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Green Certification: Focus Area 2 - Energy

June 30, 2010

by Kit Cassingham

What steps do you take for energy conservation? What more can you do? If you aren't doing a linen reuse program, using CFL or LED lights, or buying E Star appliances, you are missing the easy stuff. What else area you doing?

Energy conservation is one of the most popular "green" activities people and businesses like to participate in. It's possibly the most visible green actions you can take. And it's relatively easy to do, at least most of the time.

According to Green Seal, reducing your energy costs by ten percent gives you the equivalent of $1.35 increase in your average daily rate, and without alienating any of your guests. Most steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption are pretty obvious and straight forward, and most are low- to no-cost.

Energy conservation steps can be implemented in so many areas. The orange marks help highlight some of the many areas where you can conserve energy.

Energy Conservation Locations In Your B&B


Free-to-you energy saving measures you can implement include:

  • lower you water heater temperature
  • wash laundry in cold water
  • turn off lights and equipment that's not in use
  • lower your heat and raise your cooling temperatures
  • institute a sheet reuse and towel reuse program
  • use daylight lighting as much as possible
  • combine errands to reduce your car trips
  • buy local food and supplies, as possible

Low-cost energy saving actions include:

  • install set-back thermostats
  • use CFL or LED bulbs as widely as possible
  • install motion sensors where appropriate
  • buy green energy, available in 42 states, as of this article
  • replace appliances and equipment with E Star appliances as they wear out
  • use timers where appropriate
  • increase the insulation in your attic

Moderate- to High-cost energy saving steps include:

  • increase the insulation in your walls and crawl space/basement
  • install alternative energy
  • replace your furnace/HVAC with an energy efficient one
  • hang insulated curtains or window coverings
  • replace single pane windows with double pane windows

The way I see it is that as you adopt an energy conservation measure you save money which can go toward implementing another action another later. Each additional energy saving step you take helps you save that much more money. Some of the measures you take can actually save you more money down the road as the cost of energy rises, like installing alternative energy.

Innkeepers can go overboard in their saving efforts. I knew an innkeeper who kept only a small night light on in the hallway "after hours" so late returning guests could see their way to their rooms. That innkeeper also didn't wash the dining room linens very often to save laundry costs. That's going a bit too far, in my estimate.

Use your imagination, and knowledge of your inn and location, to discover other ways of conserving energy. I've only skimmed the surface of possibilities. As you come across other ideas be sure to share them with others, like as a comment on this article, and in meetings. It feels good to cut back and to save.




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