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Experience tells us that when hotels come together their collective force for change is more powerful than when they act alone, so Green Hotelier loves stories that re-visit our theme this month – hotels working together for bigger sustainability actions. Globally there are many organisations – including the International Tourism Partnership – which help hotel groups and companies of all sizes to achieve great things in collaboration.
In North America, one such company is EcoStay™, a national initiative that helps hotels measure their carbon footprint, identify and fund reduction strategies and balance off their greenhouse gas emissions through carbon offsetting. They utilise the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) to do this.
One group which added another property to EcoStay is MasterBUILT Hotels who announced the addition of their newest hotel, in Fort St. John, British Columbia to the programme. The Microtel Inn & Suites Fort St. John, which opened August 2015, is the 7th hotel in the MasterBUILT portfolio to join the successful EcoStay programme since their first hotel joined in 2010.
Guests choosing a hotel in the EcoStay programme know their stay will be more environmentally friendly because the property is actively working to reduce its carbon footprint. A typical 150 room Canadian hotel can produce three tonnes of greenhouses gases each day. That's the same as driving 200 cars, heating and lighting 100 homes or taking 5,000 airplane flights. Guests at MasterBUILT Hotels' Microtel and Super 8 locations can rest assured that their stay is helping to significantly reduce these emissions.
Lorna Knoll, director of operations for MasterBUILT Hotels said, “We're very excited to be part of the EcoStay Programme. It's a meaningful and effective way of demonstrating our concern for the environment.”
Under the programme, MasterBUILT Hotels will collect two dollars per night from hotel guests. Funds will be used to purchase carbon offsets in support of emission-reducing projects across the country such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, agriculture and recycling - balancing the impact from the hotel's operations, and making each hotel night completely 'carbon neutral'.
The guest's contribution completely offsets the impact of their stay, and more. Carbon offsets are supplied by LivClean. All LivClean EcoStay Carbon Offset Projects are listed on the CSA Group's GHG CleanProjects™ Registry ensuring ISO 14064-2 reporting and independent ISO 14064-3 verification. In addition, each offset tonne is uniquely serialised by CSA Group to ensure proper retirement and avoid double counting. The use of a public registry such as GHG CleanProjects Registry is an important step for transparency and ease of access for users to review and confirm the ongoing tracking of the LivClean EcoStay Projects.
The programme also supports on-site environmental upgrades and renovations. Energy efficient lighting technologies such as dimmers and motion sensors, as well as donation of leftover amenities, helps to further reduce the hotel's impact. The prototypical new build Microtel Inn & Suites locations already include these aspects as a part of the new standards.
Measuring and reporting the hotel’s progress is important too. MasterBUILT Hotels use Green Hotels Global, the internationally recognised online dashboard and benchmarking tool that follows the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI 1.1) created by ITP and the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Knoll said, “EcoStay™ is a terrific programme and we're seeing both leisure and business travellers that are seriously concerned about their impact. This is our way of letting guests know that we share those concerns and we're doing something about it.”
Christina deVries, Director of EcoStay said, “We're very proud of the EcoStay programme, and the hotels who have embraced it. These hotels are leaders in environmental consciousness and responsibility. They aren't just talking about reducing greenhouse gases - they're doing it.”
EcoStay supports hotels across North America in their efforts to take action against climate change. Through the purchase of carbon offsets, hotels support emission-reducing projects across the country - making each guest's stay completely carbon neutral and good for the planet. The programme also helps hotels make on-site energy efficiency and environmental improvement and measure their progress at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Best Wester Plus Chateau Granville Hotel & Suites is also happily announcing itself as carbon neutral since joining EcoStay. The hotel management team say, “Much appreciation goes out to all our valued guests for their participation and support [of EcoStay]. As of August 2015, we have offset 677% of our annual carbon footprint, which is an incredible achievement! Thank you for helping us make a difference. Greening the world, one night at a time.”
Hotels that seek to benchmark their carbon footprint against others in their area, and businesses wanting to report on the carbon output of trips, stays and meetings can also use the Hotel Footprinting Tool at www.hotelfootprints.org.