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ORLANDO—U.S. travelers are more familiar with sustainable travel terminology than they were two years ago but remain unwilling to pay more for eco-friendly travel options according to the July travelhorizons, the quarterly consumer survey co-authored by the U.S. Travel Association and Ypartnership. The percentage of American travelers who consider themselves “environmentally conscious” has not changed since 2007 (78 percent); however, there has been a remarkable increase in the percentage who report familiarity with the term “carbon footprint” (from 12 percent in July 2007 to 54 percent in July 2009). Awareness of the term “green travel” also improved from 9 percent in July 2007 to 22 percent in July 2009.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) launched a credentialing maintenance program (CMP) for LEED APs and Green Associates, ensuring that LEED professional credentials will remain relevant and meaningful in a rapidly evolving marketplace. “Since 2001, the LEED AP credential has been recognized as a mark of significant achievement, acknowledging that a candidate passed a rigorous test that assessed their knowledge of green building fundamentals as well as knowledge of practice in a chosen specialty,” said Peter Templeton, president, GBCI. “But knowledge doesn’t stand still, and credential maintenance underscores a professional’s commitment to staying at the leading edge of green building science and practice.”
ORLANDO—Marriott Vacation Club, the premiere timeshare brand of Marriott International, is not allowing a single key card to go to waste. Resorts have begun replacing the 1.2 million plastic key cards purchased annually with those made of 50 percent recycled material, saving approximately four tons of plastic from being dumped in landfills. The new key card is just one of many advances the brand has made to help reduce its global environmental footprint. More than 800,000 guest arrival pieces, which are printed annually in the United States and distributed to owners and guests upon check-in, are now printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper and purchased from an FSC certified paper merchant.
JACKSONVILLE, FLA.—When the ground gets dry at The Jenks House Bed & Breakfast in Jacksonville, Fla., owners Tom and Ila Rae Merten don’t tap into the city’s water supply. Thanks to a rainwater capture system, they have all the water they need. Installed earlier this summer at the two-guestroom B&B, the system guides water from the garage apartment roof into four 275-gallon storage tanks (1,100 total gallons). The tanks sit on racks in the garage. The roof is 675 square feet in size. One inch of rainfall results in 193 gallons of captured water. With Jacksonville getting an average of 52 inches of rain a year, Tom expects the system to collect more than 10,000 gallons of rainwater annually—plenty for the B&B’s yard and organic garden.
TECATE, MEXICO—The Second Annual Green Spa Network Fall Congress will be held November 1 to 5, 2009, at the historic Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico. As the premier spa sustainability event of the year, the four-night, five-day GSN Fall Congress will provide professionals with the opportunity to respond to the planetary imperative for sustainability—while increasing profitability and customer loyalty. Internationally known Paul Hawken will be the keynote speaker. Paul is a leading voice in the world of sustainable business and the search for a whole, nurturing society. He is co-founder of Smith & Hawken and author of “Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution,” which has been referred to by several heads of state as one of the five most important books in the world today.
LAS VEGAS—Dan Bena, who spearheads international sustainability efforts for food and beverage giant PepsiCo, will be the opening keynote speaker for the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition, October 7 to 9, 2009, in Las Vegas. Bena, PepsiCo’s director of sustainability, health, safety, and environment, will address the conference’s opening session on October 7. PepsiCo’s “Performance with Purpose” operating model has environmental sustainability as a cornerstone and includes minimizing environmental impacts of operations, and extending across supply chains and communities. In 2007, PepsiCo adopted rigorous enterprise-wide global metrics to track its environmental footprint, and was one of the first companies of its size to publicly commit to quantitative resource conservation goals.
THE WOODLANDS (HOUSTON)—Benchmark Hospitality International announced that eight of its properties have achieved Platinum, Gold or Silver recognition in the new Code of Environmental Sustainability introduced recently by the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC). The new Code of Sustainability provides for 59 best practices in environmental sustainability. IACC-member properties must adhere to at least 75 percent of the tenets of the Code, and join other member organizations that have signed the Code in a global, association-wide effort to strive for greater sustainability. Wingspread, a private conference center Benchmark operates for the Johnson Foundation located in Racine, Wis., and Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece, was the only IACC member to achieve Platinum Level status.
PORTLAND, ORE.—PDX travelers can leave their cars at home next time they head to the airport—Pollin Hotels’ new Aloft Portland Airport at Cascade Station has got them covered. The bike friendly airport hotel has unveiled its “Bike & Fly” program, an eco-friendly twist on traditional “Park & Fly” programs. Departing guests can leave their bikes in the locked bike parking storage area at Aloft for up to 14 days at no cost with a one-night stay. The Bike & Fly program is not the first time Aloft Portland has impacted the city’s biking scene. In May, the hotel raised funds for Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway, an organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the historic Columbia River Highway.
ASHEVILLE, N.C.—The Hilton Asheville, scheduled to open later this month, is one of the first major hotels in the United States to include a solar water heating system atop its roof. This system will be one of the largest installations in the Western North Carolina region. Water throughout the hotel, including the pool, will be solar heated, eliminating 25 tons of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of planting 7,377 trees. The solar water heating system is just one of the hotel’s many environmentally focused features. The 165-room hotel is set in the heart of Biltmore Park Town Square, the largest mixed-use district outside of the city’s downtown. The Hilton Asheville was built to blend green practices with Hilton’s commitment to guest comfort, and was designed to obtain LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
ROCKVILLE, MD.—The EPA 2009 Green Power Purchaser list identified The Legacy Hotel & Meeting Centre as one of three hotels in the nation as 100 percent powered by green energy. In October 2008, The Legacy Hotel & Meeting Centre launched its Turn On program in partnership with Clean Currents and the EPA, integrating greener hotel products, clean energy, and inviting guests to offset the carbon footprint of their stay. “We are very proud of this accomplishment,” says Eric Siegel, executive vice president of Cohen Companies.
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