreenPath’s environmental standards, attainable goals and quantifiable results prove that Delaware North takes the time to follow LEED standards not only during the construction phase, but long after certification is granted.”

Friday, June 22, 2012

Waste Wise Saving tips

"Over 80% of ‘waste’ generated in hotels is potentially recyclable, reusable or compostable"

Being Waste Wise can enable hotels to reduce costs through:

  1. Increased awareness of how waste is being generated, handled and disposed 
  2. Making conscious purchasing decisions to avoid creating waste in the first place 
  3. Reducing the amount of waste that would normally sent to landfill by avoiding, reducing, reusing and recycling 
  4. Making more effective use of materials and contractors
All of a hotel’s day-to-day operations generate waste of various kinds. The following tips will help you to identify the areas where you can avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle waste – and save your hotel money. More importantly, start monitorising and build a data base where weaknesses, opportunities and benefits are acknolodges for a later action plan.

  • Plan for additional pickups of waste and recycling during busy periods, and ensure that collection costs are factored in to annual budgets. 
  • If space permits, have at least 20% additional bin capacity on the premises to cope with any missed pickups – which occasionally happen, no matter how reliable your contractors are. This will minimise the likelihood of recyclables going to landfill due to lack of recycling bin capacity on site. 
  • Construction and refurbishment projects within hotels can be significant sources of waste; ensure that contractors performing this work manage the resulting waste responsibly, preferably by arranging for its reuse or recycling, and that construction and demolition waste is kept separate from the hotel’s normal recycling and general waste. 
  • When undertaking refurbishments, evaluate the effectiveness of current waste and recycling storage areas in terms of space and accessibility.

  • Purchase cleaning products in concentrated forms, or look at reusable microfibre products. 
  • Purchase products containing recycled content. 
  • Purchase carpet that is recyclable and floor coverings that have been made from recycled materials.
  • Give preference to purchasing products with minimal packaging.
  • Purchase fresh food in reuseable crates and containers that can be recycled like cardboard or paper instead of plastics. 
  • Engage key suppliers about their commitment to working with you to reduce waste by taking back their plastic containers, crates, polystyrene boxes, for reuse. 
  • If your recycling company will not collect plastic drums and large detergent and chemical containers, either reuse them or return them to your suppliers, most of which will collect, wash and refill them. 
  • Ensure that perishable products are placed in storage as soon as possible after delivery. Spoilage not only wastes money in terms of unused products, but also in waste disposal costs. 
  • Reuse or recycle empty cardboard boxes.
  • Assign one person to call the trash collector for special pickups.
  • Share newspaper and magazine subscriptions among several people. Purchase newspapers based on occupancy. Provide newspapers on request only.

  • Let event attendees know of the hotel’s commitment to being Waste Wise and to assist by keeping recyclables like paper, cardboard separate from other materials. 
  • Collect leftover food for recycling.
  • Where paper bags and serviettes are used in catering, use recycled and unbleached products (which avoid the use of polluting chlorine in bleaching) to save resources and help build the demand for recycled products. 
  • Aim to provide a range of recycling bins (well signed) to enable conference guests assist you with waste sorting and recycling.
  • Provide meeting attendees with a place to drop off their name badges after an event. Reuse the badge holders.
  • Provide water at meetings to guests in pitchers, not plastic bottles.

  • Implement recycling collection for newspapers, magazines, telephone books, brochures, empty drink containers, cardboard packaging, and paper shopping bags. 
  • Investigate refillable containers for bathroom amenities, which can reduce waste significantly by cutting down on the use of single use items. 
  • Allow the toilet roll to be completely used prior to replacing it. Or, use half-used rolls in staff toilets. Purchase toilet paper rolls that are “coreless.”
  • Where single use items are provided, donate these to charities.
  •  Install hand dryers in public restrooms to minimize paper consumption.
  • Eliminate plastic or paper wrapping on drinking glasses in guestrooms.
  • Use worn towels and linens as cleaning rags.
  • Reuse robes as cleaning towels.
  • If individual amenities are used, be sure the plastic is recycled.

