Without an environmental green program in place, hospitality properties can be very wasteful and consume a huge amount of resources, but don’t panic…

Welcome to another edition of hospitality property school.

Today, I’m going to talk about how your hospitality property can be greener.



Without a program in place, hospitality properties can be very wasteful and consume a huge amount of resources but don’t panic, many green program initiatives are not expensive to implement and can provide substantial benefits to your business!


There are three key areas of environmental impact that properties should consider; energy, water, and waste.


Energy – Excessive energy use is extremely costly but with minor adjustments, it can lead to massive cost savings.


Waste – One study estimate identified “that an average hotel produces in excess of one kilogram of waste per guest per day. The good news is that approximately 30 percent of waste in hotels can be diverted through reuse and recycling.


Water – Tourists and residents alike require a clean and dependable supply of water for survival including drinking, cooking & cleansing. Water is also integral to the amenities usually expected by tourists, such as swimming pools, landscaped gardens, and golf courses. Water also supports industries such as agriculture that support the tourism industry.


Several studies have indicated that economic benefits can be gained in hotels through implementing environmental and social initiatives; many with little or no capital. In addition to cost benefits, there are also benefits to choosing an environmentally sustainable strategy.


These include:

  • Gaining competitive advantage by being a leader in the industry
  • Customer loyalty
  • Employee retention
  • Awards and recognition
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Risk management
  • Increased brand value


But the major benefit, because it’s the right thing to do!


There are many green practices that hospitality properties can apply as preventative measures to save unnecessary costs.

Examples of these practices include:

  • Recycling
  • Use of compact fluorescent lights – saves energy.
  • Reuse of linens – saves water, detergent, energy and greenhouse gases.
  • Low-flow shower systems – saves water and energy.
  • Using local products – save transportation costs.
  • Installation of green roofs – saves energy.
  • Installation of solar heaters or another renewable energy source – saves energy.



Reports by hundreds of businesses around the world show that by applying appropriate management processes they have:

  • Reduced energy and water consumption costs by more than 20 percent.
  • Solid waste and wastewater disposal costs by more than 15 percent.
  • Improved the quality of the environment in which they operate.
  • Improved staff motivation and community relations


It is evident that there are a number of benefits to going green.


The big question now is, how to get a program started?

There are eight key components to establishing a program to effectively green your hotel:


  1. Identify a green coordinator/champion.

In order for any environmental program to be successful, the first step is appointing someone in your organization to be being responsible for the program, probably senior management.

In addition to the green coordinator, the hospitality property must also have an environmental manager to assist in carrying out the program.

The environmental manager would primarily be responsible for:

  • Organizing a Green Team.
  • Coordinating environmental audits for water, waste, energy, carbon emissions and purchasing.
  • Monitoring of performance against established goals.

The environmental manager is crucial to the success of the program as they will assume the role of program manager, information gatherer, communicator, motivator and ambassador to guests.


  1. Set a standard to focus your efforts and measure future success.

Departmental inspections are essential to determining where you should focus your efforts. To set future goals, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of the hospitality properties current position in terms of resource use by the department. Therefore, it is essential to audit how much energy and water is consumed, as well as how much and what type of waste is generated.

Measurement and goal setting is vital to the success of an environmental program. You must know what you use and produce before you can reduce it!

Departments that need to be inspected are:

  • Engineering
  • Laundry
  • General management
  • Grounds and recreation
  • Housekeeping
  • Purchasing
  • Kitchen and food and beverage outlets
  • Front desk

It is important to ensure that the measurements are tracked against the determined goals on a regular basis by each department and there is a central tracking system which merges all the data for analysis.


  1. Engage your staff.

Without the support of the employees, an environmental program will rarely work. It is important to involve and consult with employees before starting and during the development and implementation phase of an environmental program.

Employees also have a better understanding of the areas where savings can occur and of small improvements that have the potential to make a big difference.

With advice from your employees, you will get a better understanding of both the environmental issues within your property and of your employee’s concerns, interest and passions.

