The green revolution is taking the world by storm and we are all getting swathed in it. Most of us are now getting conscious of the environment and shifting to an eco-friendly lifestyle. While we may practise eco-friendly manners in our home or in our office, we forget all about it once we go out of town. Be it for business or pleasure- we are taking trips to various places all the time. Once we reach our destination we generally stay in hotels and resorts in the area.
Most of us spend lots of money booking expensive resorts and villas to ensure a comfortable stay. Some of us do extensive research on hotels to find out if they have proper conditions that match our standards, but what about whether the hotels are eco-friendly or not? Isn’t that also an important criterion for judging any good hotel? if you are an eco-conscious individual, checking whether the hotel is eco-friendly should be first on your list.
Eco hotels are certified green hotels that follow and practice green living in every sphere and activity. While eco hotels adhere to strict codes of eco-friendly conduct, there are some other hotels that have incorporated eco-friendly practices in their functioning even if they are not 100% ecological. It is not easy to find an eco-hotel or green hotel wherever we go, but we can look for at least some eco-friendly credentials before booking a place. Many hotel owners are now turning their hotel eco-friendly- maybe not completely, but at least in some aspects.
Here are some environment friendly characteristics that you should look for in a hotel-
- Low energy or energy conserving lighting is a must for an eco-friendly hotel that wants to reduce its carbon footprint.
- The furniture in green hotels is usually made from eco-friendly or sustainably sourced materials. While recycled or reclaimed wood works quite well, bamboo and cork are also good choices.
- An ideal eco hotel is made from sustainably sourced materials and using limited fossil fuels.
- The sheets, mattresses, towels and linen must all be made from organic materials.
- The toilet paper must be made from recycled paper.
- The cleaning products and detergents used in the eco-friendly hotels are generally low VOC. High VOC products are toxic to the environment and to our health.
- The lobby, the rooms and the bathrooms should contain recycling bins where guests can throw the trash.
- The structure of a green hotel should be such as to allow as much ventilation as possible. Uninterrupted air flow prevents the use of air conditioners to a large extent. Air conditioners use up a lot of energy and are a major source of pollution in the environment.
- A green hotel should also be properly insulated to ensure that heat does not escape from the rooms.
- The hotel must use at least one or two renewable sources of energy like solar power or wind. Huge solar panels installed in hotels and villas heat up water without using any electricity at all.
- The bathrooms should have composting toilets or low flush toilets. Low flowing aerators fixed in the taps ensure less water is used by the guests.
- If there is an onsite transportation service, it should be done with green vehicles like electric cars or solar powered cars. Some hotels even offer cycles for the guests to ride.
- The televisions and air conditioners in each of the rooms must be energy star products.
- The hotel must serve organic food to their guests. All the food used in the hotel kitchen must e locally grown.
- All the crockery used by the hotels must be completely bio-degradable. An eco-friendly hotel never uses disposable plates and dishes.
- Some hotels follow water conservation methods to save water as much as they can. Water recycling and making use of grey water are some methods employed by hotels to conserve water. Grey water is sometimes used in the lawn or for gardening purposes.
- Some eco-friendly resorts and hotels take part in community service programs like planting trees and cleaning garbage from roads and putting them for recycling.
- Green hotels sometimes have a strict no-smoking policy. Smoke from tobacco causes serious health problems apart from polluting the environment.
- All the employees of eco-friendly hotels must be aware and conscious of conservation and sustainability for the environment.
- The location of the hotel is an important factor to consider before you book it. An ideal eco hotel should be centrally located- with airport, bus stops, stations and market in the vicinity. This reduces the carbon footprint of the guests quite a bit. It also reduces transportation cost.
These features make a hotel really green. It is not easy to become an eco-friendly hotel. A lot depends on the employees and the guests too. So the next time you plan on staying in a hotel, be sure to check their eco-credentials first. Follow green living practises wherever you go.