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Vacation: Culture, Architecture, and Saving Electricity

2013 January 4

Jessica in Segovia, Spain

By Jessica Orquina

I recently returned from a trip to Spain. It is a beautiful country with varied landscapes and strong traditions. In addition to enjoying the country’s culture, architecture, and different regional foods, I was intrigued by the ways hotels and businesses in that country save energy. Since beginning to work for the EPA last winter, I have become more aware of how people and organizations around me protect the environment.

During our trip, my husband and I visited a few different regions of Spain. Of course, all of the hotels we stayed at encouraged guests to reuse towels for multiple days to not waste water. But some of the hotels also had a cool way to reduce the amount of electricity being wasted at their properties. In these hotel rooms, we needed to put the room keycard in a slot in the wall to turn on the electricity to the room. When we took the keycard out of the slot to leave the room, it automatically turned the lights and all other electrical devices off, therefore, not wasting electricity when no one was there.

This seemingly small feature made me wonder how many people don’t bother turning lights and televisions off in hotel rooms when they go out. (It’s not their electric bill, so why worry, right?) In addition to creating unnecessary monetary costs, this also creates an avoidable cost on the environment. I wonder why more hotels around the world don’t use this type of technology.

In addition, this experience reminded me how important it is to be conscious that all our actions affect the environment. Even small things – like remembering to always turn the lights and other electronic devices off when we walk out of a room – make a difference.

What technologies or practices that help protect the environment have you seen when you travel?

About the author: Jessica Orquina works in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education as the social media lead for the agency. Prior to joining EPA, she served as a public affairs specialist at another federal agency and is a former military and commercial airline pilot. She lives, works, and writes in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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12 Responses leave one →
  1. Arman.- permalink
    January 4, 2013

    Eco Travel : One of Choices !

    I impressed with your groan article. However,this industry is a biggest of foreign exchange in a worldwide. Is a vacation not only stay in five star label with all of luxuries ?

  2. Jim permalink
    January 4, 2013

    What happens when one person takes the keycard to leave and the other person stay behind in the dark?

  3. Master Melvin M. Lusterio permalink
    January 5, 2013

    The Good Force be with you!

    It is nice to hear you enjoy your vacation, Jessica, and have learned a lot in saving electricity. The world and its people now know how important to save energy and are aware of the consequences that might happen if we don’t follow.

    Live forever and prosper!

  4. Gianni Nocchi permalink
    January 7, 2013

    Really good article, and I’m agree with you Jessica Orquina!

  5. Jessica - EPA permalink*
    January 7, 2013

    @ Arman: Yes, there are many options when we travel. It is my hope to see more options for travelers to help protect the environment regardless of their choice of type of vacation, where they choose to stay, or how you get there!

    @ Jim: This type of system does require some coordination with your travel partner.

    @ Master Melvin M. Lusterio: Thanks for reading!

    @ Gianni Nocchi: Thanks and happy travels!

  6. melissaEPA permalink
    January 17, 2013

    For folks planning a trip to Washington DC in the Spring – why not pop into our National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall April 19-21, 2013. We’ll be showcasing sustainable designs (by some very clever college students) for environmental challenges. Learn more here:

  7. tashalb permalink
    January 19, 2013

    Spain is a great country to visit and definitely the food is one the best there i must say. if you want to explore the food there they you need minimum a trip there for 2 month. thanks for the experience there for sharing.

  8. Jessica - EPA permalink*
    January 24, 2013

    @ tashalb: Thanks for reading my post.

  9. Marina Apartments permalink
    March 21, 2013

    Great Blog post.Thanks for sharing with us useful information.

    Best Regards:

  10. Electrical and Air Conditioning installation services by Adshel permalink
    August 19, 2013

    Everyone should use these kinds of way to reduce the amount of electricity being wasted in his/her properties.

  11. dragoslavlazic permalink
    February 27, 2014

    Browsing through various industrial architecture projects in Architecturewards will inspire other architects to come up with groundbreaking designs that incorporate elements of culture and environment into the final product. While there are structures that don’t seem to be unique, they have a special place in the history of architecture.

  12. dragoslavlazic permalink
    March 15, 2014

    Our wide base of Architecture firms means that there’s a lot you can learn when you become one of us. The best thing architects can do is to find a platform that can expose their skills and enable them to become competitive professionals. Architecturewards is dedicated to promote the use of infrastructure Architecture as well as educate members on which skills are key for them to raise their levels of expertise. Architecturewards has enabled its architects to fully comprehend the relevancy of Infrastructure Architecture and how to align themselves with new skill and ideas beneficial for their career growth.

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