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NEW YORK—Harvesting crops in Manhattan is tough. So Element New York Times Square West is doing the next best thing. Giving guests and neighbors easy access to fresh, seasonal produce and artisanal farm products, the earth-friendly hotel will launch a pioneering partnership with Holton Farms, an eighth-generation Vermont-based farm and Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) program. The partnership makes Element Times Square West the nation’s first hotel to participate in a Community Sponsored Agriculture program. Element will join Holton Farms’ CSA as an active member, supporting the program by purchasing a “share” in this season’s harvest. Memberships are usually available only to individual CSA members. The hotel will also become the designated weekly drop-off location for other Holton Farms CSA members in the neighborhood.
OURAY, COLO.—If Karen and Richard Avery could save another therm, they would. They certainly are trying. The couple, who own the 39-room Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs in Ouray, Colo., have reduced the lodge’s natural gas consumption by more than 70 percent in the past four years. The Averys have wisely invested in a geothermal system that utilizes the natural hot springs on their 2.6-acre property. Once used by the Ute Indians many years ago and last century for a sanitarium, the hot springs are used to heat the guestrooms and all of the hot water for the property. Water flowing out of the hot springs is 140 degrees. It flows into a concrete tank where hundreds of feet of copper coils have been placed. City water, which flows at a temperature of 40 degrees through the pipes, is heated to about 130 degrees through a heat exchange process.
EWING, N.J.—Ewing is now the home of New Jersey’s first LEED-certified hotel. Element Ewing Hopewell has earned a coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Designed to be “green from the ground up,” Element hotels blend nature-inspired smart design, inspiring public spaces, and comfortable modern touches. Element, from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., made history with its 2008 launch by becoming the first major hotel brand to mandate that all its properties pursue LEED certification. Element serves as Starwood’s green innovation lab, where sustainable practices are tested before migrating to other brands. With Element Ewing Hopewell’s certification, four Element hotels in North America now boast LEED accreditation.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in Lombard, Ill., was named the winner of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AH&LA) year-long Energy Slasher Challenge. The Challenge, launched on Earth Day 2010, helped participating hotels obtain a 5 percent overall energy reduction. The hotel receives a full day with the AH&LA Green Guru for a personal eco-strategy session, as well as other prizes courtesy of HD Supply. Participants could use several tools to help with tracking their costs, including GreenQuest, EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager, or their brand/corporate benchmarking program. Costs were compared and analyzed to determine who slashed their energy costs by the biggest percentage.
DALLAS—The Omni Dallas Hotel has outlined its sustainability plan which will lead to the property’s LEED Silver New Construction (NC) certification upon opening. The plan includes use of recycled and regionally-sourced materials, reduced construction pollution and water conservation initiatives. “Earning the LEED Silver New Construction status will be a tremendous accomplishment—one made possible by the tremendous efforts of the City, Matthews Southwest, Balfour/Russell/Pegasus, 5Gstudio_collaborative, BOKA Powell, Vivian-Nichols Associates and every team member who has a hand in keeping the project focused on sustainability,” said Nils Stolzlechner, g.m. of the Omni Dallas Hotel.
WAKEFIELD, QUEBEC—Less than three months remain before the July 1 opening of the new 10,000-square-foot addition to the Wakefield Inn Mill & Spa. The 13-room addition, named the Eco River Lodge, is being built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. “It is conceivable we might make [LEED] Silver,” says innkeeper Robert Milling, adding that his goal is the first tier of certification. What will help the inn qualify for LEED is its passive solar design, use of local materials, and highly efficient geothermal heating and cooling system. Set within Gatineau Park, within a 25-minute drive of Ottawa, the 27-room Wakefield Inn Mill & Spa has been eco-friendly for a decade.
URUBAMBA, PERU—Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, has earned its LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first hotel in Peru to be awarded with such a distinction. LEED is an internationally recognized, third-party certification for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. This certification recognizes Tambo del Inka’s commitment to areas of environmental impact and occupants’ well-being, having earned credits in the sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy savings, material use, indoor environmental quality, as well as technological innovation.
CRYSTAL BEACH, TEXAS—In September 2008, Hurricane Ike leveled thousands of homes along the Texas coast. It was the third costliest Atlantic hurricane of all time. The four-room Out By the Sea Bed and Breakfast in Crystal Beach, owned by Carole Hamadey, survived the onslaught but still sustained significant damage. The next time a powerful hurricane comes knocking on Hamadey’s door, it will have a more difficult time “renovating.” Hamadey is about to add three additional guestrooms to her B&B using three steel shipping containers. That’s right, the large shipping containers one sees on ships crossing the ocean.
CAMBRIDGE, MASS.—If you run an inn, or a hotel for that matter, and are considering greening your operations, you may want to chat with Rachael Solem, owner and general manager of the 44-room Irving House in Cambridge, Mass. Since purchasing the large house in 1990, she has taken almost every step imaginable to reduce the property’s environmental impact. She knows what works, what does not work, and she will level with you about it. Take amenity dispensers, for example, which she still uses. “I have not found a dispenser that is attractive, easy for the guests to use, and easy to maintain,” she says. “They get gummed up and are not easy to fill.”
MCLEAN, VA.—Home2 Suites by Hilton officially commemorated the opening of the brand’s first hotel today with a ribbon cutting ceremony and an announcement of a charitable community relations initiative. The first Home2 Suites, located in Fayetteville, N.C., welcomed representatives from the local community as well as executives from Hilton Worldwide, including President and CEO Chris Nassetta, to celebrate the opening of the first property for the newly developed extended-stay concept. Nassetta joined executives from the Home2 Suites brand management team, developer LBA Properties, owner Apple REIT and local dignitaries for the ribbon cutting ceremony and reception. As a signature element of the grand opening of the hotel, Home2 Suites announced a charitable gift to Fisher House.
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