Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort’s Impressive Rooftop Hydroponic Farm

by Glenn Hasek September 28, 2016 07:45

In my publisher’s column last week I wrote about San Francisco’s steps to require owners of new buildings 10 stories or less to put in solar panels and/or green roofing atop the new buildings. Since writing that column, I came across an example of one property in Thailand that has gone way beyond solar and/or green roofing atop its resort. According to Greenroofs.com, the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort has a 2,800 square-meter rooftop hydroponic farm on its roof. The farm is on the third floor overlooking the Chao Phraya River. The resort partnered with Bangsai Agricultural Centre to offer its guests a locally grown, certified organic, freshly harvested selection of Western and Asian herbs, vegetables and salads in its farm. Between 12 and 50 kilograms of each product is produced daily.

The clean, fresh, certified organic produce contains the highest possible nutrition per calorie with up to seven times more rich nutrient compared to produce found in local supermarkets while using no soil, 90 percent less water, 70 percentage less land and 50 percent less fertilizer.

Hydroponic farming is an ancient method of farming that is best described as growing plants with nutrients and water without soil. In weather controlled greenhouses, water and nutrients are delivered to the root system. Seeds are planted in a soil-like substance, which has excellent water holding capacity to encourage plant growth. The resort’s farm consists of Small Green Houses, Sprouting Rooms, Green Houses and Green Tunnels. Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort is currently serving fresh locally produced greens daily from its rooftop farm.

The rooftop farm is just one of the many steps Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas is taking to reduce its environmental impact and provide a healthy experience for its guests. Nineteen of its resorts have received Green Growth Certification. That standard consists of 37 criteria and 406 indicators—areas ranging from legal compliance to environmental stewardship. Click here to learn more about green initiatives at Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas. To learn more about hydroponic farming at resorts, go to www.greenlodgingnews.com and search on “hydroponic”.

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Green Properties Recognized in HX, HICAP Awards Competitions

by Glenn Hasek September 21, 2016 04:38

It is awards season again. Two announcements this past week highlighted examples of sustainability in both design and operations. First, finalists have been announced for HX: The Hotel Experience’s 36th annual Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design, which is sponsored by Boutique Design magazine. Winners in 21 categories will be announced at the Gold Key Awards Gala, to be held November 14 at the Waldorf Astoria, New York. The Designer of the Year will also be honored during this special evening. In the Best Eco-Conscious or Socially Conscious Hotel category, finalists for the 2016 Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design include: Champalimaud Design, New York and Hart Howerton, New York for The Island House, Nassau, Bahamas; concrete, Amsterdam for Zoku Amsterdam; and Deture Culsign, Architecture + Interiors, Chicago for Treehouse Suite at Playa Viva, Juluchuca, Mexico.

In addition to the Gold Key Awards announcement, Burba Hotel Network, Horwath HTL, and Stiles Capital Events, co-hosts and organizers of the annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP), have announced the winners for the HICAP 2016 Sustainable Hotel Awards. The 27th annual HICAP will be held October 19 to 21, 2016 at the InterContinental Hong Kong. In the category of Sustainable Project Design, the winner is The Temple House in Chengdu, China. The Temple House is the result of the potent combination when a creative architectural firm and an enlightened client combine sensitivity, social responsibility and an understanding of place making in the urban context, to a design problem. In the category of Sustainable Communities, the winner is the Nikoi Island in Riau Province, Indonesia. Besides sourcing nearly all construction materials, labor (including 150 current staff) and operating supplies locally, the Nikoi’s most enduring and significant community impact stems from the creation of The Island Foundation. From an initial focus on establishing a network of learning centers for local children, the centers have expanded into programs for adults including health education, sanitation and arts and crafts. The Foundation also provides training workshops for teachers that are recognized by the Ministry of Education and lead to obtaining higher salaries.

In the category of Sustainable Operations, the winners are ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, India and Jetwing Yala in Yala, Sri Lanka. ITC Grand Chola is a 600-key hotel with more than 1.6 million square feet of built area, one of the largest in the Indian subcontinent and the world’s largest LEED Platinum-rated hotel. Since opening in 2012, energy consumption and waste generation has been reduced annually via installation of all LED lighting, a condensate recovery system, an additional wind turbine, solar heating panels, and a heat pump to reduce diesel use. Sixty-six percent of the property’s energy is now sourced from renewables, 99 percent of waste is reused or recycled, and 100 percent of irrigation, flushing, and cooling tower water needs are met through treated effluent. Set on the outskirts of the Yala National Park, Jetwing Yala was a landmark opening in 2014, changing the face of the deep south of Sri Lanka. One of the country’s largest privately owned solar installations of 300 kilowatts meets 40 percent of the hotel’s daily electricity needs. The plant supplies excess energy at peak back to the national grid, helping to cushion grid fluctuations experienced by local residents. Its heating and cooling is operated by a vapour absorption chiller, run sustainably via steam generated from a biomass boiler using sustainable cinnamon wood procured locally. Hot water is provided entirely through renewable energy, and lighting is 100 percent LED.

