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The conservation and enhancement of the environment is critical to the well-being of the hospitality industry. Environmentally responsible development and management practices should be the top priority for all businesses. In fact, growing pressure is currently being exerted on hotel facilities for operating in an environmentally sound manner. Increasingly strict legal regulations and standards, a growing demand for environmental reporting provided by businesses, as well as a slowly developing environmental awareness by tourists, all have a strong impact on the expected manner hotel establishments should be operated. In response to these pressures, a number of initiatives have been undertaken. Given that on-site impacts are often the most immediate and apparent, these are initially targeted by essentially all of the programs.

In this section I am presenting possible improvements that can be incorporated into the operation of hotel facilities (including successful case studies). Most of the information contained here comes from my licentiate thesis (for more information please contact me).

Mitigation measures at the operational stage of the hotel

The conservation and enhancement of the environment is critical to the well-being of the hospitality industry. Environmentally responsible development and management practices should be the top priority for all businesses. In fact, growing pressure is currently being exerted on hotel facilities for operating in an environmentally sound manner. Increasingly strict legal regulations and standards, a growing demand for environmental reporting provided by businesses, as well as a slowly developing environmental awareness by tourists, all have a strong impact on the expected manner hotel establishments should be operated. In response to these pressures, a number of initiatives have been undertaken. Given that on-site impacts are often the most immediate and apparent, these are initially targeted by essentially all of the programs (Table).

Table. Possible impacts and mitigation measures at the operational stage.




Energy and electricity use

Depletion of resources.

Emissions of carbon dioxide, sulphur and nitrogen oxides, particulates, volatile organic compounds, and hydrocarbons leading to air pollution, acid rains, global warming, ozone layer depletion and a wide range of secondary effects.

Energy conservation.

Increasing energy efficiency.

Incorporation of passive heating and cooling, as well as natural day-lighting.

Switching to more environmentally friendly and efficient fuels.

Utilisation of renewable energy sources.

Water use

Pressure on water resources, water shortages.

Wastewater generation.

Pollution of surface and groundwater reservoirs.

Contamination of aquatic life.

Destruction of ecosystems.

Secondary effects and hazards to human health.

Water conservation, reuse and treatment.

Increasing the efficiency of water use.

Use of environmentally friendly, biodegradable chemicals.

Utilisation of consumption products

Excessive use of resources and associated emissions during the manufacture, transport and utilisation of various products.

Waste generation.

Contamination of soils and water reservoirs.

Contamination of biological life and destruction of ecosystems.

Emission of various air pollutants (volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated
bi-phenyls, ozone depleting substances, hydrocarbons, etc.).

Avoidance, reduction, reuse and recycling of consumer products and materials.

Switching to more environmentally friendly products.

Operation of mechanical systems and human activities

Noise generation.

Disruption of peace and well-being of local inhabitants and ecosystems.


Switching to more efficient equipment.

Sound isolation of most strategic enclosures.

Improved time planning of operations.

 Energy and emissions

Growing concern about the state of the natural environment is one of the major driving forces for a more sustainable energy management in the hotel industry, while increasing energy prices is a second concern. Reducing energy costs in the hotel industry can be challenging. All innovations and conservation measures need to be performed in such a way as to simultaneously meet the diverse requirements of hotel customers. Moreover, these actions cannot interfere with the safety, comfort and convenience of the guests. Particularly, they cannot limit the guests’ freedom in relation to controlling indoor conditions within the hotel room. Another well-established, although not entirely true concept is the assumption that a great deal of technical knowledge is required in order to make a real impact on the use of energy, and involving the expenditure of significant sums of money. In reality, however, major saving can be achieved with little technical knowledge and minimal or no expense, simply by adopting a common sense approach to energy use. For example, one of the most important activities in a well-organised energy management program is involving all the employees and allowing them to suggest ideas based on their own experiences and understanding the fact that their effort can make a difference.

The energy management program should include an analysis of the current energy consumption at the facility, either by direct measurements, monitoring of energy meters or analysis of past and current energy bills. Some hotels, in fact, perform constant resource use monitoring, for example, the Scandic Utility System program developed and used at Scandic Hotels in 1990s, and its successor - Hilton Environmental Reporting incorporated in Hilton hotels. Knowledge and proper evaluation of energy consumption at the facility helps in indicating the areas most prone to saving opportunities. The performance of a hotel may also be compared to benchmarks prepared by various hotel and eco-labelling organisations.

