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The Importance of Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry

Sustainability is one of the most important issues currently facing our world. The hospitality sector has historically had a dramatic environmental impact through energy and water consumption, use of consumable and durable goods, and solid and hazardous waste creation.
Hotels consume energy for HVAC operations, lighting, fuel and other power needs. Water is used for bathrooms, F&B, and laundry, as well as other general operations (irrigation, cleaning and maintenance). Waste is generated by the disposal of paper, batteries, bulbs, furniture, equipment, appliances and more.

Economically, myths include the ideas that green operation is more expensive and that guests are not interested in sustainability. In fact, according to Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research, the reverse is true for both. Recent advances in technology related to renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have improved the economics of using these kinds of alternative energies at the property level.

On the social front, there has been a remarkable shift in recent times, as demonstrated by corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, as well as the green buildings for new development projects. Cornell also offers educational programs to inform and drive discussion and critical thinking around significant industry issues like the global challenges of sustainability.


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