  • Purchase office paper and supplies containing recycled content. 
  • Purchase computers from companies that take computers back for recycling.
  • Use e-mail for distribution of meeting minutes and nightly reports. 
  • Limit the number of computers with printer access, so documents are only printed when necessary. 
  • Print internal documents using printer draft option to reduce ink consumption. 
  • Use both sides of paper when making copies.
  • Implement paper recycling in offices, and if space permits give each desk-based staff member their own small recycling bin. 
  • Recycle printer cartridges by returning to supplier or Cartridges for Planet Ark. 
  • Reuse scrap paper by binding it and cutting into note pads for use by staff. 
  • Reuse copy paper boxes for file storage. 
  • Reuse manila folders and other office supplies eg paper clips, rubber bands. 
  • Remove general waste bins from individual desks and replace with individual paper bins – set up commingled recycling bin and general waste bins in kitchen or staff tea rooms.
  • Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable batteries where possible.

  • Use cloth napkins, placement and tablecloths.
  • Implement systems for recycling glass, metal and plastic containers (most recycling companies offer a ‘commingled’ recycling service where these materials can all be combined in the same bin for convenience of disposal). 
  • Implement a system for recycling cardboard.
  • Crush cans and bottles. 
  • Reuse large plastic drums, or send them back to suppliers for reuse. 
  • Set up a system for recycling corks. 
  •  Eliminate fried foods where possible to minimize the amount of grease that needs to be sent to a landfill. What grease your food and beverage operation does produce can be converted to biodiesel fuel.
  • Investigate if your local council collects oil drums or vegetable oils.
  • Avoid the use of Styrofoam or paper cups. Use ceramic mugs instead.
  • Use reusable plates, glasses and tableware in the restaurant and the employee cafeteria.
  • Laminate restaurant menus so that they will last longer.
  • Use reusable containers for storing food instead of plastic wrap.
  • Use reusable coasters instead of napkins in the restaurant and bar.

  • Spa/Fitness centre – paper cups, office paper, newspapers, magazines 
  • Business centre – office paper, newspapers, magazines (set up recycling systems) 
  • Lobby area – newspapers, magazines, old flowers (papers on request) 
  • Car park – newspapers, drink containers (recycle bins) 
  • Garden – cuttings, grass clippings (composting/greenwaste collection). Compost food scraps and coffee grounds. Start a worm farm to consume the waste. 
  • You could also setup recycling systems for those areas or avoid purchasings (Plastic cups)
  • All areas - buy recycled paper goods with a high percentage of post-consumer content for use in guestrooms, kitchen, housekeeping and other areas of the hotel. If possible, purchase goods that are easily biodegradable.
  • All areas - use reusable LED candles to reduce candle waste.
  • Install washable furnace and air-conditioner filters.

  • When refurbishing, talk to architects about building in improved waste management and energy efficiency measures. 
  • Ensure construction, demolition and refurbishment contractors have systems in place for ensuring waste materials (wood, metal, concrete) are reused wherever possible, and/or recycled off site. 
  • Refinish furniture. 
  • Furniture, fittings and used linen can all be reused either by donating them to staff or to charities that will send them on to homeless or underprivileged people. 
  • When possible, reuse material from demolished buildings in new construction--bricks and mortar, for example, can be recycled.

  • Encourage guests to take used soap bars home. Tons of used soap bars are discarded by hotels around the world every day. 
  • Donate used items such as sheets and furniture to the local community. Also Investigate donating excess food to a charity organisation. There are several which collect food of good quality that has not been served to the public. 
  • Educate staff and reward them for recycling accomplishments. Educate guests as well. 
  • Encourage your suppliers to use less waste. Buy only from those that do so. 
  • Encourage vendors to offer products with minimal packaging. 

  • Monitor waste volume each month to track progress. 
  • Monitor trash in dumpsters to make sure recyclables are not being sent to the landfill. 
  • Participate in WasteWise programs held in your area.

Source: Adapted from Green Lodging
          The City of Melbourne Waste Management ToolKit

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Greenwashing (or green marketing) is used to promote the perception that an organization's aims and policies are environmentally friendly, when in reality, they're not. Whether it is to increase profits or gain political support, greenwashing may be used to manipulate popular opinion and trick consumers to support products and services otherwise questionable.

For example... in the lodging industry, a hotel chain that calls itself “green” because it allows guests to choose to sleep on the same sheets and reuse towels, but actually does very little to save water, energy and resources where it counts — on its grounds, with its appliances and lighting, in its kitchens, and with its vehicle fleet.

