In praise of eco-friendly hotels

While I was travelling through Spain this past week, I stayed in four different hotels. All of them had the usual linen and towel program, with cards that communicated the option to have your bed linens and towels replaced less frequently. All of the hotels had a slot by the entrance to each room which activates and deactivates the power to the room when you insert or withdraw your electronic room key each time you enter and leave the room.

One of them went a step further and had a card that suggested limiting heating temperatures in the winter to 20°C, cooling temperatures in the summer to 25°C, turning the lights off when not needed and relying more on the natural daylighting in the room and also practicing water efficiency. They had electronic shutters on the exterior of the windows that you could use to keep out the scorching midday sun more completely than the drapes. All of the toilets were dual-flush toilets. They stated that this was not all about saving money, but for all of us doing what we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are harming our planet.

Needless to say, I was impressed. The potential environmental and economic benefits and the increase in awareness should be quite significant. North American hotels should follow suit. North American consumers could use a good dose of awareness about the unsustainability of our culture of rampant consumerism and waste and small actions that can make a big difference.

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