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ATLANTA—A new program to inform building owners and operators, tenants and prospective buyers on the energy use of buildings, similar to a nutrition label on food or miles per gallon ratings on cars, was launched to encourage the building industry to find ways to cut energy use and costs. The Building Energy Quotient program, which will be known as Building EQ, will include both As Designed (asset) and In Operation (as operated) ratings for all building types, except residential. It also will provide a detailed certificate with data on actual energy use, energy demand profiles, indoor air quality and other information that will enable building owners to evaluate and reduce their building’s energy use. The program is administered by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
LAS VEGAS—Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, a hotel located at the new CityCenter, has achieved LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the first hotel in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to receive a LEED rating, and marks the sixth LEED Gold certification for CityCenter, which is one of the world’s largest sustainable developments. “Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is known for demonstrating its leadership in the hotel industry,” said Rajesh Jhingon, general manager of Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. “We are honored to have the Group’s first LEED Gold certified hotel.” The hotel's exterior was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox.
ORLANDO—The second annual Green Lodging and Hospitality Conference, held at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla., from December 9-11, featured a strong group of speakers but failed to attract the crowd one might expect from one of the largest hotel centers in the world. Attendance was 175 for the event, including approximately 50 vendors. The conference was hosted by the TREEO Center, University of Florida. Highlights of the conference included a keynote presentation by David Jerome, senior vice president for corporate responsibility, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and presentations with titles such as “Green Lodging from 10,000 feet, How a Corporate Hotel Company Goes Green,” “The Sustainability of Marketing Sustainability,” “The Art and Science of Environmentally Preferable Purchasing,” and “Sustainable Renovations.”
HONOLULU, HAWAII—Outrigger Enterprises Group received the inaugural “Green Leader Award” recently from Reynolds Recycling for being top recycling and sustainability leaders in Hawaii’s tourism industry. Outrigger’s owned and operated hotels in Waikiki have prevented more than 48,000 pounds of recyclable material from entering Honolulu’s landfill by recovering more than one million beverage containers from their guestrooms since 2006. “With over 4,000 guest rooms in Waikiki, we realized that our combined efforts could make a significant impact in keeping Hawaii green,” said David Carey, president and CEO of Outrigger Enterprises Group. “Hawaii’s beauty rests heavily on our pristine environment and as ambassadors for the tourism industry, it is our responsibility to not only maintain, but to improve our Hawaii home for future generations to enjoy.”
W. CONSHOHOCKEN, PA.—At its recent meeting, the ASTM board of directors authorized ASTM’s management to develop the capability to offer certification services. Titled the ASTM International Certification Programs, the new initiative is sponsored by ASTM International and offers the opportunity for certification of products (materials, products, services and systems) as well as personnel. The recent action by the ASTM board is a response to inquiries, particularly in the areas of new standards development activities, for ASTM to provide certification to meet expressed needs for independent, third party demonstrations of compliance to standards. Similar requests have come to ASTM from those facing regulatory pressures to demonstrate standards compliance. Potential product benefits of the ASTM Product Certification Program to manufacturers and consumers include: increased confidence; reliable product comparisons; and equitable testing and rating.
BERKELEY, CALIF.—Ethical Traveler’s new report, “The World’s Best Ethical Destinations,” identifies the 10 countries in the developing world that are best protecting their natural environments, promoting responsible travel, and building a tourism industry which provides real benefits to local communities. “There’s no doubt that worldwide interest in mindful, responsible travel is growing—not only among travelers, but within the countries that host us,” says Jeff Greenwald, executive director of Ethical Traveler and co-author of the report. “Now is the perfect time for savvy travelers and well-intentioned governments to evolve together, each encouraging the other. This is especially true in the developing world, where travel and tourism can be developed as lucrative, low-impact alternatives to forestry, mining, and the destruction of ocean habitats.” Argentina and Belize are two countries on Ethical Traveler's list.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In the wake of an extended global economic slump, local communities are pushing ahead and expanding their green building programs. More than one in five U.S. cities with populations greater than 50,000 surveyed by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) report having a policy to promote green buildings, accounting for more than 53 million people. The AIA initially conducted this survey in 2007 for a Local Leaders in Sustainability report that has just been updated. The new report, “Green Building Policy in a Changing Economic Environment,” is an inventory of policies and best practices intended to help policymakers advance a more sustainable legislative agenda for growth and development. The report also contains detailed case studies of the green building programs in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Nashville, and Grand Rapids, Mich.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—Rolling out the “green carpet” for drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles, Element Hotels announced its goal to install electric car-charging stations at all of its properties by the end of 2009. A worldwide first for a hospitality brand, the program comes after piloting a charging station at Starwood-owned Element Lexington. Element Hotels is Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.’s new eco-chic brand. The ChargePoint Networked Charging Station was developed by California innovator Coulomb Technologies. In partnership with Carbon Day Automotive, it will be available at Element hotels currently open, and will be available for installation at properties that the brand plans to open over the next several years. “At Element, we aim to provide greener options for our guests, and the charging stations are a perfect next step,” said Brian McGuinness, senior vice president, Specialty-Select Brands, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The green and festive spirit of the holidays is decking the halls of The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte this year, as the new LEED-built hotel has just unveiled its first annual environmentally-friendly, all-organic gingerbread house. Available for public viewing inside the lobby of the new hotel, the architect-designed green gingerbread house was created by Chef Jon Farace and the culinary and engineering teams of The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. The edible estate measures 10 feet high by 14 feet wide, features a striking Tudor architectural style, and is built of all-organic culinary ingredients. Design highlights include LED lights and a green “vegetated” moss roof inspired by the eco-minded roof of The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte itself. The structure was built by Jonathan Gellman of Skyward Builders, using efficient framing practices, recycled nails and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified lumber.
SAN FRANCISCO—The California Hotel & Lodging Association (CH&LA) announced the Stars of the Industry award winners at the Marriott Union Square in San Francisco. The Stars of the Industry awards, presented by USA Today, were given for employee, manager, and general manager of the year. Lodging property achievement awards were also given for community service, guest relations, and the environmental category of good Earthkeeping. Good Earthkeeping awards recognize lodging properties that have developed a culture toward integrating environmental management practices that improve everyday operations and the bottom line, while maintaining quality service and meeting guest expectations. The program must demonstrate success in one or more of the following areas: energy conservation, solid waste reduction, effluents and emissions, water conservation, purchasing and business issues.
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