Websites such as he Green Washing Index and Stop Greenwash, aim to  educate consumers about how to “read” an ad and encourage them to decide for themselves if what they’re seeing is greenwashing. Their purpose is that with a better-informed public, businesses will start to:
  • Have a sustainable business before they advertise they’re a sustainable business. 
  • Be accountable for the sustainable practices they claim to have
That way we can put an end to the greenwashing and get busy with real environmental change.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Is Solar worthwhile in Australia?

It’s not exactly helpful to the renewable energy cause when government initiatives like the Solar Flagships program (large-scale government sponsor solar plants) run into trouble.

Big solar projects should work in a country with abundant sunshine, but when they can’t find someone to buy the electricity they would produce, known as power purchase agreements, then they can’t get funding to make them viable.
(Solar intensity map in Australia)

While the government thinks about what to do next to get big solar projects going, perhaps they should look around for some alternatives.

In fact, the $1.5 billion Solar Flagships program would get a far better return if the funding were spent on rooftop solar.

Just image the $1.5 billion were given to public hospitals in Australia to fund solar energy for them. There are around 750 public hospitals in Australia – so the funding would mean $2 million each.

For that, at current market prices, each hospital could install solar on its rooftop which would have a generating capacity of around 700kW and yield approximately 980,000kWh of energy a year, depending on location.

On a conservative estimate, one could assume that average electricity cost per hospital would be about 15 cents a kWh and so the new solar systems, which generate electricity for free once installed, would save around $147,000 a year for each hospital.

For the total 750 hospitals, they would be generating 735GWh of energy and saving over $110 million a year in energy costs.

At times of hospitals struggling to meet ends, you’d like to think the hospitals would be quite grateful to be given a route to cost saving rather than the next band-aid solution.

Also, at the risk of stating the obvious, the underlying reason for installing solar is that is a healthier alternative to carbon fired power.

The energy-saving program on hospital rooftops, in replacing traditional power, would lead to over 700,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emission reductions, on the basis of 1kg saved per 1kWh of renewable electricity generated.

These calculations aren’t rocket science but just a reflection of what is happening in energy markets today, where the cost of solar is coming down while traditional coal-fired power is going up.

Over the past few years, the cost of solar panels has been plummeting as their key ingredient, silicon, has fallen in price from $450/kg in 2008 to just above $25/kg today. The reasons include:

The contrast in traditional electricity cost is becoming just as startling. Average energy bills in NSW now show a cost of electricity between 20 and 30 cents a kilowatt hour, reaching 43 cents at peak, while solar energy costs between 5 and 7 cents a kilowatt hour to produce over its lifetime.

Pricing of electricity in NSW is governed by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal which approved a 17.6 per cent lift in prices for 2011 and is tipped to allow a 20 per cent increase for 2012, meaning the differential with solar is set to widen further.

The gap between cost of solar and traditional power is getting greater in retail markets but it is tight in the wholesale markets where the Solar Flagships projects would operate.

These large-scale solar projects would be selling electricity at around 6 cents a kWh into the national electricity market, which is why they have been struggling with their funding equations.

If you install solar on a rooftop and offset consumption, as opposed to selling into the wholesale market, you are likely to get a much better return, in the area of four times greater.

The reason all this is important sometimes gets lost.

Australia still actually has targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases, which is for them to be 80 per cent below 2000 levels by 2050. Two independent researchers have reached strong conclusions about this in recent times.

Last November in his Quarterly Essay, Andrew Charlton pointed out that Australia would need to increase clean energy facilities tenfold by 2020 if it is to meet its target of reducing carbon emissions by 5 per cent for that timeline.

Just recently, the Grattan Institute released its paper about Australia’s energy future and concluded that government has no choice but to foster the adoption of renewable energy if the country is to meet renewable energy targets.

How government should help will be the subject of a future Grattan Institute paper, but in the meantime, there does appear to be a more economical solution to the Solar Flagships dilemma now facing the government.

Being one of the greatest energy-intensive-industry, the lodging industry has now the opportunity to invest in clean energy. In a country such as Australia, where sunlight is abundant, Hotels, Resorts, Bed & breakfasts, hostels (and so on...) could be mainly powered by this source, saving on electricity bills and in some cases even making money by selling your extra power!

