Marriott Hotels Make the Commitment to Go Green – Marriott established an environmental policy and made the commitment to “go green.” Within the policy, the company established environmental goals and has been steadily striving to meet those marks. Learn how Marriott Hotels make the commitment to go green.
So many times we strive to go green at home but then we lose that ability while traveling.
How are Marriott Hotels green?
The list of Marriott’s goals includes:
- Reducing energy and water use by 20% per hotel room by the year 2017.
- Create a building plan for hotel developers including a set of green construction standards.
- Strive to make the multi-billion dollar chain “green.”
- Educate associates as well as hotel guest to support the environment.
- Invest in environmental initiatives, such as water conservation and rain forest protection.
The hotel chain realized that global travel has increased over the years and that it had a responsibility to create an atmosphere that was environmentally friendly.
They are committed to following all federal, regional, state, and local environmental laws and regulations; and committed to contributing to a more sustainable future.
Marriott has a Global Green Council that was put together to set the goals and policies, and to conduct reviews of the progress.
The Marriott chain has a lot to be proud of when it comes to its going green efforts.
The chain has been recognized and awarded several honors for its commitment to protecting our environment, including the U.S. Postal Service’s “Green Stamp of Approval” for delivering solutions that reduce costs, maintain high levels of service, and providing innovative and sustainable solutions.
Hotel guests will witness the green efforts of the hotel chain during their stay.
Here are some of the ways the Marriott is getting guests engaged in this cause:
- Guests will find recycling bins throughout the hotel, especially in common areas such as the lobby. This encourages guests to recycle newspapers, aluminum, and glass rather than throwing these items into a standard garage bin. It’s great to get kids involved on the trip with recycling too.
- Guests are asked to reuse their towels a second time rather than tossing on the floor after one use. This cuts back on the energy and water used during laundering.
- Regular light bulbs have been replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Recycled paper is used for the standard notepads left in the guest rooms, as well as recycled plastic pens.
- Low-flow showerheads have been installed which cuts back in water usage by up to 50% per shower.
- Timers have been installed for bathroom and entrance lights in the hotel rooms. This cuts back on the energy used in the room. Guests are also encouraged to turn off all lights when not in use and make sure all lights are off when leaving the hotel room.
- Guests are encouraged to unplug all cell phone, laptop, or other chargers or electrical devices when not in use.
Marriott Hotels make the commitment to go green
Marriott’s commitment to the environment is not just limited to its hotels.
The hotel chain’s environmental commitment states, “Marriott seeks to take responsibility for the environmental impact of our business operations.
We focus our efforts on five key elements of environmental responsibility.”
These five elements include: Energy, water, waste and carbon; supply chain; green hotels; engaging guests and associates; and conservation, in particularly the rain forests of Brazil.
Their efforts seem to be gaining them some ground and moving in the direction of their goals.
The Sustainability Report states that the water consumption per occupied room has decreased by 12% and energy consumption per square meter has decreased by 4%.
Due to all of these implementations, the Marriott chain continues to be recognized as a leader in going green.
Marriott Hotels make the commitment to go green which makes it easy to continue to lessen our impact wherever we are traveling.
What is a Green Hotel
With society becoming more environmentally aware, we are starting to see many businesses going green; especially hotels.
For those of us who are trying to vacation green, this is a welcome shift.
You might ask, “What is a green hotel?” or “What makes a hotel green?”
Hotels that are going green are implementing ways to decrease the use of energy, waste, and water.
For a hotel, all of these resources are highly used on a daily basis; however, these facilities have come up with ways to drastically reduce the use.
With the help and support from hotel guests, everyone can be contributing to keeping our planet a healthy, thriving, and safe place.
Green Hotel Practices
Conservation of water and saving energy somewhat go hand-in-hand.
The following are steps that both the hotel and guests can take to do their part in going green:
Installing low-flow shower heads and sink aerators:
An average shower head will put out 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) of water; when switching to a 1.75 gpm low-flow shower head; a hotel can save up to 30% of water usage.
Not only will it save water, but also energy that is used to heat the water.
A sink aerator can be installed on the taps of sinks.
This device mixes air with the water, giving an even flow; while at the same time, saving water and energy.
Installing low-flow toilets:
This type of toilet will use significantly less water than a full-flush toilet.
The low-flow toilet uses, on average, 1.6 gallons per flush as opposed to a full-flush toilet that uses about 3.5 gallon.
Linen reuse program:
Many hotels are now providing their guests with a note at check-in and providing signs in the room regarding reusing linens.
This encourages guests to use their towels twice, rather than throwing them on the floor, or not requesting the sheets to be changed daily if you are staying more than one night.
This conserves on the use of water and energy it takes to wash the linens.
Switching to LED lighting:
LED lights not only reduce the use of electricity, they last 15-20 times longer than a regular bulb.
