Ranjit Gunewardane of our US team, and our design and technical services expert, has written this excellent and timely piece on “Why Greening Your Hotel is Now a Necessity” for Hotel Executive’s latest online Newsletter:
“Climate change is a rapidly escalating emergency and hoteliers have much hard work to do in order to mitigate its effects. Today, hotels must prioritize their Greening Operational Practices. Green initiatives must have both a positive environmental impact as well as drive new cost savings.
In this article, we explore the roles that flexibility and reusability will play going forward in making decisions around hotel operations, and how hotels continue to work on their environmental impacts by pursuing efficiency, reusability, and waste reduction.
What Does “Green” Mean?
What is green? What does it really mean? Although, green is just a color, green is the color of plants, leaves, and grass-of nature. We
equate an environment loaded with lush-green plant material with a “healthy” and “good” environment because it is the environment that
is healthy and good for humans.
We say that we want our products, communities, and companies to “be green” because we want to protect those parts of nature that help sustain us.
Energy & Water Consumption
Typical energy management solutions can tell you that there is something wrong with the building, but not what to do about it. Applying Fault Detection and Diagnostics technology configured into energy management solutions uniquely pinpoints the exact location, and even the specific piece of equipment that is malfunctioning or behaving inefficiently and offers a list of possible causes, ranked by probability, to reduce maintenance repair times. This helps hotels reduce energy costs, cut consumption, curtail carbon emissions and significantly streamline facilities maintenance.
Rapidly growing concerns regarding the impacts of water scarcity have driven the need for an increased focus on water use in, on and around buildings. The hotel industry must incorporate responsible water use efficiencies and strategies into day-to-day hotel operations.
Hotels can improve their resilience and support their surrounding communities by identifying alternative water sources (recycled rainwater) and developing increased capacity for water storage (through built infrastructure such as storage tank). Hotels could play a key role to play to support communities through large scale natural disasters. Water is a vital resource for affected communities.
Audio Visual/Inforrnalion Technology (AV/IT)
With computer loads shifting away from the desktop to the cloud, desktop and laptops are pushed out or foregone altogether_ The rise of virtualized and containerized software applications combined with the “everything-as-a-service’ offerings available on Amazon,
Microsoft, and Google cloud-based solutions has taken away the need for many hotel data centers that were once viewed as being strategic for the success of a hotel operation.
Cloud computing gives flexibility, speed, and scalability, along with providing an alternative to committing large amounts of money to capital investment required to support data center ownership. Create better-connected spaces with real-time access to occupancy,
lighting, ventilation, and thermal comfort levels, using a holistic single app on the guests’ mobile device.
AV and IT are configured to match and serve the explicit purpose of the spaces they support. An Integrated framework will help create more intuitive interfaces and consistent expectations for employees and guests alike.
When purchasing an electronic product, ensure the product meets at least 95% of those requirements with an Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered product, unless there is no EPEAT standard.
Send No Waste to Landfills
The hospitality sector, by adopting a zero-waste goal would foster sustainability through an Increase in waste diversion, decrease in vehicle miles traveled on the City’s roadways, reduced greenhouse gases, provide greater rate equity for customers, and other similar objectives.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Program Strategic Plan promotes the implementation of zero waste and waste reduction initiatives at the state, county, and city-wide levels.
Hotels are encouraged to implement a Comprehensive Zero Waste Initiative. Promotion and expansion of reuse options for the hospitality sector is a relatively low cost low difficulty strategy that may potentially increase waste diversion while supporting a City’s overall waste management goals. Some Actions and Recommendations are:
- Promote business-to-business reuse exchange sites concept, some states have implemented as a free Materials Exchange service that links organizations that have reusable goods they no longer need to those who can use them. This business reuse network helps prevent usable materials from becoming waste and saves users money.
- Hotels are encouraged to develop internal reuse programs or methods to donate usable items to other businesses, staff, or the public.
- Hotel restaurants are encouraged to develop reusable to-go container programs in collaboration with the City’s Heahth Department.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) & Hygiene
One of the most significant issues in a Green Hotel is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). IAQ refers to the nature of the air that circulates throughout indoor space/area. Hotel occupants (guests and staff) are beginning to demand that their indoor environment contribute to their own health and well-being.
