One of the hottest trends for hotels and vacation resorts this decade is to “go green.” Today’s travelers look for eco-friendly properties at which to stay for business or leisure travel. Sure, there are those companies that engage in “green washing,” or overstating (even making up) some of the environmental benefits of their practices.
But there’s certainly one energy-efficient installation you simply cannot fake: solar panels.
If you want to stay at a solar powered hotel, there are many options for you in 2011.
Recently, I enjoyed the accommodations at Matava Fiji’s Premier Eco Resort on Kadavu Island in Fiji. The minimal electricity needs at the resort are 100% solar powered, although there is a back-up generator in case of storms or low sunlight days.
If you are looking for something closer to home in the U.S., there are a number of solar powered hotel options. For example, the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick in New Jersey installed a 32,000 square foot, 421 kilowatt SunPower system on the top of the hotel’s garage. The solar panels are expected to reduce CO2 emissions from operations by 10,000 tons over 30 years, and cut equivalent oil demand by at least 749 barrels each year, per conversion formulas of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
You can now find solar powered hotels on every continent, except Antarctica!
In Australia, Hidden Valley Cabins resort offers Solar Eco Cabins and an Interpretive Centre. The property was named the country’s first fully carbon neutral resort and tour business and is 100% powered by solar energy. Hidden Valley has achieved the Ecotourism Australia’s Advanced Ecotourism Certification, as reported by Green Lodging News.
Instead of staying in large, multi-story hotels (even those with solar panels), green travelers often prefer more modest accommodations that are green in every sense of the word. With this in mind, Norwegian distributor Power Controls AS creates and sells “Smart Energy Station” turnkey vacation cabins with ICP Solar Technologies’ GreenMeter for remote applications. The wooden log house, about 6 square meters in size and sold as outdoor cabins, are currently available in Europe, Canada and Russia. Solar panels generate electricity for lighting.
Like other corporations, hotels are starting to realize that they need to offer eco-friendly options for customers that have an eye on their carbon footprint. With solar panels on their rooftops, travel properties not only cater to that niche, but also end up saving significant money on their own utility bills.
Have you stayed at a solar powered hotel? Please share your experiences below!