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NEW ORLEANS, LA.—A smoke-free ordinance went into effect in New Orleans last week. The unanimous passage of this ordinance, led by Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and Councilwoman Susan Guidry, has thrust New Orleans into the national spotlight as a leader in public health advocacy. New Orleans joins eight Louisiana communities and more than 1,200 municipalities nationwide that have gone smoke-free.
NEW YORK—Restorative Hospitality, a subsidiary of the wellness real estate firm Delos, and Leonardo DiCaprio have announced plans to create the world’s most sustainable island resort at Blackadore Caye, Belize. Upon its completion in 2018, Blackadore Caye will be the greenest island resort ever built, the business partners say, and the world’s first “Restorative Island” project designed with sustainable building techniques that restore and regenerate the surrounding ecosystem and reverse the effects of climate change. The project is being developed by Restorative Islands, LLC, designed by McLennan Design and operated by Restorative Hospitality, which will also manage the wellness programming offered at the resort. “Islands and coastal areas all over the world are being threatened by climate change due to rising sea levels, ocean acidification and habitat pressures,” said Leonardo DiCaprio. “This project is leading a new way in eco-tourism, development and green building and demonstrates that human development can be truly restorative and beneficial for the environment.” The resort’s design will restore and reinforce Blackadore Caye by replanting mangrove.
ATLANTA—A consolidation between ASHRAE and the Indoor Air Quality Assn. has been finalized by both organizations. The consolidation was approved by the Boards of Directors for ASHRAE and IAQA at ASHRAE’s recent 2015 Winter Conference in Chicago.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA—A University of Melbourne researcher has found that common consumer products, including those marketed as “green”, “all-natural”, “non-toxic”, and “organic”, emit a range of compounds that could harm human health and air quality. But most of these ingredients are not disclosed to the public. Dr. Anne Steinemann, Professor of Civil Engineering, and the Chair of Sustainable Cities, from the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering, is a world expert on environmental pollutants, air quality, and health effects. Professor Steinemann investigated and compared volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from 37 different products, such as air fresheners, cleaning products, laundry supplies, and personal care products, including those with certifications and claims of “green” and “organic”. Both fragranced and fragrance-free products were tested. The study, published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health found 156 different VOCs emitted from the 37 products, with an average of 15 VOCs per product. Of these 156 VOCs, 42 are classified as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws, and each product emitted at least one of these chemicals.
TAMPA, FLA.—Hasek Communications, the Tampa, Fla.-based publisher of Green Lodging News, welcomes GreenEarth Cleaning as an advertising partner. The GreenEarth dry cleaning process uses liquid silicone in place of petrochemicals. Essentially liquified sand, silicone is non-hazardous and non-toxic to the environment. When released to the environment, it safely breaks down into the three natural elements it is made from: sand (SiO2) and trace amounts of water and carbon dioxide.
NATIONAL REPORT—Green walls, also known as vertical gardens or living walls, increasingly are being used in interior and exterior areas of hotels to make a green design statement. Aside from being aesthetic symbols of a property’s commitment to sustainability—perhaps even a means to earn LEED credits—green walls offer many other benefits. They can help deaden sound in large spaces, absorb and clean toxins from the air, reduce carbon dioxide levels, keep air temperatures down, improve employee alertness and energy levels, increase humidity, reduce airborne dust levels, and even help increase the property values of commercial buildings. According to Ambius, a green walls design expert, exterior green walls can reduce wall surface temperatures by as much as 50 degrees F, resulting in significant energy savings and air-conditioning costs. Green walls can be massive in size and expand over multiple floors, or as small as a framed piece of art—what Ambius calls its LivePicture.
NORTHBROOK, ILL.—UL, a global safety science leader, recently conducted a study to learn where value and return on investment lie in the area of sustainable buildings. The study and its result is available in a free white paper titled, “The Dawn of the Building Performance Era.” The paper wasa written by UL Chief Economist Erin Grossi.
DALLAS—Guests of The Highland Dallas can now take advantage of the newly-available PURE guestrooms. Specially-treated to provide the highest purity in air quality, PURE rooms, with hypoallergenic elements, ensure ultimate comfort for health-conscious guests and their families.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to protect the public from seven ethylene glycol ethers or glymes chemicals that can cause health effects including birth defects and blood toxicity.
VIENNA, AUSTRIA—The original pioneers of natural swimming pools, BIOTOP Landschaftsgestaltung GmbH, headquartered in Austria, has seen an increase in requests from the hotel and tourism industry for chemical-free natural swimming pools, to provide the ultimate luxury and sustainable guest attraction.
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