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Eco-Friendly Lodging: Green Tips for Hotels

Guest post by Bryn Huntpalmer of Modernize

From filling out paperwork to selecting vendors and managing staff, if you own a hotel, you are certainly busy. With so many elements to juggle, environmental friendliness can slip down the ladder of importance. It may seem daunting to address the term “eco-friendly” when it involves company-wide changes, so we at Modernize have a few tricks to maintain a greener environment without sacrificing your guests’ comfort and satisfaction.

Boost Your Energy Efficiency

Let’s face it; hotels require significant energy levels to function, from heating and cooling to laundering and powering electronics. Monitoring utility bills is the first step in making a change. Set a goal to reduce energy consumption and design an action plan.

One of the biggest users of energy is a hotel’s HVAC system. Go eco-friendly by upgrading to an adjustable, green system that will keep both you and your guests comfortable. Innovative HVAC systems are equipped with digital thermostats that guests can set, just like they would at home. The revolutionary “unoccupied” setting is the key to conserving energy. Smart systems can sense when a guest leaves the room, reset to a standard temperature, and then sense when the guest returns and readjust accordingly. This eliminates wasted energy when no one is even in the room to enjoy that cool blast or cozy heat.

You’ll love the lower utility bills, the raving reviews from guests and the clear consciousness of doing your part to protect the world we love.

 

Stock Your Kitchens with Organic Food

Food can be a decadent part of the hospitality industry, from buffets to room service, breakfast bars and restaurants. Improve the taste and quality of your cuisine by shopping for organic ingredients. Guests will appreciate how much you care and enjoy the deliciousness of your meals. It may seem like a small change, but supplying your business with organic food is actually better for the environment, too.

Organic gardens are more sustainable over time, and farmers don’t use harmful chemicals and nonrenewable energy sources to grow their crops. Agrochemicals, which are often used for non-organic produce, contribute to global warming and water contamination. Supporting organic farmers and local vendors will reduce these harmful effects.

If you are ready to make a huge change, you can even grow your own garden and pull herbs, produce and legumes right from your own backyard!

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Recycle and Reuse

Switch to green paper products crafted from recycled material to eliminate paper waste. Unbleached and recycled paper towels, coffee cups, plates and straws are a few of our favorite eco-friendly hospitality products.

Promote recycling in your hotel by training staff and setting up recycling bins in each guest room. Don’t forget to encourage eco-friendly practices by placing recycling bins in the lobby, gym, pool room and other common areas. Order supplies in bulk to cut down on the amount of packaging waste.

Reduce waste by reusing items and donating to the local community. When it’s time to update your hotel’s decor, donate unwanted furniture and linens instead of tossing them out. You can also donate wrapped, unopened groceries to local food banks, benefitting both the planet and your neighbors!

 

Best Practices for Eco-Friendly Hotels

Establishing green practices is a team effort, so train your staff to be on team Earth. Establish rules for turning lights off when exiting a room, unplugging unused electronics and reducing personal waste levels. Offer incentives for staff who are dedicated to eco-friendly practices, and applaud their efforts regularly.

When choosing vendors for supplies like toiletries, coffee and tea, support local, fair-trade businesses. Keep everything bright and shiny by switching to non-toxic cleaners to improve indoor and outdoor air quality, so that you and your guests can literally breathe easier.

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Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Educational programs for hotels with Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Training programs include Environmental ConservationGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate change.  For Training information and assistance, contact us.

Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.

Sustainability meets splendor at the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Living culture at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
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High in the Peruvian Andes, a verdant valley cuts a pathway between the imperial Inca city of Cusco and the dramatic peaks that protect the citadel of Machu Picchu. This is the Sacred Valley of the Inca, once the heartland of the Inca Empire and still shrouded in the mysteries of their great civilization. Perched on a slope overlooking the valley floor, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba reflects the region’s Andean and Spanish-colonial influences, capturing the essence of a destination with many cultural layers.

