|Environmental Terms Definitions as used by the Environmentally Friendly Hotels
Alternative Energy: Renewable energy sources, such as biomass, small hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal energy and photovoltaic conversion systems. It excludes fossil fuels.
Bulk Soap and Amenities: Soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion provided from a bulk dispenser rather than in individual packages. This approach saves time and money for the lodging property and natural resources and landfill contributions by cutting down on the packaging.
Compostable Disposables: Sometimes the use of disposable service items can't be avoided. In those cases we want to give credit to the properties that choose disposable items, like paper napkins and corn-based plastic, that are biodegradable.
Composting: A biological decomposition of solid organic materials by bacteria, fungi, and other organisms into a soil-like product that can be used to enrich garden soils . This enrichment not only nourishes the soil but also helps increase moisture retention and thus decrease the need for additional watering.
Cotton Towels and Linens: Cotton products don't add VOCs to the air, thus helping air quality in guestrooms where they are used. Towels and linens that are a blend of cotton and synthetic fabrics aren't sustainable because of their reliance on petrochemicals. Organic cotton is even better because of their non-use of petrochemicals.
Durable Service Items: Dishes, cups, glasses, mugs, tableware, and serving pieces that are long-lasting, not disposable.
Eco-friendly Food Served: Offering food that's been grown in a manner sensitive to its natural habitat for preserving wildlife and other plants, organically grown and raised, or local and thus freshly "harvested".
Educate Guests About "Green": Teaching people looking at their website or staying at their property about the green actions they take and why those actions are important, as well as encouraging others to take their own green actions.
Energy Conservation: Reducing the amount of energy used, for example, through the use of energy efficient lighting and appliances, turning off lights and appliances when not in use and using insulation and weather stripping. This may also be referred to as energy efficiency. It is possible to dramatically reduce energy consumption for powering our homes and buildings (and cars) without major sacrifices. This lessens our dependency on non-renewable resources and reduce the costs connected with excessive energy use.
Environmental Cleaning: Approaching housekeeping and laundry from the perspective of not using harsh or harmful-to-people chemicals or cleaning styles. That includes not using perfumed or scented laundry supplies, carpet cleaners, cleaning supplies, or air fresheners.
Fresh Air: Guestrooms that either have windows that open or are part of a fresh-air exchange system within the hotel. Fresh air, even in cities, is healthier than the musty, stale air of closed-up rooms.
Gray Water Recycling: Gray water is wastewater composed of wash water from the kitchen, bathrooms sinks and showers/tubs, laundry sinks and tubs, and washing machines (clothes and dish) where only non-polluting, biodegradable soaps are used. Recycling this water is done via using it to water gardens and landscaping and as it filters through the soil on its way to ground and subterranean water sources it is cleaned. Using it on the gardens and landscaping reduces the amount of fresh water needed for that purpose.
Guestroom Recycle Bins: Special containers placed in guestrooms so they can put their recyclable items there, rather than in the trash. This approach can teach a hotel's guests about the ease and benefit of recycling, and makes it easier for a hotel to sort recyclable items.
Hotel Recycle Bins: Special containers placed around the property guests can put their recyclable items there, rather than in the trash. This approach can teach a hotel's guests about the ease and benefit of recycling, and makes it easier for a hotel to sort recyclable items.
Maintenance for Conservation: A hotel's approach to their green program can be replacing old, wasteful fixtures (light bulbs, old toilets that use lots of water in their flushing, old shower heads and faucets that allow more than 2 gallons/minutes through) and appliances (like refrigerator and freezers, ice machines, washing machines and dryers, air conditioners, furnaces/heaters, and computers) as they break or wear out, with new efficient fixtures and appliances.
Newspaper Program: We feel that newspapers shouldn't be delivered to every guest in the hotel because it is such a waste of paper and resources. Instead, newspapers should be available to those who want them, either free or at a reduced price, thus saving resources and landfills.
Non-Smoking Rooms: Guestrooms guaranteed to be safe from the pollution of smoking. Some hotels have either entire floors that are non-smoking or are completely non-smoking. Once a room has been smoked in, it's very difficult to clean it enough to get rid of the odor that so many people are sensitive to.
Organic Food Served: Organic food has been grown without the application of pesticides or fertilizers. Plant nourishment comes from the use of compost. Pest protection comes from growing healthy plants, companion planting, and natural pest controls like beneficial insects.
Recyclable Disposables: We feel that foam products -- cups, bowls, plates, and clam-shell boxes -- not only consume petrochemicals in their production but also aren't recyclable, and they fill landfills with materials that will be around for hundreds of years. Some of the same plastic products also don't degrade in landfills and consume precious non-renewable resources in their manufacture. There are recyclable disposable products that we encourage the use of instead.
Sheet Re-use Program: Different hotels have different names for this, but it's a way of reducing the water and energy consumption involved in washing sheets daily. Sometimes the hotel states they wash sheets at a specific interval, unless requested for more frequent changes, and sometimes the hotel lets the guests request a less frequent than daily sheet change. Either way, when housekeeping complies with the "rule" it saves on resources, time, and wear and tear on the sheets.
Towel Re-use Program: Different hotels have different names for this, but it's a way of reducing the water and energy consumption involved in washing towels daily. Sometimes the hotel states they wash towels at a specific interval, unless requested for more frequent changes, and sometimes the hotel lets the guests request a less frequent than daily towel change. Either way, when housekeeping complies with the "rule" it saves on resources, time, and wear and tear on the towels.
Water Conservation: The practice of reducing water usage. Water use reduction methods range from more efficient practices to capturing water for use through water storage or conservation projects. More efficient practices include using low-flow toilets, shower heads, and faucets; washing sheets and towels less frequently (though of course between guests); planting xeric gardens -- using native plants that don't require much additional water beyond what falls from the sky; and gray water recycling systems.
Xeric Gardens: Xeriscape is a coined word derived from the Greek 'Xeros', meaning dry. It is used to describe landscaping with water conservation as a major objective. It often is also accomplished by using plants native to the region. A xeric garden is an attractive, sustainable landscape that conserves water and is based on sound horticultural practices.