LED lights leave the lowest carbon footprint and are safe for the environment.
Many hotels are using timers/sensors on their lights to reduce the use.
Hotel guest can do their part in making sure that lights in the hotel room are turned off when not in use or when leaving the room.
Green hotels are coming up with ways to reduce waste and ways to encourage hotel guests to recycle.
The following are some changes that have been made:
Hotels are placing both a recycling basket and a waste basket in guest rooms.
This encourages the guests to recycle plastic, glass, and newspapers.
Hotels are placing recycling bins in common areas, such as the lobby, pool area, and breakfast area.
Hotels are using reusable items rather than disposable items when serving guests.
This can include glasses instead of paper or Styrofoam cups, cloth napkins instead of paper, and ceramic dishes instead of disposable.
There are many more practices that hotels are using in their efforts to protect our planet, such as replacing old appliances with energy efficient ones, using solar heating systems for the pool, and using non-toxic cleaning agents.
Listed here are just a few of the basics of going green.
How to Tell if a Hotel is Really Green
The majority of hotels that I’ve stayed at in the past few years, which has been many, have claimed to be “green” or “eco-friendly.”
I guess I haven’t paid really close attention to whether they were practicing a list of environmentally friendly methods or whether they were just asking me to use my towel more than once.
I had a friend ask recently, “What really qualifies a hotel as being ‘green’?”
I really had to stop and think about that and the only answer I could give back was, “Good question.”
With that said, I decided to investigate.
Here is a list of some standard things to look for in determining if the hotel you are staying at is really “green”:
How do you know if a hotel is green
Most hotels that have truly made a commitment to environmentally safe practices should have a certification saying they’ve done so.
My guess would be that if they’ve gone through the paperwork and physical aspects of getting certified, that this certification would be in a common and easily viewable area.
A potential guest could also do their homework online to see if a hotel is certified.
Some credentials to look for include being a member of the following: EarthCheck, Green Key Eco-Rating System, or the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
For those hotels that initiate energy saving practices such as conserving water and energy by decreasing laundering, there should be notifications in the hotel room.
These are usually displayed in the bathroom, asking guests to use their towels more than once and also displayed on beds, asking that if you are staying more than one night to please use the sheets for more than one day.
Recycling bins should be provided in each guest room, as well as a regular garbage receptacle.
The recycle bin should be clearly marked as such, as well as marked with exactly what materials can be put in this bin; these materials are usually aluminum, glass, and paper.
Recycling bins should also be accessible in common areas like the lobby, breakfast area, or pool area.
If green cleaning products, or non-toxic products are used in cleaning guest rooms and common areas, this should be well displayed on maid carts or possibly even a sign at the front desk saying they use environmentally friendly products.
If you are curious about this and don’t see a sign displayed, ask a hotel employee what they use.
A hotel should be using energy efficient light bulbs, timers for lights in bathrooms and hallways, low-flow showerheads, low-flow flush toilets, and non-disposable items, such as glasses, ceramic dishes, metal silverware, etc.
If the only thing you notice in a hotel is that you are asked to use your towel twice or you don’t see any form of recycling, chances are the hotel is either not living up to their commitment (if they are claiming to be eco-friendly), or they haven’t jumped on the band wagon to protect our planet.
What is Greenwashing
Be aware of hotels who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.
We stayed at a lovely hotel recently but were stunned to see the breakfast staff throw away three large plastic juice containers in the regular garbage.
There was a recycling can for plastics, just 10 feet away.
These were the containers which fit into the juice dispenser — orange, cranberry and apple. They must go through several of these a week.
I went up to ask to speak with the manager who was unavailable.
Instead, I questioned a staff member who seemed perplexed with the concept of recycling.
I took the containers out of the garbage and put two in the recycle bin, and left a note on the third for the staff member to give to the hotel manager.
Who knows if anything will be different but at least they know their guests are paying attention.
Watch for hotels and other companies who promote being green but aren’t following through with basics like recycling plastic containers.
This is considered greenwashing.
When Green Hotels Practice What We Preach
After a 5.5 hour turbulent plane ride and waiting 25 minutes for a taxi (I got an eco-cab!) in the 101 degree F heat, I finally stumble into my hotel room.
I open the door and a heat wave hits me.
I don’t know the last time I was inside and it felt this hot.
The thermostat in my hotel room is off.
When I turn it on the it tells me it’s 86 degrees F in the room.
It takes a full hour for the room to get to a manageable temperature.
I climb into bed a little later and go to turn on the bedside lamp.
It doesn’t turn on.
I check for a light bulb — that’s not the problem.
I reach around the back and the cord isn’t plugged in.
As I’m blindly groping behind the bed to find the outlet, I’m thinking, “What’s the deal with this hotel?”
