The World Wildlife Fund's third annual Earth Hour will take place on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. As you will soon read on Green Lodging News, hotels all over the world will be participating in the event. Properties representing brands such as Westin, Kimpton, Accor, Fairmont, the InterContinental Hotels Group and others will be turning off lights for an hour in recognition of the need to take action on climate change. Even some of the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip will be turning off their lights.
It is exciting to see how many hotel chains are taking Earth Hour seriously. These companies have historically paid a lot of attention to energy management, water conservation and minimizing their overall carbon impact. I am convinced that most of these companies do turn off lights when they can, do retrofit with low-wattage bulbs, do turn HVAC systems down when guests are not present, etc.
As great an idea Earth Hour is, what it should be is the start of much more. For those hotels not yet implementing energy and water-saving measures, Earth Hour should be used as a launching point for long-term change. There are an incredible number of simple things a lodging establishment can do to reduce its impact. They all translate into greater profitability.
As encouraging an event such as Earth Hour is, I remain a bit skeptical. How many of us really believe that the lights on the Las Vegas Strip will be turned off again before next year's Earth Hour? Or that development of new mega-hotels there will be stopped because of climate change? At least it is a beginning.
Will your property be participating in Earth Hour this year? If so, be sure to write to email@example.com to let me know how you intend to mark the occasion.