“Part of being on the road means the ability to live a little more luxuriously than at home, and that means not having to turn off the lights and the TV.” Now, that is a good ole American quote. But, I wonder how many Americans live “a little more luxuriously” at home all the time as well.
Here’s another one that in my experience is quintessentially American: “People say they want to be green, but they don’t want to compromise.”
Those quotes come from a NYT article on American hotels going “green”, which could also be summed up as American hotels catching up with the rest of the developed world. Some of the reporting is down-right comical.
A few hotels in the US are building master switches in the rooms to reduce power use, which are common throughout Europe, Asia, and elsewhere (you insert your key card into a slot just inside the door to turn on the electricity – when you remove your key to leave, the electricity shuts off as well). It’s easy and cheap – and reduces power use. But, according to some market research, it might just be too much of a pain in the ass for Americans.
“Some,” he recalled, “said they would suffer discomfort because they would get back to their room and it would be extremely hot.” Others, he said, “indicated that entering a dark room could be a safety issue.”
Those five minutes before the room cools down are a real bitch, especially if the boogie man is hiding under that dark bed.
Even more comical is the hotel industry’s view on Americans and the European toilet (for those not familiar, it’s a dual-flush toilet – to be blunt – one for #1 and one for #2). It uses 0.8 gallons and 1.6 gallons per flush as opposed to the standard 7 gallons per flush. Again, they tend to be the norm in many parts of the world, including Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. And for those that have not had the pleasure, trust me, the Europeans do not compromise on toilet performance – they work.
Could Americans embrace the two-flush European toilet? The hotel industry and Americans have their doubts. First off, it forces hotel guests to “think about how they use resources.” Oh my god, should I hit the low or high flush button?
Luckily a few hotels have a bit more faith in Americans, and are installing European type toilets – saving a million gallons of water a month. And it looks like some Americans are able to cope with the two-flush choice after all…