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Top tips to make your hotel more sustainable

Eco-friendly practices are becoming ever more vital within the hotel industry. An increasing number of customers look at sustainability when choosing a hotel, and environmentally friendly changes can save your business money by making it more efficient, so everybody wins!

Our client Appleby Manor Hotel and Garden Spa, set in the heart of the Eden Valley in Cumbria, has been shortlisted for the Catey Awards’ Sustainable Hotel of the Year.

We are committed to doing everything in our power to protect and sustain our local, natural and global environment for future generations,” says owner Mike Dunbobbin, whose eco-friendly attitude has won plaudits from many guests on TripAdvisor.

Making your hotel greener doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. With Mike’s help, we’ve pulled together nine top tips to help boost your eco-rating.


Hotels produce waste – that is inevitable. As landfill rates increase, ensure you have an efficient recycling system in place. Food waste from the kitchen and dining room makes great fertilizer for your hotel garden.

“With waste removal prices rising, recycling is an easy win,” says Mike. “At Appleby Manor we reduce 50% of our food wastage to compost, while 70% of our general rubbish is segregated into recyclable categories.”

Encourage guests and staff by placing recycling bins in guest rooms and the hotel lobby, to make the process as easy as possible.

Avoid disposable products

Disposable items fill up your hotel bins, and later add to the problem of overflowing landfill sites. Where possible, avoid them by providing reusable alternatives. Cloth napkins, ceramic dishes and glass cups can replace throwaway versions, while in-room mugs and cups can be placed on doilies rather than wrapped in plastic. Try to buy guest amenities in bulk to save extra journeys and packaging.

Eco-friendly lighting

Lighting is a crucial factor in creating the desired atmosphere for your guests. However, the long operating hours of a hotel make lighting a substantial contributor to energy consumption. Use LED bulbs for more efficiency, driving down costs and maintenance needs. Use light sensors or timers in your corridors at night, and try to use daylight exclusively in your bar, restaurant and lobby for as much of the day as possible.

Appleby Manor undertook a lighting audit two years ago, through which they discovered that payback times to switch to LED lighting was between six and nine months.

“The change was a no-brainer,” explains Mike. “I would advise hotel owners to research the many interest-free loans and grants on offer for those who want to make a switch with a smaller budget.”

Save water

In hotels, a large amount of water is necessary for use in bathrooms, laundry areas, kitchens and gardens. Mike and his team opted to drill their own borehole which has made his hotel and spa entirely self-sufficient with water. This had a mere 14-month payback and guests enjoy fresh mineral water as a result.

You can adapt your water usage on a smaller scale by installing low-flow shower heads and sink aerators, and low-flow toilets. If you ensure that in-room kettles are of one litre capacity or less, you’ll avoid using energy boiling water that is not required.

Linen reuse

Many hotels implement a linen reuse program in guest rooms due to its cost-saving, water-saving and time-saving nature. Generally, customers are happy not to have their towels and bed linen changed every day if a friendly note details the eco-friendly intent.

“This can be down to guest choice,” says Mike. “We explain in the guest literature that bed linen will be changed every 3 days unless requested otherwise.”

Source locally

Source food and beverage products as locally as possible, and ensure fresh fish comes from sustainable resources. Customers will enjoy knowing that the food they are eating is from the region that they are visiting, and you will reduce transport distance and costs dramatically.

Appleby Manor proudly serves Cumbrian produce, and located on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, Mike is clear that the hotel “doesn’t require any overseas cheese!”

Be savvy with electricity

As a hotel providing round-the-clock service, general electricity usage costs can be sky high. Mike’s top tip is to install a voltage optimizer, which works in series with the main electricity supply to systematically optimise and regulate the incoming power. This means that the voltage supplied into a building does not exceed what is required by equipment and appliances. For Appleby Manor, this resulted in a reduction of the total energy expended by approximately 10 per cent.

Hidden toxins

Ensure that you clean green with nontoxic cleaners, sanitisers, pesticides and paints, and use recycled paper. Also, think about your hotel room keys. Today’s plastic key cards are commonly made from PVC (poly vinyl chloride) based plastic which involves a highly toxic manufacturing process. Try out paper, wood or bioplastic for an eco-friendly alternative that is still durable and practical.

Get your guests motivated

You don’t have to bombard your guests with eco-minded info to improve their environmental impact during their stay. Simply provide walking maps of the area, information on public transport, and bicycles to borrow and their green activity will be effortless and enjoyable.

For more information on Appleby Manor’s environmental policy, visit: