A Saving Way of Life: Luang Prabang View Hotel

Some may struggle with the costs of sustainable practices, but Luang Prabang View Hotel General Manager John Williams sees going green as a way of life, while saving greenbacks along the way.

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Mr Williams grew up in a rural town, where sustainability was the norm. “I have been working to save and use nature for many years as boy at home, where I learned to use and re-use. I have been applying this knowledge in my decades of experience in hospitality, he said.”

“It’s more than accounting wins or a thing you can purchase; it’s about doing what we feel is right. My view is, it’s a way of life…common sense…part of our daily workload.”  

Mr Williams downplays the role of certification awards. “Just do it (sustainability) and save the money.” He should know; Luang Prabang View has landed several plaudits including the ASEAN MICE Award. “We can easily check off the items on certification forms, as well as add several sustainable initiatives that any property can implement, while raising the bottom line.”

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Take the hotel’s “grey pond” septic system, in which the overflow is channelled through three naturally cleansing ponds, before hosing down the gardens and lawns. “If we used the city system, it would cost about $1,475 per month. That easily covers a $480 pump.”

The hotel has switched from plastic to reusable glass bottles for its in-room drinking water. “Plastic runs $7,125 per year, so we changed to reusable glass,” Mr Williams said. The hotel realised its RoI in less than a year. “Now we save $4,000 per year.”

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The Luang Prabang View has been in front of the “No Plastic Parade” for years. “The hotel has switched to paper bags and recycled containers for take away food, and we’re using paper straws. Green netting is replacing big black plastic bags for a 60% savings, and we reap about $200 per year by selling recyclables.”

The property’s nine compost heaps for rejuvenating the soil, versus buying dirt, save $450 per year on a ton of soil. Replacing chemicals with Effective Microorganism (EM) production from hotel waste for use in the garden and kitchen annually cuts $8,220 in bio-cleaning purchases. 

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Local farmers cash in by producing some $4,000 in herbs and vegetables each year at the hotel’s garden, and many of these land on your plate. The garden also reaps fruit and flowers, and only uses regenerative or sustainable plants.

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Alongside the garden, the farmers raise and breed a variety of animals, a hotel initiative that is expanding to other area farms including chickens, ducks, and pigs. Some are sold, while others are used in the kitchen and can even reach the dining rooms.

Mr Williams is constantly on the prowl to uncover new sustainable methods. It’s in his DNA. Farmers even mix coffee grounds with other wet waste to nutritiously feed the animals. “It’s just common sense,” Mr Williams said. “It’s a way of life.”

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