Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said the Hampton Inn & Suites’ achievement will enrich how others view East Tennessee. “Sustainable travel is important to many businesses and families, and this is a great example of the private sector responding to those demands.When people visiting us see that this hotel has a green designation – see that our convention center has a green designation – they realize this community values what we have and wants to protect it.”
To qualify for its “Tennessee Green Lodging” certification, the Hampton Inn & Suites undertook an exhaustive environmental effort to save costs, conserve energy, reduce water consumption, protect air quality, reduce waste, and participate in environmentally preferred purchasing. “From the application phase through the on-site audit,” Lane said, “we had to find the best environmental approach to virtually everything. Every one of our employees was involved.”
The resulting initiatives and practices range from offering “green event” meeting packages with recyclable supplies and water in pitchers rather than bottles, to using a low-detergent “ozone” laundry system and working towards LEED accreditation for the entire Hampton Inn & Suites facility.
But natural resources are not all the hotel is conserving. “We began this program to draw more guests to the Hampton Inn & Suites,” said Lane. “Now our occupancy is trending up and we are thrilled to say it has also reduced our operating expenses.”
The green accreditation ties in directly with the core values of both the Hampton Inn and parent brand Hilton, including their mission statement: “To show the world we take care by preserving our environment and enhancing the health and well-being of one another, one caring moment at a time.”
Currently, thirty-one Tennessee hotels, motels, attractions and other hospitality facilities have been certified in the Tennessee Green Hospitality program.