Sustainable Hospitality

Some Tips for a Sustainable Hospitality Business

Our Industry’s Impact on the Environment

The environment is mainly impacted by manufacturing, transportation, and real estate, including hotels. Initially, hotel owners were slow to adopt green practices, thinking that environmentally friendly products were prohibitively expensive, and that sustainability was a passing fad. However, given the awareness of response of customers, it’s safe to say that what was thought to be a trend is quickly becoming the standard.

Additionally, while worries about cost may have been correct in the beginning, green products have dramatically increased their effectiveness, both from a cost and a utilization perspective. Furthermore, by actively searching for ways to reduce or recycle waste, a move to sustainability is one that can help your bottom line. Here are some examples of sustainable practices within the hotel and hospitality industry.

Water-Saving Plumbing Fixtures

With the sheer number of guest bathrooms as well as public spaces, hotels use a tremendous amount of water. By switching to low-flow fixtures, including sinks, showerheads, and toilets, hotels can reduce water usage by 30%.

LED Light Fixtures

LED lighting is about eight times more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent lighting. It’s also three times more efficient than fluorescents. Furthermore, LED bulbs last up to eight times longer than other types of bulbs.

Local and Recycled Materials

Buying locally can help cut down on transportation costs and using recycled materials helps to conserve resources. Both are ways to reduce a property’s carbon footprint.

Green Cleaning Products

Cleaning products are often full of harsh, toxic chemicals like bleach, ammonia, and chlorine. However, environmentally friendly options are available that are botanically derived without losing any cleaning effectiveness. It’s a sustainable move that can also increase your indoor air quality.

Improving the Environment, Guests’ Health, and Your Bottom Line

The above is by no means a comprehensive list. Smaller, more efficient rooms, EV charging stations, and energy management systems are all means to reduce energy usage, waste, and cost. Ultimately, it will increase your property’s value, protect your guests’ health and bolster your standing with them, and save you money.

Coronavirus and a Changed Hospitality Industry

The Difference One Year Makes

A little over a year ago, a bustling travel industry ground to a halt almost overnight. Unemployment followed, along with several rounds of stimulus, and many of us were housebound for months at a time. Now, vaccines have been rolled out, infection rates are dropping in some areas, and people are starting to venture out again. What has changed during that time? What have we learned? And how is the hotel industry responding?

A Changed Industry

The hospitality industry has gone through major changes and many of them look to be permanent. All exchanges at front desks are now contactless and this will likely be the new standard. With so much of the business now taking place online, long check-in lines are a thing of the past. Print menus for food and beverages have also moved online and cost will keep them that way. Outdoor dining is now standard, and while that might change as rates continue to fall, most guests find it pretty pleasant anyway.

A New Standard of Clean

What was already a benchmark of a good hotel is now an essential part of public health. Furthermore, with guests becoming more aware of the risk of pathogens as well as disinfection practices, a clean appearance isn’t enough anymore. They expect management to be looking out for their safety with a complete sanitization with effective products. And customers who feel like these steps aren’t being taken will quickly take their business elsewhere.

Administration, Sales, and Marketing

Zoom meetings are now commonplace, replacing in-person (and often inefficient) gatherings, and as a result, everyone has become much more tech-savvy and tech-reliant. Training handbooks and protocols have had to be rewritten and staffs needed to be retrained. Digital marketing has had to become more sophisticated in order to target audiences in various states of lockdown.

What Have We Learned?

The past year has been extremely difficult for all of us. However, it’s also been a chance to learn and lean into our strengths and trim some fat. Rules for travel and operation still vary in different parts of the country. But with the evolving acceptance and usage of vaccines and the declining infection rates, it appears that the worst of it is over and the future is looking bright.

How to Remove Unwanted Smells from the Home

Removing Unwanted Smells from Your Home

Lingering, unpleasant smells in the home can come from a number of sources. Some aren’t so serious and easily remedied. However, some can be signs of danger and may require professional remediation. Your first order of business is determining what type of smell it is. From there, you can find the source and the solution. Here is a guide for removing some common unwanted smells from your home.

