Sustainability from the Staff’s Pants to the Potato Forks

By Megan Webb

After deplaning a six-hour flight arriving in Phoenix for the 2009 GreenBuild International Conference & Expo, I couldn’t wait to unpack my things, organize my thoughts for the long days of work ahead of me, and finally relax with a glass of wine and some food.

Only five minutes after being picked up by the complimentary hotel shuttle service, I arrived at the new, eco-chic aloft Phoenix-Airport hotel. From the moment I walked through the lobby, I was promptly greeted by the “aloha desk talent” who zipped through my paperless registration and showed me to my room.

aloft Hotel Lobby

aloft Hotel Lobby

Designed with sustainability in mind, my loft-style room featured a variety of green elements including: American Standard low-flow toilets, in-room recycling bins, CFL lighting in every desk lamp, individual climate control and even eco-friendly dispenser units in the showers for shampoo, conditioner and body wash to reduce the waste of the typical plastic bottles you’ll find in the majority of other hotels.

aloft Guest Rooms

aloft Guest Room

After unpacking my belongings and organizing my thoughts I headed down to the lobby to meet a friend and grab a drink at the bar. The Wxyz Bar, as the lobby bar is called, features a signature LED lit bar that is both energy efficient and fashion forward. Although I chose the favored blueberry highball made with real, fresh blueberries (so good!), the Wxyz Bar also features a variety of beers on tap from the local Old World Brewery, bringing a flair of Phoenix to the otherwise urban chic lounge.

aloft Wxyz Lounge

aloft Wxyz Lounge

Coming from the frigid Northeast winter weather, I was happy to learn that even though it was November it was still 80 degrees in Phoenix. With drinks in hand, we moved to the backyard to catch up and enjoy our beverages poolside. In addition to the fantastic backyard setting featuring lush seating and an outdoor fireplace, the backyard even included the latest and greatest green design elements such as xeriscaping around the property that reduces the need for irrigation and helps to control storm water.

aloft Backyard

aloft Backyard

As our stomachs growled we decided it was probably time to grab a bite to eat. A mere 30-second walk through the parking lot led us to a popular chain restaurant that delivered fast and affordable service. We ended our night there, tired, but happy, full and ready for the days ahead of us.

The next morning and days thereafter brought much of the same feelings of being content and impressed by the expansive amenities of the aloft hotel. Traveling to the GreenBuild conference hall at the LEED Certified Phoenix Convention Center was a breeze as the aloft Phoenix-Airport Hotel is steps away from the new METRO Light Rail. And let’s not forget about the staff’s pants (made from recycled materials) or the use of potato silverware (all utensils at “grab and go” food station are 100 percent biodegradable as they are made from potatoes!)

All in all, I was impressed by the passion of the staff, the comfort and beauty of the hotel, and of course all of the sustainable elements that make aloft Phoenix-Airport Hotel an eco-friendly travel choice.

After touring the hotel with Tandy Stepp, aloft Phoenix-Airport Hotel’s Aloha Desk Talent & Sustainability Captain, I was able to get a glimpse of some of the green design elements that make this hotel the perfect choice for eco-conscious travelers. Below is a list of some of our findings:

Guest Rooms

  • See Green Program (if guest want to have their linens refreshed they leave the “soak or a save” card on their bed; otherwise, they opt out of laundry and save water and natural resources one stay at a time)
  • Low flow toilets
  • In-room recycling bins
  • Privacy glass windows between shower and guest room that let in natural daylight and reduces the need for artificial light during the day
  • Black-out shades to reduce heat effect of the building
  • Dual-pane windows
  • Individual climate control
  • Eco-friendly dispenser units in guest room showers for shampoo, conditioner and body wash


  • Polished concrete floor
  • High-efficiency, low flow toilets in lobby bathroom
  • Dual-pane, energy-efficient windows
  • Natural daylight to reduce the need for electric lighting during the day
  • Metal mesh curtains that diffuse the light and reduce indoor air allergens
  • North/South exposure of main public areas of the hotel to reduce direct light and heat

Grab and Go (Food Station)

  • Tater Ware utensils are made from potatoes so they are biodegradable
  • Natural day light, dual pane energy-efficient bay windows
  • Recycle bin for guests
  • Minimize food waste by planning food prep according to occupancy
  • Considering compost program for coffee grounds and food waste
  • Considering corn based plastic cups and biodegradable plates
  • Considering compostable to-go boxes

Wxyz Bar (Lobby Bar)

  • Energy efficient, signature LED lit bar
  • Local beers from Old World Brewery featured on tap

Aloha Desk Talent (Staff)

  • All staff aware of eco-friendly aspects of the hotel
  • Paperless guest registration
  • “Chill room” (break room) includes water cooler to refill water bottles instead of using plastic water bottles
  • Desk agents encourage guests to return their plastic key cards to be used again
  • Uniform pants made of recycled materials (pants manufacturer is 1% For The Planet certified)


  • Xeriscaping around the property reduces the need for irrigation and helps to control storm water
  • Variety of local deciduous trees and shrubbery


  • Trained in the proper disposal of recyclable items
  • See Green guest opt-out linen program
  • On site laundry to reduce carbon emissions from trucking laundry
  • Reusable cleaning clothes for washing windows and mirrors instead of using paper towels


  • Use post-consumer waste office supplies when available
  • Staff and housekeeping recycling includes plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard, paper


  • Steps from the METRO Light Rail
  • Staff encourages guests to use METRO Light Rail as opposed to renting a car
  • Reserved parking for hybrid cars

So if you’re staying in the Phoenix area and you’re looking for an eco-friendly hotel option, make sure you book your stay at the aloft Phoenix-Airport Hotel. My stay was fabulous and I highly recommend it!