The energy conservation plan may be performed as a simple consumption control, wastage detection and avoidance, through regular energy consumption monitoring and analysis of energy bills, as well as training staff towards a more energy conscious behaviour. Energy cost reduction may often be achieved by changing energy tariffs to more appropriate fees, and shaving off during the peak load. The management system may also include the incorporation of highly sophisticated, fully-computerised energy monitoring and control systems. A wide variety of technical and behavioural options can additionally be incorporated. A number of hotel organisations, universities, as well as individual hotels and hotel companies have developed guidelines for good energy management (IHEI 1993; IH&RA et al. 1995; AH&LA 2001; Genot et al. 2001; Perera 2001; Perera et al. 2003, and others).

Space conditioning is a major energy consumer, followed by domestic hot water production, thereby offering the greatest saving opportunities. Lighting is typically the third activity area to be considered, followed by kitchen and laundry services. Energy conservation opportunities can be classified into low, medium and high capital costs. They can also be classified into maintenance or good housekeeping options, and repair, retrofit and refurbishment options. Both types of solutions should be preferably incorporated at mutually suitable times.

Space conditioning

Options for space conditioning (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) energy savings include:

  • Setting the heating and cooling generators, as well as thermostats and radiator controls to a minimum ensuring comfort, according to the degree-day thresholds and levels of activity.

  • Limiting the control of thermostats in guestrooms and public areas.

  • Ensuring that cooling and heating cannot be provided to the same area simultaneously, limiting the control of operable windows to ensure they are not used to control overheating when the cooling is turned on.

  • Using outdoor air for cooling where available.

  • Applying an adaptive approach to thermal comfort (Bohdanowicz & Martinac 2002).

  • Involving guests in energy conservation, by asking them to switch off equipment, when not in use, by e.g., placing tent cards in rooms.

  • Training staff to conserve energy by switching off equipment when not in use, setting guestroom thermostats to a moderate temperature after room cleaning, and changing the operation time of certain equipment to shave off the peak load.

  • Regular cleaning, maintenance and service of HVAC equipment to maximise efficiency.

  • Using window curtains to control solar heat gain (opening or closing).

  • Shading sun-oriented windows on the outside with awnings, landscaping or reflective films and/or screens.

  • Switching fuel to a more efficient alternative, assuming the existing boiler can operate on more than one fuel.

  • The proper placement of furniture inside rooms (radiators and air-conditioning units should be placed below windows and not be covered by furniture or curtains).

  • Retrofitting and changing equipment according to life-cycle performance, to ensure the most efficient alternative.

  • Ensuring that minimum supply air-flow rates are correct, and switching off or reducing fan rates outside of occupancy hours.

  • Ensuring that HVAC systems are not left running on maximum settings in unoccupied conference and meeting rooms (leaving air conditioning running in an empty conference room can counteract all savings made in hotel rooms).

  • Checking fan efficiency. Replacement with high efficiency fans.

  • The size of appliances should match the actual demand (oversized and undersized equipment wastes energy).

  • The insulation of all hot/chilled water tanks, pipes and boilers, as well as air handling ducts. In the case of long supply lines, an installation of local heating/cooling devices should be considered.

  • The proper insulation of walls, ceilings, lofts, as well as suitable and properly maintained weather-stripping of windows and doors. Using vinyl curtains or air blowers for loading dock doors in order to reduce the loss of conditioned air when shipping and/or receiving supplies.

  • The installation of building energy management systems for controlling temperature, humidity and air conditioning systems for meeting rooms, guestrooms and other public areas, as well as boilers and storage tanks. A number of companies on the market offer a wide range of devices and software of this kind.

  • The installation of variable-speed controls for fans and pumps.

  • Connecting guestrooms and smaller kitchen exhaust fans with light circuits in order to shut off the exhaust fan when the light is off and the area unoccupied.

  • Reducing or switching off the power, heating, ventilation, and/or cooling in unoccupied areas.

  • Zoning of the premises allowing for the separate control of thermal conditions.

  • The incorporation of automatic load-shedding control systems (to reduce peak loads).

  • The installation of double-glazed windows, or addition of second glazing layer to existing windows.

  • The incorporation of active and passive solar design and systems, as well as natural cooling.

  • The installation of heat pumps and other heat recovery devices designed to utilise waste heat from the extract ventilation system, laundry and wastewater pipes to produce DHW and, if possible, hot water for space heating.

  • The installation of a combined heat and power (CHP) production units.

It was further illustrated that the thermal satisfaction of guests could reduce maintenance costs.

