The Basics of a Sound Green Program for Your Spa

By Melinda Minton Executive Director, SPAA | July 14, 2013

Green History, Standards and Certification Systems

As most of us know by now living, building and consuming all take a toll on our natural environment. Chemical emissions, land clearing, wasting water, abusing top soil and poisoning our environment without concern is simply no longer acceptable. In the spa arena these abrasive surfactants, harsh cleaning items, linens and sundries washed with harsh and allergenic detergents. HVAC systems that do not consider emissions from salon services, manicure and pedicure services spray tanning and some aesthetic services.

Buildings have extensive direct and indirect impacts on the environment. During their construction, occupancy, renovation, repurposing, and demolition, buildings use energy, water, and raw materials, generate waste, and emit potentially harmful atmospheric emissions. These facts have prompted the creation of green building standards, certifications, and rating systems aimed at mitigating the impact of buildings on the natural environment through
sustainable design.

Green product standards also began to appear in the marketplace in the 1980s and increased in the 1990s. Initially, many green product standards were developed in response to growing concerns for product toxicity and its impact on the population's health and indoor environmental quality (IEQ). In the 21st century, when growing concerns over global warming and resource depletion became more prominent and supported by research, the number and type of green product standards and certifications grew. The focus also expanded to include a broader range of environmental issues and the impacts of products during their manufacture, use, and reuse. While there is still no universal definition of a green product, these products are intended to meet claims that they offer environmental benefits and adhere to certain standards. Similarly, the move to the move to organic produce there has been a blur of what is green and what isn't. For instance "locally grown," which of course is a wonderful opportunity to support local farmers, isn't always organic.

The push toward sustainable design increased in the 1990s with the creation of Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), the first green building rating system in the U.K. In 2000, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) followed suit and developed and released criteria also aimed at improving the environmental performance of buildings through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for new construction. Since that first release, LEED has continued to grow in prominence and to include rating systems for existing buildings and entire neighborhoods.

Others also responded to the growing interest and demand for sustainable design including the Green Building Initiative (GBI), which was created to assist the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) in promoting its Green Building Guidelines for Residential Structures. Although originally developed for Canada, GBI helped to make Green Globes available for use in the U.S. in 2005. Additional rating systems have been developed that were influenced by these early programs but are tailored to their own national priorities and requirements or seek to go beyond the limits of current policy and building practices to address broader issues of sustainability or evolving concepts such as net zero energy, and living and restorative building concepts that improve the natural environment, or those that model nature's processes.

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.