Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

American Hotels & Office Buildings: Steal This Idea From Nepal

I cannot tell you how often I stood at hotel windows in various major American cities, when I was in my old life of business travel, looking out at giant office buildings at say midnight all blazing with light. It wasn't because people were working, although yes Americans do work longer hours than most nationalities. It's because everyone left their lights on when they waltzed out of the building earlier that evening.

So on one hand we're hard workers all full of that Puritan ethic. On the other hand we're lazy-ass, energy-wasting carbon hogs.

If Al Gore gave out annual awards (which I really think he should, fabulous marketing) he should pin a medal onto the chest of the Nepali Hotel Association. That's because in Nepal your hotel key serves a dual purpose -- security and electricity switch. When you enter a room, there are no lights, no TV, no electricity at all until you plug your key in as shown above.

American hotels and businesses could save enough money in 90-120 days to pay back the retrofit - plus reap PR kudos for greening up.

This morning over breakfast I tucked into the Nov 5th issue of the New Yorker that I'd saved so I'd have something decent in English to read here. One of the articles sounded an alarm over rising private car ownership in places like India, Nepal and China. If Asians continue to act more like American consumers, apparently the world's in terrible trouble.

Well, maybe we Americans could counter by acting a little more like Asians, huh?

1 comment:

Wai Fong said...

Reading your blog has been a lot of fun :) I wish US buildings had a system similar to the key/electricity feature you described. Every little bit helps.

The most appalling thing I've seen in US building design is-- and I swear I'm not making this up-- complete lack of nonemergency stairwells. Meaning you have to take the elevator (and use energy) even if you're going down one floor. The lame excuse I was given was that if people could use a stairwell then anyone could get into the rest of the building. Which they could already do by using the elevators, but that fact apparently went right over the designers' heads....