Then, “Don’t they know I expect things to work?”
Then it occurs to me — the hotel is making an effort to save electricity.
photo credit: pingnews.com
Still, each time I discover another unplugged appliance, my first feeling is one of annoyance.
Then, after a moment, I’m thankful for their efforts to be a little greener.
In the morning I wake up, put some water in the coffee pot to heat up water for my tea and turn on the pot.
A few minutes later I still don’t hear the drip, drip, drip.
It’s not plugged in.
After my shower I pull the hotel dryer off the side of the wall expecting it to turn on immediately, but it, too, is unplugged.
I suppose this is the Catch-22 hotels face.
If they don’t make an effort to be more environmentally friendly, consumers say they aren’t green enough.
But when they make an effort to be a little greener, customers are annoyed by the minor inconveniences they face.
I’m guessing most people are disgruntled with, rather than grateful for, the hotel’s energy-saving efforts.
So today, I’m going to fill out my comment card and thank this hotel for have the thermostat off and the appliances unplugged.
Hopefully my gratitude will help offset any complaints they get.
Have you ever walked into a hotel to find all of the appliances unplugged?
If so, what was your reaction?
Dear Housekeeping: Don’t Change My Towel Conserve Water Travel Green
Your hotel, like nearly every single hotel I stay at, has a little sign in the bathroom that says “in an effort to conserve water, if you hang your towel, we will not replace it.
Leave it on the floor and we will exchange it for a fresh one.”
So, just like the sign says, I hang my towel Conserve Water Travel Green.
Honestly, I hate hanging my towel.
I’m on vacation or exhausted from traveling for business.
The last thing I want to do is make the effort to hang up my towel.
But, like a good little environmentalist I follow the sign.
Sometimes I hang the towel on the back of the door.
Sometimes I hang it wrinkled on the rack.
Lately I’ve gone a step further.
I don’t just hang my towel.
I carefully fold it into three parts, just like my mother taught me.
It looks oh-so-neat-and-clean folded and hanging on the towel rack.
But guess what. You take my towel anyway.
You take my once-used, nearly-clean towel.
And your hotel wastes millions of gallons of water washing my towel and towels like mine as you replace my nearly perfectly clean towels with perfectly clean towels.
Most days I try to remember to put up the “privacy please” sign on the door so you don’t ever enter my room.
But lately it’s become a test:
Will you take and replace my towel even though your sign says you won’t?
I’ve thought about calling the manager of the hotel.
In addition, I’ve thought about hiding the towel – perhaps hanging it in the closet.
I’ve thought about bringing my own quick drying msr towel thus avoiding your towels all together.
But frankly, on vacation, I’m too forgetful for these things.
And I know you’re just doing your job.
So, I’ve come up with a solution:
The “Don’t Change My Towel Sign.”
Next time I visit your hotel I will print a copy (on recycled paper with soy-based ink, of course) and hang it with my towel.
Hopefully this sign will make it clearer.
I really do want to save the environment – one towel at a time.
Finding a green hotel
Green travel should be a lifestyle and easy to do, so it’s not an inconvenience.
If you intend to travel green, it is essential to research in advance to find a green hotel that works to minimize their own impact.
You will be surprised to learn many hotels and resorts are working hard to be more green.
Then be sure they make it easy for their guests to be eco conscious while they stay.
Greening Your Hotel is Easy to Do
Let’s face it, as much as we love camping, hostels, and eco-lodges, sometimes a hotel is the most reasonable option.
Here are 11 of our favorite tips and tricks for greening your hotel visit. You don’t have to wait until Earth Day to do something eco-conscious.
Get started with these tips for your next hotel stay.
Here are some things you can do to make your hotel stay greener.
Unplug, unplug, unplug.
The first thing you should do when you walk into a hotel room is unplug. 5 lamps?
Unless you’ve brought a turkey and mayo sandwich, unplug.
Appliances drain energy even when they’re not on.
If you just spend 2 minutes unplugging items you will already have made a difference.
photo credit: trekkyandy
Hang your towel.
In my experience housekeeping is haphazard in their pledge to “save the environment one towel at a time.”
Most times I hang the towel and come back later to find they’ve replaced it anyway; but about 50% of the time they leave it for me.
Move the soap.
An easy trick to reduce your waste is to bring the bar of soap with you to the shower when you shower and leave it by the sink the rest of the time.
When was the last time you used two full bars of soap at a hotel? (Or even one full bar?)
When you go out for the day, you may need to put the soap away so the cleaning crew doesn’t throw it away, and replace it with a new one.
Stick the “Do not Disturb” on your door.
Or just call housekeeping, and tell them you won’t need their services during your stay.
To prevent the hotel from wasting water by changing your sheets and towels, wasting electricity by vacuuming, and spraying harsh chemicals all over, just ask them to refrain from cleaning your room during your stay if it is just for a few days.
