A service of HospitalityEducators.com|The A B Cs of A Glossary of Sustainability and Green Hotel Terms and Phrases

Sustainability and GREEN HOTELS have an evolving language of terms and phrases that are not always immediately understood.   This introductory piece includes the A B Cs.  The full Glossary of Sustainability and Green Hotel Terms and Phrases is available at www.HospitalityEducators.com

  • Abatement      Reducing the degree or intensity of, or eliminating pollution.
  • Acid            A corrosive solution with a pH balance less than 7.
  • Accountability   Being Responsible for one’s actions.
  • Allergen     A Substance capable of causing an allergic reaction because of an individual’s sensitivity to that substance.
  • Alternative Energy Renewable energy sources, such as biomass, small hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal energy and photovoltaic conversion systems.It excludes fossil fuels.


  • Bio-Based Material        “Bio” is greek for life. Bio-based materials refer to a products manin constituent consisting of substance(s) originally derived from living organisms. These substance may be natural or synthezied organic compounds that exist in nature.
  • Biodegradable   Something that has the ablility to break down and decompose relatively quickly in a natural manner  without causing harm.
  • Biofuel           Fuel produced from renewable resources, especially planl biomass, vegetable oils, and treatedmunicipal and idustrial wastes. Biofuels are considered neutral with respect to the emission of carbondioxide because the carbon dioxide given off by burning them is balanced by the carbon dioxideabsorbed by the plants that are grown to produce them. The use of biofuels as an addivive to petroleum-based fuels can also result in cleaner burning with the less emission of carbon monoxide andparticulates
  • Biomass
    1. Ecology : the amount of living matter in a given habitat, expressed either as the weight of organisms
    per unit are or as the volume of organisms per unit volume of habitat.
    2. Energy: organic matter, like plant matter, that can be converted to fuel and is therefor regarded as a potential energy source.
  • Bulk Soap and Amenities          Soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion provided from a bulk dispenser rather than in individualpackages, This approch saves time and money for the loading properlty and natural resources andlandfill contributions by cutting down on the pacaging.
  • Bioaccumulation   The accumulation of higher and higher concentrations of potentially toxic chemicals in individualorganisms. It occurs in the case of chemicals that are ingested but cannot be broken down or excreted. Biomagnification is the bioaccumulation occurring through several levels of a food chain.
  • Bio-magnification   Similar to bioaccumulation with the distinction being that bioaccumulation occurs within a food chain(trophic level) and bio-magnification is the same process across different trophic levels.
  • Bio-diesel    A renewable fuel produced by a chemical reaction of alcohol and vegetable (or animal) oils, fats orgreases. Through a refinery process called transesterification, the reaction removes the glycerin, a byproduct
    that can harm the engines. The resulting biodiesel can be used in any normal petrodieselengine, in pure form or in different blends.
  • Biodiversity    Biodiversity embraces the variety of genes, species and ecosystems that constitute life on Earth. Many believe that we are currently witnessing a steady loss of biodiversity, with profound consequences forthe natural world and for human well being.


  • Carbon Dioxide (Co2)   A heavy, odorless, colorless, deadly gas present in the air. It is exhaled by animals and utilized by plants during photosynthesis. Additional carbon dioxide is created by the combustion of fossil fuels or vegetable matter, among other chemical process. It is an important greenhouse gas because of its ability to absorb infrared sun rays.
  • Carbon footprint   The amount of carbon damage you personally do to the planet.
  • Compostable Disposables    Sometimes the use of disposable service items can’t be avoided. In those cases we want to give credit to the properties that choose disposable items, like paper napkins and corn-based plastic, which are biodegradable.
  • Composting         The act or process of preserving and renewing though careful management the environment and of natural resources resulting in their highest economic, social or health benefits.
  • Conservation    The act or process of preserving and renewing though careful management the environment and of natural resources resulting in their highest economic, social or health benefits.
  • Conventional Power      Power produced from non-renewable fuels like coal, oil, nuclear and gas that are commonly used by humans today.
  • Cotton Towels and Linens        Cotton products don’t add VOCs to the air, thus helping air quality in guestrooms where they are used.Towels and linens that are a blend of cotton and synthetic fabrics aren’t sustainable because of their reliance of petrochemicals. Organic cotton is even better because of their non-use of petrochemicals.
  • CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)      The continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community, society, and the environment at large.
  • Carbon Credits    Certificates that represent a reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Projects that prevent the generation of greenhouse gases or remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere earn these credits,which can in turn then be “sold” to other businesses and individuals to “offset” the emissions they generate. One carbon credit is the equivalent to a saving of one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Catalyst      A substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction, but which is left unchanged by the reaction.
  • Clean Production     Designing products and using manufacturing processes in harmony with natural ecological cycles. It claims to eliminate toxic wastes and inputs and promotes the sustainable use of renewable energy and materials.
  • Climate Change     The study of the variation in the Earth’s climate over a period of time. The changes can be due to the earth itself, forces outside the earth, or as is known more recently, by human (anthropogenic) activity.
  • Climate Neutral
    The process of reducing and offsetting carbon emissions by an entity (human, business, naturally occurring) with activities that reduce, sequester, or offset carbon output sources. Offsetting refers to the process of purchasing carbon credits.
  • Closed Loop Supply Chain   This is when a supply chain process completely reuses, recycles or composts all material used. A supply chain is the system of organizations, people, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer.
  • Cogeneration       The production of electrical and thermal energy simultaneously from the same fuel source. This could be the surplus heat energy from an electrical plant being used to heat water or used as a fuel for any other purpose.
  • Cradle to Cradle  Term made popular by William McDonough & Michael Braungart that maps out production techniques that are essentially waste free. In cradle to cradle production all material inputs and outputs are seen either as technical or biological nutrients. Technical nutrients can be recycled or reused with no loss of quality and biological nutrients composted or consumed.
  • Concentrate    A product that must be substantially diluted with water to form the appropriate solution for use.
  • Cost-Effective   Producing positive results in proportion to the expenditure of resources (e.g., time, money, materials,etc.) and having a return on investment period less than or equal to three years.

Please share your thoughts on this or other topics. As always, comments and feedback are welcome.

John J Hogan, CHA CHE CMHS   Hotelier, Speaker, Educator, Columnist

Mobile 602-799-5375  john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com

Principal, www.HoganHospitality.comYour Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations.

Co-Founder of www.HospitalityEducators.com A membership information site committed to making YOUR HOTEL MORE PROFITABLE!

HospitalityEducators.com has become the #1 website for independent hotel owners and managers, with more than 600 resources available to members.

2011 Keys to Success Programs are results driven sessions, aimed at building competitive advantage. Details can be found at both sites.

Program # 2 Step by Step Operational Solutions – Making the Correct Decisions (Keynote)

Program # 10 How to Stop Your Profit Drain (Interactive Workshop)

These sessions were created to encourage middle-level managers and rising professionals the insights to make better decisions in every day hospitality situations.

1 thought on “A service of HospitalityEducators.com|The A B Cs of A Glossary of Sustainability and Green Hotel Terms and Phrases

  1. Pingback: A service of HospitalityEducators.com|The A B Cs of A Glossary of … | Alternative Energy Sources

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