Monday, May 14, 2012

Go Green: Eco-Friendly Hotels

By DIANA STANCZAK

Marriott Baltimore Waterfront Hotel
(photo/Jan Barry)
You’re a devoted recycler. You’ve installed solar panels in your house. You drive a hybrid car. You have a homemade compost pile in your backyard. You live an eco-friendly life, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. But what happens when you leave your personal green kingdom for a summer vacation trip with the kids or a weekend getaway with your spouse? Do you abandon your green morals for a few days, or do you stick to your roots?

Staying green while traveling can be a challenge, but in recent years more and more eco-friendly hotels have been popping up, and classic hotel chains like the Marriott and Hilton have been adapting practices that cut back on water use and air pollution. Read on to see what each of these companies have done:

Marriott:

This hotel chain giant, one of the largest companies in the world, is making efforts to “go green” by improving energy efficiency and conserving water. This initiative began after Marriott calculated its carbon footprint and estimated that 59.4 pounds of Carbon Dioxide was emitted per every guestroom. In 2009, the hotel chain reduced its energy consumption in America by 5 percent.

Other steps the Marriott has taken includes partnering with eco-conscious energy brand Energy Star, educating staff about waste reduction, and encouraging guests to cut back on energy consumption by reducing the amount of towels they use on a single stay.

Lubov Stanczak, 42, of New Jersey, recently stayed at a Marriott resort on a family vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico.  “I didn’t book the hotel specifically because it was green, but it certainly was nice to find out afterwards. Once I realized how much effort the Marriott has put forth into saving the environment, I vowed to only stay in eco-friendly hotels,” Stanczak said.
   
Hilton:

Another key player in the hotel game, Hilton hotels are making big strides toward eco-friendly lodging with their Hilton Garden Inns. These specialty hotels pride themselves on taking major steps in reducing their carbon footprint. For example, each Hilton Garden Inn uses recyclable room keys, energy efficient lighting, and a unique Garden Sleep System Bed, which is built from recyclable materials designed to never end up in a landfill.

The Future

While the Marriott and Hilton, along with dozens of smaller hotels, are working towards reducing waste and carbon emissions, it is not enough. Popular amenities like pools and spas will continue to be vacuums of energy. However, until a solution is proposed—be sure to use your towel more than once while on vacation.

For more information:
Mariott.com
Hilton.com

Diana Stanczak practices eco-friendly journalism at Ramapo College of New Jersey.


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