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NASHVILLE, TENN.—John Q. Hammons’ Embassy Suites Nashville South/Cool Springs announces the availability of the hotel’s green guest services shuttle with zero emissions. The hotel’s 7-foot-9-inch Nissan Leaf limousine is the world’s first all-electric stretch limo and replaces a traditional limo service. In addition, the hotel launched on-site guest electric-car charging stations as a part of its latest eco-friendly amenities. The 250-suite, nine-story hotel is operated by Springfield, Mo.-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, the largest private, independent owner and manager of hotels in the United States. According to Bob Horner, general manager of Embassy Suites Nashville South/Cool Springs, numerous local and state civic and business leaders were on hand to celebrate the milestone occasion of the arrival of the Nissan Leaf limo at a recent vehicle unveiling VIP event. Representatives in attendance spanned John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, Embassy Suites Hotels, Nissan North America, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, City of Franklin, and Williamson County.
OTTAWA, ON.—The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) is now accepting entries for the 2012 Hall of Fame Awards of Excellence. In its ninth year the Hall of Fame Awards program continues the Association’s tradition of acknowledging the strong standards and values of those involved in and with the lodging industry.
NEW YORK—Barclay the Bee has landed in the InterContinental New York Barclay’s guestrooms with a question—“to wash, or not to wash”? The hotel’s friendly messaging mascot is highlighting an important aspect of the InterContinental New York Barclay’s sustainable initiatives—water savings—with a new “Don’t Wash” symbol and fun in-room message delivery.
NEWTON, MASS.—TripAdvisor announced the results of its latest TripAdvisor Industry Index. With more than 25,000 responses from hoteliers around the globe, and more than 5,000 from the United States alone, the biannual survey touched on green topics ranging from top five eco-friendly practices to the reason for implementing eco-friendly practices. A portion of the survey results were provided as an exclusive to Green Lodging News. The top five global eco-friendly practices include: energy efficient light bulbs, 79 percent; towel/linen reuse, 62 percent; energy efficiency plan, 56 percent; have green cleaning programs, 52 percent; and use water-efficient toilets and showerheads, 52 percent. The top five U.S. eco-friendly practices include: towel/linen reuse, 82 percent, energy efficient light bulbs, 78 percent; use water-efficient low-flow toilets and showerheads, 63 percent, use an energy efficiency plan/program, 62 percent, and use recycled paper products, 61 percent. Why do U.S. properties with eco-friendly practices in place decided to implement them? According to TripAdvisor, 66 percent said for cost reduction. Fifty-one percent said they do so because it is an industry trend.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Promoting balanced living at home and away, Element Hotels is challenging its Facebook friends to put pedal to the pavement this summer and replace one car trip per week with a bike ride. The trailblazing eco-wise brand of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has teamed with trend-setting, ultra colorful STRADA track bikes to launch an “I Pledge to Pedal” Facebook sweepstakes, which will run from July 9 through September 17, 2012. Throughout the contest period, prize drawings will award one participant each week with a sleek, built-to-order bike, which they can customize online. There will be a total of 10 winners. “Beyond the fun of the Facebook sweepstakes and the flash of the STRADA bikes, I Pledge to Pedal is about changing a mindset,” said Brian McGuinness, senior vice president, Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “Choosing two wheels over four is a good move for our own wellbeing and for the planet. That balance is a fundamental aspect of the Element brand.”
NATIONAL REPORT—It’s a meeting at an inn in Vermont designated as a “Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State” that, among other benchmarks, composts leaf and yard waste. It’s a corporate event by a firm that checks for needed products in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing database. It’s a meeting arranged by a planner who considers a destination’s public transportation system and a venue’s recycling program. A green meeting may be any one of these things, and more. Increasingly, greener—or more sustainable—meetings are occurring across the landscape. Today, more sustainable meetings, encouraged by EPA guidance on the topic and also available with the help of professional planners, mean more than what’s green. Sustainable meetings, in addition to the environment, consider social factors; they also make good business sense. And now, through the work of ASTM International Committee E60 on Sustainability and its Subcommittee E60.02 on Hospitality, eight recently released standards, with one more coming soon, can assist planners and suppliers in producing greener meetings.
NATIONAL REPORT—There has been a lot of attention lately on green meetings—from green meeting standards to industry agreement on the measurement of the carbon footprint of a meeting. What has been little talked about is the role a simple meeting table can play in the greening of meetings over many years. Increasingly, suppliers are offering tables that are not only recyclable but that can also be used without linens. In the manufacturing of these tables vendors are also taking steps to be environmentally responsible—recycling scrap, recapturing and reusing paint, purchasing supplies locally, incorporating highly unique materials, and making quality tables that last, keeping them out of landfills. One company whose presence in lodging is growing rapidly is Baltix Sustainable Furniture. Its Green Table collection incorporates various eco-friendly materials. One tabletop material option is nuxite. It is made from crushed walnut shells suspended in a resin binder. Walnut shells are a sustainable and renewable byproduct of annual walnut food crop harvests. Another material growing in popularity, says Erik Knutson, the company’s co-owner, is BioSurf.
CHICAGO—Travelers are an eco-conscious group according to a joint survey conducted by The GO Group, LLC, an international ground transportation provider, and GO Airport Express, a GO Group member company based in Chicago. Seventy-one percent of the survey respondents say it is either important or very important to try and reduce their carbon footprint while traveling.
VANCOUVER, B.C.—Tourism Vancouver’s recent appointment of a tourism energy specialist is believed to be a worldwide first among destination marketing and management organizations. The role was made possible through sponsorship from BC Hydro with the mandate to guide member hotels, restaurants and attractions in energy efficiency and conservation initiatives. The new tourism energy specialist role will enable Tourism Vancouver to more actively support the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan and goal to be the world’s “greenest” city by 2020. The services of the tourism energy specialist will build on the BC Hydro partnership and further assist Tourism Vancouver’s 1,000-plus member businesses to manage their energy and realize financial savings. A 2011 survey conducted by Capilano University on behalf of Tourism Vancouver found that 81 percent of Tourism Vancouver member businesses were interested in the services of an energy specialist.
DULUTH, MINN.—Up and running for just a year and a half, the Fresh Air Lodging Certification program has 15 members—mostly in the upper Midwest. The program was launched by Mike Wilmes and his wife, Roxanne. Mike is president, Wilmes Hospitality, a hospitality management and consulting company based in Duluth, Minn. Mike has been involved with more than 30 hotel properties during his career in hospitality management. A number of those hotels are now part of the Fresh Air Lodging program. Mike says he launched Fresh Air Lodging to fill a gap in green certification in the Midwest. “There really isn’t anyone in the Midwest doing it,” he says. “We want to be different than the other programs out there.” He says many of the other green certification programs out there are either too cost prohibitive or too cumbersome to do. Properties participating in Fresh Air Lodging must implement at least 15 of the best practices from a laundry list of 60 that Mike says is continuing to evolve and grow.
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