25 Replies Latest reply: Mar 2, 2012 7:44 AM by pfiddle RSS

    The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?

    New Member

      How can we as accommodation providers improve our (true) green credentials ? Especially how can we get our (sometimes less-than-green-aware) guests to help us stay green. Any tips??

        • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
          New Member

          The first thing is to evaluate your rental home how green it is.

          1.  Have you changed all of your bulbs to energy smart CFL's?

          2.  Have bins to separate clear, smoked, etc. glass as well as aluminum cans?

          3.  Is it efficient enough for your house to look into solar panels?

          4.  Security alarm companies now offer remote control of your thermostat through apps or through the internet.

          5.  If you provide towels, linen, etc.  Place a sign to stay green and reuse towels and change the linens only a once a week.


          Once you've accomplished all of the above, there are a number of "Environmental" organizations that can award you a certification.


          Good luck and I'm glad that you're thinkin green!

            • Re: The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
              New Member

              @jmalixi Sorry you've missed the whole point. W are green Got Europe;s top eco-award The Green Flower |Award to prove it. I was asking how we can get our guests to help us STAY green and indeed improve.

              Simply put.

              How can we improve on being green in the face of 'non-aware' guests.

              I've had to pull plastic out of the food-waste/compost bins and some people still feel it's OK to leave lights on (and windows open - duh!) when going out at night. We get the blame if the room is full of bugs when they return. Having signs up is of some benefit but .. ... sometimes I wonder at the mentality of folks.


              Message was edited by: pfiddle

              • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?

                RE: thermostat control


                This winter the heating and electricity bill at our mountain vacation home have soared.  In desperation we restricted the thermostat control to 70 degrees, replaced sliding glass door with vinyl glass door, installed remote control to lower the thermostat when guests are gone, and more recently hooked both the thermostat and, AV, and light system to motion detectors so that when guests are not present for 15 minutes the heat goes down, lights and AV shut off.  Savings are incredible - should pay for itself less lelss than one season. 

                  • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                    New Member

                    Hi - Yes motion detectors are a good idea - we've fitted them now in all showers and toilets in the B&B. It was crazy that people would leave lights (and ventilation fans) on when they went out or even when they went to bed - there are dimmable 'touch-lamps' by each bedside and we provide night-lights on request..

                    Can't understand that mentality

                    • Re: The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                      New Member

                      Hi Mossbay!  Can you please tell me what the name of your system is, for automatically shutting off not just lights but heat and AC?  Sounds wonderful!  Were you able to install it yourself, or can you only get it from a company that does this for you?  Is it the Homeworks that an earlier writer wrote of?  In spite of signs, many of our guests (not all, some just forget) leave the AC or heat on then go out wine tasting for 5 hours.  The worst time was when we came back one night (we live on sight) to hear the A/C going on upstairs (with all the windows open), and the heat on, doing battle with the upper AC, downstairs (with the backdoor open!)  It was late NOVEMBER in Cal., hardly A/C time!  Their 4 nts. boosted our bill from $800 to $1250!  Never that bad again, but still, it would really help to have your system......thanks!

                  • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                    Active Contributor

                    Here's something on topic that I just found out about today.


                    The City of San Francisco provides criteria for green businesses and maintains a directory of businesses that meet these standards.





                    If you look at the criteria for hotels, there are a zillion different criteria you need to meet.




                    The above link goes to an 11 page .PDF (in very small font!) that lists the criteria / standards for hotels in San Francisco's Green Business program.  If it's too much, you could just look at it one page per day.    It's a lot to digest. 


                    I'd like to apply for this so our vacation rental can be officially recognized as a Green Business in San Francisco.


                    I already posted a question on their facebook page, and I will be in contact with the people at the SF Green Business Program to see how their requirements would apply to a very small business such as ours. 


                    Here's the facebook page.




                    Even if your business isn't in San Francisco, the above .PDF link could be very helpful if you'd like ideas about specific things you can do to "green" your business.

                    • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                      New Member

                      The Maine Dept of Environmental Protection has a program where lodgings (and other businesses) can be certified as "Environmental Leaders". 


                      To become an E.L.L I had to complete a check-off list of what I had implemented at the cottage that was environmentaly friendly - using CFL's, buying energy saving appliances, installing energy efficient windows, using green cleaning products, having recycling bins, not using pesticides in the garden, keeping naturalized (un-mowed) areas, planting native shrubs/trees, and many other things.  Each item I checked off was worth so many points.  Totalling my points, if I had over a certain amount, I could become certified. 


                      The certification is for two years; to be re-certified I will have to implement more green practices.  Check out:  www.maing.gov/dep/innovation/greencert/lodging.htm - this will give you a lot of ways to be green!

