The green transformation: How spa hotels are embracing sustainability

As sustainability becomes an increasingly important issue, the hospitality industry is making changes to operate in more eco-friendly ways. With this shift, a 2021 study revealed that 81% of travelers plan to opt for sustainable accommodation in the near future, showcasing a growing trend over the past six years.

This is especially true for spa hotels, which tend to use large amounts of water and energy. Implementing green practices not only helps the environment but can also cut costs and attract eco-conscious guests. From water recycling to energy-efficient equipment, spa hotels around the world are dipping their toes into sustainability.

Water Conservation Systems

One of the main areas spa hotels can improve their sustainability is in water usage. Spas use water for pools, jacuzzis, steam rooms, showers, and a variety of treatments. Installing water recycling systems allows water to be reused multiple times before being discarded. Graywater systems take gently used water from showers and sinks and reuse it for irrigating gardens or flushing toilets.

Spa hotels are pioneering in water conservation by installing advanced water recycling systems, reducing their water usage significantly. For instance, Hyatt hotels have engaged in property-specific projects encompassing the use of alternative water sources or water recycling systems, alongside upgrades to other fixtures and systems to holistically address sustainability.

wastewater treatment plant

In a broader initiative, Hilton Hotels and Resorts have employed recycling systems at some of their larger properties, whereby gray water is channeled back into a machine that captures about 85% of it for reuse in laundry facilities, showcasing a substantial measure in reducing water wastage and promoting conservation across their establishments.

Moreover, the broader impact of these water conservation systems extends beyond the premises of spa hotels. By significantly reducing water consumption, these establishments contribute to the preservation of local water resources, which is particularly beneficial in regions grappling with water scarcity. Additionally, the reutilization of water through advanced recycling systems lessens the strain on local wastewater treatment facilities, ultimately leading to a lower environmental footprint. The ripple effect of such sustainable practices not only underscores the spa hotels' commitment to eco-friendliness but also fosters a positive relationship with local communities, as they collectively work towards a sustainable future.

Eco-Friendly Pools and Hot Tubs

Swimming pools and hot tubs use huge amounts of energy to heat and filter water. Newer designs incorporate green features to cut electricity usage. Better insulation, solar panels, and solar heating systems can drastically reduce the energy needs of pools and tubs. Econo-modes allow energy usage to be lowered during off-peak hours when the spa is closed.

In addition to energy efficiency, water conservation and chemical reduction have become focal points in the eco-friendly transition. Saltwater pools, which replace heavily chlorinated freshwater, are gaining popularity. The salt cleansing process eliminates the need for liquid chlorine, which can produce harmful chemical byproducts, making it a healthier and more eco-friendly option. Additionally, spas are shifting towards using bromine for hot tub sanitation instead of traditional chlorine-based products, further minimizing chemical usage.

The adoption of alternative sanitization methods has also been noteworthy. The use of eco-chemicals like natural enzymes and natural sanitization systems helps in prolonging the hot tub water’s life while managing bacterial growth levels, reducing the reliance on harsh chemicals. Tools like the FROG @ease have emerged, combining sanitizing minerals with SmartChlor Technology to offer a dual mechanism to kill bacteria, resulting in softer water with fewer odors and less chemical usage.

private pool

Smart technologies are transforming the management and control of hot tubs, whirlpools, and jacuzzis. For instance, SmartTub Technology and the SmartTub™ System allow for monitoring and control via smartphones, facilitating energy-saving settings and simplifying management, which in turn promotes eco-friendliness. Jacuzzi's five-stage filtration system is another innovation that enables prolonged use of the same water, reducing the need for frequent water replacement, which is crucial for water conservation.

An exemplar of these green initiatives in action is Two Bunch Palms, which has the distinction of being the first carbon-neutral resort spa in the U.S., underscoring the symbiotic relationship between individual and community wellness. The resort reflects a growing trend where modern design and eco-conscious practices converge to offer a luxurious yet sustainable spa experience.

