“Greening” businesses have been a popular topic for many years, and a recent conversation on the DestinationClubForums led us to compile some of those suggestions into an article on destination clubs and the environment.
Visit The Veras Group website and you see two short words at the bottom of every page: “Wind Powered.” Much like many of our destination club partners, The Veras Group strives to limit our impact on the environment and designed and power our website using local wind power.
Quintess, Leading Residences of the World absorbs the costs of the energy consumption for each of their properties, factoring in a plethora of factors.
Electricity consumed on a month to month basis for each home
Square footage of common areas
Total number of rooms
Average occupancy rates
Estimated total number of guests per year
Abercrombie & Kent planted a tree for every client that traveled in 2007, totaling over 30,000 new trees. Select Abercrombie & Kent journeys even allow clients to personally help save the Earth while they travel. We are eagerly looking forward to learning more about how the new Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club will continue and further these initiatives in the future.
With the help of our friends at DestinationClubForums, we have created a short list of ways destination clubs can help the environment.
Provide An Easy Way To Recycle While Traveling
The easiest and one of the most effective tools available to destination clubs and their members, providing recycling bins in each home can vastly reduce the amount of waste produced during a member’s trip. High Country Club has already begun offering this service to their members.
Use Lower Wattage Bulbs/Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
If every American home replaced one light bulb with an Energy Star qualified bulb, enough energy would be saved to light more than 3,000,000 homes for a year and prevent the greenhouse gases equivalent to 800,000 cars. For the destination club finance departments, each bulb saves an average of approximately $30 over its lifetime. The average home has approximately 45 light bulbs each. Now with over 750 total homes, the industry could save over $1,000,000 for this simple, environmentally friendly fix.
Use Energy Efficient, Low Water Use Appliances
Many appliances, including dishwashers, washers and dryers, are now readily available and use less than half of the energy and water consumption used by their counterparts.
Have High Efficiency Heating and Cooling Systems
Between the warm climates of each club’s beach properties and the cold ski properties, 69% of the industry’s homes (21% in alpine destinations and 48% in beach locations) are in climates requiring either heating or cooling systems. Traditionally, 45 percent of most family’s utility bill goes towards heating and cooling. As a nation, the United States emits 150 million tons of carbon dioxide each year from these systems. Just like light bulbs and appliances, heating and cooling units are quickly becoming more cost effective and energy saving options, but until then, there are many smaller fixes that can help lower heating and cooling costs.
Prior to the furnace being turned on each year, The Veras Group suggests that a technician come and service the unit. This can save over $400 each year in heating costs. In addition, furnace filters should be routinely changed. Not only are there health ramifications for dirty furnace filters, but a clean filter can save over $60 in heating bills and maximize the heating unit’s productivity.
Destination club homes are built for large parties. Couches and chairs often are placed in areas to maximize seating space, not considering air flow. Make sure that air vents are exposed and not covered by beds, couches and other furniture throughout the house. For another simple fix, pull couches and chairs slightly away from exterior walls when you are traveling to ski properties. Exterior walls are the coldest areas of the home and positioning seating away from the walls keeps you more comfortable. Likewise, large furniture pieces such as entertainment centers and bookcases should be positioned next to exterior walls to provide for greater insulation.
Reverse The Spin of Ceiling Fans During Winter
Most fans have a toggle switch that changes the direction of the blades rotation. In winter, rotating the blades so they rotate clockwise will gather the warm air that collects near the ceiling and pull it down into the heart of the room. Set the fan at its lowest level and you won’t even know it’s on.
Buy and Build Responsibly
As destination clubs continue to build their presence in the luxury travel industry, they gain more buying power in resort areas. Not only can destination clubs seek out these luxury resorts but can using their own pull in current resorts and push for increased eco-friendly initiatives.
Secure Agreements with Rental Car Companies Offering Hybrids
Between Enterprise, Hertz and Avis, there are over 10,000 hybrid vehicles available for rental throughout the United States. Destination clubs can secure and expand partnerships with other luxury travel accommodations and airlines. Working with car rental agencies to acquire preferred rates on hybrid vehicles to members is yet another way that clubs can help satisfy their members.
Limit The Number of Lights Used For Guest Arrival
Destination clubs all want to make strong impressions on their members. To welcome members to a home, clubs typically turn on all the lights prior to a member’s arrival. Clubs can limit the number of lights turned on before members arrive, and still make a great impression.
Alternative Power Sources
Wind, solar and hydropower are all less polluting than coal energy. We advocate for more destination clubs to work these alternative energy sources into both new and existing homes, and also building/purchasing in areas where alternative energy sources are readily available.
Training the on-site concierges how to complete the above mentioned items like changing furnace filters and to limit light consumption prior to a member arrival will do wonders in the long run. Not only that, but hiring knowledgeable local hosts who can suggest environmentally friendly options can also greatly impact the amount of energy spent while traveling.
Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Destination clubs and destination club members alike have begun to dedicate more time to energy conservation. The Veras Group applauds these initiatives and looks forward to assisting clubs and club members in any way possible to further these goals.
To learn more about destination club travel and green initiatives put into place by these clubs, please feel free to contact The Veras Group.