Vol.2 2013 Green Hospitality Designs

We can now say that “green” design is all around us. It surrounds us at home, in the office, and even when we’re on vacation or away on business. Today many hotels, motels and resorts are doing their part to protect the environment and reduce operation, management and development costs. Hotels are also going “green” for other reasons, such as customer loyalty, employee retention, awards/recognition and increase brand awareness[i]. The following article will discuss ways in which hospitality facilities can go “green” and protect the environment and find cost saving alternatives.



Top Left: Sloan Top Spud Wall Hung Toilet System (WETS 2050.1401-1.28 G2)

Top Right:  Gerber Maxwell Dual-Flush Elongated 2 pc 1.1/1.6gpf (DF-21-110)


Domestic water use accounts for approximately 41% of many hotels’ and motels’ water usage[ii]. This is a lot of water, water that can be conserved if the right measures are taken. An average toilet can use as much as 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) by code; however, green toilets can use as little as 1.28 gpf. By installing these efficient toilets alone, a hotel can reduce water usage by an average of 20%[iii].

Hotel owners can choose between two different types of “green” toilets: single flush and dual (liquid and solid waste) flush. As expressed above, high efficiency single use toilets consume 1.28 gpf. For dual flush toilets, the liquid waste flush typically uses 1 gpf, and the solid waste flush uses around 1.6 gpf[iv].


Top Left:  Sloan SOLIS®Faucet (EAF-275)

Top Right: Sloan Basys™ Mid Faucet (EFX 250.500.0000)


Installing electronic faucets or including flow restrictors are other methods of reducing water consumption. Typically, electronic faucets are used in public spaces, such as lobby washrooms and restaurants. Is it time to think outside the box and include them in guest rooms as well?

Electronic faucets not only eliminate harmful bacteria, newer low-flow models are also very water efficient (averaging a flow rate of 0.5 gallons per minute (gpm)). Many people admit to the shameful habit of running the water faucet while they brush their teeth or shave. Automatic sensor faucets can eliminate wasted water and they only activate when a hand is placed under the faucet.

Sloan Wall Hung, WES-1000 Waterfree Urinal

Waterfree urinals are a sustainable option for hotel lobby and restaurant washrooms. They have touch free operation, which is more hygienic, eliminates cross-contamination and the use of water for flushing, therefore saving on sewage and water supply line costs. Waterless urinals consist of a replaceable locking cartridge, which seals out odour and bacteria, lasting approximately 7,000 uses[v]. With improvements in cartridge technology, and because waterless urinals do not have water-mineral build up, they are easy to clean with no harsh chemicals needed[vi].



Top Left: A. O. Smith Cyclone XiThermal Efficient Commercial Gas Water Heater (BTH-500)

Top Right: Watts OneFlow Solutions.*Lead-free models are available.


In order to maintain bright and stain-free white linen, bleach is often used within laundry facilities. By switching to ivory or beige linen, hoteliers can avoid using harmful chemicals, like bleach, and reduce hot water consumption[vii].

In addition, hotels can reduce the amount of energy and water used for washing bed linen and towels by purchasing high efficient washer and dryers, and implementing policies that encourages more responsible towel usage for guests. For example Starwood Hotels & Resorts reward their guests with a $5 voucher at participating food and beverage outlets or 500 Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints® for each night they decline housekeeping[viii].

Although typically a high replacement cost, hot water system retrofits can yield enormous savings from an energy consumption perspective.  For example, by replacing standard efficiency water heaters (80% efficient) to high efficiency (96% efficient) models will yield a noticeable return even after the first year.

Dealing with pipe mineral scaling is something that hotels often struggle with. Many anti scaling systems use salt as part of their operation. Adding chemicals or minerals, such as salt, to water is not a “green” choice, so choosing a system that is salt free is an environmentally friendly solution. These salt free systems convert hard minerals into soft scale particles, so water runs smoothly and there is less wear and tear on pipes.[ix]


Meeting Rooms

Going green is also extending into meeting rooms, and has become a big sell when trying to attract customers. Disney hotels and resorts, for example, are an advocate of going “green”, especially in their meeting rooms. To reduce the amount of waste, Disney meeting rooms avoid bottled water, donate unused food that has passed safety standards to a local food bank, and place recycling bins throughout the rooms.[x]



BRAE Water Harvesting Technology

Above ground Rain water harvesting system

Below ground Rain water harvesting system

Above: Brae Rainwater harvesting system services.

Rainwater harvesting is an environmentally friendly and cost effective option to conserve water, and reduces demand on the municipal water supply. Since rain water does not contain ammonia, fluoride or chlorine, plants tend to thrive better; so capturing rain water is a very advantageous option[xi].

Many hotels are going above and beyond ground level landscape, literally. Green roofing has become a popular choice due to improved stormwater management[xii] whereby plants absorb, capture, and store initial precipitation[xiii]. Other benefits of green roofs include[xiv]:

  • Reducing the ambient temperature which can lead to the reduced energy costs due to cooling.
  • Energy savings from better solar reflectivity and insulation.
  • Reducing heat island effect. This is caused when dry and impermeable services, such as roofs and pavement, are heated by the sun and creates a temperature that is higher than the surrounding rural areas.[xv]

Another method of water consumption is to choose indigenous plants. Native plants require less water and little to no pesticides.


Final Thoughts

The world around us is changing right before our eyes. Water supply isn’t as abundant as it once was and pollution is on the rise. We all need to work together and protect our environment and reduce our carbon footprint. US hotels spend almost $4 billion of energy per year[xvi], and it only takes a few changes today to make a big difference for tomorrow. By implementing these “green” water and energy strategies, it not only aids in the conservation of our planet, but it also proves to be a sound business strategy, with return on investments realized even in the short term.



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[i] Dr. Songya Graci, Jaqueline Kuehnel.“How to Increase your Bottom Line By Going Green.”Green Hotels and Responsible Initiatives. Web. 16 March 2013. <>.

[ii]“Hotel and Motel Checklist”. Southwest Florida Water Management District. Web 16 March 2013. <>

[iii] LEED Canada. “LEED® Canada For New Construction And Major Renovations 2009 – Rating System”. Web 23 April 2013. <>

[iv]Sara Elliot. “How Dual Flush Toilets Work.” How Stuff Works?. Web 16 April. , <>

[v] Sloan. Web 16 March 2013. <>

[vi]“Waterfree Urinal Maintenance”. Web video. 16 March 2013. <>


[viii] “Make a Green Choice”. Starwood Hotels. Web 23 April 2013. <>

[ix] One Flow. “TheOne Flow Solution”. Web. 23 April 2013. <>

[x] Disney Green Meetings. Web. 16 March 2013 < >

[xi]Susan Robin. “Is Tap or Rain Water Better for Plants?” October 202011. Web 16 March 2013. <>

[xii]“Practical Strategies in Green Building – Hotels”. US Green Building Council. Web 16 March 2013. <>

[xiii]“Green Roofs”. US Environmental Protection Agency. Web 16 March 2013 <>

[xiv]“Green Roof Benefits”. City of Toronto. Web 16 March 2013. <>

[xv] “What is Urban Heat Island”. EPA – United States Environmental Protection Agency. Web 24 April 2013. <>

[xvi]“ATS Green Plumbing for Hospitality”. Publication. Allied Technical Services Inc.