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SAN FRANCISCO—Kimpton Restaurants, a collection of 45 chef-driven restaurants in the United States and Canada, and a recognized environmental pioneer, announces three new sustainable initiatives. As the latest addition to Kimpton’s EarthCare program, guests can enjoy in-house purified still and sparkling water, increased eco-friendly wine selections, and sustainable seafood dishes at restaurants in 21 cities. Thirty percent of wine lists will feature eco-friendly selections by January 2010, including organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines from small and large producers. Only sustainable seafood selections will be offered at restaurants, in accordance with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program (currently in place). In-house purified water will be available through a national partnership with Natura by July 2009.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The building industry is encouraged to reach out to Congress to promote high-performance buildings during High-Performance Buildings week. The High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition (HPBCCC) is hosting the first annual Virtual Congressional Visit Days during the week of June 15 to 19. Members of the HPBCCC participating organizations are asked to contact their member of Congress by phone and e-mail and encourage them to join the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus and to focus on high-performance building issues. The week has been dubbed “High-Performance Buildings Week.”
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.—Cheyenne Mountain Resort has been recognized for its green practices and operation with the Silver Tier sustainability status by the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC). “In order to fully commit the property to protecting the environment through sustainable operations, several years ago Cheyenne Mountain Resort launched a multi-faceted, resort-wide program designed to save water and energy, reduce waste, and implement a full range of eco-friendly practices,” said John Branciforte, director of sales and marketing. “We are delighted that the IACC has recognized our efforts to steadily reduce our impact on the environment by adopting a wide array of green practices, from buying local and organic produce and switching to energy-efficient lighting to using environmentally friendly products and services.”
HIDDEN VALLEY, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA—The Solar Eco Cabins and Interpretive Centre at Hidden Valley Cabins are an inspiration for the tourist industry and the community to follow, Stephen Pahl, CEO of Ecotourism Australia, said recently. “Hidden Valley Cabins is Australia’s first fully carbon neutral resort and tour business, and they have recently achieved Advanced Ecotourism Certification,” he added. “The official opening of the Solar Eco Cabins on April 4 is the culmination of the McLennan family’s commitment to environmental improvement over more than 20 years and they have achieved a model that should inspire the rest of the tourist industry and anyone interested in ways to reduce their carbon footprint.”
LAS VEGAS—An array of high-profile private- and public-sector organizations, including many household names in the United States and abroad, have lent their support to the second WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition, slated for October 7 to 9 in Las Vegas. Presented by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense Program and the American Water Works Association (AWWA), WaterSmart Innovations is the largest and most comprehensive conference of its kind in the world. Other major organizations supporting WaterSmart Innovations are the Alliance for Water Efficiency, Audubon International, GreenPlumbers USA, International Center for Water Technology, Irrigation Association and California Urban Water Conservation Council.
BURBANK, CALIF.—In celebration of World Environment Day, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) announced the funding of programs that will support more than 90 species and promote habitat conservation in 33 countries. The 2009 DWCF grant recipients will receive almost $1.5 million for efforts ranging from protecting Pakistan’s majestic Snow Leopards, to following the migration of Magellanic penguins in Argentina to reintroducing endangered Whooping Cranes in eastern North America. Now in its fourteenth year, the DWCF, through support from The Walt Disney Company and Disney guests, has contributed more than $14 million to conservation projects for the study and protection of the world’s wildlife and habitats.
AUSTIN, TEXAS—With the worldwide economic downturn on the forefront of everyone’s minds, businesses across the globe are incorporating creative methods to work towards financial recovery. A panel of hospitality technology experts, representing large to small properties, will discuss the state of the hospitality industry and the economy during the 2009 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) General Session “Useful Tech Weapons for Economic Battles.” The session is Tuesday, June 23 at 8:30 a.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. During the general session, the panel will give predictions on the future, discuss ways they are addressing the state of the industry within their own companies and divulge what they are doing to help stay ahead of the storm.
NATIONAL REPORT—Last summer, when oil prices were at record highs, thieves were actually stealing yellow grease—used vegetable oil—from storage bins outside of restaurants. Since that time, oil prices have fallen of course but used fryer oil has remained a valuable commodity. Some is still picked up and ultimately used in fertilizers, as animal feed, or in cosmetics, but waste vegetable oil is beginning to be used as a biofuel in cogeneration systems to generate electricity and useable heat. For quite some time it has been converted into biodiesel to power automobiles or even trains. Hoteliers and restaurateurs around the United States are discovering that there is gold in grease.
SAN FRANCISCO—One of San Francisco’s eco-chic hotels now ranks as its greenest according to the industry standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) internationally recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system. Hotel Carlton, a Joie de Vivre boutique property, has earned the prestigious LEED Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EB O&M) Gold certification from the USGBC. The hotel is the first in the country to earn the rigorous Gold certification under the USGBC’s newly-revamped LEED-EB O&M rating system which debuted last year and was designed specifically to address the needs of existing buildings. “We are thrilled and proud that we can now say Hotel Carlton is LEED-EB O&M Gold certified, making it the highest rated hotel by LEED standards in San Francisco,” said Pamela Flank, the hotel’s general manager.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) began testing candidates who wish to pursue the new LEED Green Associate credential or the new LEED Accredited Professional (AP) Operations and Maintenance (O+M) credential. The LEED Green Associate credential is intended for individuals seeking to propel their professional journey into the green building industry. It represents the demonstrable knowledge and skills needed in the allied professions and non-technical fields of practice related to green design, construction and operations. It is also the first step for professionals if they later choose to become a LEED AP. “LEED APs have become a force for change in the building industry.” said Peter Templeton, president of GBCI.
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