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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.—The Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) announced that the Virginia Beach Convention Center is the first convention center in the country to achieve LEED Gold certification for Existing Buildings. This achievement also signifies the facility as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s largest building (over 515,000 square feet) to achieve LEED Gold certification for Existing Buildings. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings, which was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). There are several types of certifications but two primary ones for commercial facilities—New Construction (NC) and Existing Buildings (EB). Since this facility was opened in 2007, the Convention Center’s application was under the Existing Building category.
PARSIPPANY, N.J.—Wyndham Worldwide, one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, announced a 277 percent increase in diversity spending in 2009. Wyndham Worldwide’s Supplier Diversity Council executed and maintained a steady procurement with qualified and competitive diverse businesses—companies owned by minorities, women and other diverse groups. The Supplier Diversity Council oversaw an increase from 1.8 percent diverse spending in 2008 to 4.5 percent in 2009, as a result of incremental spending with its diversity suppliers. When adjusted to reflect the competitive set, Wyndham Worldwide’s penetration rate grew to 6.8 percent. “We are very proud of the significant increase in our diverse supplier spending during 2009,” said Stephen P. Holmes, chairman and chief executive officer. During 2010, Wyndham Worldwide’s Supplier Diversity Council will continue to expand supplier diversity internationally (U.K. and China).
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sponsoring the first national energy efficiency contest of its kind, featuring 14 commercial buildings from across the country. Two hotels are among the 14 contestants. They include the Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown and the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol in Texas. The building that sheds the most energy waste on a percentage basis will be declared the winner at EPA’s final weigh-in on October 26, 2010. “It’s time for buildings to tighten their belts and we’re happy to help them go on an energy diet,” said Gina McCarthy, the EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation. “Cutting energy use will reduce their monthly expenses and their carbon footprint, showing that environmental protection and economic growth can go hand in hand.” Nearly 200 applications were received for EPA’s National Building Competition.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ranking Member George LeMieux (R-FL) of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation and Export Promotion, co-chaired a hearing on April 28, 2010, titled “America the Beautiful: Promoting Our National Parks as Travel Destinations.” Klobuchar and LeMieux examined the value of national parks as tourist destinations and sources of job creation and other economic benefits for states and local communities. The hearing featured testimony from award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. “Our National Parks are woven into American culture,” Klobuchar said. “They are on ‘must see’ lists for domestic and international travelers and are icons of America. But these parks are more than beautiful national resources. They are also important economic resources and increasing tourism at national parks will benefit local economies and help create jobs.”
ATLANTA—NSF International and the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) announced the joint development of a health-based standard that addresses chemical emissions from products. This comprehensive standard will streamline the myriad methods currently used for measuring and limiting chemical emissions from products, and will incorporate the most recent science on human health and toxicology to provide acute and chronic chemical exposure limits. The final GEI-NSF standard will serve as a valuable tool for sustainability programs; federal, state, and local governments; code officials; architects and designers; health professionals; specifying professionals; and consumers by helping them choose products that minimize air pollutants in indoor environments. “Building occupants are exposed to thousands of chemicals emitted from products—many of them harmful—and few programs address more than a small percentage of these compounds,” said Henning Bloech, executive director of GEI.
NATIONAL REPORT—Hotel companies are extending their environmental commitment to what their employees wear and sacrificing absolutely nothing when it comes to good design and durability. Large companies such as Hilton Worldwide and Wyndham Worldwide have made commitments to eco-friendly uniforms. Other companies and individual properties are also choosing “green” when it comes to apparel. At least two companies—Cintas Corp. and Superior Uniform Group—are offering collections that include recycled polyester made from soda bottles or recycled polyester made from post-industrial textile scraps. In some cases, recycled polyester makes up 100 percent of the material used in a product; more often it accounts for a portion in combination with materials such as non-recycled polyester, wool or Lycra.
DENVER—The launch of the new Adoba Eco Hotel & Suites Brand on the anniversary of Earth Day 2010 underscores this new brand concept’s commitment to environmental awareness and social responsibility. The Adoba Eco Hotel & Suites Brand design has taken a proactive approach to environmentally responsible architecture and intends that each new build will achieve Gold or Platinum LEED certification. The development philosophy is based upon the conviction and reality that sustainable business practices are necessary and provide viable long-term profitability when blended with responsible operational systems and a modern day sales approach.
MADISON, WIS—On the one-year anniversary of the company’s Project Green Wolf, Great Wolf Resorts, Inc., North America’s largest family of indoor waterpark resorts, continues to celebrate its distinction as the first and only national hotel chain to have all properties achieve the Green Seal certification—Silver for the lodging portion of its 10 Great Wolf Lodge brand resorts and its Blue Harbor Resort & Conference Center in the United States. Additionally, Great Wolf Lodge—Niagara Falls received a four leaf Green Leaf Eco-Rating from the Audubon Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program in Canada. In 2007, Great Wolf Resorts started reducing energy and water usage across its properties as part of the Green Seal certification process. After implementing a variety of energy-saving business practices, the company reduced electricity consumption 1.5 million kWH in 2009.
CAMAS, WASH.—Environmental issues are a top priority for many consumers. These days, it’s hard to watch TV without hearing about how you can help the environment by “going green.” One increasingly popular way of contributing to the green movement is to install compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), a fluorescent bulb designed to emit as much light as traditional light bulbs while using less energy. CFLs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and can last up to 10 times longer. CFLs also produce about 75 percent less heat, so they’re safer to operate and can cut cooling costs. To put savings into perspective, if you presently use 50 lamps (100 watts), you’re saving about $550/year in electricity. Each year, retailers sell approximately 130 million to 150 million CFLs.
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte was recently presented with LEED Gold Certification. The achievement, awarded in the New Construction category, was announced to hotel g.m. David Rothwell by Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. The press conference also introduced the hotel’s new mascot, Mother Nature, a hotel employee who will lead the hotel’s eco-friendly children’s programs. Wearing a custom-designed green gown created by eco-couture wedding designer Adele Wechsler, who was on hand for the fashionable debut, Mother Nature will enliven the property’s environmentally-minded features and services for young guests.
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