As electric and hybrid cars have begun to enter the auto mainstream, states like California have been leading the way in promoting the use of these low- or no-emission vehicles. Through tax rebates, HOV commuting lane privileges, and increasingly strict emissions requirements, the market for electric and hybrid vehicles has been building, and it’s great to see businesses taking steps to stay ahead of the game.
One such business, unlikely as it seems, is the Super 8 in Ukiah, California. Owner Raakesh Patel has undertaken many sustainability initiatives with his hotel, including reserved parking for hybrids and other low emission vehicles. Patel states that, “Next I’m installing an electric vehicle charging dock… I’ll be the first hotel to do this in northern California.”
Such steps have really helped the Super 8 Ukiah stand out from its competition. Having achieved Gold level certification with the Green Business Bureau, it is now listed in Travelocity’s Green Hotel Directory and has earned the AAA ECO-Icon for green lodging. With research showing that 60 percent of American consumers will be seeking out specifically green products and services by 2015, Patel sees his efforts as an investment that can attract the growing numbers of green travelers.
That said, green investments have already started paying dividends for his business. By pursuing simple energy conservation measures like installation of energy-efficient lighting, insulation of hot water heaters, and careful maintenance of HVAC systems, an Energy Star analysis has shown the hotel is now using 23 percent less energy than the national average for comparable facilities. Patel is now looking to give his hotel an even darker shade of green through a key card energy management system (which automatically adjusts heating and air conditioning based on room occupancy) that has been shown to save up to 45 percent on hotels’ energy expenses. He also plans to eliminate the air quality and toxicity concerns surrounding typical cleaning chemicals by introducing eco-friendly cleaners, including the Activeion ionator cleaning appliance, which can clean and sanitize surfaces using only tap water.
Green changes that reduce costs make sense for any business, and for a service-focused industry like hotels and lodging, they can also attract new clients without having an impact on the current quality of the guest experience. As regulations, public perceptions, and customer expectations increasingly demand environmentally-friendly business practices, businesses like Super 8 Ukiah show how simple actions can distinguish your business as a market leader, putting your company at the forefront of its industry.