These days, the lodging industry is doing its part to conserve energy. Whether through small things like encouraging guests to reuse their bath towels or bigger things such as installing energy efficient temperature control systems building-wide, hotels are making a difference when it comes to eco-friendly travel.
Here are a few things to consider before you book your hotel stay:
What kind of recycling programs does the hotel have (aluminum, plastic, paper, gray water, composting)?
Do guests have the option to reuse towels and sheets instead of having them changed every day?
What programs does the hotel have to reduce consumption? Examples include energy-efficient lighting, low-flow toilets and showers, and alternative energy sources like solar or wind power.
How does the hotel contribute to the local community?
And here are a few things you can do during your stay:
Keep your showers short, and shut off the water while you're brushing your teeth.
When you leave the room, turn off the air conditioning, heat, television, lights or any other electric devices.
Reuse your sheets and towels instead of having them changed every day. Many hotels will not replace your towels if you leave them hanging up neatly.
Know the hotel's recycling program and sort your trash accordingly.
Give the hotel feedback. Express your appreciation for any eco-friendly programs it currently offers - or if it doesn't, encourage the management to go green in the future.
The Hilton Americas was the first property in the state to receive Green Seal certification. In addition to low-energy fixtures and energy-saving lightbulbs, the Hilton has an extensive recycling program that includes everything from kitchen oil to cardboard to fluorescent bulbs. The hotel even donates its partially used amenities to local shelters.
At the Houstonian Hotel, occupancy sensors in all guestrooms turn the lights out when guests leave. The hotel also has a central laundry plant with a water reclamation system and low energy equipment. The Houstonian has even replaced all styrofoam cups on its grounds with biodegradable corn-product cups.
Meanwhile, at the Magnolia Hotel Downtown, high pressure/low volume fixtures in all of the bathrooms reduce overall water consumption. The hotel also has a recycling program and provides free bus passes to employees who wish to use public transportation.
The new Embassy Suites was the first Downtown Houston hotel to earn LEED certification for its sustainable design and the first Embassy Suites in Texas to receive that status. In addition to many of the expected green features and amenities, the Embassy Suites is the first hotel in the city to cater to electric vehicle owners by installing charging stations in its parking garage.
This is just a sampling of the many Houston hotels and their respective programs that are making a difference in the environment.