The COVID-19 pandemic and associated changes to business practices may conflict with information contained in the resource guides below. If there is conflicting information, please adhere to COVID-19 practices and guidelines to ensure the health and safety of guests.

Energy is critical for so many aspects of hospitality – like keeping the lights on, maintaining a consistent temperature, and running appliances. However, excessive energy usage comes at a big environmental and financial cost. Properties with large footprints or big energy needs are likely to also have large utility bills for power and/or gas. Energy production is also taxing on the environment. To provide energy at your home or business, we use a variety of sources including nuclear, biofuels, coal, natural gas, wind, solar, and water to produce and send energy for your consumption.

While shifts in energy production – like more renewable energy in the place of fossil fuels such as coal – are environmentally preferred, a great way to exercise sustainability is to conserve and use energy efficiently at your business. Not only will this reduce your environmental footprint, but it will also lower your utility bills. As these utility bills savings can produce reductions on your next utility bill, we recommend instituting as many of these practices as you can now and setting aside those financial savings to tackle other sustainability projects!

Download the Energy Conservation Guide for best practices and additional information.

Water is a natural resource that can either be readily or scarcely available depending on geography and climatic conditions. Water must be drawn from the environment, treated, and distributed across a network before it can be utilized at our businesses and homes. Even in water rich areas, the process of water collection, treatment, and distribution can be environmentally and financially taxing. Water conservation is considered a best practice in sustainability due to its positive impact on the environment and putting less stress on streams and groundwater that supply our water needs. Conserving water at your property will also benefit you financially by reducing water utility bills. The less you use, the less you pay for!

Download the Water Conservation Guide for best practices and additional information.

Proper waste disposal and management is a necessity in the hospitality industry to meet the demands and needs of guests, but to also comply with health and safety standards, as well as state and local regulations. Luckily, it is possible to integrate waste reduction practices into your facility, while still meeting these standards. Selecting less-waste products, developing efficient routines, and providing appropriate options for disposal for both staff and guests are excellent ways to cut your facility’s waste volumes.

Recycling and waste reduction initiatives can include offering more comprehensive recycling to guests, reducing packaging on purchased and prepared items, finding alternative disposal methods for unusual waste streams, and renegotiating your waste contract. Using the best practices identified below can assist staff and managers in achieving waste reduction procedures that meet guest needs and benefit the plant and the bottom line.

Download the Recycling & Waste Reduction Guide for best practices and additional information.

It is no secret that a major portion of the hospitality industry’s services revolve around food.

Restaurants, snack-bars, events, breakfast buffets, and room service all meet the needs of hungry guests, but with that service comes a large volume of food waste. The U.S. wastes roughly 63 million tons of food each year, with approximately 40% of that volume generated by consumer-facing businesses – including hotels. Not only does this loss of food equate to a major financial loss, it is also one of the largest contributors to a business or individual’s environmental footprint.  Food production is the single biggest contributor to global deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water extraction. So, if the food that was produced through these methods goes uneaten or is wasted somewhere in the supply chain, that means that we’ve wasted a significant amount of land and resources too. Fortunately, this provides a large opportunity for improvement in food management practices.

Download the Food Waste Reduction Guide for best practices and additional information.

Committing to environmental sustainability institutionally means creating a culture of environmental sustainability within your staff and workforce. Through creating this culture, we can begin to consider and prioritize environmental sustainability as part of the backbone of operations and maintenance, purchasing decisions, interfacing with guests, and more. Taking small steps to discuss, consider, and train staff on environmental sustainability topics can lead to meaningful shifts in culture. Instilling this culture at your property might not happen overnight, but each step can bring you closer to your goal.

This resource describes some of the challenges and best practices to guide facility managers and/or staff in creating a mindset of environmental sustainability through communication and education strategies. Each these strategies are intended for internal implementation. Please see the "Communication and Education – External” resource for suggestions relating to environmental sustainability engagement with guests.

Download the Communication & Education – Internal Guide for best practices and additional information.

Meaningfully engaging with guests on the topic of environmental sustainability is an important way of connecting with stakeholders, provides a platform by which to educate the public on environmental issues, and can even be a way of marketing your business based on environmental commitments or initiatives. Communicating environmental sustainability topics externally can occur through several means, but at the core these practices serve to inform patrons. The indirect impacts of this communication can even include shifting thought or behavior patterns among the audience to encourage sustainability outside the walls of the facility.

This resource is intended to assist staff in the hospitality sector with communicating sustainability initiatives, goals, policies, and procedures to guests, suppliers, vendors, and contractors. Incorporating these practices into daily procedures can provide a new and meaningful way of connecting with external stakeholders.

Download the Communication & Education – External Guide for best practices and additional information.

As a business, leveraging your purchasing power is one of the strongest ways to create positive change and act harmoniously with company values and ethos. Purchasing products that are more environmentally preferred and that support companies with responsible environmental and social practices not only aligns your business’s practices with sustainability initiatives but also supports other companies that act sustainably.

Green purchasing practices can be instituted across procurement in many different areas, ranging from electronics, linens, food, paper products and office supplies, and cleaning. There are abundant opportunities for a business to incorporate green purchasing into routine procurement practices. For more information about green cleaning specifically, please refer to the “Green Cleaning” guide.

Download the Green Purchasing Guide for best practices and additional information.

Careful and frequent cleaning is a cornerstone in the hospitality industry to ensure the health and safety of staff and guests. It is extremely important to comply with pertinent health and safety rules, but it is also possible to integrate “greener” cleaning supplies and practices into your facility. Green cleaning refers to cleaning practices that minimize negative impacts on humans (through direct or indirect contact) and the environment (through disposal) and that reduce waste. Selecting products and routines that keep staff, guests, and the planet healthy simultaneously can provide an impactful way to champion sustainability at your facility.

Green cleaning practices include procuring cleaning supplies with fewer harmful or toxic ingredients, evaluating cleaning practices to minimize waste, such as using reusable materials versus disposable, and fostering a healthy and safe environment for staff and guests. Using the best practices identified below can assist staff and managers in achieving healthy and sustainable cleaning procedures that benefit humans and our planet.

Download the Green Cleaning Guide for best practices and additional information.

Hosting events or meetings can be a great way to boost business and provide a memorable experience for guests. However, hosting events or meetings can also be extremely impactful to the environment due to the large amount of resources and items that can be required to make an event successful. Having a “green events” package available and ready to offer to guests can be a great way to keep these events environmentally sustainable while still providing a wonderful experience for your guest. Hosting a “green event” involves conserving energy and water consumed as a part of the event, minimizing waste generated, and providing sustainable food and transportation options to attendees.

Maintaining standard “green events” practices can also set your facility apart from competition among guests who are looking specifically to maintain a small environmental footprint at their event.

Download the Green Events Guide for best practices and additional information.

Kathy Bio Photo

Kathy Glapa

Contact for questions about Energy and Water Conservation

Office of Sustainable Practices


Kelsey Davis

Contact for questions about Recycling , Waste Reduction and Food Waste Reduction 
Office of Sustainable Practices

This Page Last Updated: April 6, 2023 at 6:31 PM