The Importance of Green Practices for Hotel Industry

free essaySustainability in the hotel industry has been encouraged by various factors, including increased awareness amongst customers on the impact of hotel operations on the environment, regulatory requirements, and incentive to obtain increased revenue. Sustainable practices benefit all stakeholders involved in the aforementioned sphere, including hotels, customers, employees, and suppliers. As a result, many hotels around the world began to implement sustainable practices.

Sustainability involves the use of practices that do not negatively affect the environment and help conserve natural resources. Particularly, sustainable practices focus on water and energy conservation, as well as waste management (Hall and Gossling 45). Water conservation entails the usage of practices that involve water saving, such as the recycling of used water and the harvesting of rainwater. Energy saving entails the use of alternative sources of energy. Waste management involves recycling procedures for items like food waste.

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Areas That Hotels Should Address

Water Use

Water use is an important area that hotels should address to ensure sustainability. The use of water should be reduced by means of the utilization of water-efficient appliances that lessen the amount of water consumed. For instance, hotels now use low flow showerheads in guest rooms, which leads to a significant reduction in the volume of water utilized by guests. In addition, hotels use similar appliances for toilets and faucets. The recycling of water also helps to save resource as hotels obtain clean water from sewage (Mensah 16). Hotels also reduce the pressure of water to lessen the amount of water utilized in routine operations, such as flushing the toilet. Furthermore, hotels should set up structures that harvest rainwater. If these structures are large enough, they can hold sufficient water that can serve hotels for a long time and help them save water.

For instance, the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington DC adopted the usage of water-free urinals; this practice allows it to save over ninety-five thousand gallons of water (Howlett et al. 37). The Fairmont Hotel in Toronto saves more than four hundred thousand liters of water daily due to installing water softener appliances, the use of which decreases the amount of water used for laundry. First, freezer units at the hotel discharge water utilized to cool compressors. Then, that water is redirected, which leads to the lowering of water consumption by approximately thirty percent (Howlett et al. 58). Furthermore, the energy used to heat the reclaimed water is also saved and used for other purposes, such as the heating of bath and pool water. The Otani Hotel in Japan, for example, established a water recycling plant that produces over one thousand liters daily from kitchen sewage to be used in staff lavatories.

 Cleaning

Hotels should utilize green cleaning, which promotes the usage of biodegradable chemicals to clean rooms. Conventional cleaning detergents contain chemicals that pollute the environment. Air pollution leads to more adverse effects indoors than outdoors (Sloan et al. 55). Consequently, guests and hotel staff may suffer from various illnesses because they spend a significant amount of time in rooms. Green cleaning, in its turn, results in a healthier environment by augmenting indoor air quality. The chemicals used in green cleaning have low VOC content and are non-irritant (Mensah 36). While biodegradable chemicals are effective in the removal of dirt, they do not have significant negative effects on the environment.

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Nowadays, some hotels use accelerated hydrogen peroxide (AHP) technology in cleaning. AHP is an original synergistic mixture of frequently used safe ingredients that when mixed with minimal levels of hydrogen peroxide enhance its germicidal effectiveness and cleaning performance. Hydrogen peroxide is able to kill germs without harming people. AHP technology allows to disinfect bacteria approximately fifty percent faster than conventional detergents (Howlett et al. 22). In addition, AHP breaks into water and hydrogen, thereby lowering the impact on the environment. Finally, AHP is compatible with a broad range of materials, which helps hotels protect their investment by decreasing corrosion and wear.

Procurement

This area is of utmost significance for hotels since it determines how resources are utilized. Raw materials should be obtained using environmentally sustainable practices. Hotels thoroughly consider where they source raw materials, since this is the preliminary step in the adoption of green practices (Hall and Gossling 74). For instance, hotels may source food from local communities. By doing so, hotels spend less energy on the transportation of products from suppliers. Since food raw materials are required to be fresh, hotels have to use refrigerated trucks to transport products, which leads to the increase of the carbon footprint. Moreover, if raw materials are sourced from remote locations, hotels have to spend significant amounts of energy to transport products.

