A leader in this movement is the travel industry. Many hotels around the world are already taking steps toward using renewable energy, finding innovative ways of conserving resources as well. Renewable energy is the fastest-growing sector of the power industry, and many travel establishments are “plugging into” the opportunities to conserve ecological resources and save money.
One of the first methods that can be used for green energy conservation is that of wind power. Seattle’s Hyatt at Olive 8, the city’s first LEED certified hotel has joined the cutting edge of using rooftop wind turbines to cut the power they must pull from the public energy grid. The recently installed turbines use the high velocity air that is generated by the hotel’s Urbane restaurant on the first floor. The turbines are expected to produce an annual output of 8,700 kilowatts, which will allow the hotel to use almost a third less energy than an establishment of similar size.
Another method for ecologically sustainable energy production is that of the use of solar panels. At St. Louis’ Moonrise Hotel, a new rooftop event space features 107 solar panels. They act as a 2,100-square-foot ceiling for the New Moon Room space. The hotel expects the array to generate 33,000-kilowatt hours of energy annually. Micro grid Solar installed the panels at a cost of about $100,000 for the panels and installation.
Switching to the use of biofuels is another way establishments can move toward greener operating methods. In Texas, the first hotel in the state to achieve the Green Seal certification, the Hilton Americas-Houston has begun a conversion to using biodiesel as its fuel source. Houston’s largest hotel is taking steps to cut the hotel’s carbon footprint. In addition to the use of biodiesel, they have also switched to purchasing environmentally sensitive products. These actions have cut their levels of greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 78%.
In the area of geothermal energy, the Kameha Grand in Bonn, Germany leads the way. The hotel maintains a geothermal power plant in its basement. With this system, the establishment saves approximately 1,700,000 kWh per year over what a more conventional system would require. Six wells on the property provide the source water for heating and cooling for the hotel.
A fifth way an institution can contribute to the green sustainability of the environment is by putting re-use practices into place. The Strattons Hotel in Norfolk, UK works to put these practices into everyday use. When they realized that only one third of the shampoo and soap was being used in the miniature bathroom amenities, they switched to providing these products by way of dispensers. They are also conscious of opportunities for reuse of wastewater, with a third of the water use being harvested for reuse in such ways as growing salad crops.
Around the world, businesses of all sizes in the travel industry from the desert to major cities are developing ways to taking advantage of alternate energy production. Environmental sustainability has become an achievable goal even for luxury-oriented businesses.