Source: adapted from Renew Economy 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

An Environment Management System (EMS) is a tool for managing the impacts of an organisation's activities on the environment. It provides a structured approach to planning and implementing environment protection measures.
An EMS monitors environmental performance, similar to the way a financial management system monitors expenditure and income and enables regular checks of a company's financial performance. An EMS integrates environmental management into a company's daily operations, long term planning and other quality management systems.

To develop an EMS, an organisation has to assess its environmental impacts, set targets to reduce these impacts, and plan how to achieve the targets.The most important component of an EMS is organisational commitment. For an effective EMS to be developed and implemented, you need commitment from the very top of the organisation, as well as all staff. Following are more examples of components that should be considered when developing an EMS.

Environmental Policy: this is a statement of what an organisation intends to achieve from an EMS. It ensures all environmental activities are consistent with the organisation's objectives.

Environmental Impact Identification: identification and documentation of the actual and potential environmental impacts of an organisation's operations need to be undertaken. This can be achieved through undertaking an environmental audit.

Objectives and Targets: an environmental audit forms the basis of determining an organisation's environmental objectives and targets. An organisation can find benefits in adopting more stringent longer term objectives to encourage it to improve its performance. To continually improve, targets should be regularly reviewed.

Consultation: staff and community consultation should be undertaken before, during and after establishment of an EMS. This is necessary to ensure that all staff are involved in, and committed to the EMS. It can also help to improve public perception of the company, one of the benefits of implementing an EMS.

Operational and Emergency Procedures: all procedures should be reviewed to ensure they are compatible with the organisation's environmental objectives and targets. Any changes should be included with the documentation.

Environmental Management Plan: this details the methods and procedures which an organisation will use to meet its objectives and targets.

Documentation: all objectives, targets, policies, responsibilities and procedures should be documented along with information on environmental performance. Documentation is useful for verifying environmental performance to staff, regulators and the community.

Responsibilities and Reporting Structure: responsibilities need to be allocated to staff and management to ensure the EMS is implemented effectively.

Training: staff should undergo environmental awareness training to familiarise them with their responsibilities for implementing the EMS and with the overall environmental policy and objectives of the organisation. This provides staff with the necessary skill and motivation for the effective implementation of the EMS.

Review Audits and Monitoring Compliance: review audits should be undertaken regularly to ensure the EMS is achieving its objectives and to refine operational procedures to meet this goal. In order to ensure regulatory and other requirements are being met, it is often necessary to undertake regular environmental monitoring.

Continual Improvement: an important component is continual improvement. An EMS comes into its best use when used to review progress towards the targets and objectives set by a company to protect the environment. The procedures set in place to meet these objectives should be constantly examined to see if they can be improved or if more effective systems can be introduced.

An EMS can assist a company in the following ways:
  • minimise environmental liabilities;
  • maximize the efficient use of resources;
  • reduce waste;
  • demonstrate a good corporate image;
  • build awareness of environmental concern among employees;
  • gain a better understanding of the environmental impacts of business activities; and
  • increase profit, improving environmental performance, through more efficient operations.
An EMS can be a powerful tool for organisations to both improve their environmental performance, and enhance their business efficiency. An EMS is not prescriptive, rather, it requires organisations to take an active role in examining their practices, and then determining how their impacts should best be managed. This approach encourages creative and relevant solutions from the organisation itself.

Although the implementation of an EMS is essentially a voluntary initiative, it can also become an effective tool for governments to protect the environment as it can assist regulation. For example, regulatory systems can encourage organisations to use EMS to meet standards, by providing incentives for strong environmental performance.

Likewise, organisations can use EMS to ensure that their performance is within regulatory requirements, and to keep ahead of more stringent regulations which might be introduced in the future.

The ISO 14000 series, currently being developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), is a collection of voluntary standards that assists organisations to achieve environmental and financial gains through the implementation of effective environmental management. The standards provide both a model for streamlining environmental management, and guidelines to ensure environmental issues are considered within decision making practices.

ISO 14001 is the standard for Environment Management Systems. Many large businesses (some in the lodging industry), particularly overseas, have obtained certification under the standard.

The benefits of having ISO 14001 certification are mainly realised by large organisations, as Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have a smaller turnover and thus a correspondingly small return on the costs of certification.

Although a fully certified ISO EMS may not be suitable for smaller organisations, it does provide guidelines that assist organisations to consider all the relevant issues, and thus gain the most benefit from their EMS, even without certification. SMEs can therefore use ISO 14001 as a model for designing their own EMS.

