Green Initiatives Part 1: What Does It Mean to Go Green

This post originally appeared on HFTP Connect: The Hospitality Professionals’ Blog as part of the 2012 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC).

Green Roof, Baltimore Convention Center. Baltimore, Maryland.

Green Roof, Baltimore Convention Center. Baltimore, Maryland. Christina Dzingala, 2012.

While “going green” can create more “green” for the hospitality industry – a property’s green initiatives involve more than the landscaping.   Senior hospitality executives are just beginning to get involved in sustainability technology planning and decision-making.  Current conversations center around using technology to reduce consumption.  However, electronic waste disposal is an increasingly important issue for the hospitality industry as new equipment is acquired to reduce consumption in other areas.

Naomi Stark, President of Stark Service Solutions, Sunny Kim, Ph.D, Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University, and Dan Connolly, Ph.D., Associate Dean at University of Denver Daniels College of Business shared key benefits, barriers, and factors to successful sustainability technology initiatives during Monday afternoon’s HITEC “Green Initiatives” educational session.

Why Green Initiatives

Current market trends indicate that global demand for energy is expected to grow by 57% over next 25 years. This increased demand is expected to double electricity prices from 2008 prices by 2015.  Additionally, more consumers and meeting planners are looking for green initiatives in destinations and the properties they ultimately select for their travel.  All good reasons for properties to consider long-term sustainability programs that reduce costs and waste.

One of the top benefits for initiating a green technology program is the quick and high return on investment (ROI).  Green technology programs can offer substantial savings in 6-10 years, with a longer payback period than many other projects.

Despite numerous reasons to implement green initiatives, many properties have not yet initiated sustainability programs.  Common perceived barriers to going green include:

  • Costs of implementing new technology and disposing of old equipment
  • Additional labor and intensive efforts associated with obtaining eco-certification
  • Lack of awareness and information about available resources and incentives

Best Practices For Green Initiatives

Ms. Stark, Dr. Kim, and Dr. Connolly offered the following best practices for successful green hospitality technology initiatives:

  • Strategy: Develop a strategy to use technology responsibly and effectively. Select equipment and applications to reduce energy, water, and paper consumption and carbon emissions.
  • Deployment: Deploy effective technology practices to reduce computer hardware and lower power consumption.  Ensure that business processes actually result in reduced waste.
  • Disposal: Dispose of electronic waste responsibly.  Use local recycling companies that are familiar with and comply with local regulations.  E-stewards (www.e-stewards.org) provides information and resources.
  • Employees: Involve employees in your green initiatives.  Foster innovation and benchmark best practices. Continuously train employees on the reasons, benefits, and business processes to reduce consumption and waste.
  • Guests: Make it easy for your guests to engage in your green initiatives.  Offer green choices at various price points. Assist guests by demonstrating how to use new technologies. Reward guests for participating in green practices.

Green initiatives are now at the core of remaining competitive in hospitality.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog “Green Initiatives Part 2”, a look at green hospitality technologies in the exhibit hall.

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About Christina Dzingala

I am a Solutions Strategist specializing in triple bottom line management to transform organizations and brands for sustainability in the digital age. I am an active learner, explorer, conservationist, and community volunteer.
This entry was posted in Green Initiatives, Green Meetings, HFTP HITEC, Hospitality, Sustainability, Technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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