The Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel in Chicago’s South Loop neighbourhood serves one of the busiest areas in one of the busiest cities in North America. And when an 800-room facility decides to implement small changes to improve its energy efficiency, you can bet those small steps add up to significant savings and environmental benefits.

Of particular interest to restaurant owners is Hyatt’s installing a food waste decomposition machine, designed to use heat and bacteria-treated wood chips to compost food scraps, and a cooking-oil recycling system. In all, the hotel reports that it composts over 110 tons of food annually, has reduced its overall electricity consumption by 12.7 percent and has cut water use by over 20 percent.

But you don’t have to be an enterprise-level hotel to realize cost-cutting and environmental benefits from small changes. These measures—also put in place by the Hyatt—are completely doable by smaller establishments as well:

  • As much as possible, buy supplies in bulk to reduce packaging. This includes food as well as cleaning, bathroom and office supplies.
  • Consider installing low-flow sensor faucets with aerators to reduce water use.
  • Don’t preset glasses of water unless requested.
  • If you’re upgrading your lighting, consider installing T-8, electronic ballast technology.
  • Use native plants for landscaping to reduce the need for watering.
  • Avoid selling bottled water by installing a water filtration system with glass bottles.

For a list of Hyatt’s complete upgrades, see the complete article in Green Lodging News.