Waikiki focuses on Green Hotel Initiatives
More hotels in Waikiki are finding reasons to go green as a way to cut back on energy costs in addition to standing out among their peer properties. As travelers are beginning to inquire about hotel's green initiatives, including events planners who ask about whether a hotel has the U.S. Energy Star rating.
At the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, energy-efficient LED lights are used in public areas, candelabras, swimming pool, and elevators, reducing the hotel's overall electricity costs. At a green hotel forum hosted by the state, hotel employees got a rundown on recycling providers, how to apply for the U.S. Energy Star label and solar technology.
A small tent card in the hotel rooms requests that visitors leave their beverage containers out of the wastebasket. Housekeeping staff will then collect the recyclables, which go into a large bin downstairs. Twice a week, the Hotel has an arrangement with Reynolds Recycling to pick up the recyclables, and Reynold's donates half the proceeds to nonprofit Parents and Children Together.
Four months after its inception, more than 42,000 aluminum cans and plastic bottles have been recycled from the Ohana Waikiki East. The general manager has said the housekeeping staff is on board, and has not found it to be too much of a hassle to set aside the bottles.
For years, many hotels in Waikiki have been throwing out recyclables, including beverage containers, paper and newspapers. Hundreds of newspapers, which are usually complimentary for guests, go straight into the trash. But that is starting to change, as hotels partner up with providers that can take care of their recycling needs.
The Hyatt Regency Waikiki hosted a green hotel forum, and shared tips on LED lighting that can result in long-term energy savings. The Hyatt has a recycling program - for cardboard, paper, bottles, and food waste - which is handled by Honolulu Recovery Systems. Its goal is to become a full recycling facility by 2009.
Honolulu Recovery Systems spokeswoman Rachel Secretario estimated the Hyatt saved about $16,540 in tonnage fees at the landfill from recycling last year. That includes 140 tons, or about 60 football fields, of cardboard, and about 40 tons of glass from ending up in the landfill.
Aqua Hotels & Resorts, which owns 12 boutique hotels, is also starting recycling programs at its properties. At the forum, hotel employees also got a rundown on how to apply for the U.S. Energy Star label (which more events planners inquire about) and how to obtain financing for solar technology.
The green hotel forums are offered regularly as part of the Hawaii Green Business Program by the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the state Department of Health, and the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. DBEDT offers a green business standards checklist, and certifies and recognizes hotels as a Hawaii Green Business, which is valid for one year.
Several neighbor island hotels, including the Mauna Lani Resort, have invested in solar photovoltaic panels, but none in Waikiki, thus far, have adopted the technology.
Some challenges include finding enough roof space on buildings that were built tall, but thin, obtaining loans for the initial investment, and uncertainty about solar's future regulation in the state.