Ecological Sustainable Development - Hotel & Hospitality
Author: Glen Towner
The Green Hotel Concept is in large part a marketing strategy employed by hotels and the hospitality industry to appeal to the consumer’s sense of participating in better ecological choices, especially when purchasing luxury or non-essential products such as vacations and hotel visits. Such choices may be in the realm of the type of soap offered or the type of material used in the towels or about practices related to frequency of changing bed sheets or towels with the view of making less impact on the environment through the use of less energy or biodegradable products. This might be thought of being on the ‘micro’ or ‘end user’ level. It is not without merit.
In contrast, the notion of ecologically sustainable design (ESD) is understood from the point of view of the builder, designer and developer who realize the monetary and environmental impact of ESD activity as opposed to previous practices. This ‘Macro’ level of understanding is a fundamental shift in our way of thinking about how we manage our natural resources, both in the construction of the built environment and the impact those built environments have on the ecology they are built within. Given that all resources are finite, it is essential to devise strategies which minimize waste and to design carbon neutral spaces. Building carbon neutral environments are important face-valid efforts, perceived and real, to deflect and resist global warming: a quantifiable reality.
To establish benchmarks and clear understandings for the practices of ESD, Interior Designers may use LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) standards. These standards provide building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. On the other hand, the cost of delivering more ecologically sound products requires a higher cost, particularly at the end-consumer level. Consumers are willing to pay higher costs probably because of their need to participate in better personal ecological choice strategies (a result of higher education, not doubt) and are therefore willing to bear, voluntarily, higher expenses.
Cost economies are definitely the main reason for ESD at the macro level (not to mention the negative impact of global warming) and may be required by law to implement, thereby compelling a more harmonious coexistence between existing ecological systems and newly built infrastructures. This is so even though initial costs are greater in materials and construction; invariably, over the life of a structure, a huge savings is possible in all aspects of an ecologically sustainable designed building through the better use of energy, replacement parts and harmony with the lay of the land.
On the face of it, an ESD view of a ‘cradle to cradle’ perspective on the built environment is a logical development (comparing to our present-day throw away mentality) from previous ways of designing.
Ecologically Sustainable Development is a historically significant transition or development in the human timeline. This transition is from the wasteful society of the 1970’s and before to a more enlightened approach toward the built environment, and a deeper understanding of the coexistence between us and Nature which is understood now. New technologies and increased understanding of the world we live in through scientific analysis has given us this modern day insight to predict the future if societies maintain a non-sustainable strategy. And that future is not good.
Thus, an ESD revolution of gigantic proportions has been started to chart a new, obligatory way to live. While some may view this trendy and may espouse marketing gimmicks to attract conscientious consumers, ESD is the present and the future of the built environment by necessity.
The following websites express the micro and macro levels of ESD. They are indicators of a world feeling the pressure of higher costs of raw materials and an ethical perspective for the care and sustenance of Mother Earth.
A selection of Web Sites/Pages that point to the development of ecologically sustainable hotels.
THE SONGJIANG SUSTAINABLE HOTEL IN CHINA
- 70+ sustainable practices of a Green Hotel – LEED Platinum
- LEED Certification
- Sustainable hotel by WOHA: ESD alila villas uluwatu – Indonesia
Sustainable Solutions for Green Hotels
- Green Hotels Association – Phoenix
- Sustainable Hotel Design & Management – Linkedin Group