Domestic hot water

Options for domestic hot water (sanitary hot water in guestrooms, public toilets, kitchens and laundries) energy savings include:

  • Regularly checking toilets, faucets and showerheads for water leaks and repairing them immediately.

  • The regular maintenance and servicing of boilers and water heaters for optimum efficiency.

  • Cleaning the inside of water heaters according to the manufacturer's instructions and considering water treatment in order to prevent scaling.

  • Setting the water heater thermostats at 50oC for guestroom water. Using a booster heater for higher water temperatures for dishwashers and laundry equipment use.

  • The installation of local instantaneous water heaters if small volumes of domestic hot water are required far from the main heating plant.

  • Operating laundry equipment and dishwashers with full loads only.

  • Involving guests and staff in water conservation (e.g., reusing towel and linen).

  • Insulating hot water holding tanks and hot water pipes to reduce heat loss.

  • The installation of low flow shower heads and flow restrictors and aerators in taps.

  • Replacing inefficient water heating systems, and the installation of temperature control devices in boilers and water tanks.

  • Using heat recovery equipment on large air conditioning units to preheat water.

  • Installing solar water heating systems for the preheating of sanitary water, swimming pools and spas. Solar installations for domestic hot water and swimming pool heating are among the most common and popular renewable energy technologies incorporated in hotels worldwide.


Options for lighting energy savings include:

  • Maximising the use of daylight, e.g., by regular window cleaning and reducing outdoor obstacles (with consideration to heat gain).

  • Adjusting lighting levels to the demand and types of fixtures used for the purpose.

  • Switching off lights in unoccupied areas.

  • Cleaning bulbs, reflecting surfaces and diffusers regularly for maximum efficiency.

  • Comparing lumens per watt for the most efficient purchase of lighting equipment.

  • Replacing inefficient incandescent lighting fixtures with efficient fluorescent, sodium or metal halide fixtures; tungsten lamps with compact fluorescent lamps, and old fluorescent tubes with new efficient ones.

  • Replacing inefficient fluorescent ballasts with new energy-efficient, high-frequency electronic ballasts and inefficient electromagnetic ballasts with new high-frequency ones.

  • Using time and motion sensors for turning lights on and off where appropriate.

  • Using a photo-cell or time clock control together with high-efficiency lighting, for outdoor and parking lights.

  • Using dimmer controls in dining areas and meeting rooms.

  • Installing PV-powered outdoor lighting where feasible.

The installation of low energy lighting is presumably the most adequate solution, since it reduces not only energy costs, but working costs in bulb changing as well. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) last 8 times longer than tungsten halogen lamps, 8 – 10 times longer than incandescent lights, using approximately 25% less energy for the same light output. CFLs generate less heat than incandescent bulbs thereby reducing the cooling load. Another advantage of investing in lighting is the payback time, which is relatively short. Numerous success stories of lighting upgrades from hotels worldwide can be observed (EEO 1994; IMPIVA 1994; EHoA 1998; U.S. EPA ESB 1999; Alliance 2000; Perez & Foley 2000).


Options for catering energy savings include:

  • The introduction of energy-conscious operational schemes by e.g., informing kitchen staff of heat-up times for different equipment, and ensuring that it is turned off when not in use; defrosting food at room temperature and not in hot water.

  • Daily cleaning of grills, grease filters and other kitchen equipment for a greater heat transfer.

  • Using dishwashers on full loads only.

  • Matching the size of appliances to the real demand, e.g., matching pan sizes to hot plate / burner sizes.

  • Performing regular maintenance on refrigeration equipment, as well as gas and electric cooking equipment for the greatest possible efficiency.

  • The maintenance of sealing and stripping in cold rooms and refrigeration units, the installation of open-door buzzers, and vinyl air curtains or air blowers over the doors of walk-in refrigeration rooms.

  • The regular checking of door gaskets and closures for damage and replacing them as needed.

  • The installation of timers on hood fans, exhaust systems and hood lights.

  • The replacement of inefficient refrigeration equipment with new efficient units (using environmentally friendly refrigerants).

  • The replacement of inefficient cooking and dishwashing equipment.

  • The installation of heat recovery equipment on large refrigeration units to preheat water for kitchen use.

  • Reorganising the location of outside ice machines and drink boxes to be under cover in shaded areas.

 Laundry and swimming pools

Options for laundry and swimming pools energy savings include:

  • Ensuring that laundry equipment is efficient and always operated on full load.

  • Considering changing hotel linen to coloured fabric in order to reduce the washing temperature.

