Ask Mr. Green: How can we choose Green hotels?

How can we choose Green hotels when we attend shows? Via EXHIBITOR

With so many hotels encouraging us to reuse towels and recycle paper, you would think that picking the Greenest hotels would be simple. And it is, if you know what to look for.

1. A Little Fresh Air

Consider a hotel that is located near the show. This might not seem Green at first, but if you can walk to the event you’ll eliminate the pollution that comes with riding in taxis or rental cars. Convenience, cost savings and a little of fresh air converge nicely around this Green choice.

Just imagine all the time and money you and your team spend getting around at show after show. The consequences of commuting add up quickly. A Greener alternative is to book rooms at the conference hotel or within easy walking distance from the convention center.

But if you can’t stay close to the show, look for a hotel along a mass transit line. Alternatively, check with show management to see whether they offer shuttle busses to and from the main convention hotels.

2. Efficient Service

Since shows take place all over the country, you probably find yourself in hot, cold, dry and rainy places throughout the year. The weather has a lot to say about how much energy a hotel uses to keep rooms warm or cool. On top of this, some regions benefit from relatively clean hydropower and gas-fired power plants, while other regions are saddled with coal power’s comparatively high levels of pollution.

All other things being equal, it is ideal to choose hotels with modern, energy efficient heating, air conditioning and lighting equipment. But where can you get this kind of information?

One option is to pick newer properties. In some states, new buildings adhere to more stringent energy efficiency standards than older buildings. This strategy isn’t perfect because the standards are not uniform nationwide, nor do they account for older hotels that upgrade their equipment, as many of them do.

Consider reviewing the hotel’s sustainability policy online. A hotel that publishes its Green strategy is in the Green game, and a quick scan of the policy will tell you whether it goes beyond reusing your towels to include overall energy and water use, waste management, organic foods in the restaurants and other Green practices.

3. Good Company

Looking up several hotel sustainability policies might be time consuming. A simpler option is to pick properties that are members of voluntary green hotel associations.

(Read more in EXHIBITOR)

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo courtesy of eustaquio via creative commons license.

About the Author

Tom is founder and CEO of Bowman Change, Inc., a consultancy dedicated to helping organizations reap the benefits of working with purpose—making social issues and environmental change central to their missions.