Hotel guests are becoming more environmentally conscious, shifting the industry's focus to sustainable hotel furniture design.
Sustainable interior design aims to minimize negative impacts on the environment while maximizing positive impacts.
Sustainable Hotel Furniture: Design Specs Play A Large Role
In 2018, more than two-thirds (68%) of travelers intend to stay in an eco-accommodation.
Research shows that Americans are increasingly concerned with the environmental impacts of everything they do - including travel. So much so that they take the environment into consideration when booking a hotel.
Sustainable hotel furniture is one way to make your guests happy and gain a competitive advantage. Here are five ways to make it happen.
5 Ways To Make Your Hotel Furniture More Sustainable
1. Start With A Life-cycle Assessment
Designers can use a life-cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental impacts of a product, process or activity throughout its entire life cycle - from the extraction of raw materials to processing, transport, use and disposal.
You can conduct an LCA yourself or outsource it. Your LCA investment may depend on how dedicated you are and how much your guests want to know about the environmental impact of your hotel.
2. Choose Eco-friendly Materials
Toxic chemicals are used in furniture to treat fabrics and finish wood frames.
Why should you be concerned: the chemicals can be released into the environment, creating a toxic atmosphere with multiple major health impacts. Since hotel rooms are often very small and poorly ventilated, this concentrates the effects of the chemicals.
Specifying eco-friendly materials creates a safe atmosphere for guests AND employees.
Common Eco-Friendly Material Options:
Sustainable wood - fast growing trees are easier to replace
Recycled wood, metal, plastic
FSC-certified wood and adhesives
Specifying domestic products will also reduce (or eliminate) harmful chemicals due to the USA's stricter manufacturing policies.
Going with a US manufacturer for hotel furniture production also reduces carbon footprint in subtle ways as well. It limits the amount of transit and emissions, and has other environmental benefits as well.
3. Specify Sustainable Processes
Manufacturing processes have a major impact on whether your hotel furniture design qualifies as sustainable.
Many processes use huge amounts of energy, and pollution alone can negate your other efforts toward sustainability. Luckily, there are alternatives and solutions.
Your manufacturer should be:
Recycling scraps, sawdust, and cardboard
Using stains free of formaldehyde
Using hydroelectricity or other low-impact energy source
When in doubt, ask your manufacturer what steps and certifications they may hold that demonstrate their steps taken to reduce their environmental footprint.
4. Paint And Finishes
Like fabrics, paints and finishes can also be toxic. Sustainable paints and finishes are made with low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). High levels of VOCs are toxic and have been shown to harm the eyes, lungs, brain, and even developmental and reproductive systems.
Choose paints and finishes with minimal VOCs to protect the air quality, comfort, and health of hotel guests.
5. Surround Your Furniture With An Eco-friendly Environment
Windows, walls, flooring, doors, and other components affect energy use in your hotel, as well as the materials and processes used in construction.
Heat gain and loss are the results of inefficient surroundings. Energy efficient windows improve air quality as well as provide insulation. U-value windows are more efficient because they avoid heat gain and prevent heat from escaping.
Bamboo, recycled wood, and sustainable wood are all eco-friendly flooring materials. For carpeting, there are many options for recycled and eco-friendly carpets.
What Are The Other Benefits Of Sustainable Hotel Furniture Design?
Designing a sustainable hotel is beneficial for more than environmental reasons (natural resources, carbon footprint reduction, and creating a healthier environment for hotel guests and staff). It also increases cost savings and lowers operating costs.
To further increase your hotel furniture's eco-friendliness, talk to your manufacturer about value engineering for sustainability.