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 June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.