The Hospitality Industry Makes Strides in Sustainability

Because both Populus and Hotel Westland (which will repurpose a historic building) have limited space for solar panels, Urban Villages will help fund commercial solar or wind farms through the purchase of renewable energy.

Both buildings will have gas-fired boilers for heating and water including the kitchens, something the company also plans to offset along with the impacts of guests’ stays. Urban Villages wants to source most Populus produce and proteins from local, sustainably managed farms—and is exploring ideas for guests to help offset their carbon footprint during their stay that will be used to reinvest in carbon-saving practices, like no-till farming, in collaboration with its suppliers. “There’s an incredible opportunity to introduce hotel guests to some solutions to climate change,” says Buerge, “some ways to be able to get more engaged in living a more sustainable life.”

Urban Villages also wants to demonstrate that a property can be built and operated at an even higher standard than net zero without breaking the bank. In other words, part of the goal is to “show people how to make money doing the right thing,” Buerge says. “We can build and operate the greenest hotel ever created, and it’s not going to have that big of an impact on the world,” he says. “But if it inspires others to do similar work, that’s where we can have a big impact.”