8 Design Features for Green Resorts

After the global pandemic brought tourism to a standstill, travelers’ behavior and preferences shifted to prioritize eco-conscious choices. In addition to having fun and enjoying delicious food while discovering a new destination, tourists are increasingly looking for experiences with a positive impact on the environment, giving rise to green travel. Hotel operators can leverage this trend to offer immersive yet sustainable adventures to their guests. Here are eight ways green resorts can inject aspects of ecological tourism into their business.

1. Biomimicry in Building Design

Nature has always been a source of inspiration for professionals like architects, scientists and researchers. An outcome of this influence is biomimicry, derived from the Greek word bio, which means life and mimicry, which is to imitate.

Biomimicry architecture is the term used when buildings are designed to imitate the function of nature. One of the best examples is the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin, boasting a kinetic structure inspired by a bird’s wings. One of its robust, sustainable features is the movable sunscreen with sensors that monitor wind speed and direction. It can be adjusted to shade the museum’s interior — like a bird’s wing — throughout the day.

It requires an investment, but it’ll drive excellent ROI for resorts in the long run if they integrate the same concept when building green hotels. Sustainability is becoming a priority for guests, so catering to these needs is the best business strategy.

2. Biophilic in Interior

Another nature-based solution is biophilic design. It aims to bring nature inside any space to achieve that feeling and atmosphere of the outdoors. Unlike biomimicry, this design style won’t require a major haul. You can change interior elements, such as the decorations, furnishings and accents. 

For example, the sight of lush greenery in the lobby can instantly uplift anyone’s mood and promote relaxation — some plants can boost air quality, so it’s hitting two birds with one stone. For example, ficus belonging to a woody tree species was experimented with by NASA scientists and found to clean toxins like toluene from the air. Meanwhile, some add water features like small ponds or fountains to create a serene ambiance.

3. Obtaining LEED Certification

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a worldwide green building rating system that hospitality businesses can apply. This program provides a framework and guidelines for making your hotels sustainable — a vital feature to attracting eco-friendly travelers.

A LEED certification highlights your commitment to sustainable practices, boosting your hotel chain’s reputation and promoting you as an industry leader. With more organizations and individuals taking an interest in environmental measures, LEED recognition can make green hotels stand out and multiply your bottom line.

4. Living Walls

Living walls are a tourist draw and an emerging nature-based trend in the hospitality industry. You can rely on them for aesthetics, but they also offer a range of environmental and well-being benefits, transforming your hotel into a relaxing sanctuary. 

The substrate under these green walls can capture about 50%-70% of the carbon trapped in them. Moreover, they also have sound-proofing benefits, dampening noise pollution in your hotels by up to 40%. For their wellness benefits, vertical greeneries have a positive effect on the moon and facilitate healing.

5. Green Roofs

These designs are similar to living walls. They give you access to a vast, open space you can utilize to integrate one more nature-inspired upgrade to improve your business. 

Living roofs offer a myriad of benefits. The substrate stores stormwater for the plants to be absorbed later, decreasing the flow from the roof by up to 65% and preventing pollution in coastal waters. Effective stormwater management through these green roofs can maintain cleanliness in the rivers, lakes and streams. Moreover, they cut down the energy use for your hotels, translating to financial benefits. It’s an eco-friendly method worth considering for its tremendous upsides to your green hotels.

6. Passive Solar Design

This approach leverages the sun for heating and cooling living spaces and involves carefully selected building materials capable of absorbing, reflecting and transmitting solar radiation. Unlike conventional solar heating systems that require mechanical and electrical tools to treat energy, the passive structure is straightforward and more sustainable. 

It has five essential elements:

Collector or aperture: It’s often a large glass window through which the sunlight enters the building.

Absorber: This can be the water container, masonry wall or floor that absorbs the heat.

Thermal mass: This is what’s below the masonry wall or floor that can store heat.

Distribution: It refers to the process of how stored heat is dispersed throughout the hotel. Installers use fans, ducts and blowers for this purpose.

Control: It involves the overhangs that shade the glass windows to restrict heat from touching the building.

A successful passive solar design is achievable by strategizing around the location of windows, building materials and shading.

7. Renewable Energy Solutions

It’s no secret hotels are among the most energy-intensive structures because of their round-the-clock operations and large HVAC systems. However, they’re also an ideal candidate for clean energy adoption involving solar, water and geothermal sources.

One of the green hotels in Florida has a grid-tied solar system with 330 rooftop panels that are expected to increase their yearly energy savings by up to $48,000 and cut down their generated emissions by nearly half.

Moreover, you can take advantage of up to 30% tax credits when upgrading to solar. This government incentive for green businesses expired in 2022 but has been extended until 2032. 

Achieving the goal of zero emissions is challenging but something the industry must consider for global sustainability. It scales down their carbon footprint and enhances employees’ well-being. Clean energy sources equals safer air to breathe, less water and air pollution and reduced risk for diseases.

8. Water Conservation Strategies

Fresh water is a limited resource, so it makes sense for green hotels to establish a conservation plan around it. Eco-friendly businesses often conduct a water audit, fix leaky pipes promptly and educate staff and guests to reduce wastage.

Another best practice is installing water-saving devices, like faucet aerators, toilet dams and low-flow showerheads. Some employ smart technologies, such as automatic sensor taps or motion detector shower heads, to drive their waste to zero. 

Implementing a collection system to recycle water also helps support the end goal. Businesses with effective conservation plans enjoy significant savings. Moreover, it gives the resource back to the plants and soil that need it. You encourage guests to participate in this positive change by staying at your hotels.

It’s Worth Earning a Green Status

Green resorts increasingly appeal to eco-conscious individuals looking to integrate sustainability into their every action, including leisure activities. By upgrading your hotel’s design toward green features, you set your business up for success and help meet the needs of today’s environmentally motivated travelers.

Sea Going Green is a sustainable tourism consultancy that works with hotels and resorts to conceptualize and implement green transition strategies to both within the build and in operations. Interested in starting or re-thinking your sustainability efforts? Schedule a call with our consultants here.

 

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After the global pandemic brought tourism to a standstill, travelers’
behavior and preferences shifted to prioritize eco-conscious choices. In
addition to having fun and enjoying delicious food while discovering a new
destination, tourists are increasingly looking for experiences with a
positive impact on the environment, giving rise to green travel. Hotel
operators can leverage this trend to offer immersive yet sustainable
adventures to their guests. Here are eight ways green resorts can inject
aspects of ecological tourism into their business.Read MoreBlog – Sea Going Green

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