InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), announced that IHG's Green Engage program, the online sustainability program used by more than 2,700 IHG-branded hotels worldwide, is helping hotels address the drought conditions in California. IHG is targeting a reduction in water usage in water-stressed areas by 12% globally by 2017. To support this global effort on a local scale, IHG Green Engage Water Conservation Kits were sent to 230 IHG hotels in California, including Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn hotels.
The resources in the Water Conservation Kits include details on how hotels can actively participate in conserving water, with tips on how to implement IHG Green Engage Green Solutions, as well as examples of how other hotels have been successful in their water conservation efforts. The kits also include aerators to easily install on water faucets to contribute to the potential savings of more than 77 million gal of water per year in California. Guestrooms are the primary source of water usage in hotels (estimated 30%), and aerators can help save water used in guestroom sinks.
"Hotels are an important part of the local communities where we live and work, and many of the 230 California hotels in IHG's family are already conserving water and playing an active role in the drought solution," said Paul Snyder, vice president, Corporate Responsibility, and Global Lead on Sustainability, IHG. "IHG hotels in California have implemented almost 2,000 IHG Green Engage Green Solutions to conserve water, energy and waste. We are encouraging hotels to take another look at their sustainability journey to discover more opportunities to conserve. That could be installing the aerators and implementing the new IHG Green Engage benchmarking tool to drive results through data."
The IHG Green Engage program was built to provide a comprehensive environmental management system that helps hotels leverage data to drive results through Green Solutions. Research shows that over 70% of frequent travelers prefer hotels that are engaged with their environment, and the IHG Green Engage program assists with driving guest preference. Earlier this year, the IHG Green Engage program became aligned with LEED and Green Key Global (GKG) third party certifications to help streamline the process for IHG hotels to achieve these certifications.
"The California Hotel & Lodging Assn. is pleased to support IHG's leadership and proactive efforts to promote and encourage water conservation in their hotels," said Lynn S. Mohrfeld, president and CEO of the California Hotel and Lodging Assn. "It is especially important due to the current drought and continued stress on our valuable water supply. We're working together to refine practices and identify important advancements in water conservation across the state."
The IHG Green Engage Green Solutions under water conservation include energy efficient appliances such as washers, dryers and dishwashers; low flow showerheads, toilets and waterless urinals. Others include water zoning for irrigation, rainwater harvesting and treatments and native plants. The Hotel Indigo San Diego-Gaslamp Quarter property has a garden with native plants, requiring little water, covering nearly 40% of the rooftop to create a greenhouse effect.
"Taking on the responsibility of being a sustainable business is a win-win," said Tony Lovoy, general manager, Hotel Indigo San Diego-Gaslamp Quarter. "It builds employee pride and a strong culture. People want to work for businesses that are doing the right thing. Our staff is also proud to share our sustainability efforts with our guests and many are inspired to do more to be environmentally responsible at home."
The InterContinental San Francisco, a LEED Gold hotel, saves an estimated two million gal of water a year with low-flow faucets, toilets and other back of house water restriction features. The hotel implemented a sustainable HVAC cooling water treatment system that has contributed to about one million gal of water saved per year. The hotel is taking it a step further by installing waterless urinals in all public restrooms, estimated to save a another half million gallons of water per year.
The Crowne Plaza San Diego - Mission Valley hotel is nearly 100% below their average water benchmark in the IHG Green Engage system (measured against hotels with a similar footprint) and has targeted another 1% water savings this year with the potential to add $5,000 to the bottom line. The hotel installed the IHG Green Engage Water Conservation Kit aerators on kitchen sinks and has found that timers on water features such as filtration and sprinklers have also assisted with conservation efforts.
The new IHG Green Engage program targets for 2013 to 2017 include reducing carbon footprint per occupied room by 12% across the entire portfolio, and reducing water use per occupied room in water-stressed areas by 12%.