By Natalie Appleton
You do what you can to make the earth a better place when you’re at home, so why wouldn’t you want to do the same when you’re on holidays? More and more travellers are looking for eco-friendly hotels so they can feel good about where they’re staying. Across Canada and especially in our own city of Kelowna, hotels are becoming renowned for the steps they’re taking to go green.
Here is a list of the top 10 qualities every environmentally friendly hotel should have:
1. Laundry program
Hotels wash hundreds of napkins, pillowcases, sheets, towels and tablecloths every day. Fortunately, hotels have a myriad of options to reduce their laundry department’s impact on the environment. Earth-friendly detergents and organic cotton sheets are just the start. There are now automated and green commercial laundry systems that allow hotels to wash linens in short, cold water cycles and cut drying time to save on water, energy and chemicals. You can help too. Many hotels encourage guests to re-use their towels and sheets at least once.
2. Water conservation program
Hopefully you’ll find a card in the bathroom asking you to reuse towels and linens to help the hotel reduce energy and water consumption. Many hotels are also cutting down on their water use with low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators that combine air and water to give you the right pressure with less water.
3. Alternative energy
Look for hotels that use sources of energy outside of electricity and natural gas. More and more hotels are using at least some form of solar and wind energy since these eco-friendly alternatives lower the cost to the environment and the utility bill. A few truly committed hotels even employ a solar hybrid water-heating system to naturally heat water for swimming pools, hot tubs and guest rooms, saving thousands of dollars and greenhouse gas emissions every year.
4. Smart lighting
Ideally, your hotel uses LED lighting wherever possible, even at Christmas. Systems that require hotel card activation to power the lights and television in rooms make a big difference too.
Both guests and staff should have ample opportunity to recycle. Bins should be provided in the lobby and in rooms so it’s easy to recycle your newspapers and more.
6. Electric car charging station
The option to check in and plug in an electric car is a feature that’s growing in popularity at hotels as more and more electric vehicles hit the road. Most electric volt charging stations at hotels can charge your battery in less than four hours.
If your hotel has a particularly dedicated kitchen, they’ll compost things like coffee grounds and fruit peelings to keep these items from ending up in the landfill.
If a ‘green’ hotel advertises its beautiful garden and courtyard, it’s probably using natural fertilizer and native plants. Chemical fertilizers can be replaced with nature’s gold to prevent groundwater pollution and keep moisture in the soil. Grounds crews will hardly have to water at all if the hotel is xeriscaping (using drought-resistant, native plants). Rooftop gardens are also becoming a popular, sustainable way for hotel kitchens to grow fresh herbs.
9. Non-toxic cleaning and pool products
It’s important to you that your linens are fresh and sanitized; thankfully, housekeeping can use commercial cleaning agents made with earth-friendly ingredients such as eucalyptus. Even the pool can go green by being sanitized with natural mineral salt instead of chlorine.
10. Local and/or organic food
When you’re traveling, you look forward to getting a true taste of your destination. Hotels like the Kelowna Best Western love to cater to guests who want to dine local and/or organic by serving fare and beverages produced nearby. What better way to reduce the impact of transporting food and eat delicious, nutritious dishes?
When you’re looking for green hotels in British Columbia, the BEST WESTERN PLUS Kelowna Hotel & Suites can check off your eco-friendly requirements, offering a solar-hybrid water heating system, mineral pool, electric car charging station, and more.