The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) have joined forces to advance the greening of the more than 4.5 million guestrooms in the 48,000 U.S. hotels. The partnership initially focuses on encouraging IEHA members to adopt AH&LA’s recently developed 11 Minimum Environmental Guidelines in hotel housekeeping departments.
The AH&LA 11 Minimum Environmental Guidelines are part of more than 60 overall guidelines that encourage hotels to measure performance in energy, water, and waste reduction, and include case studies, business cases, and resources. IEHA is encouraging its members, who often are on the front lines of hotel housekeeping operations, to incorporate specific tasks that correspond with each of the Minimum Guidelines.
“The housekeeping department affects the hotel property, environment, employees, and guests in profound ways: from the levels of dust in the indoor air, to the VOC impact of cleaning products and fragrances used in guestrooms, to the protection of guest health and safety when proper sanitation techniques are used, to reduction of energy used in facilities when room attendants monitor and control room thermostats,” said Beth Risinger, CEO of IEHA. “By proactively integrating green housekeeping practices with the overarching goals of the Minimum Environmental Guidelines, we are encouraging hotels associated with IEHA to help transform the way things are done to affect the triple bottom line—people, planet and profits—in a huge way.”
The Minimum Environmental Guidelines are culled from more than 60 criteria included in national and state certification and rating systems, including Energy Star, Green Key, Green Seal, Green Globe, the Global Green Hospitality Consortium, the Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council, the Rainforest Alliance, Sustainable Travel International, Prince of Wales Foundation (ITP), the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Green Building Initiative Group. Future guidelines will cover hotel design and construction, chemicals, and indoor air quality.
“The green initiatives AH&LA is creating with a variety of partner organizations such as the IEHA will be a resource for hotels committed to becoming more eco-friendly,” said Joseph A. McInerney, CHA, president and CEO of AH&LA. “These will provide hotel owners and employees with a variety of options in which to create an environmentally-sustainable hotel that also protects employee and guest health.”