Upon arrival at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, you might first be struck by the spectacular vistas—in a lodge where nearly every window shows a panoramic view of the Andes, it can be difficult to look away.  Each excursion provides cultural insights into the storied Sacred Valley—opportunities to uncover the secrets of the Inca and the vibrant traditions of their descendants. ~ National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.

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Bespoke Design, Owner’s Suite.Stay in a stunning countryside spanning 10 acres (4.05 has) at the property with 12 rooms including a three-room ‘Owners Suite’. Enjoy the panoramic views of the valley as well as the astounding Andes around you and be completely immersed in the overwhelming scenery. An additional 24 casitas will be opening the summer of 2015, offering a private and bespoke accommodation choice.

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For your comfort, relax at  exclusively designed custom made interiors and framed pre-Columbian textiles that accent the walls carefully picked by Denise Guislain-Koechlin, with help from her husband, Inkaterra’s founder and CEO Jose Koechlin.

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Earth to Plate Experience. With the Inca history being so deeply engrained in the local region, it is no surprise that the new Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas takes inspiration from this ancient civilisation with 10 acres of farmland, the new hacienda uses some of the same methods that the Incas used centuries ago. The property is surrounded by an organic plantation, where you can pick your own produce from quinoa and artichokes to Urubamba giant corn.  Guests are encouraged to get involved in the natural farming methods used to maintain the land, including ”tacllas” – a hand plough, pulled by an oxen.

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Crops such as Quinoa, Potato and Corn are resilient, ideal for the Peruvian climates thanks to how the Incas farmed them all those years ago.  At Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, they have recreated and solely use the traditional methods of the Incas to grow these crops.

Quinoa Flickr image courtesy of net_efekt http://bit.ly/1Jq0WVn

 They use tacllas, a foot plough, developed by traditional farmers to prepare the soil for planting by using human weight to turn up the ground.

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Oxen and llamas are also used on the farm and they also only use traditional oxen carts, instead of modern farming such as machinery and tractors to transport crops, thus it’s low impact and zero carbon emision.

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These farming methods have helped the lodge develop its exclusive ‘Earth to Plate’ concept, giving guests a completely unique taste and food experience.

Spotlight on Sustainability

The lodge works closely with the National Geographic-sponsored Inkaterra Asociación, a nonprofit organization that develops scientific, technological, and cultural research projects geared at managing and protecting the biodiversity and local communities of the Peruvian Andes. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba purchases produce from the association’s Andean Farm Project, which has gardens in the nearby town of Huayoccari. Here, cutting-edge agro-ecological techniques are applied to the growth of organic produce and medicinal plants. The cultivation techniques were carefully selected for their ease of replication, with the initiative’s long-term objective being to establish an agricultural training center for local farming communities. – National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.

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See this traditional farming at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba as part of your Inkaterra Experiences. Enjoy a range of in-house activities such as bird watching (over 30 species of birds on the grounds) and horseback riding. Excursions can also be taken to the surrounding areas to ensure you have a truly authentic Inkaterra holiday.

Why We Love This Lodge

Many visitors to Peru’s southern highlands treat the Sacred Valley as the road to Machu Picchu, and some bypass it altogether by boarding a train in Cusco bound for the legendary Inca citadel. Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba invites guests to stay awhile and soak up the spirit of the valley—an enigmatic place where ancient fortresses mark Inca-Spanish battlegrounds, traditional weaving still lives on in hillside hamlets, and the majesty of the surrounding mountains inspires awe in onlookers.

The lodge helps tell a different part of the Inca story: one of life in the empire’s heartland. Guests can spend time in local farming communities and attend spiritual services to hear Quechua, the language of the Inca; walk through the surrounding hills to see evidence of Inca agriculture and architecture; and sit on the lodge terrace to gaze at the same celestial bodies that inspired the building of Inca temples. Here, traces of the empire are everywhere, and Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba strives to help guests discover them. ~ National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World

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Learn more about Peru by checking our blog posts Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975 with 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay – any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, contact us.

The Inkaterra Hacienda Urubama experience:

Sources: Inkaterra and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Photo credits: Inkaterra blog.