Congratulations to these finalists and winners.

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GLN's Solar Powered Hotels List Keeps Getting Longer

by Glenn Hasek September 14, 2016 05:22

The list of solar powered hotels listed on Green Lodging News just keeps getting longer. I just added the Olas Verdes Hotel to the Solar Powered page included in our Renewable Energy All Stars section. The Olas Verdes Hotel, located in Costa Rica, is a LEED Platinum property with five casitas. Each casita has from two to four suites. Solar PV and hot water systems provide nearly 20 percent of the energy needed to run the hotel. The Olas Verdes Hotel fits well in Costa Rica, a country now running off of about 98 percent clean energy. I will be writing more about the Olas Verdes Hotel very soon. Just yesterday, The Hotel at Oberlin officially opened in Oberlin, Ohio. A large portion of the hotel’s power is supplied by a 10-acre photovoltaic array on the campus of Oberlin College. The Hotel at Oberlin is another LEED Platinum hotel.

Several weeks ago I posted an article about the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea, Hawaii and its 500 kilowatt, 1,528 panel solar installation. The project is expected to reduce the resort’s current energy demand by more than 10 percent and reduce CO2e emissions by 462 metric tons of CO2e annually. The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa recently celebrated the installation of one of the largest rooftop photovoltaic systems in Hawaii. The system of solar panels produces more than 6 percent of the resort’s annual electricity. Also earlier this year, MGM Resorts International completed its massive 8.3. MW array atop the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. It includes more than 26,000 PV panels.

As the price of solar comes down—it was $100 per watt back in 1975 but is now around $.61 per watt—an increasing number of hotel owners are finding it to be a viable option. Yes, you need the footprint for the panels and it becomes more viable if you are up against high electricity rates, but sometimes all it takes is creative financing. MGM Resorts International, for example, does not own its system. Through a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Mandalay Bay Resort purchases all the electricity generated by the panels from NRG Energy, Inc.

If you would like to learn more about solar, be sure to visit the Solar Energy Industries Assn. (SEIA) website. According to SEIA, the United States installed 2,051 MW of solar PV in Q2 2016 to reach 31.6 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity, enough to power 6.2 million American homes.

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Entrepreneur Sees Dollars, Energy in the Pipes of Your Hotel

by Glenn Hasek September 08, 2016 06:44

If you happen to own or operate larger hotels, or even if you do not, you should pay attention to a new and emerging technology being developed and tested by a company called 10xHydro. I just spoke with Vladimir M Petrovic, the company’s Founder & CEO. He is excited about his company’s compact bladeless turbine that, when placed in pipes carrying hot and cold water, drinking water, natural gas or refrigerant, can regenerate 40 percent of the available energy of the fluid flowing through the pipes. The energy is extracted from pressure reducing devices such as: balancing valves in hydronic circuits, pressure regulators for air, natural gas or LPG, pressure reducers on steam installations and any other installation in need of pressure reducing devices for normal operation. The main feature of the 10xHydro turbine is its ability to harvest energy form low head pressure—thus making it applicable to a wide spectrum of installations. “We’ve developed a new technology with the ability to turn every building into its own Hoover Dam,” Petrovic says. “Our compact bladeless turbine design is a great fit for the low pressure drop and low flows that are commonly seen in buildings.”

The turbines are placed away from the pump’s critical path—to the point where the existing system doesn’t see the turbines. The turbines contain no protruding shafts and include internally embedded electrical generators. The 10xHydro turbine utilizes adhesive forces of fluid (basically friction forces between the fluid and the discs) for energy extraction. This enables simpler and more reliable construction that has lower propensity for breakage due to mechanical stresses.

The 10xHydro Turbine Electrical System (10xTES) associated with the turbine is powered by the turbine three-phase alternating current (AC) asynchronous generator. It does not require any additional power supply nor power consumer. The autonomous 10xTES system is capable of monitoring and reporting on the operation of the turbine depending on the changes in operating conditions. In addition, controlling capabilities are introduced through the electrical load of the system itself.