My House Smells Musty

If you live in an area with high humidity, or if you’ve recently suffered water damage, a musty odor is probably the result of mold. Mold thrives in damp, warm spaces and can be dangerous to your health. Check for these types of spaces in your home as they could be supporting mold growth. If you can find it, clean the area thoroughly with a good disinfectant and dry the area via ventilation and dehumidifiers. Once it’s dry, apply a mold resistant coating wherever possible to help prevent future outbreaks. Remember that mold isn’t always visible. If you can’t see any, you may want to consider hiring a professional restoration company. These companies have non-invasive meters that can test your home’s mold levels.

My House Smells Like Tobacco Smoke

Figuring out the source of this one is easy enough but getting rid of the smell is another matter entirely. Tobacco smoke covers everything in the home with a residue and penetrates carpets, upholstery, bedding, and more. If you’re looking to try a DIY approach, a professional grade odor neutralizer can help. Just know, though, that every single corner of the house will need a thorough cleaning. You’ll also probably have to seal the walls with an odor sealant and repaint them. It might be best to leave this job to professionals.

My House Smells Like Pet Urine

Again, it’s easy to find the source here. Furthermore, it’s a much easier job than tobacco smoke. If it’s on a non-porous surface, a thorough cleaning will often do the job. On porous surfaces like carpets, a good cleaning followed by an odor neutralizer may be enough. On the other hand, you may want to discard or replace what you can or call in the professionals.

Getting Rid of Other Smells in the Home

The kitchen, bathrooms, and basement can also be the source of unpleasant smells. Often, it will be a plumbing issue so check for leaking pipes. In the kitchen, make sure to clean your refrigerator and oven regularly. Don’t forget to get underneath and behind the appliances as food can often get stuck back there and rot. Smells in the basement are often the product of moisture, so again, you’ll want to check for leaks.

Many of these jobs can be handled with a cleaner-disinfectant combination as well as an odor neutralizer. However, if you can’t find the source, don’t hesitate to call a good restoration company and leave it to the professionals.

5 Tips for a Cleaner and Healthier Kitchen

Keeping the Kitchen Clean and Odor-Free

In most households, the kitchen is the center of the home. It’s where we congregate to snack, talk, bug the cook, do homework and science projects, and more. All that traffic plus food means the kitchen is a hotspot for germs. To keep the home healthy, it’s essential to keep the kitchen as clean as possible. Here are a few tips to keep your kitchen sparkling, disinfected, and safe.

The Trash Can

With food waste constantly going in, the trash can is a prime source for germs and odors. To cut down on foul smells, use a can with a lid and put some baking soda, kitty litter, or a dryer sheet in the bottom underneath the bag. When possible, use a smaller can. A smaller can means emptying more often, which will keep rot and smells out of your kitchen. Finally, be sure to wipe down your trash can often with a good cleaner and disinfectant.

Counters and Stovetops

Grease is a big problem here, especially if you have young, inexperienced cooks helping out. They may mean well, but a paper towel is just going to smear the grease around, leaving a residue that creates and attracts bacteria. Furthermore, you need to remember that there’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Teach the budding chefs to use a cleaner-disinfectant combo whenever there’s a food or grease spill to handle both jobs at once.

Pay Attention to the Little Details

It’s easy to see spills on countertops and floors and keep those areas clean. However, don’t forget the smaller items in your kitchen as well. The refrigerator door handle, faucet handles, drawer knobs, the spaces underneath small appliances like coffee makers – these are all areas you should be wiping down with a disinfectant once per week.

The Refrigerator

You’ve got to clean the refrigerator regularly. Get rid of expired foods, wipe down the vegetable and meat drawers, etc. You should also make sure your refrigerator is set at the right temperatures. Set them too high, and your food won’t keep, causing all sorts of smells. The refrigerator should stay between 32 to 40 degrees, while the freezer should be below 32.

