I’ve always made it a practice to connect with and attend sessions put on by local “green” groups and companies. I’m always astounded at the things we can do to improve or rather shrink our imprint on this planet. The Vancouver Island Green Scene Association had a great speaker recently. Brian Bury spoke about lighting. The eye opener for me was that he didn’t speak in terms of power savings but rather the issue of light pollution and the damage we are doing to the environment and even ourselves with our tendency to “over illuminate” or by using the wrong spectrum of light. I never knew how many species we are affecting or how even our new “green lighting” technologies may be saving power but creating waste and offering the completely wrong kind of light our bodies require. Yes, apparently we require light.
I think I’ve just offered a great example of why knowledge is so important and why we all need to keep learning about what it truly means to be “green.” What about the need for participation? Well of course your first thought is that I’m saying we should all recycle and turn out the lights. You’re partially correct. At home I’m known as the “light grump” due to the fact I’m always reminding my family to turn out or not to turn on unrequired lights. Where I think we all have some room for improvement though is when we are away from home. At home it’s easy (or should be) to get into a pattern of when to turn off lights and electronic appliances but what about when you travel?
At Accent Inns we work hard to be as environmentally friendly as we can. We look for new or better equipment whenever we have to make a change. Our team is always examining and looking for options in regards to our cleaning supplies and we put a high priority on recycling. Some of our locations have in-room automatic energy management systems. We even make sure every room has a recycling bin for our guests to use. Kind of a reminder. Here’s the challenge though. Are folks remembering to turn off the lights, the TV or turn down the heat when they leave for the day? Certainly some are but many still forget. I’m even guilty of this. Get away from home, away from the usual routine and we forget the little things. Think about it. We have hundreds of rooms at Accent Inns and if folks are not turning things off when they could, just how much energy is wasted? How many light bulbs need replacing far earlier than they should, adding more product than is necessary to our communities waste and recycling systems. It’s easy to think that just one light in the room you are staying makes little difference but do the numbers, it all adds up very fast.
Do we have reminder signs? Sure we do but after a while we all tend to see past or ignore things like signs that we’ve seen a hundred times before. What we need is to personally put ourselves in a mindset to think green in every aspect of our lives. At our homes, our workplace and yes, even on vacation. We’ll continue to find ways to make our hotels more environmentally friendly but we also need the participation of travelers everywhere to think of how they can be green no matter where they are or what they are doing. If I sound like I’m preaching from a soapbox, let me assure you that even I need to remind myself from time to time. The ask… let’s all continue to gain more knowledge about going green and most importantly, let’s participate in making a difference, even when we are away from home.
John Espley, Accent Inns “Mountain Man”