Luxury Hotel Goes 'Green'

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Muhle estimates they're saving 15 to 25 percent on energy bills each month. He said the owner, an 83-year-old woman who lives in Australia, was concerned about chemicals in the environment after several family members died of cancer.

Housekeepers Dubious, Then Delighted

The most difficult change for the housekeeping staff was taking away their Ajax and bleach, and replacing them with cleaning products made of organic and natural ingredients.

But the staff needed convincing…especially the housekeepers.

"They were not onboard at first," said Muhle. "In fact, housekeeping stood up and said, 'Stefan, we like the idea, but you really have to show us that if we take away the bleach and we substitute it with organic or natural products that our tile will still be shiny and our grout will still be clean.'"

After a three-month trial, Muhle said they were convinced. "They actually held up their hands and said look at this. They are no longer dry, I don't have teary eyes any more, I don't have any respiratory issues any more."

Also pleased were guests like Dora Preece. "The whole ambience of the place just has that green feeling. It's so comfortable."

Muhle does not consider himself an activist. "I think activist is a strong term." He continued, "We are trying to show people that you can be green and mainstream at the same time.You can have all the luxuries that you expect staying at a three, four or even five-star hotel and still do the right thing and be green."

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