Clean the Sink Last

As we’re cleaning our kitchen, we often brushing crumbs off our hands into the sink, rinsing dirty rags, etc. That’s why the sink should be the last thing you clean. Use an antibacterial cleaner for the drain and a good disinfectant for the basin after a rinse.

Following these simple tips will keep your kitchen clean, disinfected, and a hotspot for family instead of germs!

Keeping Your Home Free of the Flu and Cold

Preventing the Flu and Common Cold

While people often confuse the two as both are respiratory illnesses, the common cold and the flu are different viruses. The symptoms of a cold are generally much milder than those of the flu. A runny nose and a stuffy head are the most common. On the other hand, the flu, or influenza virus, comes with fever, vomiting, muscles aches, and fatigue. While the common cold is usually just an annoyance, the flu can leave a person out of commission for a bit. Here are some tips to keep your home flu and cold-free.

How to Avoid the Flu and the Common Cold

One of the best things you can do to avoid getting the flu is to get vaccinated. While it doesn’t offer 100% protection, the vaccine prevents millions of illnesses every year. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated every year as your best course of action against catching the flu. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for the common cold. However, there are a few things you can do to cut down your risk of catching a cold.

Like we’ve all heard with coronavirus, washing your hands regularly can go a long way in preventing a cold. You should also be regularly cleaning and disinfecting your home. You can also boost your immune system by getting enough sleep and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

How to Keep the Cold and Flu from Spreading

While these tips can help prevent a cold or the flu, sometimes illness is unavoidable. In the event of illness, there are steps you can take to keep from spreading it. Again, wash your hands with warm soap and water regularly and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Use a tissue when you sneeze or cough and dispose of it immediately.

Wash your dishes immediately after use to help avoid spreading the cold or flu around the house. You should also avoid contact with family members, including sharing items like towels and utensils. Finally, remember that flu and cold viruses can live on surfaces for up to two days, so clean and disinfect often.

How to Remove Oil and Grease from Your Garage Floor

Some Solvent, Some Scrubbing, and Some Sweat

Garage floors don’t get a whole lot of love when it comes to housecleaning. A quick sweep of the leaves, cobwebs, and grit is about all they get. But that doesn’t mean you should have to live with those ugly oil and grease stains that can show up. In fact, you have a number of options to choose from to get rid of it. All are affordable, though all will require some sweat on your part. The problem is that concrete is porous. It will soak up oil and grease like a sponge. That means quite a bit of scrubbing, no matter what type of cleaning solution you use. The size of the stain, along with how long it has been setting, will determine how much time you’ll have to spend on it.

Laundry Soap

If you have a fresh or recent spill, laundry soap can get the job done. In fact, NASCAR crews have been using it for years. Before applying the soap, blot as much of the standing oil as you can. Next, mix a good amount of soap with a bucket of warm water and pour it on the stain. Once you’ve got the stain covered with your soap and water mixture, pour some extra soap from the box directly on the stain and let it set. After a few minutes, start scrubbing with a stiff nylon bristle brush. Rinse with a garden hose and repeat the process if necessary.

Industrial Degreasers

These will generally work a lot faster than laundry soap. However, they’re also more expensive and the chemicals are pretty harsh. You’ll want to wear personal protective equipment like rubber gloves and eye protection. You’ll also want to make sure you garage is properly ventilated while you’re working. Blot up the excess oil and apply the degreaser, allowing it to dry to powder. This can take about 8 hours. Next, sweep up the powder and give the spot a few days to dry.

Eco‑friendly Degreasers

If you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly option without harsh chemicals, you can find an eco-friendly degreaser. For example, Bioesque’s Heavy Duty Cleaner & Degreaser is a professional-grade product designed to tackle even the grungiest settings without endangering the environment. It’s powered by Thymox, a naturally derived botanical ingredient making it the perfect choice for ecologically sensitive or hazard-conscious settings.

Whatever solution you use, be sure to blot the oil or grease quickly after a spill. This will help keep it from seeping into the concrete and can save you some elbow grease and time. With some effort and patience, your garage floor will be looking good as new.