  • The maintenance of water temperature in the swimming pool at approximately 29oC and air temperature at the same level or a little higher (up to 1oC).

  • Covering the swimming pools when not in use (generally at night).

  • Using heat pumps and water heat exchangers in indoor pools and sport areas.

Appliances and other end-users
  • Options for various electrical appliance energy savings include:

  • Preparing detailed maintenance routines for all types of equipment.

  • The purchase of energy efficient equipment for offices, guestrooms, conference rooms and other areas.

  • The installation of guest-room master electricity switches (key cards) in order to ensure that lights and other electrical equipment operate only when the rooms are occupied, and having HVAC equipment operation reduced to an economic minimum in unoccupied rooms. Infra-red occupancy detectors may also be used.



Various types of master electricity switches (key-cards) installed in hotel rooms (photo: Bohdanowicz 2001, 2003).

There are numerous examples of the successful implementation of energy management programs in hotels worldwide (IHEI 1993; IH&RA et al. 1995; UNEP & IH&RA 1997; Genot et al. 2001; Perera 2001; Perera et al. 2003; CADDET series, most issues of Green Hotelier Magazine). These apply to individual hotels as well as entire chains. For instance, Scandic’s Nordic hotels energy reduction achieved by the implementation of the Resource Hunt program was 23% (on kWh/room-let basis) in the first 24 months alone (Bohdanowicz, Simanic, Martinac, 2004).

Water and waste water

Water, similar to energy, represents a significant share of operational costs. Moreover, the treatment of wastewater is expensive and frequently charged by volume discharged, or quantity of water purchased. Similarly, as in the case of energy, costs, together with a concern for the status of the natural environment, are the two primary driving forces adopted for water conservation efforts, particularly since the reduction of water quantities consumed automatically reduces the cost of wastewater discharge. This can also lead to significant energy savings, especially in the area of domestic hot water production. Consequently, a water management program should always accompany energy management. 

Options for water saving include:

  • The regular monitoring of water consumption.

  • The regular inspection of pipes, storage tanks, toilets, faucets and showerheads for water leaks and their immediate repair.

  • Cleaning the inside of water heaters according to the manufacturer's instructions and considering water treatment to prevent scaling.

  • Operating laundry equipment and dishwashers with full loads only.

  • The avoidance of water waste in kitchens (running and unused water, dishwashing in basins rather than under running water).

  • Involving guests and staff in water conservation.

  • The choice of dry-cleaning methods where feasible (conference rooms, bedrooms).

  • The placement of volume reducers in toilet cisterns, flow-restrictors in taps and shower heads (devices exist restricting the flow at the range of 1.8, 5.7, 7.6, 8.3, and 9.5 litres/minute).

  • The installation of hot and cold water mixers in all outlets, dual flush toilets (a low-flush toilet uses 3/6 litres/flush, ultra low flush – 2 litres/flush, while a conventional toilet uses up to 20 litres), and aerators in taps and showers.

  • Retrofitting shower-heads and taps with low-flow water taps (a conventional shower head uses 15 – 30 litres per minute, a low-flow tap uses 7 – 10 litres).

  • The installation of pressure flush valves on toilets and urinals.

  • The installation of photoelectric cells in public washstands and urinals.

  • The installation of chemically purified urinals and composting toilets.

  • The purchase of water-efficient equipment.

  • The replacement of baths with showers.

  • The collection of rainwater for gardening, toilet flushing and laundry.

  • The reuse of grey water for non-drinking purposes.

  • Water recovery and recycling in the laundry, generally feasible at facilities with more than 250 – 350 rooms.

  • Planting of native or drought resistant plants in gardens to minimise watering (Xeriscaping).

  • Adequate watering schedules (early in the morning or late in the evening, directing the flow to the roots).

 Options for wastewater volume reduction and treatment include:

  • The installation of grease traps on kitchen wastewater discharge.

  • The purchase and use of environmentally friendly detergents, cleaning chemicals and washing powders with a reduced phosphorus content.

  • The reuse of grey and possibly black water.

  • The installation of an on-site wastewater treatment plant (traditional or alternative, e.g., artificial wetlands).

  • The introduction of swimming pool water purification methods other than chlorination, e.g., ionisation, ozonation, or the use of UVC radiation lamps.

