You may have read the endless diatribe of suggestions on how to reduce your carbon footprint by modifying your consumer choices and lifestyle – the list of ways to reduce your carbon footprint is endless. Yet, all the progress you have made so far in reducing your dependency on fossil fuels could be easily lost wiped out by a stay at a carbon emitting romantic, but non-green getaway. Like many things you do to be greener, vote with your consumer choice and favor green products.
In this case, green hotels.
Most of the major hotel chains (Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental,….) are all pretty slick at green-washing any internal cost-saving efforts that could be spun as green. In our opinion, there are really not green hotels. In full disclosure, I had a career with one of these major hotel networks, so I witnessed the best of the professional corporate green-washing first hand and understand the bottom-line motivators for these efforts and false claims.
The first wave of hotel green-washing came during a cost-savings effort, transitioning from the energy hog incandescent lights to more energy efficient CFLs, all supposedly with the environment in mind. But basically, the hotel investment and management groups were pressuring the hotels to squeeze out more profit for them – switching was a no-brainer in terms of cost savings, not to mention the PR spin.
Shortly after that, all these chains were busy placing a nice note on the towel rack asking you to reuse your towels – environmentally sensible YES, but just another great way to save labor and laundry costs, drive more profit to the investors, and get a little green credit in the process.
Granted, these types of initiatives across these large multi-thousand portfolios of hotels and millions of hotel rooms DOES makes an impact, but there is so much more that hotels can do to really be green (i.e. food choices, pesticide use, temperature control, cleaning products used….) For instance, European hotels for a long time require that the room key is inserted into a slot to control the lighting. Whenever you leave the room, you simply yank the card from the slot near the door and every light goes off. And many hotels have two flush water levels on the toilets
So next time you’re planning a trip, use your search engine with keywords such as green hotels, green lodges, or search on romantic green getaway ideas.
Or better yet, check out these online resources that we found in researching this article, Green Lodging News, Green Seal Hotels, there is even a Green Hotels Association. At this websites, you will find lists of green hotels whose priority it is to be really green because it is what makes them different.