Water Damage

Water Damage: The Short and Long-Term Effects

Disaster for a Homeowner

A flooded house is one of the most disastrous events a homeowner can experience. Whether it’s the result of leaking plumbing or a severe storm, flooding inside the home must be addressed immediately and correctly to mitigate cost, salvage as many belongings as possible, and protect your health.

Damage to Valuables

Even a minor flood can ruin electrical appliances and wooden furniture. In the event of water damage, you’ll most likely have to get rid of a number of valuables. However, before you start throwing things away, it’s best to immediately call a water damage restoration team to see what can be salvaged and what can’t.

A Threat to Health

Leaking plumbing can mean wastewater while storm water can drag in chemical runoff. Either way, standing water in the home is unsanitary and can cause illness. The best course of action is to vacate the house immediately and call properly trained and protected professionals to handle the flood.

Lingering Unpleasant Smells

The disgusting odor that accompanies floods can linger much longer than the water itself. The entire home needs a thorough cleaning with professional-grade odor neutralizers to kill the smell at the source.

Damage to Electrical Wiring

Water damage is a killer for electrical lines. Shorts, fires, and even electrocution are all very real risks in the event of a flood. Water damage professionals can clear out the floodwater safely but it’s essential to hire an electrician as well to thoroughly check your wiring and perform any necessary repairs.

Mold Outbreaks

Mold spores love humid conditions, so a flood almost guarantees that you’ll be dealing with mold contamination along with water damage. Worse yet, contamination can be very difficult to spot in the early stages and if left untreated can become severe very quickly. A good water damage restoration team will also include mold remediation professionals to inspect every area of your home, ensuring your family’s safety.

Leave It to Professionals

This article should have given you a bit of an idea of the size and scope of serious water damage. Floods are an instance where the DIY approach just isn’t going to cut it. Your best bet is to call in a team of properly trained and equipped experts to salvage as many of your belongings as possible, ensure the health of your family, and keep costs to a minimum.

Growth and Trends in the Restoration Industry

The Restoration Industry is Trending Upward

For those of you looking to get into a growth industry, professional restoration and remediation should be at top of your list. Currently, the restoration industry is worth about $210 billion and it looks to grow even more in the years ahead. This is the result of a number of factors, including new technologies, the increasing intensity and occurrence of natural disasters like storms, flooding, and wildfires, and the advancing age of homes and infrastructure.

New Technologies and Greater Awareness

The presence of mold is one of the biggest drivers of the restoration industry’s growth. But is there more mold today than in the past? Well, yes and no. The energy-efficient design of new homes restricts airflow, making mold more likely. Additionally, advancing technology has made mold much easier to detect in properties, so demand for mold remediation and restoration professionals has increased accordingly.

Natural Disasters Are Becoming More Common and More Intense

A 2016 EPA report showed that severe storms caused about $6 billion in property damage. Furthermore, this has been stable since 2008, suggesting that this increase is here to stay. As a result, fire and water damage professionals have been in high demand.

Hurricane Katrina Changed Everything

The 2005 New Orleans disaster changed the industry completely. New regulations were instituted, and the business process was streamlined considerably. The restoration industry is now much more organized and ready to respond to the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters.

Advanced Restoration Training

The new regulations and higher standards required workers with more specialized training and organizations like the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification responded in kind. Restoration professionals are now better prepared than ever to serve customers and deliver fast, efficient results.

Technological Advancement in Restoration Equipment and Supplies

Restoration equipment such as air movers, dehumidifiers, and other tools are more effective, more durable, and more affordable than ever before. Additionally, many companies are going “green” and as their clients are becoming more environmentally conscious. Bioesque Solutions, for example, offers a number of naturally derived restoration products free from the harsh chemicals that were the hallmark of older products.

Looking to the Future

The daily news from California wildfires to coastal hurricanes to Midwestern tornados indicate that the increase in natural disasters is here to stay, meaning the restoration industry will continue to grow in the future. The opportunity is there for those with the right tools and the right training.