Water conservation generates direct economic, environmental, as well as social benefits. Financial benefits are typically the most significant for managers and owners, since they include a lower cost of water purchase and treatment, as well as lower sewage discharge fees. Furthermore, a lower water demand results
in a smaller size (and incurred capital and maintenance cost) of water storage tanks, pumps, filters, as well as septic tanks and on-site wastewater treatment installations. Additionally, energy needed for the production of domestic hot water will subsequently decrease.

Environmental benefits include the overall reduction of chemicals, energy and other resources needed for the production and supply of potable water, together with the improvement of on-site and local wastewater disposal and treatment systems. The latter will result in a decreased mass of pollutants reaching surface and ground water reservoirs, thereby improving water quality.

A reduction in government spending regarding the development and increase of water mains and sewers capacity, as well as the construction of water and wastewater treatment plants is one of many social benefits. Less frequent water shortages would indisputably be appreciated by local businesses and communities, particularly in destinations chronically affected by a water deficit.

There are numerous examples of the successful implementation of water management programs in hotels worldwide (IHEI 1993; IH&RA et al. 1995; UNEP & IH&RA 1997; Genot et al. 2001; Perera 2001; Perera et al. 2003; almost every issue of Green Hotelier Magazine). This is relevant to both individual hotels as well as entire chains. For instance, Scandic’s Nordic hotels water reduction achieved by the implementation of the Resource Hunt program was 12% in the first 24 months (Bohdanowicz, Simanic, Martinac 2004). 


Consumables and wastes

Responsible waste management is one of the most adaptable areas of environmental action, where improvements are readily visible and widely appreciated, and is therefore the most preferable to start with. A preliminary environmental status review should identify all waste generated by the facility, and allow to classify products which can be avoided at the moment of purchase, replaced with alternative items that produce less or no waste, reused for the same or other purpose, used for longer time or/and sorted and collected for recycling under local municipal waste recycling schemes.

Options for generated waste volume reductions and treatment include:

  • Avoidance, replacement, reduction, reuse, and recycling.

  • Reducing the quantities of products purchased and used (providing staff with multi-use ceramic coffee mugs instead of disposable cups, printing or writing on both sides of paper).

  • Using electronic messages instead of paper letters.

  • Composting of organic and garden waste.

  • Avoiding individually packed items and disposable items (guest bathroom toiletries, food, cutlery).

  • The replacement of individually packed toiletries in guest bathrooms with refillable fixed dispensers.

  • Involving guests in waste separation by placing special waste containers in guestrooms and common areas.



 Waste separation bins a, b) in hotel rooms, Scandic Hotels and c) conference rooms, Sånga Säby Course and Conference Centre, Sweden (photo: Bohdanowicz 2003).


  • The involvement of hotel staff in waste separation and recycling on the premises. Generally, glass, plastic, paper, cardboard, aluminium and batteries are collected.

  • The reuse of old linen, packaging containers, left-over guest stationery and toiletries (e.g., soap bars can be reprocessed into laundry soap and surface cleaners).

  • The purchase of soft drinks and mineral water in glass or recyclable PET bottles.

  • The donation of hotel furniture and equipment to local charities.

  • The donation of left-over, good quality food to local charities or farmers.

  • The separation and recycling of frying oil.

  • The proper maintenance of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment to prevent refrigerant leakage, or the recycling of refrigerants between systems.

  • The replacement and safe disposal of ozone depleting refrigerants, adapting more environmentally acceptable alternatives.

  • The proper maintenance of fire extinguishers and switching to zero-ODS extinguishers, foams and aerosols.

  • Contracting external companies for services, which are rare at the facility (e.g., dry cleaning).

  • Involving suppliers in the collection, reuse and/or safe disposal of used equipment (crates, pallets and other packaging; as well as office equipment, refrigerators and freezers, toner cartridges, light fixtures).

  • The installation of waste compactors designed to reduce the volume of waste and space needed for storage, as well as increasing the value of recyclable material.

Establishing a recycling program is reasonably simple, however its incorporation into a hotel facility is a difficult task, particularly from a management and coordination perspective, due to the multitude of actors involved. On the other hand, direct financial benefits, in terms of lower collection and disposal costs, as well as additional revenue from the sale of recyclables can be observed. Moreover, as indicated by many hotel practitioners, on-site recycling programs assist in the recovering of a wide range of items accidentally or purposefully thrown away by customers and staff. These items include cutlery, linen and towels, office stationery and even in-room lamps, electric kettles and coffee makers. Their recovery saves a substantial amount of money, which would otherwise be necessary for the purchase of new items. Furthermore, an active recycling program is more likely to improve the image of a facility and positively influence the motivation and behaviour of hotel employees.