However, larger organisations may find certification more valuable when considering the potential trade and market advantages of an internationally recognised and certified EMS. This was a significant factor for companies seeking certification under the ISO 9000 quality assurance standards, and is likely to be a factor in decisions regarding ISO 14001 certification.

The Standards Australia web site provides further information about Standards in Australia. The ISO 14000 series has been adopted in Australia and New Zealand as the AS/NZS ISO 14000 series.

          Chan E.S.W., Wong S.C.K. (2006), Motivations for ISO 14001 in the hotel industry. Tourism Management 27(3), 481-492. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Accor's PLANET 21

With PLANET 21, Accor group has made 21 commitments in favour of sustainable development. 
Intrinsically linked to sustainable development, the name PLANET 21 refers to Agenda 21, the action plan adopted by 173 Heads of State at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also echoes the urgent need to focus efforts in the 21st century to change our production and consumption patterns with the goal of protecting our planet, its people and their environment.

The 21 commitments are the following:

  • Ensure healthy interiors
  • Promote responsable eating
  • Prevent deseases
  • Reduce water use
  • Expand waste recycling
  • Protect biodiversity
  • Reduce energy use
  • Reduce CO2 emissions
  • Increase use of renewable energy
  • Encourage eco-design
  • Promote sustainable building
  • Introduce sustainable offers and technologies
  • Protect children from abuse
  • Support responsable purchasing practices
  • Protect ecosystems
  • Support employee growth and skills
  • Make diversity an asset
  • Improve quality of work/life
  • Conduct business openly and transparently
  • Engage franshise and managed hotels
  • Share commitment with suppliers

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Standardised approach to carbon measurement is launched

The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), in collaboration with 23 leading global hospitality companies, are today launching a methodology to calculate and communicate the carbon footprint of hotel stays and meetings in a consistent and transparent way.

The group saw an opportunity to improve how the hotel industry communicates its impacts. Currently, approaches to measuring and reporting on carbon emissions vary widely. This can lead to confusion amongst consumers, particularly corporate clients, looking to understand their own potential carbon footprint and meet their own goals/targets in this area. In addition, the number of methodologies and tools in use make transparency of reporting within the hotel industry difficult to achieve.

The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) Working Group, comprising of hotel members within ITP and WTTC, was formed in early 2011 at the request of member companies to devise a unified methodology based on available data and to address inconsistencies in hotel companies’ approaches.

The methodology, named ‘HCMI 1.0’, launched today is a consolidated move, led by the hotel industry, to establish a global standardised approach to this common problem for the hotel sector and its corporate customer base. 

The methodology, informed by the GHG Protocol Standards, was first developed in 2011 and has since been tested in hotels of different style and size in different geographical locations and refined through a stakeholder engagement process, with input from consultants KPMG. It has also been reviewed by the World Resources Institute.

HCMI demonstrates how effective collaboration can provide solutions which benefit customers, individual companies, and wider industry. Through common measurement and language, stakeholders will now be able to greater understand their footprints and impacts.David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC said, “WTTC has long been advocating that industry speaks with ‘one voice’. Through this initiative we have seen major hotel companies come together to agree a means of communicating carbon impacts which ultimately will result in more transparency and clarity for the consumer. HCMI has broken new ground in its industry driven approach and I congratulate the companies involved on their leadership in ensuring this important initiative comes to fruition. We expect this industry common language to be widely used within the next two years.”

Stephen Farrant, Director of ITP said, "This has been a model of competitive collaboration that may serve as a useful template for other industry sectors to learn from in addressing the challenges of carbon management. It is inspiring to see so many leading hotel companies across the industry working together over so many months to make this unique and ground-breaking initiative a reality.”

Yvo de Boer, KPMG Special Global Advisor, Climate Change & Sustainability added, “Carbon measurement is one of the key challenges of our time and the myriad of systems to measure and report carbon usage, particularly in the hotel sector, results in confusion and scepticism amongst consumers. This initiative to ensure that hotels are aligned in their approach to carbon measurement is a vital step in addressing the challenge.”

