Taking steps toward going green is worthwhile for consumers and businesses alike. The benefits that result from green practices are multiple. In addition to achieving a smaller carbon footprint and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which help to protect the environment, lowering energy usage and conserving water help to preserve supplies of scarce resources.

There is another, very practical benefit as well: going green helps both businesses and consumers save money. A hotel in my home city has set an example of how a business can go green and save money. The impetus was a local law that required certain steps toward water efficiency to be in place by a date certain. All business were required to make these changes, including hotels and multi-family rental properties. Failure to comply with the new law would trigger a penalty of a 25% surcharge on water use.

Here is what this hotel did and the benefits that flowed to the business The hotel replaced more than 500 toilets and urinals with low flow versions. In the case of toilets, the hotel switched form older, 3.5 gallon per flush models to the newest and most efficient 1.1 gallons per flush models. The savings in fresh water usage from this step alone were substantial. At an average of 2000 flushes per day and a savings of 2.4 gallons of water for each flush, the hotel is now using about 4800 gallons less fresh water per day, or about 1.75 million gallons less every year.

The hotel went farther. All shower heads were changed out, replacing the existing versions with lower flow models. All faucet aerators in the sinks, both in the guest rooms and the common areas, were changed out for lower flow models as well. The water savings that the hotel has achieved will actually provide a reasonable payback on the investment in addition to making sure that the hotel is in compliance with the new water use standards. This hotel has set an example of how a business can go green, use resources like fresh water more efficiently, and save money as a result.

And there is no reason to stop with water conservation. By replacing all incandescent light bulbs with lower energy compact fluorescent light bulbs, additional savings will be gained. The payback from the savings of electricity on each new compact fluorescent light installed is about 6 months. Going green is not simply a good idea because it preserves scarce resources and protects the environment. Going green is good business as well, producing a positive impact on the bottom line.

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