The environmental benefits of waste reduction are fairly obvious as they range from a lower demand for energy, water and raw materials during the course of manufacture and transport, to decreased waste quantities and related impacts. The magnitude of environmental benefits related to a recycling program and its appropriateness, as compared to other waste disposal options, however, often is the cause of controversy and discussion. Landfilling is virtually never considered an environmentally preferable option, but in the case of waste incineration with heat recovery versus recycling, a more detailed analysis is required. Waste incineration requires a large input of energy, which to some degree can be recovered by the heat recovery system, also generating large quantities of air contaminants, including carbon dioxide, dioxins and furans, as well as post-incineration waste, which requires to be landfilled. Modern technology has limited the emission and ash quantities produced, making incineration an attractive and often environmentally preferable option. The recycling of materials additionally requires an input of energy, water and other substances, thus creating an impact on the environment. Nevertheless, the production of new items from recycled materials generally has a much smaller environmental influence compared to items manufactured from virgin materials.

Numerous examples can be illustrated, relating to the successful implementation of waste management programs in hotels worldwide, and involving both individual hotels as well as entire chains (IHEI 1993; IH&RA et al. 1995; UNEP & IH&RA 1997; Genot et al. 2001; Perera 2001; Perera et al. 2003; almost every issue of Green Hotelier Magazine). For instance, Scandic’s Nordic hotels achieved an unsorted waste reduction of 38% in the first 24 months (Bohdanowicz, Simanic, Martinac 2004). At Sånga Säby Course and Conference Centre a comprehensive waste management system accounted for the decrease of unsorted waste to as low as 50 grams per guestnight (SSCC 2003, pp.9).

The policy of green purchasing is also a viable solution for lowering the environmental impact of a hotel. Similarly to waste management, it is a relatively straightforward area to work with, and generates clearly visible results, by avoiding and reducing waste and associated costs, thereby saving energy and other resources, as well as reducing the environmental impact of the facility. Furthermore, it clearly demonstrates the company’s environmental commitment. 

Issues for consideration in eco-purchasing include:

  • The purchasing of essential materials and items in quantities needed.

  • The replacement of toxic products with less or non-toxic alternatives.

  • The purchasing of energy and water efficient equipment.

  • Purchasing priority given to environmentally friendly, less-toxic, biodegradable, good-quality, long lasting products (biodegradable detergents with low phosphorus content, water-based paints instead of solvent-based solutions, good quality trademark equipment).

  • Choosing items made of recycled materials where possible, or items that can be recycled or reused.

  • Preference given to products with low embodied energy.

  • Buying in bulk, in concentrated form and with limited packaging.

  • If disposable items are indispensable they should be replaced by environmentally benign alternatives (biodegradable cutlery and plates).

  • Priority should be given to local, organically grown food (no genetically modified food products).

  • Priority should be given to environmentally certified materials, items and food products (thus influencing suppliers and producers to apply for an environmental certification of their products).

  • Purchasing local products or sharing transportation with other receivers or/and suppliers.

Today, particularly in Scandinavia, the purchase of eco-labelled products and food is increasingly growing in popularity. In general smart management and purchasing policy are the best and most optimal solutions for solving the problem of solid waste within the hospitality industry.


In order to ensure the success of an environmental management program, the hotel staff is required to be properly trained, motivated and willing to incorporate good practice into their daily routines. Training and encouraging behavioural change are frequently the most cost-efficient measures in resource conservation. Furthermore, employees should be regularly informed about their performance, improvement and goals achieved. The hotel staff is the foremost mechanism and driving force necessary for the successful implementation of internal improvements, as well as a public relations instrument communicating environmental commitment to hotel guests.

Once an environmental program is operating successfully, it should be announced to the hotel guests, commonly in the form of the hotel’s environmental policy being displayed in the foremost location in the lobby, and accompanied by environmental awards and certificates owned by the establishment. Many businesses additionally prepare annual environmental reports available in the hotel and on the hotel’s website (Sånga Säby Course & Conference, Radisson SAS, Scandic Hotels and others).

The benefits produced by responsible environmental management include lower staff rotation (employees tend to better associate with a “green” company and are more inclined to work effectively), an improved corporate image and reputation in the community and industry, as well as direct economic benefits from lower resource consumption. Furthermore, “green” hotels typically win the customers loyalty and frequently engage in new business opportunities. Additionally, the body of environment-related legislation becomes more stringent and increasingly enforced worldwide thereby directing businesses towards sustainability.


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