Overcome the Challenges of Eco-Friendly Hotel Construction
Hospitality is a major industry in the United States. In the year before the Covid pandemic, it contributed more than $210 billion to our GDP. It’s bouncing strongly again, and one of the most vibrant subsectors within the industry is the sustainable hotels' sector.
Sustainable, or eco-friendly, hotels are growing in popularity because they allow us to satisfy our desire for comfort and safety while traveling, and to do so in an environmentally friendly fashion. They are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to minimize the effect on the environment, reduce consumption of natural resources, and reduce the negative ecological impact of waste.
For hospitality businesses who are considering entering or expanding into eco-friendly hotels, this article will help you understand the design and construction principles before you search for project and construction management.
Challenges of sustainable hotel design and construction
There are many challenges to overcome when designing a hotel to be sustainable.
For example, while using fewer resources and creating less waste, there is little cost efficiency in doing so. To improve this cost/effect dynamic, we must consider the use of sunlight and shade to deliver ideal temperatures in the hotel. We can do this with more intelligent use of materials and effective ecological management, especially in sustainable hotel siting.
This, of course, brings us to the constraint of land. Demand for homes and offices is growing rapidly, making land in cities expensive and increasingly hard to obtain. We must also consider the need to provide more urban green spaces. Finding suitable land for new hotel construction is a challenge that must be overcome by an intelligent approach that seeks to conserve or enhance green space.
It’s not only location and construction that we must be mindful of. A sustainable hotel must be aesthetically pleasing. Operation and maintenance must also adhere to the principles of sustainability while minimizing the costs and environmental impact of doing so.
6 Design and construction considerations for sustainable hotels
When designing and constructing sustainable hotels, we must consider hotel siting, capacity, energy, water usage, landscaping, and hotel construction.
Sustainable hotel siting
The hotel site must be carefully selected. Criteria that we must consider include:
We should understand the hydrology and geology of the site, account for erosion risks, and protect biodiversity.
What is the heritage of the site, and will we need to conserve its history? Can we do this by integrating old buildings with new construction?
How close is the existing infrastructure – roads, water sources, electricity supply, and waste treatment facilities? Is the site conducive to self-sufficiency?
What has the land been used for previously? Could water or land be contaminated? Do nearby buildings pose a risk to the sustainability of the hotel? Are there any plans for use of the land around the site that would be incompatible with our eco-friendly objectives?
We need also to be sure of the level of tourism in the area, and the ability for this to maintain the hotel. What capacity are we designing for? How would excess capacity negatively affect sustainability credentials?
An environmental impact assessment will help us to understand these issues, and to evaluate the impact that construction will have on the location.
How can we produce enough sustainable energy? Are there community renewable energy schemes that we can tap into? How can we harness the power of the sun and wind, or use biomass or geothermal energy sources?
We must also consider how best we can reduce water usage in the hotel, through intelligent design and construction for irrigation, washing, and reuse of water. We need to design systems that recycle grey water and efficiently remove black water and sewage. Do we need to include a sewage system? Should we include composting toilets in the design of the hotel?
Landscaping is a critical feature of sustainable hotels. During construction, we must preserve the original vegetation and native species within the ecosystem. We can employ permaculture principles, and construct using natural materials, floor-to-ceiling windows, and internal and external planting to enhance temperature moderation and air quality.
Finally, we must consider how we can sustainably construct the hotel. What technologies can help us? What design considerations must we implement? Where do we store any hazardous materials during construction? How do we maximize the recycling of waste material on the construction site?
When designing and constructing sustainable hotels, we must also consider existing laws, rules, and regulations that apply. We should source as much labor and materials locally as possible while remaining aware of the impact that construction is having on the neighborhood.
We don’t only manage the construction project, we must manage the environment, too. We should see alliances and cooperation with the local community, and municipal authorities to create a collective awareness of the objectives and benefits of the hotel construction.
If we do all of this in the design and construction of sustainable hotels, then we can create and deliver a hotel that is not only sustainable but one that also achieves all the goals set for it.
At ACB Consulting, we are committed to helping improve the communities in which we live, work, and play – including how they are conceived, designed and created. To leverage our experience in hotel design and construction, contact ACB Consulting.