Indoor Air Pollution Is caused by:
- Air tightness of buildings
- Poorly designed air conditioning and ventilation systems
- Indoor sources of pollution
- Outdoor sources of pollution
Enclosed spaces inhabited by humans produce following effects:
- Reduction in oxygen level of spaces
- Increase in CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) level
- Increase in temperature
- Increase In humidity
- Increase in Bioaerosols and odor
In a typical hotel, pollutants fall into two source categories: those that enter the building from the outside and those generated within the building itself. Both Include a wide variety of types and origins. Outdoor sources can Include building stack exhaust (boiler exhaust), vehicle emissions and construction activity as well as many others. Internal sources Include maintenance or housekeeping activities, chemicals, cleaners, solvents, building renovations, new furnishings, new finishes, office equipment and various occupant activities.
Professionally designed, installed, and commissioned Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (1-IVAC) systems can reduce indoor pollutant exposure. Traditional methods to sense pollutants using particle sampling or on-site sensors/instruments, fall short of providing real-time information about pollutants. Artificial intelligence (Al) based particle analysis assists in providing more rapid and deep insights into local air quality. Visual display and identification of common allergens, including specific pollen and other organic allergen particles, provides results in a clear, easy-to-understand format.
Regular sampling of indoor air using Al based particle analysis and Machine Learning techniques, correcting parameters that have moved beyond guidelines set by authorities such as World Heahh Organization (WHO), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ASHRAE etc., would ensure a green environment.
A hotel can improve the hearth of Its staff and guests, save money, and reduce Its environmental Impact through Its purchasing decisions. Light bulbs, cleaning products, appliances, and other commonly used items are now available with such features as higher energy efficiency, less solid waste, and less toxic chemical ingredients.
Ensuring sustainability of purchased products. In this case the buying hotel could require compliance with standards in regard to sourced materials or components. Environmental requirements therefore could relate not only for finished products, but to ingredients used, e.g., free of artificial flavors, genetically modified organism foods etc. Additionally, activities to green product-based supply could focus on by-products, e.g., decreasing the amount of product packaging.
Ensuring sustainability of manufacturing processes. In this regard, hotels could require suppliers to introduce environmental policy and obtain environmental management standards (official accreditation like ISO 140401, or internally developed systems).
Ensuring sustainablitty of purchased products and manufacturing processes ‘may also operate in a less direct fashion, where a certain minimum threshold in terms of environmental performance is a precondition for being awarded a contract in the first place.
Developing product-based supply (managing green supply offers). This avenue towards sustainable sourcing implies supplier assessment based on variety of sustainability criteria. As it is highly unrealistic that hotels would award business contracts based exclusively on environmental performance, purchasing decision-making would involve number of trade-offs.
In some situations better quality/price ratio would be offered by one supplier, while better compliance with environmental standards by the other. To resolve this type of tensions, the dialogue between purchasing and selling organizations would be required to discuss opportunities of providing better matches between conventional and environmental/social criteria.
Developing process-based supply (influencing consideration of environmental concerns within supplier company). With this purpose buying hotels may become involved in supplier’s Internal environmental initiatives, e.g., eco-design programs, product take-back infrastructure for further recycling and recovery of wastes.
Developing well-functioning relationships with suppliers. Improvements in buyer-supplier relationships might not only contribute to better production practices and lowering supply/sales risks, but also to successful treating of environmental/social issues.
Strategically Satre* Local Makers and Materiels
Sustainable Sourcing is the integration of social, ethical, and environmental performance factors into the process of selecting suppliers.
Improving performance in environmental, social and ethical issues is becoming a major part of the overall process.
The growing reality is that procurement personnel would prefer to source locally. It is a strategy that has contributed to many manufacturers’ business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic when other business’ supply chains were disrupted. Local suppliers are typically more reactive than suppliers who are farther away. They can deliver products quicker, and it is much easier for a supplier to coordinate a shipment across the neighborhood than around the world.
Reduce your supply chain costs. Many of these costs can be reduced by localizing your supply chain. And, with less money being sunk into logistics, there will be less weighing down your bottom line.
It stands to reason that if sourcing locally increases your bottom line, it will do the same for other suppliers and manufacturers in your area, which can be a big boon to your local economy and the people who live there.
Localizing your supply chain represents a tremendous opportunity to help the environment. When you reduce shipping and storage, you also reduce emissions and energy usage. Sourcing locally not only contributes to green manufacturing, but ultimately helps you build consumer confidence.”
Ranjit brings cross border experience and a range of multi-disciplinary skills to play in advising clients on all aspects of Design as related to Architecture, Interior Design, Mechanical & Electrical systems, and Landscape Architecture, for all types of hotels and resorts, new build as well as renovation projects.