Petrovic says the turbines can pay for themselves in about five years. ROI time will vary depending on electricity rates. Petrovic says he already has had interest from one major hotel company for its properties in Hawaii and the Caribbean, where electricity rates are high. Provided funding is in place, the final version of the water turbines should be available within one to two years. The turbines already have been successfully tested in five locations including a SUNOKO sugar plant (Europe) and the Adobe headquarters in San Jose, Calif. “Our turbines can be developed to work with any fluid pipe—including oil, steam, natural gas, and refrigeration,” Petrovic emphasizes.

More information is available on the company’s website and in a YouTube video.

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Green Fall Conference Season Approaching

by Glenn Hasek August 24, 2016 05:55

With summer winding down it is a good time to take a look at the fall conference season. There will be many events at which sustainability will be a focus. The most significant green-focused event will be the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. This year’s event will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from October 5 to 7. Greenbuild will include a trade show, many educational sessions, building tours and even a Water Summit. Author Sebastian Junger will be the plenary speaker. His recent book is entitled “Tribe.” According to Junger’s website, the book is about why tribal sentiment is such a rare and precious thing in modern society, and how the lack of it has affected us all. One month prior is the Sustainable Meetings Conference. It will be held September 15 to 16 at the Hilton Baltimore. It will be the first opportunity to experience the revamped Green Meeting Industry Council—now a part of the Convention Industry Council.

The Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum, held September 30 to October 2 at El Conquistador in Puerto Rico, will include a track of sessions dedicated to Environment Sustainability.

The Global Wellness Summit will take place October 17 to 19 at KitzKongress, Kitzbühel in Tyrol, Austria. The event will include an Austrian-style Wellness Hotel Sampler following the summit.

A Sustainability Conference will be held November 10 at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., will feature guest presenters from the EPA, Southern Nevada Authority, Republic Services, and other organizations.

For the second year running, HX: The Hotel Experience will be held in November (13 to 15 this year) at the Javits Center in New York City. Also for the second year running, I will be moderating sessions on the show floor. Be sure to make your plans now so that you can attend my two green sessions as well as the many other educational sessions. The first topic I chose for this year’s HX: “Greenwashing or Nothing But the Truth—The Untold Story of the Greening of Amenities.” I have followed the greening of amenities for many years now and have found the topic to be intriguing and more complex than you can imagine. I have put together a panel of experts who will be on hand to answer my questions and those from the audience. The second topic I chose for this year’s HX: “Behind the Numbers—What Two Leading 2016 Surveys Say About Sustainability Trends.” In this session the highlights of two leading industry surveys will be revealed. First, results of the 2016 Lodging Survey will be shared by Lindsay Culbreath, Senior Director, Business Development & Marketing for STR. Conducted every two years, the 2016 Lodging Survey is a production of STR, the American Hotel & Lodging Assn. and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation. The 2016 Lodging Survey touches on topics ranging from energy management sensors to recycling programs to electric vehicle charging stations. Second, Eric Ricaurte, Founder & CEO, Greenview, will share highlights of the first annual Green Lodging Survey, a production of Greenview and Green Lodging News. Also on the panel: Rick Werber, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Sustainability, Design and Construction Department, Host Hotels & Resorts.”

I will look forward to seeing you “on the road” this fall.

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Food Drive Just One of Many Green Efforts at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

by Glenn Hasek August 17, 2016 04:55

News from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center often crosses my desk. It usually has to do with good things the Center is doing in the community or in other areas of sustainability. One recent example was a canned food drive. Each Center department recently was challenged to come up with the most creative representation of a Louisiana icon or landmark, using only non-perishable food cans. Employees donated from their personal pantries and pooled their own money and resources together in order to build their canned goods masterpieces. Some of the creative ideas included a replica of the Louisiana State Capitol made out of canned goods and boxed spaghetti; and several canned pineapple “suns” to represent the official state song of Louisiana, “You are my Sunshine.” The entries were judged by the contest’s beneficiary, Giving HOPE, a nonprofit dedicated to “changing lives through love.”

The judges then awarded the grand prize trophy to the Facility and Environmental departments, for their elaborate, three-dimensional alligator constructed from cans of green beans and tomatoes. After the winning design was announced, employees boxed up the items and loaded the truck bound for Giving HOPE’s warehouse. The organization estimated that the employee’s donation was valued at $7,361.

