Senior hospitality executives are just beginning to get involved in sustainability technology planning and decision-making.
Current conversations center around using technology to reduce consumption.
However, electronic waste disposal is an increasingly important issue for the hospitality industry as new equipment is acquired to reduce consumption in other areas.
Naomi Stark, president of Stark Service Solutions; Sunny Kim, Ph.D, assistant professor at Texas Tech University; and Dan Connolly, Ph.D., associate dean at University of Denver Daniels College of Business shared key benefits, barriers and factors to successful sustainability technology initiatives during the HITEC “Green Initiatives” educational session.
Why Green Initiatives
Current market trends indicate that global demand for energy is expected to grow by 57 percent over the next 25 years. This increased demand is expected to double electricity prices from 2008 prices by 2015.
Additionally, more consumers and meeting planners are looking for green initiatives in destinations and the properties they ultimately select for their travel.
All good reasons for properties to consider long-term sustainability programs that reduce costs and waste.
One of the top benefits for initiating a green technology program is the quick and high return on investment (ROI).
Green technology programs can offer substantial savings in 6-10 years, with a longer payback period than many other projects.
Despite numerous reasons to implement green initiatives, many properties have not yet initiated sustainability programs.
Common perceived barriers to going green include:
- Costs of implementing new technology and disposing of old equipment
- Additional labor and intensive efforts associated with obtaining eco-certification
- Lack of awareness and information about available resources and incentives
Best Practices For Green Initiatives
Ms. Stark, Dr. Kim, and Dr. Connolly offered the following best practices for successful green hospitality technology initiatives:
Strategy: Develop a strategy to use technology responsibly and effectively. Select equipment and applications to reduce energy, water and paper consumption and carbon emissions.
Deployment: Deploy effective technology practices to reduce computer hardware and lower power consumption. Ensure that business processes actually result in reduced waste.
Disposal: Dispose of electronic waste responsibly. Use local recycling companies that are familiar with and comply with local regulations. E-stewards (www.e-stewards.org provides information and resources.
Employees: Involve employees in your green initiatives. Foster innovation and benchmark best practices. Continuously train employees on the reasons, benefits and business processes to reduce consumption and waste.
Guests: Make it easy for your guests to engage in your green initiatives. Offer green choices at various price points. Assist guests by demonstrating how to use new technologies. Reward guests for participating in green practices.
Green initiatives are now at the core of remaining competitive in hospitality.
Christina Dzingala is a sustainability strategist specializing in management, technology and communications to transform organizations. You can reach her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @CDzingala.
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