According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism is responsible for 5% of the global C02 emissions. Of this percentage, 20% belongs to hotels. Heating, air conditioning, bar, restaurants, refrigeration are all factors that contribute to this numbers. With a climate crisis deepening, it is time look for innovative solutions. More and more, we are seeing hotels claiming to be eco-friendly and sustainable. But what does it mean exactly for an hotel to be sustainable? And what are the conditions that have to be met? Let’s check it out.
Sustainable hotels are the ones that are built in order to minimize both the carbon footprint of the business, as well as the carbon footprint of its workers and their guests. In an ideal world, it would also contribute in a positive way to the environment. For them to succeed in this mission would mean that the planet, as we know it today, would live for many years and would be a better place for future generations.
We know it, claiming to be sustainable and actually being sustainable are two very different things, so we have summed up a list of characteristics that all sustainable hotels should have:
By saving energy hotels get to reduce its costs and also minimize its carbon emissions. There are many ways of saving energy, from installing LED ligthts (last longer and use less energy), installing renewable energy systems (like solar panels), and using more efficient electrical appliances. One great example is the The Iveagh Garden Hotel in Dublin: they source their energy from an underground river, saving up to 80% in energy.
To reduce an item’s carbon footprint, for example food or linen for the hotel, the best solution is to source it locally. It also reduces the transport costs and the fuel usage. For example, in La Donaira, a hotel in Spain, all the food is either self-produced or locally sourced.
Due to the fact that hotels use big amounts of water, it is crucial that they also implement methods to save it, and reduce its consumption. Water recycling and filtering systems are some of the features to do so. Using eco-friendly and non-toxic products is also a key fact, that every guest can easily check.
To entirely eliminate our carbon emissions is impossible; but we can check that the hotels in which we will be staying have some carbon minimizing-program, or are offsetting their carbon footprint. To know more about carbon offsetting programs, and what is it about, check this article.
Now that we have a quick guideline of facts, we should always check and investigate about the hotels we are going to stay, and see if they really are as sustainable as they claim.
+ Words: Leila Salinas, Luxiders Magazine
Journalist | Berlin-based
Connect with her on LinkedIn or Instagram (@leisalinas)