One of the keys to success in tourism is sustainability. Data and researches on travelers confirm that always more tourists look for sustainable hotels. Sustainability is necessary to save our Planet. Let’s discover 20 actions to innovate now your green hotel in an eco-friendlier way.

The latest tourism trends confirm that always more tourists choose an eco-sustainable journey: two-thirds of travelers prefer staying in a green hotel. Besides, sustainability is now necessary: we all must do something to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stop the occurring climate change. Which are the best choices to bet on sustainability and innovate your hotel or B&B in an eco-friendlier way?

How to become a green hotel? Here are the 20 actions to start now to make your accommodation more respectful of the environment, the places and the local communities. Thanks to HowManyTrees we can calculate how many trees were saved and how much CO2 was spared with every undertaken action. Let’s discover them together!

1. Choose biological food

Homemade bread and jam
Photo by Jonas Jacobsson, on Unsplash

A simple way to take a step further on the path towards sustainability is avoiding the use of GM products. In your menu, you should offer instead biological foods labeled with recognized certifications. Bonus points if they come from local producers or from the fair-trade! If you choose biological products, you can save up to 952 g of CO2 for each guest, equal to planting 35 trees!

2. Go grocery shopping in your local markets

Biological vegetables
Photo by Megan Hodges, on Unsplash

Have you ever asked yourself for how many kilometers the food you buy for your hotel travels? The transportation of products has a huge economic and environmental impact. If you choose local products, you will help the local economies, save some money and reduce CO2 emissions caused by these journeys. If just until a few decades ago food traveled for just a few miles, nowadays it crosses oceans and goes through continents, affecting heavily the environment. Just an example: a kg of kiwis coming from New Zealand travels for almost 18,000 km and releases 25 kg of CO2. For your green hotel, you could choose to go grocery shopping by the farmers of your territory, use groups of fair purchase or simply grow yourself in your garden everything you need. Your guests will appreciate the freshness and the quality of your products!

3. Choose ecological cleaning products

Homemade soaps
Home-made soaps, photo by Kristina Balić on Unsplash

Do you imagine how much do cleaning products affect the environment? Many reports list all the most dangerous substances, both for the environment and human health. If you want to be a green hotel, you should get rid of every chemical cleanser and choose ecological and biodegradable products. Both detergents used to clean pavements, furniture, or sheets and the guest’s soaps should be natural and highly eco-friendly. This little measure can make you save 35 g of CO2 emissions for each guest per day, equal to saving one tree!

4. Use energy-saving lamps

Low power lamps
Photo by Patrick Schneider, on Unsplash

Doubtless, you’ve already thought of reducing electric energy consumption. It’s the right move both for the planet and for your business. Class-A lamps, or, even better, LED lamps let you save up to 80% more than traditional lamps. Not only you will reduce your expenditures, but also CO2 emissions: 222 g of CO2 for every guest, almost 8 trees saved.

5. Set up separate collection

container for separate collection
Separate collection in a room in Rainer Hotel, in the Alpine Pearl Ratchings, photo by S. Ombellini

Although in many realities it’s considered an everyday routine taken for granted, the separate collection is very important. In your green hotel, you should offer your guests containers to separate their waste even in their bedrooms. If you can, compost your organic waste or adopt other good reduce residual waste. By doing so, you can save up to 788 g of CO2 per guest, meaning planting 29 trees.

6. Promote soft mobility

train passing in front of a person
Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Transports affect heavily the environmental impact of travel. That’s why promoting sustainable mobility is so important even for hosts. Traditional public means of transport, such as trains and buses, or the more innovative systems such as carpooling are effective measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. A green hotel should facilitate the sustainable journey of its guests. For example, by providing the timetables of the public transports or a free shuttle service to the nearest train or bus station.

7. Offer a rent-a-bike service

Rent-a-bike service
Photo by Diego Duarte Cereceda, on Unsplash

Biking is an excellent solution to let your guests discover the surroundings in an eco-sustainable way. In addition to being an incentive to turn off the car during the holiday, the bike offers several other advantages and allows your guests to live all the benefits of an active holiday. Some green hotels offer free bikes to their guests: a service even more appreciated than the wellness center, say many travelers!

8. Offer a recharge service for electric cars

Recharge for electric cars
Recharge for electric cars at the Rainer Hotel, South Tyrol, photo by S. Ombellini

The future is by electric car: the number of electric and hybrid cars, especially in the North-European countries (in Norway, 50% of the cars are already electric!). Why don’t you offer your guests the possibility to recharge their electric car? You’ll receive many more visits and you’ll help to promote the safeguard of the environment.

9. Choose 100% clean energy

Photovoltaic panels
Photo by Andreas Gücklhorn, on Unsplash

Try to use electric energy coming from 100% renewable sources (sun, wind, water,…). If you can’t produce it yourself, for example through photovoltaic panels, you can buy the energy you need from clean energy suppliers. In Europe and in Italy, there are already companies that recognized the economic and environmental value of clean energy and decided to invest in the safeguard of the environment, for example, Trenta S.p.A. of the Dolomites Energy Group. Considering the electric energy consumed on average, if you use renewable energy you can save 1581 g of CO2 for each guest of your green hotel, equal to 58 saved trees.

