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AH&LA Green Assessment Survey:
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The Top 10 Green Things Hotels Are Doing Well,
The Top 10 Green Things Hotels Can Improve On
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Linen Reuse Program Most Frequently Implemented, 
Guestroom Thermostats Need Most Improvement 

Washington, May 15, 2008 —  The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AH&LA) Green Assessment Survey results reveal the top 10 green initiatives hotels are enacting, the top 10 green programs hotels can improve upon, motivations and challenges for implementing green lodging practices, and quantifiable measurements of green action being taken around the nation.

Among the many findings, the survey revealed the following notable statistics:

  • Eighty-eight percent of respondents’ properties have a linen reuse program for guests who stay multiple nights; 83.5 percent offer a towel reuse program; 
  • Nearly half (43.4 percent) of responding properties have programmable on/off timers or sensors used for lighting in low traffic/occupancy, though only 16 percent use occupancy sensor control for guestroom thermostats;
  • The majority (82.3 percent) of properties surveyed train maintenance staff on conservation and energy procedures;
  • Environmental benefits and building guest loyalty tie for biggest motivation responding properties cite for implementing green practices;
  • Respondents note that having enough capital to invest and achieving ROI are the top two biggest barriers to implementing eco-friendly initiatives.
“Results of this survey show that the hospitality industry is serious about the environment and is addressing eco issues head on,” said Joseph A. McInerney, CHA, AH&LA President/CEO.  “Of particular interest is successful linen reuse programs at many of our member hotels across the country.  In addition to reducing the hotel’s environmental impact, programs like these engage the guest, increasing their awareness of environmental concerns and offering an easy way they can minimize their eco footprint while they travel.” 

“This survey spotlights the potential for eco-friendly practices in the many diverse aspects of hotel operations, at properties large and small,” added AH&LA chairman Tom Corcoran.  “As AH&LA does more in-depth research into successful initiatives and evaluates areas where improvement is still needed, we’re extremely optimistic as we work to develop a baseline for industry sustainability initiatives.”
 

AH&LA Green Assessment Survey Results

Developing a baseline for eco-friendly practices in hotels

The top 10 green things hotels are doing well:

  1. Offering linen reuse program
  2. Recycling paper
  3. Using compact fluorescents in guestrooms
  4. Using compact fluorescents in public spaces
  5. Offering towel reuse program
  6. Training maintenance staff on conservation and energy procedures
  7. Recycling cardboard
  8. Water conserving retrofits for showers
  9. Recycling program in administrative areas
  10. Tracking energy and water consumption on a monthly basis
The top 10 green things hotels can improve on:
  1. Having occupancy sensor controls for the thermostat in guestrooms
  2. Recycling food waste
  3. Using indoor paints that are low or zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) or Green Seal Certified
  4. Using T8 lamps in corridors
  5. Giving preferential treatment to vendors/suppliers who offer recycled products
  6. Using daily cleaning chemicals that have a MSDS health rating of “1” or less and/or Green Seal Certified
  7. T8 lamps in back of house
  8. Tracking generation of solid waste on a monthly basis
  9. Recycling program in guest rooms
  10. Recycling program in recreational areas
Motivations and Challenges:

In rank order, the following are the biggest motivations for implementing green lodging practices:

  1. Environmental benefits and building guest loyalty (tie)
  2. Financial savings
  3. Increasing market share
  4. New revenue opportunities
  5. Marketing and public relations coverage
  6. Preempting government regulations
In rank order, the following are the biggest challenges or barriers hoteliers face in implementing green lodging practices:
  1. Having enough capital to invest
  2. Achieving ROI
  3. Ability to find vendors/suppliers offering the products they need
  4. Having enough time
  5. Limited knowledge/resources
  6. Garnering support from government or local organizations
  7. Possibility of negative guest reactions
Current Summary of Eco-Friendly Hotel Practices Procedures
82.3% train their maintenance staff on conservation and energy procedures
72.2% track energy and water consumption on a monthly basis
65.9% have individual(s) dedicated to improving their property’s environmental performance
60.3% have eco-friendly practices implemented into their landscaping efforts
32.4% track generation of solid waste on a monthly basis Policies
34.6% have had an energy audit or building re-commissioning in the past five years
30.1% currently have an environmental purchasing policy
22.3% are planning an environmental purchasing policy within the next year
Recycling
87.8% recycle paper
81.7% recycle cardboard
65% recycle plastic
63.3% recycle glass
50.6% recycle metals
18.9% recycle food waste
78.9% have a recycling program in administrative areas
64.2% have a recycling program in the kitchen
46.9% have a recycling program in the common areas
34.8% have a recycling program in recreational areas
32.6% have a recycling program in guest rooms
Programs and Practices
88% have a linen reuse program in place for guests who stay multiple nights
83.5% have a towel reuse program in place for guests who stay multiple nights
43.4% have programmable on/off timers or sensors used for lighting in low traffic/occupancy areas
28.2% give preferential treatment to vendors/suppliers who offer recycled products
16% use an occupancy sensor control for the thermostat in guestrooms
Water
80.4% use water conserving retrofits for showers
69.9% use water conserving retrofits for toilets
42.9% use water conserving retrofits for laundry
Lighting
86.2% use compact fluorescents in guestrooms
85.2% use compact fluorescents in public spaces
49.7% use LED exit signs
30.7% use T8 lamps in back of house
27.5% use T8 lamps in corridors
Chemicals
29.3% use daily cleaning chemicals that have a MSDS health rating of "1" or less and/or are Green Seal Certified
23.4% use indoor paints that are low or zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) or Green Seal Certified
These results are based on an independent study conducted by AH&LA.

Green Assessment Survey results were compiled based on 217 responses from AH&LA member hotels.  Results provide necessary feedback and real-world examples of various levels of green operations in different levels of properties across the country and assist in the association’s development of a baseline for industry-wide green programs.  Several successful AH&LA members’ programs are highlighted on the association’s Green Best Practices Website, an online resource featuring cost-effective and eco-savvy practices in energy conservation, hotel operations, certifications, and suppliers producing environmentally-friendly products.

Additionally, in conjunction with the Green Assessment Survey and in honor of Arbor Day, AH&LA donated funds to the Nature Conservancy to plant trees around the country via their Plant a Billion Trees Campaign. 

Serving the hospitality industry for nearly a century, AH&LA is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom-line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members.

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Contact:

AH&LA
Jessica Soklow
(202) 289-3153
jsoklow@ahla.com
 

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Also See: 10 Ways for Hoteliers to Celebrate Earth Day 2008 / April 2008
Reducing Marriott's Environmental Footprint; Company's 2,800 Hotels On Track to Reduce its Greenhouse Gas Emissions by One-fifth During Period from 2000 to 2010 / March 2007
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