Sustainability in Hospitality: Hotel Construction

  Hotels impact the natural environment, and most guests are aware of this. According to’s 2021 online survey of more than 29,000 travellers from around the world, as many as 83% believe sustainable travel is crucial. A further 61% said that the pandemic prompted them to travel more sustainably in the future. This strong trend seems to be confirmed by research from The Nielsen Company 87% of tourists want to stay in environmentally friendly places. However, sustainable hospitality is a more complex concept and encompasses processes, starting from the design stage through the construction of hotels to their usage.

Global Sustainability Network 

  In 2011 the Accor hotel group adopted and consistently implemented a CSR strategy in which it identified 21 business areas where significant improvements could be made, thus setting a long-term policy of measurable actions and missions. Among these were reducing energy and water consumption, carbon-neutral construction and promoting a green approach to food, with a significant reduction in food waste. 

  Accor has joined forces with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, a global sustainability network of hospitality companies. The organisation aims to work with partners. In addition, the alliance focuses on promoting and implementing environmentally friendly measures. The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance alliance comprises 25% of the industry and includes 14 major hotel companies, including Marriott International, Hilton, IHG, Hyatt, Radisson, and regional brands. The association work for the community and the environment in areas such as improving supply chains and reducing environmental impact.

Sustainable Construction 

  Sustainable construction means using methods of design, construction and environmentally friendly materials. It applies to the hotel buildings, their surroundings and the wider regional and global environment. Sustainable hotel construction is also the practice of creative building and operational work that is ecologically responsible and resource-efficient throughout the entire organisation, through the life cycle, from initial planning and design to construction, operation and maintenance.

  Owners and investors are interested in sustainable hotels because they want to achieve more from sustainable and energy-efficient buildings and be guaranteed low repair and operating costs. Certified sustainable hotels allow them to quickly assess the quality and value of a building and its economic competitiveness. The sustainable construction phase is crucial in using appropriate materials and technologies. Construction companies are therefore encouraged to produce sustainable buildings.

Barriers to Sustainable Development

Barriers to sustainable development during the construction phase include:

  • low research and development activity in the construction sector,
  • lack of willingness of public administrations to promote sustainable construction,
  • low transparency of the benefits of sustainable construction,
  • technological roadblocks, such as the use of outdated machinery,
  • skills shortages and low knowledge base,
  • a fragmented market with low barriers to entry,
  • risk aversion of contractors towards new and sustainable innovations,
  • lack of sustainable building materials and technologies, and
  • high prices of sustainable materials and technologies with early adaptation;

Standards in the Construction Sector

  Strategies, labelling schemes and standards related to sustainable construction help architects, engineers, professionals, contractors, material manufacturers, purchasers and building owners understand preferences for sustainable development, construction, maintenance and renovation of buildings. Parallel to the implementation of the standards is third-party certification of materials and processes, providing transparency while leaving space for innovation and informed choice by the market.

The standards aim to:

  • transparency of the information needed to support the assessment of the sustainability of construction works,
  • provide a structured format for product information, and
  • provide essential elements in a strategy leading to climate change mitigation and other aspects of sustainable development;

  In implementing the provisions of sustainable development, a set of standards includes three levels of implementation:

  • principle level,
  • building level, and
  • product level;

  Each level covers environmental, social and economic aspects through various standards. The new standards are based on existing CEN and ISO standards and take them into account, among others: hazardous substances, energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings and waste.