                      • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?

                        Hello Peter,

                        We meet and greet all our guests, and take this opportunity to explain how things work in the house. Being "Green" is important to us too. We have a recycle system for garbage so I put a small printed sticker on the fridge door (high visibility, as every one uses it!) of what can be put into each bin.  There is a larger one on the bins outside, provided by our local council.

                        With the aircon, I ask them to close all windows and doors to make the unit more energy efficient, and reduce their likelihood of having an excess electricity bill.  We had to introduce an energy cost supplement as our bills just got bigger and bigger.  They get a fair electricity allowance, and any use metered over this amount has to be paid for.  This is all explained to them before they rent the house. More of a "stick" approach, but it works most of the time and has kept our energy bills down, contributing to a green effect.

                        We installed a huge solar hot water system as we are in the tropics, with plenty of sunshine to do the job.  Guests have the option to boost with electricity if they run out, which is unlikely, but this booster switch is linked to the thermostat and turns itself off once the temperature is reached, which means it is not left on un-necessarily.

                        Our soaps and shampoos,coffee, tea etc. are all in re-fillable containers, and I explain that we do this to reduce packaging waste in our house info. folder.

                        We provide 'Green" reusable shopping bags for guests to use in the pantry cupboard, but also have a plastic bag holder in the hope that those who do get plastic bags will at least re-use them. I agree that guests are there to enjoy a holiday, but these gentle reminders of a greener lifestyle have never been taken the wrong way, to date!

                          • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                            New Member

                            Hi - to cairnsholidayhomes - I like the idea about putting a note on the fridge door. It's certinally a good way to ensure visability.

                            We had people that put food-waste in the 'green' bin and even went to the trouble of emptying that into one of the mulching bins - imagine my surprise howevr when I found they'd left the food in plastic containers !! 100% true. Margarine and coldslaw half-used and put in container into the compost !

                            The idea of providing reusable shopping bags is good as the plastic bag-holder.

                            We too use solar to heat water and even here in Ireland we've never had to boost it!!

                            Thanks for the tips.



                          • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                            khs Contributor

                            Here is  post I placed regarding "How Many Towels?". I feel it is appropriate to share here as well....

                            Our Bigfork Mt rental is 5 bed/3.5 bath and the towels I provide are nice and thick which my guests enjoy but they take so long to dry! I now provide more hooks for them to hang them up hopefully for more usage per guest. I also now post a nice, color, professionally printed signs in each bath suggesting they choose to "Go Green"...such as....


                            Mystic Mountain Practices the 3-R’s REDUCE-REUSE-RECYCLE

                            Please help us protect the environment


                            Every day tons of detergent and millions of gallons of  water and resources are used to wash towels that have only been used once.

                            Please decide to do your part by:

                            Hanging towels up to dry and use again.

                            Assigning designated hooks or rack and towels

                            to each guest sharing the bathroom.

                            Your participation is appreciated.

                            • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                              New Member

                              It's happened again - I'd an eldrly couple stay that put plastic in with the food into the compostor - and food (in packets) into the plastic reecycle bag.

                              One onders just ho can one be so rong and so ill-informed in spitee of all notices and advice given.

                              It's ay past being funny.

                              • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                                New Member

                                99,000 + hits on this question - it seems I'm not alone in wondering how we accommodation providers can work at 'greening ' the industry.

                                Dissappointed though that with almost 100,000 'hits' - few answers are forthcoming.


                                Thanks to all who did answer.


                                Peter, Glenribbeen Eco Lodge, Lismore, Co Waterford Ireland.

                                • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                                  New Member

                                  Good topic.


                                  Consider that we are already "green", compared to the rest of the lodging industry.


                                  Compare the idea of large plots of land being bulldozed for new resorts and hotels, primarily for the purpose of investor profits, to what the vacation rental community does ....


                                  • VR owners often restore existing older homes
                                  • If we build new homes, many of us build efficient and green homes
                                  • Our homes are widely dispersed throughout the community instead of concentrated in one spot.
                                  • Profits are usually not a primary motivation.  Offsetting costs and sharing our homes are often our motivations.


                                  The environmental & ecological benefits of vacation rentals should be discussed more!


                                  Doug Coates

                                  • The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?

                                    What I've done to force my guests to stay green has caused me to make a big initial investment that is paying off quite well.  I replaced all bulbs with LED's (30+ per unit) which obviously dropped my electric bill dramatically what with all the lights being left on.  I also converted to all tankless water heaters.  Used recycled glass countertops when I remodeled along with recycled paper-product laminate flooring.  Installed a high efficency water filtration system at the sink and supply re-usable BPA-free water bottles.  Added super high efficiency appliances and no air conditioning (near the beach).  I supply recycling bins, stock recycled paper products, clean with non-toxic cleaning fluids.  I also supply re-usable shopping bags (plastic bags are outlawed here).

