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SYRACUSE, N.Y.—November 17 was a day to celebrate for Syracuse, N.Y.-based Woodbine Group. It was then that the company learned that its Hotel Skyler had earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED Platinum is a rare feat as only two other hotels in the United States—the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, N.C., and the Bardessono in Yountville, Calif.—have earned the designation. According to Lynee Sauer, business manager for Woodbine Group, the road to LEED Platinum was more than a year and a half long; the company first registered for LEED on March 24, 2009. “It feels really good to have gone through the process,” Sauer says. “We took a piece of Syracuse’s history and reclaimed it,” adds Tom Fernandez, director of marketing and product development for Woodbine Group.
CANCUN, MEXICO—Cancun has become one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. The sandy beaches, the blue water and the warm weather have brought tourists back year after year. Understanding that this natural beauty is extremely fragile, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa has started important green initiatives to ensure tourists can enjoy Cancun for years to come. This resort in Cancun, Mexico, has introduced a number of important environmentally conscious programs this year. Many of them focus on cutting down waste from the Cancun hotel. For instance, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort has begun an aggressive recycling program. Staff now throws away litter in pre-sorted containers, which initiate recycling before the garbage even nears a landfill.
ST. JOHNSBURY, VT.—Offering recycling to its guests and staff, and expanding green purchasing have allowed the 107-room Comfort Inn & Suites to reduce its environmental footprint, respond to guest requests, and to be recognized as a Green Hotel through the Vermont Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State Program (also known as the Vermont Green Hotels Program). In April 2009, the Comfort Inn agreed to work with the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC), the Vermont Green Hotels Program, and EPA New England to initiate a recycling program and to increase and document its green purchasing efforts. These efforts further supported the hotel’s environmentally conscious business practices and made it recognized as a Green Hotel in the State of Vermont.
CHATTANOOGA, TENN.—The Residence Inn Chattanooga near Hamilton Place, among Chattanooga extended stay hotels, announced that it has added two new environmentally friendly Level 2 Blink Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations. The charging stations are complimentary to hotel guests. The hotel has taken great strides in the local and global effort to create a healthier, greener environment since its opening in 2009. Residence Inn is a member of the Chattanooga Green Lodging Certification Program. The hotel recycles soap, uses environmentally friendly laundry detergents, recycles plastic, and offers towel and linen reuse program which saves water. ECOtality, a leader in electric transportation, launched the EV Project.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—The Las Vegas community of Summerlin is now the home of Nevada’s newest LEED certified hotel. Designed to be “green from the ground up,” Element hotels blend eco-inspired smart design, bright, open spaces, and flowing layouts in guestrooms. Element serves as Starwood’s green innovation lab, where sustainable practices are tested before migrating to other brands. With Element Las Vegas Summerlin’s certification, six Element hotels in North America now boast a LEED designation. Element made history in 2008 by becoming the first major hotel brand to mandate that all its properties pursue LEED certification.
MILTON, N.Y.—The recent opening of Henry’s Farm to Table restaurant at Buttermilk Falls Inn + Spa, in the 300-year-old Hudson River-side hamlet of Milton, N.Y., completes the property’s evolution from charming bed and breakfast to country chic resort—one with a decidedly green sensibility. The new contemporary American 60-seat dining destination restaurant embraces the locavore movement by sourcing locally to showcase the bounty of the Hudson Valley. Indeed, Henry’s Farm to Table reflects its name literally since much of the produce and eggs used by executive chef Paul Kelly comes from Buttermilk’s on-site 40-acre working organic farm—Millstone.
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.—Charter House Innovations (CHi) has opened its second green CityFlats Hotel—this time in the heart of Grand Rapids, Mich. The Holland, Mich.-based company, which also manufactures sustainable furniture, is pursuing LEED for New Construction certification at the Gold level for the 28-room property. CHi also has a CityFlats Hotel in Holland, Mich., that opened almost four years ago and, according to Chuck Reid, owner of the CityFlats Hotel brand, investors have expressed interest in developing additional CityFlats properties in Michigan and on the East Coast. CityFlats Hotel Grand Rapids, which includes the CitySen Lounge on the main floor, is in a building originally constructed in 1874. The previous tenant in the five-story structure was Fox’s Jewelers which vacated the building in 1997. Much of the exterior of the original building was kept intact during the restoration.
RENO—Being part of the unique high desert canvas of Reno-Tahoe has inspired the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino to adopt sweeping green initiatives to dramatically reduce the resort’s carbon footprint. For several years the resort has been mindful to minimize the impact of operations on the environment while maintaining a premiere level of service and experience for guests. The resort has used geothermal energy to heat the domestic hot water for the Tuscany Tower, including the 43,000 square foot Spa Toscana and Fitness Center as well as the two outdoor swimming pools and spas, since the 2007 expansion project. With the culmination of a $9.7 million investment, the entire resort is now online to heat both space and domestic water with geothermal energy.
MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIF.— Britannia Pacific Properties, a Lewis Trust Group company, announced that the town of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., has granted entitlements to build an innovative hotel and residences project called “Handmade Hotel Mammoth View.” With an extensive portfolio of properties, Britannia Pacific Properties has now set their sights on driving business and providing jobs to the town of Mammoth Lakes with their latest initiative, a 5.51-acre project which will feature geothermal heating for purposes of encouraging conservation of natural resources. Handmade Hotel Mammoth View will be an entirely new concept for the hospitality market in the small but lively mountain town: an expansive eco-friendly 54-room boutique hotel and 52 residences consisting of 28 eco cabins and 24 eco lofts.
VINELAND, N.J.—For the last year and a half, drivers motoring down Route 55 in Vineland, N.J., have been met with a surprising site—a 2,500-solar panel installation behind the Ramada Vineland. The .5-megawatt system sits on three acres of land owned by NGL Property Management, owner and operator of the adjacent 102-room Ramada. The solar system provides about 75 to 80 percent of the hotel’s power. That is significant given that the hotel has a banquet hall and three food and beverage facilities: Dakota Prime Steak House and Sushi Bar, Harry’s Pub, and The Speedway Café. According to John Scipione, owner of the hotel with his family, if there were no restaurants the solar panels would meet all of the hotel’s electricity needs. After the Ramada was purchased by NGL Property Management in January 2009, Scipione was looking for ways to update the tired property that was 25 years old at the time.
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