10 Clean Technologies for Hotels
Innovative Ways to Reduce Utility Costs and Improve Hotel Services
Grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, spas: just a sampling of businesses working towards becoming more sustainable. But how do you continue to produce a desirable consumer product while reducing your carbon footprint? Conservation and environmental management plans will always make a significant difference, but seeking unique solutions is worth the journey.
The hotel industry, in particular, is constantly balancing tighter profit margins with more demanding guests and fiercer competition. Due to the nature of their operations, they are generally high users of water, electricity, and natural gas, so tend to be very open to adopting strategies that will reduce these operating costs. This encourages executives to employ lean management principles and make decisions based on long-term perspectives, which makes introducing green technology the foreseeable choice.
#1 UV Sterilization Wands
In Action: Best Western Hotels, North America
With the ability to destroy 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, UV light is significantly more effective than its cloth and chemical counterpart. Developed into a handheld device, sterilization wands are an effective way to clean hotel rooms and common areas to a very high standard. After providing wands to all their North American hotels, Best Western reported significant increases in customer satisfaction regarding room cleanliness.
#2 Electric Food WarmersChafing fuel canisters are usually ethanol or methanol and can burn for 2 to 6 hours each. A study conducted by Carbon Footprint Ltd in 2015 concluded that in one year in the USA, the use of chafing fuel accounted for 116,864 tonnes of CO2 emissions. To greatly reduce this impact electric chafers can be used. These units are not only more environmentally friendly, but also eliminate fumes, cost less money to run, create less waste, are safer, as there are no open flames, and eliminate hotspots associated with
#3 Marine Source Heat Pumps
In Action: Inn at Laurel Point, Victoria BC
A marine source heat pump consists of simple heat pump technology that sources heat from a body of water. The system consists of a loop collector that is sunk in the water (one or two small pipes; about 6’’ in diameter), containing heat exchange coils or "plate" systems. This loop is joined via a compressor pump to an HVAC loop that distributes heat throughout the building. It can also be used for cooling by extracting heat from facility operations.
#4 Smart Room Keys
In Action: Starwood Hotels
Smart keys allow guests to unlock their doors by simply swiping their phones across a keyless pad on the door. In 2014, Starwood Hotels upgraded 30,000 room locks across 150 hotels with this system, and Hilton followed by implementing a similar system at 10 of their US properties the following year. In 2016, they deployed the smart room key technology globally. This technology will mean that guests don’t have to worry about picking up keys and front desk staff won’t have to issue new keys when a guest loses theirs. Additionally, this will completely eliminate the need for paper sleeves, saving several kilograms of paper every year at each hotel.
In Action: Resorts in the Maldives, Dubai, Mexico Spain, and many more
Many exotic resorts choose to forgo local water supplies as they can be unreliable, of poor quality, or lack developed infrastructure. To provide a constant supply of safe, clean, fresh water, the process of reverse osmosis is utilized in on-site desalination plants. Moving further ‘off the grid’, many of these systems are run using solar power.
#6 iPad POS SystemsIn Action: Eposability, hospitality consultantsSometimes the simplest things can have big impacts. A standard Windows-based POS system with on-site server consumes 800kW. An iPad POS system, in comparison, will use just 25 kW, a 97% savings! These systems also have options for tableside ordering and kitchen displays, eliminating paper, and will work when offline.
#7 Compost DigestersIn Action: Grand Hyatt Singapore
An estimated 40% of food that is produced in the developed world is never consumed. Food waste is a massive problem, and part of that is figuring out what to do with it all. Digesters effectively divert organic waste from landfills, provide a safe and usable end-product, and can even be used to produce energy. These vessels take in large quantities of organic materials and “digest” for several days. The finished product is water and high-quality fertilizer. These systems can be scaled from backyard composting to large, industrial or commercial operations.
#8 Xeros Polymer Bead Cleaning Technology
In Action: Hyatt Regency, Resten; Comfort Inn, North Shore
A more cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to wash linens and clothing is achieved with polymer beads. These plastic chips absorb stains, dyes and soil without the use of traditional detergents. They also require significantly less water, up to 75% less, and eliminate the need for pre-washing. This produces a clean, and often nicer, finished product. It also increases their lifespan from a gentler, more effective washing cycle.
#9 Bio-Ethanol Fireplaces
Providing the comfort of a fireplace while eliminating the fumes and ashes produced by a wood burning stove, ethanol fireplaces are becoming popular in the hospitality industry. They are clean, do not produce dangerous fumes, are easy to use, and without the need for a chimney are even portable. Using bio-fuels, produced from the fermentation of sugars, further increases the environmental friendliness of
#10 Drought Resistant Landscaping
Maintaining green grass is a highly water-intensive practice that is nothing more than the ‘status-quo’. Switching to drought-resistant landscaping not only leads to significant water savings, it also requires less maintenance, creates habitat for wildlife, is pollution/fertilizer/pesticide free, and often increases the value of the property. Drought- resistant doesn’t mean just converting a lawn to gravel, it is an art that requires selecting the right plants and grasses, and uses natural wood, stone, and water features to create stunning areas set for relaxing or entertaining.
Customer satisfaction will always come first in the tourism industry. The challenge is developing sustainable processes that will maintain the quality of product offered. Hotels are just one of many businesses seeking innovative ways to reduce resource use and employ safer and more effective operations. When done right, these ideas and technologies not only succeed in reducing costs, but often enhance the guest experience by providing a comfortable, reliable, enjoyable hotel stay that also benefits the environment.
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Synergy Enterprises, Marine Source Heat Pump Technology at the Fairwinds Marina, 18 August 2016.
Gizmodo, Filthy Best Western Is Equipping Its Housekeeping Crew with Forensics-Detection Devices, 29 May 2012. https://gizmodo.com/5914135/filthy-best-western-is-equipping-its-housekeeping-crew-with-forensics-detection-devices
Hepalta Purified Air In, Purelight UV Sterilizer Wand. Retrieved 26 October 2017 from https://www.hepalta.com/ionizer/PureLightXD-2D04.php
CNBC, Germaphobes Rejoice! Best Western Goes High Tech to Clean Rooms, 31 May 2012. https://www.cnbc.com/id/47632045
BWT, Superior Drinking Water Quality for Hotels and Resorts. Retrieved 31 October 2017 from http://www.bwt-group.com/en/Products/high-end-water-treatment/seawater-desalination/hotel-island-resorts/Pages/default.aspx
Kuredu Resort, From Seawater to Fresh Water: Kuredu’s Desalination Plant. 24 November 2014. http://www.kuredu.com/desalination-plant/
Heating Without Fire. Retrieved 12 December 2017 from http://heatingwithoutfire.com/tag/chafing-fuel-alternative/
EpoSability. Retrieved 12 December 2017 from https://www.eposability.com/our-tech/
Tan, Sue-Ann. The Straights Times, Hotel Recycles 500kg of Food Waste into Fertiliser within 24 Hours Using Food-Waste Digester. 16 September 2017. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/hotel-recycles-500kg-of-food-waste-into-fertiliser-within-24-hours-using-food-waste
Xeros Cleaning Technologies. http://www.xeroscleaning.com/
Conde Nast Traveller. Your Hotel Key is the Smartphone You Already Own. 9 September 2015. https://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2015-09-09/your-hotel-key-is-the-smartphone-you-already-own
Image Sources (in order of appearance)