In the hotel industry, going green means growing revenues

Green hotels mean business. Actively going green — conserving natural resources, using renewable energy and recycling — can boost a hotel’s bottom line.

More than 400 hotels worldwide are LEED certified, meaning the hotels achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, the U.S. Green Business Council’s seal of approval for green buildings, hotels and stadiums. LEED hotels were found to generate more revenue, according to a recent Cornell University impact study.

For example, hotels are able to reduce energy and water consumption costs by more than 20 percent by measures that include installing water-saving fixtures and asking guests to consider using towels and sheets more than one day to conserve energy.

Multi-story, futuristic hotel (Courtesy of Hilton Garden Inn)
The Hilton Garden Inn in Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland, will open in 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Hilton Worldwide says it has saved about $53 million since 2009 by reducing energy and water use and reducing and recycling waste. More than 4,500 Hilton properties have achieved International Standardization Organization certification, another benchmark like LEED. It is the first global hospitality company to win ISO certification for Energy Management, Environmental Management and Quality Management across all of its hotels.

Hotel on pier looking out onto ocean (Courtesy of Park Hyatt Maldives)
The Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa perches over the Indian Ocean to minimize environmental impact. (Courtesy photo)

Hyatt Hotels has been tracking its global energy and water usage since 2006. Its goal is to reduce water use by 25 percent by 2020. More than 80 percent of Hyatt hotels already recycle at least one or more waste streams.  The company also requires that all new construction achieve LEED certification.

Vibrantly colored hotel overlooking pond (Courtesy of Hotel Verde)
Being green is more than a name at Cape Town’s Hotel Verde. (Courtesy photo)

Hotel Verde in Cape Town, South Africa, has been dubbed “Africa’s greenest hotel.” It is the only hotel in the world to achieve LEED Double Platinum certification for Design, Construction and Operations. “To provide something luxurious and sustainable was not only possible, but it was also a business model worth sharing, with the potential to change lives and the industry as we know it,” owner Mario Delicio told Hotel Verde has a six-star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa.

Hotel lounge area with red chairs (Courtesy of Marriott Hotels)
The Marriott Hotel in College Park, Maryland, achieved LEED Platinum certification in 2015. The hotel chain boasts numerous LEED Gold, Silver and certified hotels. (Courtesy photo)

Marriott Hotels & Resorts was the first major U.S. hotel chain in 2005 to design and build a LEED-certified hotel. The company’s ongoing LEED program can save each hotel 25 percent in energy and water consumption for the life of their buildings, so investment may be recovered in two to six years.

Dome hut in forest overlooking mountains (Courtesy of Hotel Whitepod)
Guests blend with the local environment in the minimalist, “low-impact accommodations” at Hotel Whitepod in the Swiss Alps. (Courtesy photo)

More hotels, big and small, also are going green because travelers say they want it., a U.S.-based online reviewing platform for lodging around the world, recently launched a Green Leaders program after surveys showed that many travelers are factoring eco-friendliness into vacation plans.

Looking for a green hotel for your next trip? Check out the Green Hotels Association’s database and new mobile apps offered by organizations such as Green Globe to help you find a green getaway.