Green building is the practice of creating structures using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle from sitting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. Green building is also known as a sustainable or high performance building.
Green buildings in the hotels are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:
For example, green buildings may incorporate sustainable materials in their construction (e.g., reused, recycled-content, or made from renewable resources); create healthy indoor environments with minimal pollutants (e.g., reduced product emissions); and/or feature landscaping that reduces water usage (e.g., by using native plants that survive without extra watering).
However, In the current competitive hotel industry, are green buildings really advantageous? And does the hotel industry really require green building designs? If yes, how does it influence tourists’ choice of hotel accommodation? Does green building persuade customers to recommend the hotel to their friends?
The simple answer is yes!! Today's consumers are more eco-conscious than ever. They demand that brands adopt sustainable solutions, such as getting rid of single-use plastics like straws and shopping bags and businesses that fail to adapt may find customers visiting their competitors.
Sustainability is an essential trend in the hospitality industry. Some 19% of travelers said they would pay more for a vacation with a green electricity resort. Consumers are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint, and are taking steps to reduce it - including opting for eco-friendly travel.
Apart from the consumer behavior, green building initiatives while being good for the environment, also come with a financial gain. Sustainable hotels have lower operating costs, and they command higher building values while receiving tax breaks and incentives.
This is the reason why many hospitality brands are moving towards green and sustainable construction as a ground-up solution.
Over the past decade or so, Indian hoteliers have started taking a serious note of the need for ‘greening’ their hotels and operations. India has the third largest number of LEED-certified hotels and the largest number of LEED Platinum hotel projects in the world. Even hotels that have already achieved LEED at the design stage are now going for LEED Operations and Maintenance (O+M) certification to further highlight their efficiencies and demonstrate their continued commitment to sustainable performance.
As places of relaxation and respite, hotels should inherently focus on the health and well-being of their occupants. Green buildings not only deliver on both these counts but also go further by also improving the productivity and happiness of employees.
How do we perceive the adoption of green practices in India’s luxury hospitality segment?
Hotels and other hospitality venues have a significant opportunity to reduce negative environmental impacts associated with guest rooms, event space, and general facility use through measures such as energy and water efficiency, waste reduction and management, sustainable and local purchasing, and use of alternative transportation.
Hotels consume natural resources at an extraordinarily high rate, as they are occupied 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to a Trip Advisor survey, nearly two-thirds of travelers reported plans to make more environmentally friendly choices over the next year. And while on vacation, 88 % of travelers turned off lights when not in their hotel room, 78 % participated in the hotel’s linen and towel reuse programs and 58 % used recycling in the hotel. As guests demand more sustainable travel solutions, hotels are positioned to deliver high quality experiences with the help of tools like LEED, that positively impact human health and the environment.
Also, Incorporating LEED includes sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Future trends in this space in relation to the hospitality industry?
The hospitality industry is noticing a change in consumer behavior. Consumers are requesting sustainable resources, evaluating the indoor environment for health concerns and placing a preference on sustainable buildings. As this trend continues, consistent metrics and standards to support the quality of product the hospitality industry delivers will become even more important for a variety of stakeholders, including owners, investors and operators. Integrating green building strategies into the design, construction and daily operations of hotels makes business sense and can be an important part of a company’s commitment to sustainability.