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SCHAUMBURG, ILL.—During the American Architectural Manufacturers Assn. (AAMA) 2016 National Fall Conference, the AAMA Sustainability Steering Committee hosted two speakers who stressed the importance of wellness in buildings the industry assists in creating and renovating. Lauren Wallace (Epsten Group) focused on the WELL Building Standard and the Living Building Challenge, followed by Dr. Elliott Horner (UL), who gave those in attendance information on indoor air quality testing and its merits. “When we think of sustainability, we often think of environmental impact,” said Mark Silverberg (Technoform), chair of the AAMA Sustainability Steering Committee. “But 92 percent of costs are employee-related, instead of maintenance and operation. We can help reduce depression, a leading cost of lost time. Glass and glazing have a major opportunity of making this net positive contribution.” Wallace went over the WELL Building Standard, the first standard to focus solely on the health and wellness of the people in the buildings. “We spend 90 percent of our time indoors, and we have potential to reshape public health and make a positive impact on wellbeing,” said Wallace.
BETHESDA, MD.—Marriott International announced plans to debut Element Hotels, the stylish eco-incubator brand in Egypt in early 2019. Located in Cairo’s upscale Heliopolis district and slated to be the largest Element Hotel in the Middle East and Africa, Element Cairo is being developed by Abraj Misr Urban Development and is owned by Middle East Real Estate for Development (MERED), an Egyptian limited liability company. Element Cairo will be part of The Gate Project, the new iconic eco-friendly development, featuring the largest housing, administrative, commercial facility in Egypt and the Middle East. The hotel will feature 344 light-filled rooms and an atmosphere designed to fuel a life in balance and on the move. “Egypt is one of our key markets and we are excited to introduce a new brand to the capital’s city center,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Element Cairo will be a highly-anticipated addition to our rapidly growing portfolio presenting travelers an appealing, new option for short and long stays in this market.”
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge webinar series has begun and will run through April. The most recent webinar, earlier this month, was entitled, “Shout it from the Mountaintops!: Working with your communications team to tell your energy efficiency success story.” Additional upcoming webinars will touch on topics ranging from sub-metering to financing.
KIGALI, RWANDA—Marriott International officially opened the doors of its first Marriott Hotel in Rwanda. “Rwanda is going through an economic transformation and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson, who attended the Kigali Marriott’s opening ceremony with political dignitaries and executives including Alex Kyriakidis, Marriott’s President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa region. “Coupled with that transformation is a mutual promise for opportunity—both for Marriott as a hospitality company and for the associates and partners who will help us succeed in this market.” Highlighting the importance of hospitality’s role in Rwanda, the World Travel & Tourism Council says Rwanda’s travel and tourism industry generated 7.1 percent of the country’s GDP in 2015 and predicts it to rise at 4.1 percent annually through 2025. Known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda is becoming a popular destination for meetings and tourism. The 254-room Marriott in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, is creating approximately 500 jobs and will be among the country’s biggest and most luxurious properties.
BROOKLYN, N.Y.—1 Hotels, the mission-driven luxury lifestyle hotel brand announced that the newest addition to its portfolio, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, is set to make its debut in February 2017. Located at Pier 1, just south of the iconic bridge in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood and minutes from downtown Manhattan, the 10-story sustainable ground-up development is designed by New York-based architecture studio Incorporated and will feature 194 guestrooms with sliding floor-to-ceiling windows—many offering views of the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and New York skyline—including 29 two to six bedroom suites and The Riverhouse, its Presidential Suite. Guests of the hotel will enjoy a nine-treatment room Bamford Spa, a state of the art signature Field House fitness center, a yoga and barre studio operated by POE Yoga, and a 50-seat screening room. All aspects of the hotel’s design and construction will be carefully chosen to reflect 1 Hotel’s commitment to environmentally responsible hospitality. “The 1 Hotels brand aims to show sophisticated travelers they can live well, do good, and connect with the world around them,” said 1 Hotels founder and SH Group CEO Barry Sternlicht.
MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton announced that all 750 properties across its All Suites brands will recycle discarded soap and amenity bottles and donate them to reduce hygiene-related illnesses for communities in need. Marking the first time in the industry this is required as a brand standard, it is a major expansion of what is already the industry’s largest soap recycling program that will now include 1,370 hotels participating across Hilton’s portfolio. Hilton’s All Suites brands include Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton. They comprise nearly 15 percent of Hilton’s current portfolio and 29 percent of its pipeline, and the new brand standard will nearly double the number of hotels participating in the soap-recycling program. Through its partnerships with Clean the World and other organizations, Hilton’s hotels have already collected more than one million pounds of partially-used soap, which have been recycled into more than four million new bars of soap. This process has also prevented more than 570 tons of waste going to landfills.
NEEDHAM, MASS.—TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, today announced its commitment to launch a set of industry-leading actions, including changes to its policy on selling tickets to animal attractions, and the launch of a new education portal to help inform travelers about the standards of care for wild, captive, and endangered species in tourism and their interactions with tourists, and their impact on wildlife conservation. TripAdvisor and its Viator brand will discontinue selling tickets for specific tourism experiences where travelers come into physical contact with captive wild animals or endangered species, including but not limited to elephant rides, petting tigers, and swim with dolphin attractions. While some attractions will cease booking through TripAdvisor immediately, the company plans to have both the educational portal and booking policy changes fully launched and implemented by early 2017. TripAdvisor is also committing to the development and launch of an education portal linked to every animal attraction listing on TripAdvisor. The portal will provide links and information on animal welfare practices, helping travelers to write more informed reviews about their experience.
HONG KONG—Burba Hotel Network (BHN), 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.
BANGKOK—Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas announces the brand’s long-anticipated debut in the United States with Six Senses New York, a luxury hotel being developed by HFZ Capital Group in New York City between Manhattan’s popular High Line and the Hudson River. “This project is a fascinating and exciting contrast to the typical Six Senses locations where we operate resorts in settings with azure waters, UNESCO heritage listings and lush rainforests,” said Six Senses Chief Executive Officer Neil Jacobs. “Six Senses New York will have the same touch-points and DNA, with some creative adaptation of course, but with no compromises on our commitment to community, wellness, sustainability and design. We are delighted to be partnering with HFZ on this fabulous urban development.” The development project by HFZ Capital Group is located on 10th Avenue. The site encompasses the entire block between 17th and 18th streets in the heart of the city’s vibrant and artsy Chelsea neighborhood. The overall project, named The Eleventh, features two soaring towers.
HONOLULU, HAWAII—Among the landmark decisions emerging earlier this month from the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress is a bold decision to improve standards for ecotourism worldwide. Motion 65, “Improving standards in ecotourism”, proposed by the Yale Tropical Resources Institute in collaboration with The International Ecotourism Society, Nature Seychelles, the African Wildlife Foundation, the WILD Foundation, The Wilderness Society Australia, National Parks Australia Council, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and the Moroccan Association for Ecotourism and Nature Protection, urges IUCN to renew their definition of ecotourism and address the barriers to its effectiveness as a conservation tool.