The Center, a participant in the 2016 Green Venue Report, has an extensive green program in partnership with Centerplate that focuses on waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, and clean air practices. A few examples of initiatives: china an option for catered events, daylight sensors for exterior lighting, variable volume HVAC and pumping systems, irrigation systems with rain sensors, and environmentally preferable cleaners when possible.

This week the Center will host the Farm to Table Experience, an event where the food and beverages of New Orleans will be celebrated through tastings, interactive gardening and cooking demonstrations, hands-on workshops, educational sessions, social events, and more.

To learn more about the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and its green efforts, click here.

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Six New York Hotels Participate in City's Zero Waste Challenge

by Glenn Hasek August 10, 2016 06:11

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Zero Waste Challenge recently wrapped up with six hotels participating. The Zero Waste Challenge is part of the administration’s comprehensive OneNYC plan to send Zero Waste to landfill by 2030. Collectively, 31 businesses diverted 36,910 tons of waste that would have otherwise been sent to landfill or incineration. This was done by composting over 24,500 tons of organic material and donating 322 tons of food to New Yorkers in need. “With the Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge, the new commercial recycling rules and commercial organics law, we aim to help businesses make choices that will cut down on our overall waste as a City,” said Nilda Mesa, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Participants were very creative in coming up with ways to reduce waste and recycle more; staff training and getting upper management buy-in are also essential.”

New regulations that require New York City stadiums and hotels to foot the bill for disposing of the excessive food waste left behind by patrons went into effect last month. Collectively, all participants reached an average diversion rate of 56.5 percent—exceeding the Challenge’s goal of a 50 percent diversion. Three quarters of participants diverted 50 percent or more of their total waste from landfill and incineration through tactics such as making smarter, less wasteful purchases; reducing packaging; and switching to reusable goods and digital storage. For example, some participants are stocking their offices with reusable coffee mugs and glasses and have done away with disposable cups and bottled water; another replaced all trash bins with tiny countertop landfill bins encouraging employees to only place materials there that must go to landfill.

The Challenge also required participants that regularly had leftover, edible food to donate it to a food collection organization to then be sent to shelters or food pantries. A total of 322 tons of food was donated by participants to feed hungry New Yorkers. Organizations such as City Harvest; Rock and Wrap it Up!; and Rescuing Leftover Cuisine assisted the City in tracking donations.

Hotel participants in the Zero Waste Challenge included Hilton Garden Inn New York/Staten Island, Hyatt Place Flushing, Martha Washington Hotel, The Peninsula New York, The Pierre New York, and The Waldorf Astoria. The Hilton Garden Inn New York/Staten Island, The Peninsula New York and The Pierre New York all reached 50 percent of waste diverted from landfill and incineration.

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Two 'Green' Sessions Among the Many at This Fall's HX: The Hotel Experience

by Glenn Hasek August 03, 2016 04:56

For the second year running, HX: The Hotel Experience will be held in November (13 to 15 this year) at the Javits Center in New York City. Also for the second year running, I will be moderating sessions on the show floor. Be sure to make your plans now so that you can attend my two green sessions as well as the many other educational sessions. The first topic I chose for this year’s HX: “Greenwashing or Nothing But the Truth—The Untold Story of the Greening of Amenities.” I have followed the greening of amenities for many years now and have found the topic to be intriguing and more complex than you can imagine. I have put together a panel of experts who will be on hand to answer my questions and those from the audience. My panel this year: Ian Wallace, President of Dispenser Amenities; Guido Bonadonna, CEO, GFL SA; and Ray Burger, President, Pineapple Hospitality.

Here is the description of the session I am putting together: “In the highly competitive race to win the green hearts of hoteliers and guests alike, amenities companies have removed harmful chemicals, introduced natural ingredients, inserted additives into plastic, and adjusted other packaging content. Some companies now offer “zero waste” or “carbon neutral” options. How do vendors define “zero waste” or “carbon neutral”? What does it mean that a product is paraben free or phthalate free? Why is that important? Does a plastic bottle with an additive really biodegrade faster? What about dispensers? Should you “ditch” amenity bottles altogether? What is their environmental/operational upside? Is it all just greenwashing? Suppliers will join in what is guaranteed to be a revealing discussion about the current state of “sustainable” amenities and dispensers.”

It was not easy putting together my panel. I had several amenity companies turn down the opportunity and a number of others who chose not to return my phone calls.

