Green Hotels Association
    August 2016  


By Patricia Griffin, President, GHA

Many of us join organizations in which we’re interested, sit back and do nothing more. We will undoubtedly receive information, newsletters and updates from those member organizations, which we may or may not read, may or may not ignore. We may or may not incorporate the organization’s ideas or products into our activities.

As a member of Green Hotels Association®, you will receive a lot of information and advice from GHA regarding greening your property. Each year at renewal you will receive a current copy of our Guidelines and Ideas, which originally was only 15 pages, but which now is 161 pages. The 8.5”x11” volume is an absolute cornucopia of information, ideas, techniques, etc. If and when your property is a member, be sure to put it to good use!

Guidelines Following is how you can gain more value from your GHA membership. We’ll start with giving you some good ideas on using GHA’s Guidelines and Ideas to your property's advantage:

GREEN TEAM: What GHA suggests is for you to first form a green team at your property. If your property is small, your green team may be one, two or three individuals. If your property is large, the green team could be 10 to 20 individuals. GHA suggests choosing one person from each department at the hotel for the green team. Sometimes, however, it’s best to choose the most enthusiastic staff members to serve on your green team. In any case, the team should create a plan along with follow-ups. The green team should make plans and assign duties at regular meetings. Or, perhaps your team could simply use a wall with post-it notes, tacks, colored yarn, pushpins, sticky dots, magazine cutouts, etc. to keep up with what is going on greenwise.

FIRST: The first step for your green team is to go through the Guidelines once and check off all the things that are already being accomplished. You are undoubtedly already doing a lot greenwise. A list of these accomplishments should be created and posted online and perhaps posted in the lobby. Your guests, potential guests and clients will know upfront what to expect at your property greenwise.

SECOND: The second step for your green team is to go through the Guidelines a second time and mark all the things you intend to accomplish during the next 12 months. You will want to break this list down according to purpose (saving water, saving energy, reducing solid waste and providing clean air). You may also want to break the list down by area of the property (guestrooms, front desk, kitchen, laundry, back-of-house, etc.) so it can be determined who will be responsible for EACH piece of the project.

TIMELINE: Next, you’ll want to add a timeline to your list. For instance, you’ll resolve the first item by the next mid-month. Others items might be accomplished in March or next August, whenever. Just spread the projects out over the year so each project is given a good chance of being fully completed.

Some projects obviously will take much more planning than others. Some projects will cost almost nothing and others a lot. Installing low-flow sink aerators will save a lot of water, but will take little time or money to install. Of course, you’ll want to check the size and threads of the current aerators, determine where you want to make the purchase and install them once they arrive. Easy. Quick. Inexpensive. Great Results. Low-flow aerators are almost invisible to your guests, so the impact should only be seen on a reduced water bill. Added value will be in determining from future water bills how many thousands of gallons of water your property is no longer using, and putting that fact to work in your green marketing, i.e., “The property has reduced its annual water usage by 120,000 gallons--10,000 gallons a month simply by installing 1.5 gpm sink aerators in our 207 guestrooms.”

TEST ROOMS: Choosing a low-flow showerhead (2.5 to 1.5 gpm flow rate) is more complicated because showers are so important to your guests. In this instance, you’ll want to see what GHA’s catalog or the big box stores offer for sale, and buy samples to test. It may be wise to search online to see what else is available at major plumbing company websites as well as at EPA's website. In this type of instance, GHA suggests that it may be smart to install the test showerheads in a few test guestrooms. The rooms would stay in service, but you might want to ask regular guests if they’d like to stay in the rooms and participate via a brief survey. You would create a simple survey questionnaire for your guests to complete. The guests might be given a discount on the room, a free breakfast, etc. for completing your survey.

POST UTILITY BILLS: It's important to post all your utility bills back-of-the-house so that staff understands the mammoth size. Then comparisons and percentage changes between bills can be noted . At monthly meetings ask each staff member to tell you what they can do each day to reduce water use, energy use, etc. A housekeeper might say, "I usually only need to flush a toilet once to see that I'm leaving it clean." At the next meetings, ask about electricity, solid waste, etc. On your website green pages, your list of completed greening projects plus your list of planned greening projects should be posted. As items or projects on your list are completed, the lists (online and published) should be updated. Statistics such as the number of gallons of water NOT used should be added as well.

Gain more from your GHA Membership by using your Guidelines and Ideas to full advantage TODAY!

NOW Green Hotels Association's Guidelines and Ideas may be purchased with or without membership directly from GHA or on! Learn how to green your property. A cornucopia of greening information, techniques, procedures and tips gathered over 23 years of smart, practical information, ideas, techniques and options for hoteliers.

To learn more about GHA and how your property can be greener, jump to Green Hotels Association® !

or CALL 713/789-8889 TODAY!


"Hotels are finding that guests like to know hotels are doing their part to conserve and cut down."
Roger Ellis, spokesman for Steigenberger Reservation Service which handles luxury hotels, as reported in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer




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