Adjust the thermostat.
By lowering the temperature by 2 degrees in the winter or raising it by 2 in the summer, you will save a lot of energy.
You most likely won’t notice the difference.
When you leave the room turn everything off:
Thermostat (if the weather is mild)
Flush less frequently.
If you are traveling alone, no need to flush every time.
It may sound gross, but even if you can do it once or twice, practice the “if it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow” rule.
It will make a big difference in water usage.
Bring your own toiletries.
I personally know the pains of the 3 oz of liquids on planes rule.
But think of all of the plastics that are used to create tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
And all of the extra packaging in luxury hotel items.
Plus, by bringing your own shampoo you can prevent a bad hair day from bad shampoo.
Take shorter showers.
Sometimes a long, hot shower feels incredible.
But do you need that every day?
The average US shower head spits out about 2.5 gallons per minute, which means in a 15 minute shower you use nearly 40 gallons of water.
Leave the pen (and other freebies) behind.
I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for free pens.
Even the crappy ones that explode in my purse on the airplane ride home.
Do the earth a favor and leave these items behind.
Find out if the hotel recycles.
If they do, ask if they separate it out from waste-bins.
If they don’t, take your free USA Today and empty cans and bottles and toss them in an extra pocket in your suitcase to recycle later.
They weigh almost nothing.
What ideas do you have to make your hotel stay more green? By doing even a few of these suggestions for greening your hotel, every time you travel, you will be making a big difference.
11 Tips and Tricks for Greening your Hotel Stay is the sixteenth post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series.
You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index.
Green Travel Series
31 Reasons to Travel Green: In Pictures
Defining Green Travel
Ultimate Directory of Top Green Travel Destinations
6 Pieces of Travel Gear You Should Buy New
Drinking Green Anywhere in the World
Tips for Healthy Water Abroad
Volunteering Abroad – 10 Things to Know
21 Resources for Volunteering Abroad & Why You Should Do It
Hotels Going Green ~ Enjoy a Stay at the Proximity Hotel
In the last several decades, we have seen more hotels going green.
The Proximity Hotel is located in Greensboro, North Carolina and was built as a “green” hotel in 2007.
The hotel has 147 guest rooms, banquet and conference space, and a full-service restaurant.
During the construction of the hotel, over 70 different sustainable methods were used.
The Proximity Hotel is considered to be a role model in “green” hotel construction.
The regulations of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System were followed during the building phase, which earned it the highest rating possible from the organization.
Compared to a standard hotel, Proximity was built to use 30 percent less water and 40 percent less energy.
Learn about finding an LEED hotel here.
Guests will enjoy all of the latest and greatest in accommodations and amenities during a visit.
Rooms are available from a spacious two-bed guest room to a two bedroom guest suite.
All of the rooms are decorated with original art, custom furniture, and have double sink vanities.
Guests will also enjoy newspaper delivery each morning, coffee makers, microwaves, mini-coolers, complimentary Wi-Fi, and some of the luxury rooms offer a gorgeous view of the city.
Travelers can take advantage of the amenities offered at the Proximity.
You can start the day with an early morning workout in the fitness studio, take a dip in the pool, relax in the garden while enjoying a good book, catch up on emails in the working lobby, meet up with the rest of your party in the social lobby, or enjoy dining and a drink at the Print Works Bistro.
While enjoying everything that the hotel and the area have to offer, guests can also feel good that they are doing their part in keeping the environment clean.
The following are some of the innovative “green” ways the hotel was constructed:
The rooftop of the hotel is covered with 100 solar panels; it is these panels that heat 60 percent of the water used in the restaurant and hotel.
The Print Works Bistro is made from solid walnut wood that was salvaged from sick trees or trees that succumbed to storms.
The restaurant’s refrigeration is run by geothermal energy versus a water cooled system.
Much of the materials used in construction were recycled or salvaged in the following percentages: sheetrock – 100 percent, reinforced steel – 90 percent, asphalt – 25 percent, steel used in staircases – 50 percent
The waste from construction was 87 percent recycled which resulted in saving 1,535 tons of debris from going to landfills.
High efficiency Kohler fixtures were used throughout the building, which in turn is reducing water usage by 33 percent.
We love hotels going green
This is just a small portion of the methods that were used in building the green hotel.
During a stay here, guests can visit the educational center, which can teach them about sustainable practices.
A tour of the hotel is also available, in which all of the sustainable methods will be pointed out.
The Proximity advocates the use of the green spaces in the community surrounding the hotel, such as the five mile biking and walking trail known as the Greenway.
The hotel has bikes available for guests to use to take a ride on the nearby Greenway.
Guests will not be disappointed with the safe, friendly, and clean atmosphere in and around the Proximity Hotel for those who consider staying at hotels going green.