The second topic I chose for this year’s HX: “Behind the Numbers—What Two Leading 2016 Surveys Say About Sustainability Trends.” Here is the description of the session: “Call 2016 the year of the surveys. In this session the highlights of two leading industry surveys will be revealed. First, results of the 2016 Lodging Survey will be shared by Lindsay Culbreath, Senior Director, Business Development & Marketing for STR. Conducted every two years, the 2016 Lodging Survey is a production of STR, the American Hotel & Lodging Assn. and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation. The 2016 Lodging Survey touches on topics ranging from energy management sensors to recycling programs to electric vehicle charging stations. Second, Eric Ricaurte, Founder & CEO, Greenview, will share highlights of the first annual Green Lodging Survey, a production of Greenview and Green Lodging News. Learn the results of “green” questions never before posed to hoteliers. Both surveys were built to not only identify trends but also innovative best practices. Also on the panel: Rick Werber, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Sustainability, Design and Construction Department, Host Hotels & Resorts.”

At no other time in the history of our industry will so much data be available on sustainability trends and practices. Be sure to attend this second session.

To access a schedule of all HX educational opportunities, click here.

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Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index Continues Growth

by Glenn Hasek July 27, 2016 05:11

It is an old management adage still true today: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Fortunately, the lodging industry is getting better all of the time at managing its environmental impact. One sure proof of this is the just-released “Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index 2016: Energy, Water, and Carbon.” The report was produced by Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research. Eric Ricaurte, Founder & CEO of Greenview, was the lead researcher and compiled 2014 data from 11 global hotel firms. I spoke with Ricaurte and he told me the data set grew by 40 percent—from 3,250 properties to 4,457 properties since last year’s report. “We are showing more granularity and improvement every year,” Ricaurte said. This is the third year for the study. In the first year the database included utility information from about 2,000 hotels.

Unique to this year’s Index is the ability to sort by climate zones (Tropical, Tropical Monsoon, etc.) and hotel type (Luxury, Urban, etc).

The improvement in data collection from year to year is a boon for the Hotel Footprinting Tool, a tool that relies on Index data. The Hotel Footprinting Tool was launched last October by the International Tourism Partnership and Greenview. The Index is perfect for anyone interested in benchmarking their own property against other properties in a market segment. Destinations or even countries can also compare their performance against others.

Interestingly, Ricaurte told me data in the Index show hotels across the board in Asia to be less efficient than those in other parts of the world. “The general usage of water and energy is higher,” Ricaurte said.

Ricaurte invites hotel companies to participate in the 2017 edition of the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index, which has now begun collecting 2015 data sets for carbon emissions, energy use, and water use.

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NSF 444 Standard Will Help Prevent Legionella Outbreaks

by Glenn Hasek July 20, 2016 04:50

Legionellosis is a respiratory disease caused by Legionella bacteria. Sometimes the bacteria cause a serious type of pneumonia (lung infection) called Legionnaires’ disease. The bacteria can also cause a less serious infection called Pontiac fever that has symptoms similar to a mild case of the flu. Unfortunately, Legionella bacteria make frequent appearances in hotels. Legionella was discovered after an outbreak in 1976 among people who went to a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion. The convention took place at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel and 34 people died. Last year there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in New York City that left 12 dead and more than 100 infected. Part of the outbreak traced back to a hotel and there was a cooling tower connection. The CDC estimates that between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease in the United States each year, with more than 4,500 cases reported in 2014.

To address concerns about legionellosis, global public health organization NSF International and ASHRAE have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly develop NSF 444: Prevention of Injury and Disease Associated with Building Water Systems. Water quality often degrades once water enters buildings, and it could expose occupants to hazards such as microbial pathogens, toxic chemicals and physical hazards. NSF 444 seeks to provide a methodology for the systematic analysis of building water systems and the application of control measures necessary to prevent harm and to maintain public health.

“The development of NSF 444 and this MOU with ASHRAE represent NSF International’s commitment to helping assure water quality in areas that impact human health,” said Jessica Evans, Director of Standards at NSF International. “NSF 444 is the first NSF standard to address building water quality and our working relationship with ASHRAE will help us contribute expertise to this important area of the water quality industry.”

U.S. public health and environmental organizations at the state and federal levels, members of ASHRAE, private healthcare systems, academia and those in the water industry are participating on the joint committee to develop the standard. The standard is expected to be released in 2017.

Continue to watch Green Lodging News for updates on NSF 444.

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About Me

Glenn Hasek is the publisher and editor of Green Lodging News. He has more than 20 years of experience writing about the lodging industry. He can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com or by phone at (813) 510-3868.