Travel Weekly had a great article earlier this month about how some hotel brands are working together to support the development of standards and practices for measuring and reporting carbon footprints. Standardizing measurements of a hotel’s impact on the environment in the form of greenhouse gas emissions makes sense, given many corporations spend millions of dollars a year on lodging for business travel, meetings and events, and they often ask properties about their hotel emissions before making any firm commitments to use them.
Our parent company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, is part of that group – along with Marriott International, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Accor, Hilton Worldwide and Wyndham Worldwide. The article notes that for Starwood, joining the carbon-footprint benchmarking effort "was an opportunity to help develop a simplified tool that our customers have been asking for to measure their carbon impact, specifically when it comes to meetings," said Andrea Pinabell, the company's director of environmental sustainability. She added that Starwood in 2008 began requiring all its hotels to track and report data on their energy and water use and waste production.
At the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, we have taken substantial steps to reduce our energy appetites. In addition to tracking and reporting data on our energy and water use and waste production, we have programs in place for leisure travelers such as Make a Green Choice where they can elect to decline housekeeping during their stay. And we recently received the Watts to Water Award from the Denver Metro Building Owners and Managers Association, which recognizes the efforts our Green Team continues to pursue to reduce energy and water consumption. Some of these green initiatives include CFL bulbs in every room, occupancy sensors in all offices, digital thermostats in all guestrooms, comprehensive recycling, on-site water-bottling program eliminating the use of plastic bottles, and the use of only eco-friendly cleaning solutions and chemicals.
What do you think? If you’re a green traveler, do you notice the compact fluorescents, smart rooms, eco-friendly products, low flush toilets, and other green initiatives at hotels? If you’re an average traveler, do you think hotels do enough to point out their green policies and significant initiatives they’re doing to reduce their carbon footprint – and how travelers can participate? If you’re a meeting planner, do you regularly inquire about a hotel’s carbon footprint when researching where to hold your next meeting or event?