                                    • Re: The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                                      New Member

                                      Hello All,


                                      Keeping Green is a core principal of our rental at Punto de Vista. In order to help guide our guests, we first give them a informative walkthrough of the property similar to a debriefing of all the mechanics and green initiatives that we implement at the villa. We also enclorage their participation. (Usually there is no problem here, clients want to help especially being in such a natural country as Costa Rica.) Some of the initiative we have in place are:


                                      • Second Flush Toilets
                                      • Electrical - A/C Cut-off switch at the entry of every room
                                      • Recycling Initiatives (Color coded trash bins)
                                      • Lutron Homeworks System (Motion sensor activated rooms, social areas- No waste of lights on all night)
                                      • Optional Towel and Linnen reuse program ( Physical card placed on bedstand)
                                      • High Efficiency Applicances (Energy Efficient LED Televisions,Fridges,Computers, Pool Heatpump over Gas or Electric)
                                      • 12 Photvoltaic Solar Panels,6 Solar thermal Panels (jacuzzi Heater as well as Hot water throughout the house)
                                      • Use of recycled glass on the face of the property as well as recycled roofing tiles for art pieces on the lower Balconies.
                                      • We encourage for every family that visits the propert to plant a tree on the property.

                                      In order to keep everyone informed through out their stay, rooms have small printed signs on the night stand  to tell the housekeepers when to wash the linens as well as a sign in the bathrooms to use the double flush toilet system to save water. Also in their welcome letter  explaines how our other systems & green initiatives (Solar Panels and Thermal Panels) are being used throughout the house. (Heating showers, natural ventilation, Etc)


                                      Finally,  we don't give them a choice. We use the HVAC/Electrical cutoff in each  room to be able and avoid llights/AC on all day while they are enjoying a fun tour or out to the beach. Automated Motion Senser system (Homeworks by Lutron) in Social Areas as well as Stairs prevents any unused rooms,social spaces or walkways to waste electricity after going to bed or leaving the area. These systems really take the responsability off the client and allow us to stay green and have the client feel good as they enjoy their rental!

                                        • Re: The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                                          New Member

                                          Well done puntodevista this is the way to do it comprehensivly and I'm sure Nearly 'idiot proof'. Well there are always some idiots that seem to want to be different - even at their own cost.

                                          I agree that timed/sensors on light is a great idea.

                                          I've noticed that a good many hotel rooms nowadays are using the door-card to acvitate the electrics in the room. One must have a door card in a holder nead the frone door of the suit before lights or TV etc will come on. - Something for my next B&B - if we go down that road.

                                          Personally I doubt that there is a future for B&B's in Ireland as more and more people opt for the hotels now that there's a surplus and there's a race to the bottom on pricing. The wonderful warm welcom of the Irish B&B may soon be a thing of the past. Along with the expert local knowledge and support for local initiaves.

                                        • Re: The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                                          New Member


                                          Optional Towel and Linnen reuse program ( Physical card placed on bedstand)


                                          A really simple thing we discoverd at a fellow rental was an embroidered number on each bath and hand towel. Our towels are all white just because it makes the place look nicer, so everyone can keep their same towel by finding their number. I've noticed a huge decrease in white towels in the laundry.

                                            • Re: The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                                              Active Contributor

                                              Embroidered numbers on towels, what a smart idea !


                                              Also, as a side benefit ... it might reduce the number of towels that get

                                              "lost" or "disappear."   Because ... if the towels are numbered, the guests

                                              may think we are keeping strict tabs on our inventory!  ha ha.


                                              Hmm, well, I guess it could be seen as a negative, if the guests think the

                                              owners are being too nit-picky ... but if you explain that's it's not Big

                                              Brother keeping tabs on them ... it's just a creative way to help people

                                              keep track of which towel is theirs, so it's more eco-friendly, just as you

                                              said above ... I think people would really like it.

                                            • Re: The Greening of the Tourist Industry. How?
                                              New Member

                                              This is priceless info to us!  Are HVAC/Electrical shutoff and the Homeworks motion sensor thing two different things?  We need motion sensor, not remote control or settable thermostats, because we're at work during the day and have no idea whether they're gone or not.  We have some motion sensor light switches for bathrooms, but I've never heard of a motion sensor for AC and heat (wonderful!)  Is that what the Homeworks does, or does it just do lights?  Heat and especially A/C being left on are a huge problem for us!  It's like a second mortgage!  Thank you for your time.