How to Prevent Mold in Your Commercial Building - mold stains on ceiling

How to Prevent Mold in Your Commercial Building

Quiet, Insidious, and Costly

Mold is tough to deal with. It’s insidious and sometimes invisible, pollutes the air, and can quietly rot the structure of your building. Add up the costs of the potential missed sick days for you, your employees, and your clients along with a remediation and restoration job, and mold can cost you a lot of money. However, if you’re armed with the right knowledge, it is pretty easy (and cheap!) to prevent.

What Causes Mold?

Mold problems spring from uncontrolled moisture problems. This could be the result of a leaking roof, poorly fitted window treatments, loose pipes, etc. Mold spores can also enter through air vents and heating and cooling systems. While, under the right conditions, mold can find a home anywhere, it’s more likely to flourish on organic objects like wood, upholstery, and paper.

How Can I Prevent Mold in My Commercial Building?

First and foremost, handle your leaks. Whether it’s through the roof or under the sink, leaks need to be quickly stopped at the source. Doing so will prevent costly water damage, too.

Invest in a dehumidifier. Keeping your building’s humidity under 50% is challenging but essential, so you may want to consider installing a commercial dehumidifier.

Make sure your establishment is properly ventilated. Clean your air vents and filters regularly to keep things clean. Additionally, ensure that enclosed areas without ventilation are staying dry.

Consider using a mold resistant coating wherever possible. These products can be applied to structural materials to help prevent mold from finding a home.

How Do I Get Rid of Mold in My Commercial Building?

Some all-purpose cleaner and disinfectants can handle small outbreaks of mold. You may also want to consider calling in a professional team to see if that small spot is the symptom of a bigger problem. Mold remediation crews will run air tests to give you an idea how much the mold has spread in your building. If the contamination is severe enough, it’s best left to the experts. However, by taking a few extra preventative steps, you can solve your mold problem before it even starts.

Five Common Myths About Property Restoration - man using a carpet cleaner

Five Common Myths About Property Restoration

The Truth About Five Common Property Restoration Myths

There are a number of misunderstandings, illusions, and fallacies regarding the restoration and relief of property damage. While some of these ideas might have carried some weight back in the dark ages, technological advances have allowed property restoration companies to move past them and chart the proper course of action to mitigate the damages. Property owners need to be able to follow suit, move past the myths, and act quickly, or they may end up with more damage that could have been easily avoidable. Here are the truths behind five common myths about property restoration.

Myth: Restoration is More Expensive Than Replacing Outright

The Facts: In the majority of cases, cleaning, salvaging, and restoring the contents and structure is less expensive than replacing them. Of course, this isn’t always the case and replacement might be the only course of action in some instances. However, a good restoration company prioritizes mitigation to stop further damage and will clean and remove contaminates to avoid high replacement costs.

Myth: Cleaned Carpets Get Dirty Quicker

Old carpet shampooing processes left residue that attracted dirt, making clean carpets magnets for filth. However, modern carpet cleaning solutions are residue-free and will prevent the dirt-magnet effect.

Myth: When Your Carpets Are Dry, Your Home is Dry

Not remotely true. Carpet dry much more quickly than structural materials like cement floors or walls. A professional restoration company uses sensors and meters to make sure your structure is completely dry. This is an important step as an incomplete drying process will turn a water damage problem into a mold problem.

Myth: Smoke Odor is Impossible to Get Rid of so Quick Cleaning is Unnecessary

Smoke particles are acidic and will permanently damage your valuables if it’s not promptly cleaned. All contaminated areas in a fire damage restoration job need to be cleaned, deodorized, and sealed where possible.

Myth: It’s Cheaper to Handle Restoration Yourself

Sometimes, this is true. However, you have to be extremely careful and have a good knowledge of what you’re working with. A good restoration company can save you a lot in extra expenses in the event of a bungled job. And whether you’re calling in the experts or doing it yourself, be sure that the team has the very best supplies for the job.

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