Hoteliers see green with eco-friendly bathroom fixtures

As travelers become more aware of their impact on the environment, hoteliers are taking steps to make sure their properties are as green and sustainable as possible. Guestroom bath areas are a prime spot for incorporating elements that can not only help lower a hotel’s carbon footprint but also improve its bottom line. 

One option hotels can take advantage of is heated towel racks. Marietta, Ga.-based Amba Products supplies racks that can help dry a guest’s towel faster than air-drying alone, extending its life and reducing the need for frequent laundering. “The less you clean the towels, the less energy, water and detergent you consume,” Amba Director Fred Salati said, noting the value this can add for hotels in regions where water is priced at a premium. The units also can help dry a humid bathroom quickly, preventing mold or mildew buildup and reducing time spent cleaning the area. And while the cost of electricity may be a concern for hoteliers, Salati said the units only use about two cents worth of electricity for 10 to 12 hours of use, and can be turned off when not needed.

Airy Showers

An aerator on a faucet or shower head also helps reduce water usage, and the aerated bathroom fixtures from Newport Brass use 1.8 gallons of water per minute. “That's a nice amount of water that we reduce because the majority of the shower heads and faucets a few years ago were at 2 gallons,” said Chris Chmura, hospitality business development manager at Brasstech, parent company of Newport Brass. Not only do aerated faucets help protect the environment and save a hotelier money, he added, “it's good for public relations because customers want efficient buildings.”

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Similarly, N.J.-based fixture company Jaclo makes shower heads that use anywhere between 2.5 to 1.5 gallons of water per minute, which allows hoteliers not only to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense certification, but could help them achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification by reducing the amount of water each room uses. With more states enforcing water regulations, Jaclo VP Morgan Brodey noted that hoteliers will need to work closely with local authorities when building or upgrading a property's plumbing. “The last thing you want to do is have the wrong shower head bought at the wrong gallons-per-minute [usage],” she said.

Saving Time, Saving Money

Convenience also is a factor in making a hotel bathroom sustainable. Brasstech is working with an AC Hotel in Europe, Chmura said, that is installing shower drains from the company that do not require screws to install—and, more importantly, uninstall. For a hotel with 500 guestrooms and 500 showers or bathtubs, he said, being able to quickly remove a small component for maintenance and being able to replace it just as quickly rather than spending time unscrewing it from the unit can be a significant savings in terms of time and money.

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