The use of renewable energy is increasing in many industries, including the travel industry. Renewable power is expected to increase by 40 percent within the next five years. While the different types of renewable power, such as wind and solar power, is still much less than traditional energy sources, the travel industry has found many ways to incorporate these energy efficient methods into their businesses.
Kansas is known for tornados, and in 2007 a tornado destroyed a Kansas hotel. Instead of demolishing the ruined hotel, the hotel was rebuilt with wind turbines into its design. The 100 foot tall wind turbine generates about two thousand dollars of electricity per month, which is half the electric needed for the hotel operations.
Hotels also have increased their use of solar power. Recently a luxury boutique hotel invested $80,000 in solar panels for the hotel. This upgrade has helped the hotel save $1,000 per month on their electric bill. While it may take a very long time to see a return for the investment, installing solar panels are great long-term investments for any industry.
In Sweden, the Hilton Stockholm Slussen is following trends in Sweden and is sending its organic waste to a biogas plant, which ultimately increases the availability of renewable fuel. In addition, many company vehicles from the Hilton and Scandic hotels are run on biogas. According to Jan Peter Bergkvist, the director of Environmental Sustainability at the Hilton and Scandic hotels, it is important for the hotel management to do their part in reducing energy waste.
Also in Europe, the Kameha Grand hotel in Germany is heated and cooled by geothermal heat. This hotel has six wells throughout the property that provide the water needed to heat and cool the buildings. This innovative use of geothermal heat saves around 1,700,000 kWh per year for the hotel, and drastically reduces the need for fossil fuels. By using geothermal heat from the hotel property, this hotel only needs 30 percent of the heating to be from electricity or natural gas.
The travel industry is also focused on eliminating plastic waste. The Grecotel hotel chain in Greece has reduced their use of prepackaged jam and butter by 90 percent since 1993. In addition, they have eliminated plastic water bottles and instead offer glass bottles that can be returned and reused. To further eliminate packaging waste, hotels are frequently working with their suppliers to have the suppliers take the packaging with them when they deliver product.
To decrease the amount of fossil fuels used, hotel chains throughout the world are researching and implementing ways they can use renewable energy in their businesses. It truly doesn’t matter the climate, whether its in the desert in the U.S. where millions of people travel each year or in the mountains in Europe, facilities are developing innovative ways to go green. From solar panels on a roof to reusable glass water bottles, these changes within the travel industry make a large impact on the environment.