These collective efforts in incorporating green features and adopting new technologies signify a positive stride towards sustainability in the spa and wellness industry. Not only do they contribute to reducing the environmental impact, but they also resonate with the growing eco-consciousness among consumers, making eco-friendly pools and hot tubs an appealing choice for both operators and patrons.

Low-Flow Showerheads and Faucets

By adopting water-efficient fixtures like low-flow showerheads, spa hotels can curtail water usage without compromising the guest experience. A survey in 2022 indicated that over 40% of corporate travel managers prioritize partnering with hotels that have sustainability measures in place. These water-efficient fixtures restrict the gallons used while still providing adequate pressure. Low-flow showerheads typically operate at 2.5 gallons per minute, compared to the standard 5-7 GPM. Bathroom faucets can also be fitted with aerators to cut water waste.

Spa hotel chains like Hyatt and Hilton have added low-flow fixtures into new builds and renovations. Doing so reduces their overall property consumption while helping conserve local water resources.

Energy Efficient HVAC and Lighting

Heating and cooling spa facilities uses extensive energy. Improving the efficiency of HVAC systems through new technology helps cut electricity demand. Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems only utilize the energy needed to heat or cool a space. VRF systems can reduce HVAC energy use by over 30% compared to conventional options.

Switching to LED lighting is another way spas can increase energy efficiency. LED bulbs use at least 75% less power than traditional incandescent lighting. They also last years longer, reducing waste from frequent bulb replacements. Smart lighting systems with sensors and timers further optimize energy savings.

Eco-Friendly Spa Treatments

Spas can extend their sustainability efforts directly into their wellness treatments by utilizing eco-friendly products. Many now offer botanical treatments using locally sourced, natural ingredients. For instance, some spas create face masks by blending lavender with clay, or prepare poultices and teas using medicinal mint and lemon grass plucked from their own healing gardens. Products like these not only enhance the spa experience but also significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the treatments.

spa products

A notable trend in the eco-friendly transition is the use of products like cellulose sponges for cleansing the face or removing products during treatments, as they are reusable and made of 23% recycled fiber. Similarly, the shift towards using natural enzymes and eco-chemicals helps in prolonging the hot tub water’s life while managing bacterial growth levels, thus reducing the reliance on harsh chemicals.

Some spa brands have been recognized for their eco-friendly product offerings. For example, Saltability, a three-time ISPA Innovation Award winner and a Green Spa Network Sustainability Award finalist, is committed to delivering eco-friendly products that are recognized for making a difference for Earth Day and every day.

Moreover, spas are incorporating flowers, herbs, and honey from their organic gardens into products such as massage oils, body butters, mists, and bath salts used in therapies4. The Guerlain Spa, for instance, has introduced the "Urban Island Escape," a package of treatments that includes a toning body mask and body scrub, further advancing the Earth-friendly experience.

These innovative eco-friendly spa treatments not only adhere to green practices but also offer a unique, natural, and holistic spa experience to patrons. By embracing eco-friendly products and practices, spas are setting a new standard in the wellness industry, aligning with the growing consumer demand for sustainable choices while also enriching their service offerings.

Green Housekeeping and Landscaping

Spa hotels can implement green practices behind the scenes too. Eco-friendly housekeeping focuses on cleaning effectively using fewer harsh chemicals. Staff are trained to only wash bed linens upon request and reuse towels when possible.

Sustainable landscaping techniques reduce water usage through xeriscaping with native plants. Mulching and drip irrigation further maximize water conservation. Using organic fertilizers avoids chemical runoff into local waterways. Composting food scraps and yard waste cuts waste while nourishing the soil.

So, to sum it all up, today's spa hotels have more options than ever to dip their toes into sustainability. Water recycling systems, energy-efficient equipment, and eco-friendly design help reduce environmental impact. Natural spa treatments and green housekeeping policies also provide opportunities. While implementing green practices may require some upfront investment, the long-term benefits are well worth it. More spas are finding they can operate in an earth-friendly manner while enhancing guest experiences. By making sustainability part of their identity, spa hotels can immerse guests in luxury while treading lightly on the earth.

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