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SANTA CRUZ, CALIF.—Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), the utility which provides natural gas and electric service to approximately 15 million people throughout a 70,000-square-mile service area in northern and central California, is giving away money through rebates and owners of hundreds of lodging establishments have been more than happy to take it. Through its four-year-old LodgingSavers program, PG&E has made it easy and affordable for hoteliers to update lighting, install guestroom energy management systems, replace packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs), and install new showerheads, faucet aerators and pool pumps. How does LodgingSavers work? It is implemented by Ecology Action, a nonprofit in Santa Cruz, Calif., and funded by California utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Available rebates can cover up to 100 percent of the cost of the products and equipment, as well as the installation.
ITHACA, N.Y.—The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) has posted the proceedings of its inaugural Sustainability Roundtable. The proceedings, which are available at no charge from the CHR website, cover the roundtable’s examination of key points regarding the lodging industry’s efforts to operate sustainably, including such issues as the definition of sustainability, emerging regulations and laws, engaging guests, and the complexity of carbon neutrality. “When we issued highlights of the sustainability roundtable late last year, people were interested in learning more about the discussions,” said Rohit Verma, CHR executive director. “So, with the assistance of our panel members, we now have the expanded proceedings.” The roundtable was chaired by associate professor David Sherwyn. The roundtable participants agreed that guests expect hotels to operate in a sustainable manner—so the question no longer is whether to be sustainable, but how to do it.
VANCOUVER, B.C.—The Vancouver Convention Centre announced that its iconic West building, opened in April 2009, has been awarded LEED Platinum certification for new construction by the Canada Green Building Council. Platinum is the highest level of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. “The Vancouver Convention Centre is the only convention centre in the world to receive the highest level of LEED certification,” says Kevin Krueger, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. “Not only is the expanded Vancouver Convention Centre bringing economic benefits to the province and the tourism industry, but it’s a model of sustainability that will set a new standard.” Vancouver Convention Centre’s sustainable design features include a six-acre “living” roof, the largest living roof in Canada and the largest non-industrial living roof in North America.
ORLANDO, FLA.—Westgate Resorts has partnered with Clean the World to recycle all the partially used amenities from their Central Florida hotel rooms. Clean the World sanitizes the soap and shampoo that would have been discarded, ending up in landfills, and distributes these amenities to needy people around the world. “By joining our Hospitality Recycling Program, Westgate Resorts will help provide even more supplies for those in desperate need,” said Shawn Seipler, co-founder and executive director of Clean the World. Through the Clean the World Hospitality Recycling Program hotels donate a tax-deductible fee in exchange for the collection, recycling and redistribution of partially used amenities to those suffering due to a lack of available hygiene products. “We were looking for a way to recycle these products,” said Mark Waltrip, chief operating officer of Westgate Resorts. “When we realized we could also save lives, it became a simple decision to participate in the program.”
SAN FRANCISCO—Community Marketing, Inc. (CMI), the market research, strategic consulting, and communications specialists, announced the release of its CMIGreen 1st Annual Green Traveler Survey Report. The Annual Green Traveler Survey Report is the result of a unique, pan-industry cooperative initiative between tourism businesses and nonprofit, environmental and sustainable business organizations, from the development of the survey to the interpretation of its findings. The report is being offered free to the tourism and hospitality industries, in order to advance efforts toward greener travel. The CMIGreen study surveyed the purchasing habits, travel behavior, environmental commitment, expectations and motivations of 1,736 self-defined, eco-conscious travelers. “This is not a study about how many people recycle; there is sufficient data on that,” says Thomas Roth, president of Community Marketing. “The Green Traveler Survey Report is a comprehensive profile of green travel consumers.”
ATLANTA—A standard set to be a game changer in the industry was introduced at ASHRAE’s 2010 Winter Conference, while work continued on other programs and standards that will help the organization build a more sustainable future. Some 2,500 people attended the conference, held late last month in Orlando, Fla. Also taking place in conjunction with the meeting was the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition, which attracted nearly 45,000 registered visitors and exhibitor personnel. The expo featured an 8 percent registered visitor increase from the last show in Orlando in 2005 and a new record for the Southeast. Other highlights included 1,823 exhibiting companies representing 29 countries and 206 first-time exhibiting companies covering 354,013 net square feet or more than eight acres. The ASHRAE conference offered a technical program with more than 100 sessions, 22 educational courses and numerous social events.
KAANAPALI NORTH BEACH, MAUI—The newest full service hotel development on Kaanapali Beach, the Honua Kai Resort & Spa, has unveiled details of its comprehensive sustainability program—in line with the traditional Hawaiian concept of “malama aina,” (caring for the land). Honua Kai’ practices begin with the ocean, protect the surrounding beach, and extend to every room at the property. Honua Kai, which opened in January 2009, has its own director of sustainability, Lance Gilliland. “We call it ‘Eco-nomics,’—practices that are ecologically sound and economically feasible,” Gilliland says. “It just makes sense to conserve energy.”
OTTAWA, ONT.—On Thursday, February 4, the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) celebrated its sixth year of industry achievements at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto, with its annual Hall of Fame Awards of Excellence Program. The Hall of Fame Awards Program was developed by HAC to recognize those of its members (individuals, companies or properties) that have demonstrated significant accomplishments, exemplary leadership and tireless commitment to Canada’s lodging industry. “The goal of HAC’s awards program is to reward strong standards in the industry that will enable this country to remain competitive,” said Will Schmidt, chair of the Hotel Association of Canada and event MC. “We are pleased to honor this year’s winners, whom we feel represent some of the finest examples of professionalism, quality and perfection.”
DENVER—When compared to last year’s Sustainable Meetings Conference in Pittsburgh, attendance was up significantly at this year’s event held in Denver from February 9 to 11. This year’s conference was held at the Colorado Convention Center. The facility, which has a 300-kilowatt solar system on its roof, is in pursuit of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. A total of approximately 250 people attended this year’s event, reflecting the growing interest in the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), the organizer of the conference. Two years ago, membership in GMIC stood at 185 members. Today, there are 577 members. According to Amy Spatrisano, GMIC president, the organization’s goal is to have 1,000 members and 10 chapters by the end of this year. GMIC now has four official chapters—Oregon, Atlanta, Colorado and Northern California—with chapters in formation in Southern California, Southern Florida, Arizona, and Chicago.
SAN FRANCISCO—Cavallo Point-the Lodge at the Golden Gate announced it has been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achieving a LEED Gold standard for environmentally sustainable design and construction. It is the first national park lodge to receive LEED Certification. In addition, the project, developed and opened in 2008 on the site of Fort Baker—a turn-of-the century military outpost now part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area—is the first hotel on the National Register of Historic Places to be certified and the first new hotel in the San Francisco-Marin area and second in Northern California to achieve LEED Gold status. “This LEED Gold honor is recognition for the incredible efforts of the team who originally envisioned Cavallo Point Lodge as one of the most sustainably developed projects possible,” said Ted Lieser, project manager for Equity Community Builders and the Fort Baker Retreat Group LLC, which developed the lodge.
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