Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Alton

Sharon Alton

Founder & Principal, GAIA Consulting Group, LLC

Sharon Alton, founder and principal of GAIA Consulting Group, LLC, an integrated consulting firm that helps hotels and hospitality management companies gain maximum value for their sustainable efforts. Ms. Alton offices with the U.S. Green Building Council in downtown Denver and has an esteemed client base including Destination Hotels & Resorts, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 8 and the Downtown Denver Partnership. She prides herself on demonstrating to clients how they can integrate economic, environmental and social responsibility into their company’s corporate strategy. Her firm specializes in assessment, design, implementation, reporting and optimization of sustainable business opportunities. A business-minded professional with a background in investment banking and hospitality management, Ms. Alton gained a deep appreciation for the intersection of business and the environment while completing Graduate course work in Economics. Fascinated by the perception that economic reality is mutually exclusive to environmental and social responsibility, Ms. Alton chose to focus her attention on resolving this common misperception. GAIA Consulting Group is the product of her focus. A consulting platform which helps companies to bridge this dynamic perceptual gap, Ms. Alton assists her clients in achieving concurrent positive results for both the environment and their balance sheet. Ms. Alton graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She employs sustainable practices in her personal life and frequently provides pro-bono counseling to individuals seeking to lessen their environment footprint while achieving economic savings. Demonstrating that economic and environmental success go hand in hand, GAIA Consulting Group donates a percentage of annual profit to environmental organizations.

Ms. Alton can be contacted at 720-934-6045 or sharon@thegaiagroup.net

Coming up in May 2018...

Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.