10. Use solar panels to have hot water

person in a hot tub
Photo by Roberto Nickson (@g) on Unsplash

Why should you pay hot water, when the sun’s heath is free? The use of solar panels to heat water in your green hotel is an ecological choice that allows you to save money, exploiting the sun’s heath. You’ll save up to 968 g of CO2 for each guest, meaning 35 trees. The obtained hot water can be used for the underfloor heating of your hotel’s rooms.

11. Avoid single portions

yogurt and strawberries in glass containers
Photo by Karly Gomez, on Unsplash

Plastic is one of the main problems of our time: alarming researches tell us that if we continue to live like that, in our oceans there’ll soon be more plastic than fishes. Saying farewell to single portions is a fundamental step for every green hotel. Get rid of single portions of honey, jam, sugar, cereals, yogurts, etc. in your breakfasts and replace them with glass containers and distributors.

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Choose reusable containers, packaging return, and bulk goods, avoiding useless waste. In the bathrooms, choose dispensers, rather than single portions. Even luxury hotels chose this eco-friendly habit.

12. Offer vegetarian and vegan menus

vegetarian food
Photo by Anna Pelzer, on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about the impact of the meat industry on the environment? Industrial farming causes huge damage to ecosystems: deforestation, biodiversity loss, water waste, pollution,… The production system of food of animal origin is no longer sustainable: the resources exploited by the whole meat industry system are too much, especially if compared to those demanded by the agricultural sector. A green hotel should support visitors that chose more sustainable eating habits and, why not, make those still a little skeptical curious and invite them to try new things.

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13. Use flow-reducers in your sinks

hands under waterflow
Photo by rawpixel, on Unsplash

A simple yet effective way to avoid useless and excessive water waste is the installment of water flow reducers on the taps of your green hotel. This is necessary to save water, a resource always rarer and more valuable. The flow-reducers mix the water jet with air and your guests won’t notice the difference. On the contrary, you can save up to 26 g of CO2 emissions, which translate to planting one tree a day.

14. Ask your guests to help you reduce wastes

cards left by the hotel to thank the guests
Communication with guests in the Rainer Hotel, South Tyrol, photo by S. Ombellini

Turning the lights off when you exit from a room, cutting the tap off when you don’t need it, washing towels and bedsheets only when it’s necessary,… These and other little adjustments also made by your guests can make a huge difference, both towards the planet’s health and regarding the costs of your hotel. Ask your guests to act in a more sustainable way, both on holiday and in their everyday life.

15. Collect and reuse rainwater

rainwater on plants
Photo by Mike Kotsch, on Unsplash

Water waste is one of the most serious problems of the planet, but each of us can adopt some habits to try to save as much water as possible. There are many small yet effective ways to reduce water waste. In your green hotel, for example, you could bet on the collection and the reuse of rainwater. Thanks to small purification treatments, you can reuse it for the irrigation of the gardens or for the flushing of the toilets.

16. Pay attention to household appliances

class A washing machine
Photo by rawpixel, on Unsplash

Rational use of electricity in your hotel or B&B, avoiding unnecessary waste, helps you safeguarding the environment and saving some money. To reduce the energy consumption, you have to pay attention already when you buy your appliances, opting for low-power ones. In your green hotel, the electric appliances (refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, TVs, etc.) should be labeled “Class A”, information that you can easily find on the instruction manual or on the European certifications.

17. Use recycled paper

Books in recycled paper
Photo by Kimberly Farmer, on Unsplash

To be a part of the Ecobnb’s network, your accommodation should try to reduce at their minimum the water and energy consumptions. An effective way is to use recycled paper (toilet paper, print paper, paper for advertising material). Recycled paper is produced with used paper or cardboards and respects the environment. In fact, it allows to save the wood reserves and, compared to the production of regular paper, uses two thirds less energy and water.

18. Choose fair-trade products

plant growing
Photo by Kimberly Farmer, on Unsplash

Being a sustainable structure does not mean respecting only the environment, but also supporting social, economic and trading justice. In your accommodation, you should prefer buying fair-trade products: your guests will appreciate their quality and you’ll know that you helped the development of fair economies respectful of the producing communities.

19. Choose eco-friendly furniture

Nightstand made of pallets
Nightstand made of pallets, BnB Vensì, Turin

Your green hotel should be furnished in an eco-friendly way, even better if you choose unique products made by local artisans using local materials. The elements of the interior design of the Ecobnbs do not contain dangerous substances and are built to last: they are stable, safe and easy to repair. If they’re made of wood, it comes from sustainable forestry. To add a unique and creative touch, some eco-friendly hotels used forms of creative recycling.

20. Tell your guests your green choices

go green

Last but not least, to have a green hotel is necessary to firmly believe in sustainability. “Green” is not just a trend, but a true lifestyle. In this way, it will be easier for you to communicate your green choices to your guests, both in words and in the hotel’s rooms, in gestures and in the small everyday actions. Always leave a leaflet, maybe even made by you, with some useful suggestions to safeguard the environment and reminding how the small gestures of each of us can have a big impact on the entire ecosystem.

All in all, the measures to adopt in the path towards sustainability are simple and within every accommodation’s means.

If you choose to be a part of Ecobnb’s network, you will commit yourself to respect some of the sustainability requirements internationally recognized and you will contribute to the safeguard of the Planet

Cover photo: Farmhouse Sant’Egle, Tuscany