Throwing Around $100 Bills - 2
* Hotel bathrooms. Instead of providing small bars of guest soap, many hotels have liquid soap dispensers on the wall by the sink and by the tub-shower. As a result, tens of millions of slightly used soap bars are not wasted.
* Light bulbs. European hotels (and many American hotels, for that matter) are not generous with the wattage of their reading lights. This saves money, but not the guest’s eyesight. Many seasoned travelers carry their own light bulbs or high-intensity reading lights.
* Hotel hallways are dim and dark. The moment a guest sets foot outside the room—or steps off the elevator—motion detectors automatically turn all the lights on. Again, why waste energy lighting an unused hallway?
* Escalators. At many airports, train stations, hotels and malls, the escalators are not moving and appear to be broken. However, when you step onto the first flat stair, the contraption immediately starts up. In America, escalators move 24/7, wasting vast amounts of energy for no reason.
* Alternative energy. From the window of a train speeding along on smooth, welded rails through the German and Austrian countryside, you see tidy houses with solar panels and huge bins of firewood by the outside walls. It could be argued that the smoke from wood fires is more polluting than oil or gas energy, but wood is a renewable resource. Oil and gas are not.
* Wind power. Several years ago, my wife and I pulled into Copenhagen on a cruise ship and were dazzled by the line of wind turbines, their blades gracefully and silently turning with the elegance of ballet dancers. Twenty percent of Denmark’s energy comes from wind power. Senator Ted Kennedy is fighting a wind farm in Nantucket Bay, because his view will be spoiled. I find wind turbines mesmerizing.