Both new and established hotels are beginning to go green in varying degrees, for various reasons. Hoteliers want to cut down on toxic hazards to staff and guests, save money on energy bills, cut back on pollution, or win points for sensitivity.
While the term 'green' in business originally referred to environmental issues, it has evolved to embrace all aspects of sustainability and corporate responsibility (CSR). To be properly green, a company or business now needs to incorporate sustainable thinking in its decision-making at all levels throughout the organization.
Green purchasing includes the acquisition of recycled content products, environmentally preferable products/services, bio-based products, energy/water-efficient products, alternate fuel vehicles, products using renewable energy, and alternatives to hazardous or toxic chemicals.
Why we went green
We acquired this hotel in April of 2007 and while planning the renovation, we decided to start an in-room recycling program. From the research we conducted on how to do this, we discovered that was just the tip of the iceberg to what a hotel can do to promote sustainability. We then made the commitment to push the envelope as far as any hotel has done. Thus we developed a 38 point plan which has received national attention. We are thrilled to be doing our part while setting standards for hotel operations everywhere.
Our Eco-Plan broken down by specific components
Energy Star is a joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. The energy Star reflects an innovative energy rating system and provides a trustworthy label on thousands of products that use less energy. Here at the Q, florescent bulbs and digital guestroom thermostats ensure energy efficiency.
Founded in 1989, Green Seal is a non-profit organization that provides science-based environmental certification standards that are credible, transparent, and essential in an increasingly educated and competitive marketplace. It identifies and promotes products and services that cause less toxic pollution and waste, conserve resources and habitats, and minimize ozone effects. We have changed to all Green Seal approved cleaning chemicals both in the laundry room and on our housekeeping carts. Furthermore, our pest control program has switched to bio-friendly chemicals.
The US Environmental Protection Agency's Procurement Guidelines (CPG) encourages the use of materials recovered through recycling with the goal to reduce the amount of disposed waste. The Q uses 100% post consumable recycled products for all our toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, office printing paper, paper coffee cups and paper napkins.
Here at the Q, we encourage recycling by providing an additional receptacle in guest rooms for glass, paper, aluminum and plastic. Once collected, we combine those items with others we have collected in the public areas and back of house. Then the elementary school located behind the hotel takes our paper, while the rest including cardboard is taken by us to a local recycling center.
Available fresh water amounts to one-half of one percent of all water on earth. Global water consumption doubles every 20 years, and the current demand for water exceeds supply by 17 percent. Hotels, by the nature, go through lots of water so we installed aerators on every device that moves water, low-flow shower heads and toilets, and have changed our laundry washers to a system that combines the detergent with water before being pumped into the washers. This device reduces water use by 30% for the washers. We encourage our guests to reuse their towels and we don't change linens for normal length stays unless asked to by the guest.
We have partnered with Sonoma Citrus to provide eco-friendly individual amenities. We have also installed bulk shower dispensers, located in each shower, to avoid the use of individual products. We also donate all the left over amenities to the Kansas City Westside C.A.N. center.
We collect all leftover food and give it to local organic farmers for composting. We also use ceramic plates and glassware (verses plastic) and provide all food condiments in bulk instead of individually packaged items. We provide organic options when the seasons allow.
We offer organic wine choices at our lobby bar.
We offer free shuttle service to area attractions and do so in either a Hybrid car or for bigger groups our 15 passenger van.
When the weather is warm, we provide 6 bicycles for guest use. We also provide some excellent bike route maps for those that want to explore our city via 2 wheels.
All coffee drinks made in our lobby coffee bar use organic coffee that is Fair Trade certified and Rainforest Alliance approved.