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Source: Kathy Brockway, 785-826-2695, kjbrock@k-state.edu
Photo available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-2535.
News release prepared by: Natalie Blair, 785-826-2642

Thursday, March 10, 2011

STUDENTS ON SALINA CAMPUS MAKE HOTEL MORE ECO-FRIENDLY WITH HELP FROM SAM'S CLUB GRANT

SALINA -- Shamir Bhakta was already using energy-efficient lighting and eco-friendly laundry detergent and reminding his hotel guests to reuse towels and bedding. But he wanted to make operations at the Quality Inn in Salina even more efficient while creating cost savings and improving the bottom line.

So Shamir contacted the Kansas State University Salina Students In Free Enterprise team. Team members conducted a resource efficiency audit at the hotel and recommended the services of "john."

"High-efficiency, dual flush toilets handle solid and liquid waste differently, so they save water and money," said Sarah Woodruff, senior in technology management from Wamego. "Our team partnered with Sam's Club and its Environmental Sustainability Challenge to acquire 10 high-efficiency, dual flush toilets. We also helped the Quality Inn staff install the toilets in the restaurant and bar area and the hotel's most rented rooms."

Based on rental patterns and Salina water and sewage rates, the team found the hotel's water usage will drop by 37 gallons a day per room.

"That's a savings of more than 13,000 gallons of water per room annually, and equates to an annual savings of about $122 per room," Woodruff said.

"The hotel tells their guests about the availability of these water-saving rooms at check-in, and educational materials are also available in each room so that travelers can make a conscious choice to support environmentally sustainable business practices," said Trista Gorrell, junior in technology management, Centerville.

Shamir plans to replace another 10 toilets at the Quality Inn with high-efficiency units. He also purchased another hotel property in Salina recently and has asked the Students in Free Enterprise team to help make energy and water efficiency improvements at the new property.

The old toilets didn't go to waste. K-State Salina's facilities department crushed up the units and will use the material as filler in drainage projects on campus.