Is Your Hotel Taking the Water Sense H2Otel Challenge? (By Karen Valeria Sandoval)




From 2011 to 2014, Californians can see how drastic the severe drought our planet has been facing is. Before Governor Brown declared in 2015 the Drought State of Emergency California was in, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commenced the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge in the month of February of 2014. The principle of this challenge is to motivate all hotels to “ACT: Assess, Change, and Track.”. Since the last time I personally stayed at a hotel, I remember how water captivated an elegance on the premises. On the other hand, water isn’t only used as a decoration, but for different departments and functions in a hotel. Some of the biggest uses for water within these departments are kitchen/dishwashing, pools, cooling/heating, laundry, and landscaping. Unfortunately, during these past 10 years, the cost of water has increased and the 15% of total water that is used within these institutional facilities would have to begin undergoing water-efficient techniques for the variety of water needs hotels encounter. As WaterSense teamed up with EPA in this H2Otel Challenge, many hotels across the United States have been informed, challenged, and signed up for the pledge to “ACT”. Yet, hotels need to prove if WaterSense can have an effective influence on them and if facilities can promote these water-efficient changes and new techniques.

The challenge at work

WaterSense emphasizes that anyone, from an employee to a facility manager, can practice water-efficiency management for the better interest of the hotel. Many times, hotels do not have the control of how much water guests use within their rooms. A hotel cannot put a limit to the amount of water consumed by the guest for this will not solve the issue or spread awareness. An effective way to undergo this investigation is by following “ACT”.  What can be done first is an effective plan of “assess” and communication between the hotel and its guests regarding the water management goals. The key here is goals, not limits. This sets a clear line between what is to be achieved within the hotel with every guests stay without making them feel restrained from the consumption of water. After the hotel accepts the challenge to conserve water and be well informed of this monitor on water-use, the next step is to locate any equipment or water use/systems that pull large amounts of water consumption and commence some “changes” to lessen the intake on water. Next, monitor or “track” the process. Previous water bills can reveal if changes have been either effective or ineffective. To receive more feedback or a different point of view for new improvements, consider interviewing personnel, touring the facility, or checklists can help obtain more accurate calculations on the use of water intake.

One example of challenge participants 

From the many H2Otel Challenge Participants that pledged and were recorded as of April 15, 2015, one in particular has proven effective techniques and results for saving water. Kalaloch Lodge, located in Washington State, receives approximately 40,000 overnight guests each year. With that amount of guests, the lodge decided to get staff, guests, and WaterSense working together for a water conservation strategy that became a success for the hotel and a fun experience for the guests. The fun 5-minute shower challenge, timed with an egg timer and showerheads labeled with WaterSense, saved more than 1.37 million gallons of water, resulting in approximately $47,000 saved in water and sewer costs each year. Promotion of this conservation continues to expand towards the guests as Kalaloch Lodge tags in-room materials with slogans as “Water is Vital. Please Conserve.” to encourage and remind guests of the importance of water and its place at the lodge. With strategies like this, both guests and employees may express enjoyment and become educated while water consumption will reduce and the lodge finds pleasure in seeing the results environmentally, economically, and professionally. Hotel functions benefit from the water-saving ideas at Washington State.

Will you begin the challenge?

Many might not consider a change or different perspective on the use of water during the stay at a hotel. If the hotel makes this water crisis visible for the guests and is able to provide fun strategic ideas to captivate the guests’ interest, then there is a much higher chance of awareness for water conservation to take place that will benefit everyone. As simple as getting informed, any hotel can sign up to be a part of this H2Otel Challenge. “ACT” helps hotels to plan an effective connection between them and their guests about this subject. It is up to the hotels to demonstrate the work they put into the challenge, the effective changes that are made, and to track the results from the water-efficient techniques. Keep in mind, the goal is to guide and educate guests using creative ideas during the process. How will your hotel promote this WaterSense Challenge to your guests? 

About the author
Karen Valeria Sandoval

My name is Karen Valeria Sandoval and I am 19 years of age. I was born and raised in the city of Loma Linda, California. Two years ago, I decided to further my education in Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California. With my HRT degree in hand one day, I wish to work in a luxury resort either out of state or in San Diego with intentions of becoming a manager. Currently, I am working as a waitress for special events at different reception halls for my parents’ family owned business. On time off from school and work, I enjoy traveling, taking photographs, surfing, and snowboarding. One day I hope to own a house near the beach and own a blue-eyed Siberian husky.

References

"EPA WaterSense | Commercial Water Use & Conservation | Tools & Training." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 4 May 2015.
"The WaterSense Current Summer 2013." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 4 May 2015.
"Top Story: State Urban Water Users Exceed 20 Percent Conservation Goal For December." California Drought. Web. 4 May 2015.

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