Consulting your employees is a great starting point for any environmental program and gives employees a sense of empowerment and ownership. It will make them proud to work at your property.


  1. Setting an action plan

In order to achieve results, goals should be set on an annual basis. Using the inspections as a baseline, the goals should be attainable and easy to monitor.

In order to get you on track with the action plan:

  • Choose goals in the first year that are easily attainable.
  • Keep track of all the cost savings measures. It will be easier to justify bigger expenses in energy conservation.

Seeing results should increase senior management support and generate employee enthusiasm.


  1. Electing a green committee or team

Once the support and enthusiasm of the employees are gained and an action plan identified, it is imperative to assemble a team to run the new environmental program in-house.

Establishing an environmental committee or “Green Team” is essential to the success of an environmental program.

Some considerations when selecting a Green Team are:

  • Technical expertise in areas such as operations, engineering and purchasing.
  • A departmental representation such as front desk, food and beverage, housekeeping
  • Keep groups to a manageable size to ensure easier decision-making.
  • Involve marketing and sales as they may have useful external intelligence about consumers and competitors.
  • Choosing members with good communication skills is important and the people you select should be comfortable dealing with senior management and employees alike.


Members of the Green Team should exhibit qualities such as:

  • Good communication skills – This is important and the people you select should be comfortable dealing with senior management and employees alike.
  • Have an interest in environmental matters
  • Be enthusiastic, motivated and passionate.
  • Able to commit a certain amount of time.


  1. Write an environmental policy statement

An environmental policy statement should be written to communicate both internally and externally.

A well-written policy statement needs to express the following:

  • Environmental goals that the facility will undertake (for example, committing to reduce 20% of waste by X year).
  • The way in which the organization aims to treat the people it employs
  • The way in which it aims to integrate into the community and co-operate on any significant local issues that impact the business.


Policy statements should be communicated where possible:

  • Operations manual
  • On the website
  • In guest information packs


  1. Incorporating your environmental program into employee training

In order for an environmental program to be successful, the goals and objectives should be included in employee training.

Employees should be made aware of the policies and initiatives, as well as the goals and objectives of the environmental program. This information should be included in training documentation, in orientation packages for new employees, as well as other staff training methods, with the aim to integrate these policies into the organization. Posters, general staff emails and other less formal means are also a great way to make employees aware of the environmental program initiatives.

Staff members need to understand their responsibilities and the hospitality property goals.


  1. Set goals and offer regular progress reports

Benchmarking progress on a regular basis is vital to achieving the goal of being a responsible hospitality property.

The progress of how the goals are being achieved and new goals should also be communicated.



It is not as hard as you might have thought to start a green program at your hospitality property.

Start with the three key areas of environmental impact; energy, water, and waste.

Focus on the benefits of your property.


Follow the eight key components to establishing a program to effectively green your hospitality property:

  • Identify a green coordinator/champion.
  • Set a standard to focus your efforts and measure future success.
  • Engage your staff.
  • Setting an action plan
  • Electing a green committee or team
  • Write an environmental policy statement
  • Incorporating your environmental program into employee training
  • Set goals and offer regular progress reports


Okay, this should be enough to get you started.


If you have any interesting stories about a green program and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes at.




That’s it for this session of hospitality property school.

We appreciate your comments and if you have topic ideas, feel free to reach out to use on


Facebook at facebook.com/keystonehdc

Twitter at twitter.com/keystonehdc


Or email at




So, as always, let’s work together to put heads in your beds.

Until next time, have a fun day.




Hospitality Property SchoolFor listeners of the Hospitality Property School Podcast

we are offering an additional savings of

25% off the


“The Guide to Operating an Independent Hotel or Bed & Breakfast”

Training Tutorials


This offer will end without prior notice so act now by visiting …





Music Credit:

Sun Spark



Improve Your Business & Increase Your Bottom Line!
Get Your Free
“Customer Service for Independent Hotels or Bed & Breakfasts” Studies



Hospitality Property School is a division of Keystone HDC