Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on September 15, 2008
All this throwing around of the term “ecotourism” (and I’m just as culpable as the next guy; I’ve used it many times here on G Living) begs the question of just how sustainable a hotel can be. Some places offer to conserve water by not washing your sheets, others boast of utilizing solar (rare) or wind power (even rarer).
Certainly the concept of mass tourism collides with environmentalism on many levels. And a zero footprint for a hotel that employs a hundred or more people and services many more than that seems almost impossible. But it’s nice to see more and more making the effort – and to observe the ways in which they do it.
Take San Francisco’s Orchard Garden Hotel. When considering a city with a ton of options for lodging, location seems to be an important deciding factor. Located within walking distance of the shopping in Union Square, near the Financial District and a mere stone’s throw from the edge of Chinatown, the Orchard Garden seems to have an enviable spot.
And they’re also big on doing their part environmentally. Featuring a card operated energy control system, the removal of your key upon leaving the room turns everything off, saving valuable energy. There’s also in-room recycling for paper and compact fluorescent light bulbs as well as chemical-free detergents used on the linens and Aveda organic bath products provided for you.
On top of that, their website refers to the OG as the city’s “greenest hotel” and the only one “built to the nationally accepted standards for green buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)” –which earned them a coveted Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
That sounds pretty good to me (so does the iPod docking station that comes in every room!), but is it enough? David Propson, writing for Travel + Leisure, says the ultimate test for a green hotel “may be whether it can teach even concerned travelers a thing or two about how to live better once the vacation ends.” And if that’s the basis on which we’re judging this, I think the Orchard Garden is on the right path.
If every “green service” provided by a hotel – regardless of what it is — inspires visitors to make similarly responsible choices, I think we can all sleep more comfortably.
Check out San Francisco’s Orchard Garden Hotel here.