These are heady days for renewable power. This category of energy, which includes solar power and hydropower, supplied 12 percent of America’s electricity last year, writes Sam Marquit.
It’s the fastest-growing energy sector, and its worldwide usage should increase by about forty percent over the next five years. In fact, the International Energy Agency predicts that renewable energy will outpace natural gas in 2016 to become the world’s second-leading energy source. All kinds of businesses are now realising the value of renewable energy, and nowhere is an embrace of this power more evident than in the travel industry – and in the hotel sector particularly.
Here’s my personal selection of the top 5 hotels and ways that they are going green:
- A fine example of a property committed to environmentally friendly energy is Hyatt at Olive 8 in Seattle. The recently installed wind turbines on its roof are so innovative they can take exhaust fumes from the hotel’s first-floor restaurant and convert it into usable energy. Hyatt at Olive 8’s management team expects to obtain approximately 8,700 kilowatts each year from these turbines.
- But the Hyatt at Olive 8 is not the only facility embracing sustainability. The Moonrise Hotel in St. Louis recently installed 107 glass solar panels on its roof. These panels will comprise the ceiling of the New Moon Room, a 2,100-square-foot function hall. And they’ll be able to produce an impressive 33,000 kilowatt-hours of energy every year!
- The Hilton Americas-Houston is the biggest hotel in Houston and one of the most eco-friendly in all of Texas. Indeed, it was the first Lone Star State hotel to earn Green Seal certification, and over the years it has maintained a sterling reputation for environmental commitment. Continuing that tradition, the Hilton Americas-Houston now uses biodiesel as its primary fuel. As a result, it has been able to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by upwards of 78 percent.
- You can head to Reno, Nev., to see another resort that has successfully adopted renewable power. Every minute, the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino pumps 1,200 gallons of heated water from a geothermal aquifer 4,400 feet under the ground. It then uses that water in its heating systems. No other hotel in the U.S. obtains all of its heat from a geothermal energy source located on its premises. And by switching from natural gas, the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino saves two million dollars each year. Reno and the Las Vegas areas are at the forefront of this green innovation. Travelers will certainly be able to take advantage of these brand new facilities while they are enjoying their time in Sin City.
- For its part, the Taj Hotel Jai Mahal Palace in India has managed to reduce its waste levels by sending garden and kitchen refuse to its biogas plant, a large machine that generates energy by changing waste into methane. What’s more, hotel guests are invited to take a look at this device in action.
There may soon come the day when virtually every hotel in operation derives at least a portion of its energy from renewable sources. Until then, discerning travel agents and tour brokers might wish to seek out an ecologically friendly hotel the next time they book travel arrangements for their clients.
Tourists may sleep a little more soundly while they’re away from home knowing that the hotel they are booked into is helping to protect the planet.
Sam Marquit is an entrepreneur, home improvement specialist / enthusiast and part time blogger – fmarquitv.tumblr.com