Inkaterra – Sustainable Tourism and Conservation since 1975

Watch the Inkaterra trailer: 

 

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In 1975, a Peruvian company called Inkaterra opened a lodge for scientists who came to study Peru’s rainforest, long before eco-tourism was trendy. Inkaterra’s proud legacy of conservation, social responsibility and geo tourism has created an international model, recognized by the World Bank and the United Nations, by providing the sophisticated international traveler with a luxurious, gracious and authentic exposure coupled with social responsibility initiatives for over 30 years now.

 

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Canopy Walk – a learning experience about the Amazon Rainforest, its flora and fauna.

Inkaterra through its NGO Inkaterra Foundation (Inka Terra Asociacion –ITA) carried out ecological endeavors at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, on the Tambopata National Reserve in Peru’s Southern Amazon rainforest and at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel, in the Machu Picchu National Reserve in the Southern Andes. ITA was founded to conserve the environment, ecosystems, cultural and archaeologicalnatural resources, Peru’s cultural identity and apply sustainable development.

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Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica – where ecological research and conservation started.

Through ITA, Inkaterra’s ongoing programs include Research, such as sponsoring international scientists and local experts who conduct ecosystem studies, biodiversity, flora and fauna inventory andconservation status, etc.  This has resulted in the identification of 372 species and the discovery of 8 new species in the Machu Picchu cloud forest, as well as several publications and field guides.

Inkaterra is included in the Harvard Business Case Study for Sustainable Tourism

Inkaterra is included in the Harvard Business Case Study for Sustainable Tourism

Inkaterra Conservation Projects include the Inkaterra Canopy & Anaconda Walk at Reserva Amazonica, with constant monitoring of wildlife assessments and endangered eco systems, as well as the Rolin Island Fauna Rescue Center and the Butterfly House in Puerto Maldonado. Likewise, the Spectacled Bear Rescue Project in Machu Picchu provides vital support for protection of the endangered Andean bear species. Natural corridors and carbon fixing along the Madre de Dios River of the Southern Amazon rainforest and the Andean cloud forest in Machu Picchu are carried out in a total of 17,000 hectares of reforestation projects.

 

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Environmental and eco best practices include evaluating surrounding landscapes, flora, fauna, water, air, sounds and solid waste.Infrastructure was constructed in keeping with the local nature in both Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica’s Ese-Eja styled cabañas and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Andean casitasQuality assurance along with ecological safety measures are ensured with the proper use of water resources,water waste management, air quality maintenance through proper utilization of gas stoves, non usage of aerosols and ground keeping in general. All Inkaterra eco-excursions such as Bird watching, Orchid Trail, Nature Walks, among others, are led by highly trained, knowledgeable and conscientious expert eco guides-interpreters.

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Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel guests taking part in Organic Tea picking and process their own tea bags.

Cooperative projects with the local community includes the Gamitana Farm, a comprehensive model farmhouse for self-generating eco-agri business. It also operates Concepcion, a community house restored for volunteers, local and international researchers and a national volunteerand education program.

Inkaterra, multi-awarded, globally acclaimed by travel & tourism events and publications worldwide.

Inkaterra, multi-awarded, globally acclaimed by travel & tourism events and publications worldwide.

In April 2007, Inkaterra became Peru’s first carbon-neutral travel organization by integrating renewable energy onsite, and offsetting emissions from all of its accommodation and tour related activities, including fuel use and electricity generation.  Inkaterra acknowledges that all travel generates unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions that affect global warming.  Inkaterra actively educates their clients and guests to do so as well with the opportunity to of a carbon neutral accommodations in the Andes and the Amazon, which offer a wonderful experience for the conscientious traveler. 

Inkaterra World Travel & Tourism Council, Tourism for Tomorrow Award Winner in Conservation, 2012.

Inkaterra World Travel & Tourism Council, Tourism for Tomorrow Award Winner in Conservation, 2012.

Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure.

For more information and travel assistance on sustainable trips and Green Hotels stay, check our Green Travel Exchange or contact us.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

 

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