Becoming ecologically friendly

The green efforts go further than asking guests to use towels and bed linens more than once (as they do at home), to conserve water and avoid flushing more detergent-laden water into sewers.

Other green initiatives are more subtle - things a guest might never notice: low-flow faucets and shower heads, water-saving toilets and the use of products that don't harm the environment.

According to Starwood, when Westin's first Element Hotel opens in Lexington, Mass., next year, shampoo dispensers will eliminate multiple plastic mini-bottles; water-saving devices will conserve an estimated 4,358 gallons of water per room each year; and compact fluorescent light bulbs will cut energy use by 75 percent.

As responsible corporate entities, Starwood and other hotel companies believe they must slash waste and pollution because it makes both sound economic and public relations sense. In time, the whole industry will have to be green to be competitive.

Kimpton Hotels, a boutique group of 42 properties, launched an EarthCare program about four years ago. The mission is "to deliver a premium guest experience through nonintrusive, high quality, eco-friendly products and services." Translation: use recycled paper and soy-based inks, recycle paper and other materials in hotels, install water-saving faucets, shower heads and toilets, use energy-saving lighting. As an added green bonus, some Kimpton hotels have a free or discounted parking incentive for guests who drive hybrids.

Here's what else, unusual and usual, is happening on the green front:

Four Seasons. During its high season, the Four Seasons Jackson Hole (Wyo.) is replacing 7,000 plastic bottles of water left when beds are turned down with pitchers of local tap water.

Hilton Hotels. The Hilton New York completed the rigging of a Pure Cell 200, a state-of-the art fuel-efficient power and hot water generating system. Several years ago, Hilton switched from incandescent to compact fluorescent lighting in guest rooms, reducing the wattage used per room by 70 percent, yet making the rooms brighter.

InterContinental Group. At InterContinental Chicago, specific green practices include a motion-detection system that conserves lighting and air-conditioning energy when guest rooms aren't occupied; a towel and sheet reuse program (changes are made every three days unless a guest requests otherwise), and water-saving devices in faucets, showers and toilets. Table scraps and leftover food go to composting sites.

Marriott. With more than 2,800 lodging properties in the U.S. and abroad, Marriott said last year's eco-efforts reduced greenhouse gases by 70,000 tons, and its goal to reduce emissions by nearly a million tons between 2000 and 2010 is the equivalent of taking 140,000 cars off the road. Also, last year Marriott saved 65 percent on hotel lighting costs by replacing 450,000 bulbs with fluorescent lights.

Wyndham Hotels. Pure Room technology, which sanitizes every surface and fabric, and purifies air and water to provide maximum guest comfort, now is in place at three Wyndham properties - Lisle-Chicago, Miami Airport and Peachtree in Atlanta. Individualized climate controls also are being installed. Wyndham's other green initiatives: energy-efficient room lighting, water conservation, recycling, the use of materials with recycled content and solar heating where possible.

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This page contains a single entry by published on September 17, 2007 8:13 AM.

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