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BERLIN—Hilton Hotels Corp. announced the addition of Denizen Hotels, a global lifestyle brand, to the Hilton Family of Brands. Appearing throughout the world in international social epicenters, Denizen Hotels will cater to globally-conscious travelers. Denizen Hotels will target corporate and leisure guests and offer a technology-rich, smart-in-design living environment, focusing on connecting emotionally with guests. During a unique unveiling at the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a reconstructed vision of the brand experience will be presented to attendees within a shipping container. Designed to allow visitors to walk in and experience the space, this bold presentation embodies the eclecticism and global design language of the brand, expressed with the green thread of sustainability—one of the core values of the brand.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA.—As part of proposed budget cuts for the coming year, the State of Florida is suggesting a major reduction in the size of the Florida Green Lodging Program. If the cuts are approved, four full-time employees (three in Tallahassee and one in the Central District) would lose their jobs. According to Peter Goren, program director for Florida Green Lodging, two half-time positions would also be eliminated in Jacksonville and Fort Myers. One full-time employee would be retained to serve as the sole source for technical assistance for Florida properties wishing to participate in the program that now has almost 900 hotels participating as either Designated Green Lodging Properties or Green Lodging Applicants.
SAN DIEGO—In a voluntary, proactive approach to water conservation and environmental stewardship, Barona Creek Golf Club, recipient of the Bronze Signature Sanctuary Certification from Audubon International, announced an ambitious turf reduction project that will lower irrigation and maintenance needs to enhance its conservation of natural resources. Don King, Barona Creek’s executive director of golf operations, says the project will eliminate alternate tee boxes and convert 10 to 12 acres of out-of-play turf to waste bunkers or more natural landscape. These measures will address several important environmental issues ranging from reduced fuel and energy consumption to the use of fewer fertilizers and chemicals used for maintenance. The multi-phased project also calls for limiting over-seeding to tees and roughs.
BURBANK, CALIF.—The Walt Disney Company announced a landmark set of strategic environmental goals and challenging three to five year targets to reduce emissions, waste, electricity and fuel use, and its impact on water and ecosystems. The goals are part of Disney’s 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report, which details the company’s approach to critical corporate responsibility issues ranging from charitable giving to nutrition and from online safety for kids to workplace diversity. The interactive multimedia report provides a detailed snapshot of the company’s philosophy and activities in five areas.
NATIONAL REPORT—Historically, owners of lodging establishments throughout the United States and Canada have ignored the sun as a source of potential energy to heat water. Whether because of concerns about cost or misperceptions about how solar thermal technology works, solar hot water heating systems are rare. That is all beginning to change, however, thanks to improving technologies, tax incentives and rebates, creative financing, better education about solar thermal heating, an increase in the number of developers interested in building to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, and an increase in the number of qualified vendors that sell and install solar hot water heating systems.
SHELTON, CONN.—From recycling programs to energy-efficient electrical and HVAC systems, “green” is in among hotels that recognize increasing customer demand for environmental awareness. But New Castle Hotels & Resorts has challenged its properties to go beyond the green basics. Properties that meet the challenge can earn the leading third-party manager’s Sustainability Award. In 2008, Digby Pines Resort and Spa in Digby, Nova Scotia, captured the award with nearly two dozen programs, events and activities designed to reduce the resort’s environmental impact. One of three Signature Resorts New Castle manages on behalf of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, Digby Pines occupies a stretch of pristine woodlands overlooking the Bay of Fundy.
BETHESDA, MD.— Marriott International, Inc. announced that it has spent $1.9 billion with diverse suppliers over the last five years in the United States, nearly doubling its goal that was set in 2003. Last year, Marriott set a new record, spending more than $500 million companywide with minority- and woman-owned businesses. “Our program is a great opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow,” said Bill Hartwig, vice president, supplier relations, Marriott International. “We are committed to nurturing and strengthening our existing relationships and actively looking to increase our portfolio with outstanding minority- and woman-owned suppliers who meet our needs and criteria.” Marriott suppliers hail from various industries.
ARCOLA, ILL.—With the second wave of construction on Green Mill Village (GMV) set to begin within the next few months, developers are certain the project will provide an economic boost to Arcola and the surrounding communities. Feutz Contractors, Inc. of Paris, Ill., completed infrastructure work on the roads, sewer and water lines and storm water control in December. The construction of the hotel, conference center, spa and restaurant will begin this spring along with the GMV Retail Center. A service station and out lot restaurant are also planned for this phase of construction. “In order to boost the local economy, GMV will utilize as many local contractors as possible during each of the construction phases,” said Bob McElwee, developer/partner.
BERKELEY, CA—Research conducted at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that operating buildings more energy efficiently could have benefits for the health of occupants and, surprisingly, also for their comfort. The researchers, Mark Mendell and Anna Mirer of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division, analyzed data collected from 95 air-conditioned office buildings across the United States. The data had been gathered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a study called BASE (Building Assessment Survey and Evaluation). The study produced data about indoor environmental conditions and the health of occupants in a representative set of U.S. office buildings.
ATLANTA—What’s lean and green and clean all over? Your next sustainable building project and its indoor air quality, thanks to ASHRAE’s upcoming satellite broadcast. The program, “Clean, Lean, and Green—IAQ for Sustainable Buildings,” will take place April 22 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT. The free broadcast, sponsored by ASHRAE’s Chapter Technology Transfer Committee with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will challenge the building community to use good IAQ practices to create a more sustainable built environment. The program will highlight guidance from the publication “IAQ Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction, and Commissioning,” developed collaboratively by ASHRAE, AIA, BOMA, EPA, SMACNA and USGBC.
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