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Challenges of Sustainability Practices

Customer Satisfaction

The majority of sustainable practices involve guest rooms and energy management. Hotels adopt methods that reduce water and energy consumed by guests. Nevertheless, these techniques may inconvenience some customers, resulting in lower customer satisfaction (Sloan et al. 69). Consequently, hotels may lose clients and obtain less revenue. As a result, many hotels find it challenging to maintain a balance between conserving resources and providing comfortable conditions. For instance, to effectively save energy, hotels may need to install various devices, such as keycard master switches that will regulate the lighting in rooms. Nevertheless, some customers may be unhappy with such practices.

Customer Preferences

Particular customers may want products that are not available in a hotel’s surrounding environment. As a result, hotels may require to purchase raw materials or certain goods from far away locations. This may cause hotels to spend more energy and resources on the obtainment of products desired by customers (Hall and Gossling 17), which makes the adoption of sustainable practices difficult.

High Capital

Most sustainable practices require hotels to invest significant amounts of money in the purchasing and installation of sustainable appliances. However, one of the goals of sustainability is to obtain increased revenue. As a result, hotels face the challenge of acquiring capital to instigate sustainable practices while simultaneously decreasing operational costs.

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Rapid Growth

The hotel industry is developing at a faster rate than the rate at which hotels can adopt sustainable practices. Consequently, the embracing of sustainable practices is relatively slow (Mensah 36). Moreover, for new hotels, the concept of sustainability starts with the design of facilities. However, the implementation of those designs and the construction of buildings take a relatively long time.

Alternative Sources of Energy

Even though hotels strive to use alternative sources of energy, those sources cannot adequately supplement the energy required for running hotels. Currently, solar energy covers approximately twenty-five percent of energy needs. Consequently, fossil fuels are still being used to cater for the needs of businesses (Sloan et al. 25). Therefore, carbon emissions have not been stopped completely yet.

Cost Effectiveness of Being Sustainable

The recycling of water significantly reduces the amount of water spent by hotels, which leads to the reduction of hotels’ total expenditures. Similarly, the usage of energy-efficient appliances, such as energy-saving bulbs, helps hotels reduce the amount of energy consumed, due to which hotels spend less money on energy. Furthermore, sustainable practices help hotels improve their reputation, hence attracting more customers (Hall and Gossling 66). Besides, sustainability advocates for the procurement of raw materials from surrounding locations, which leads to the reduction of money hotels spend on transportation.

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Moreover, sustainable practices contribute to employee retention, which leads to the reduction of costs hotels need to spend on the acquiring and training of new employees. Besides, if employees are satisfied with organizational policies, they do not tend to look for employment elsewhere. Satisfied employees are productive in performing their daily tasks. Therefore, hotels benefit from increased satisfaction and productivity (Howlett et al. 78). Moreover, due to sustainable practices, guests may recommend hotels to their friends. Consequently, hotels spend less money on advertising their products and services. Furthermore, the usage of sustainable practices helps hotels to comply with regulatory requirements, which ensures that they do not incur huge expenditures in the form of fines.

Conclusion

Sustainable practices aid hotels to increase revenue while simultaneously reducing the impact on the environment. Nowadays, different hotels around the world employ various methods to become sustainable. Particularly, in housekeeping, hotels use methods like green cleaning to reduce the impact on the environment. In addition, hotels tend to conserve energy by using energy saving appliances. However, hotels face various challenges as they attempt to become sustainable. For instance, some guests may be unhappy with the energy and water usage cutting mechanisms employed by hotels. In addition, sustainable practices are costly to adopt since they involve the purchasing of new equipment. Furthermore, alternative sources of energy still do not have the capability to cater for all the energy needs hotels may have. Nevertheless, it is cost-effective to implement sustainable practices because such practices help hotels reduce operational expenses, obtain more customers, and increase staff retention.