The Working Group comprises of leading international hotel companies such as Accor, Beijing Tourism Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Diamond Resorts International, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels, Hyatt Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Marriott International Inc, Meliá Hotels International, MGM Resorts International, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Orient-Express Hotels Ltd, Pan Pacific Hotel Group, Premier Inn - Whitbread Group, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, TUI AG, Wyndham Worldwide.

The priority for the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative moving forward will be to maximise the take up and recognition of the methodology by a broader range of hotels and their customers. A review process has been put in place to ensure the methodology may be further refined as user feedback and new research come to light.

For further information, please contact:

Source: World Travel & Tourism Council

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to save money on energy

Opportunities are there for hotels to become greener. To save energy, water, resources. However, what are the reasons for doing it? Is it because it is good for the environment? Is it because it became a trend? Is it becauseit is cool? Is it because they are expected to do it? 
No... it is because not only is good business, but is Smart Business - Becoming greened saves money!

Do your homework
  • Ask your energy providers or local government if they offer any type of incentive program for implementing energy-efficient equipment or processes.
  • Put together a written energy management plan. Key components should include energy forecasting and procurement, facility audits, financial analysis, integrated building upgrades, equipment purchasing, new construction and preventive maintenance.
  • Implement a comprehensive preventive maintenance program to monitor all potential areas of energy consumption.
  • Implement an employee awareness program and encourage them to report energy waste to managers, maintenance or engineering personnel.
  • Electric meters should be submetered to make it easy to identify the largest electricity users at the hotel and to recognize problem areas. Set targets for energy consumption per meter.
  • Be cautious of energy remarketers when planning your energy purchasing strategy. Locking in rates can actually eliminate incentives to save energy.

  • Hire an energy expert to conduct an audit of your hotel.
  • Contract with an energy monitoring and reporting service to track utility costs and interpret billing trends.
  • Assign someone to monitor energy consumption on a consistent basis.

  • Install energy management systems in guestrooms, meeting rooms and other public spaces.
  • Install energy misers on vending machines.
  • Install thermal-glass windows.
  • Install draperies with thermal reflective liners.
  • Purchase renewable energy from your local utility.
  • Use solar panels to generate electricity.
  • Explore the purchase of a fuel cell power generator

Preventive maintenance
  • Train housekeepers to turn off lighting and heating and cooling equipment when not needed. easily resolve this problem.
  • Check HVAC controls for proper calibration. Improperly maintained air handlers can waste up to 32 percent of the energy they consume. 
  • Check all duct work for air leaks and repair where appropriate. Air ducts should be cleaned monthly.
  • Check all electrical systems for loose connections or poor motor conditions. Without proper preventive maintenance, these systems typically generate a 5 to 10 percent energy loss.
  • Furnaces and boilers should be completely inspected by a professional mechanical contractor at least once or twice a year.

Equipment Purchasing
  • Purchase minibars that use LED lighting and that incorporate energy-efficient cooling systems.
  • Purchase hand dryers with automatic sensor controls. However if possible, use towels.
  • Purchase computer products that meet the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) standard. They meet the Energy Star guidelines for energy efficiency.

  • During low occupancy periods, place guests in closely-located guestrooms.
  • Encourage staff to use stairs when moving between one to two floors when not carrying loads.
  • Program your elevator to remain stationary on the exiting floor rather than returning to the main floor.
  • Shut down one or more of your elevators during periods of light traffic.
  • Shut down office equipment such as photocopiers and computer monitors when not in use.
  • Turn off coffee makers, hair dryers and other appliances or personal electronics while guestrooms are unoccupied.
  • Participate in as many Energy Star programs as possible.

  • In swimming pools, remove foreign material from the strainer baskets in the skimmer and pump regularly to maximize water recirculation.
  • Operate your pool pump during off peak hours.

  • Beware of local and passive construction techniques and use of materials. This will decrease the energy need. e.g. do not build a 'glass building' if your hotel is located in Alasca, or in Marocco (you get the idea). 
  • Use light-colored reflective surface on roofs.
  • Metal tile panel roofing systems can help reduce energy costs. 
  • Consider green roof systems that incorporate soil and plants.
  • Tint windows that receive direct sun, or use natural shades.
  • Use adequate amount of insulation in ceilings, exterior and basement walls, flooring and crawl spaces.
  • Weather stripping on outside entrances typically lasts less than two years. Placing a brush-type of weather stripping that does not affect the operation of the door and that provides a good seal from the outside cold weather will pay handsome dividends.