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Get out your calendars. It is going to be a busy green lodging conference and trade show season beginning in October. As reported here previously, Lodging Magazine, in collaboration with EcoGreenHotel (Green Lodging News is a sponsor), is wrapping up the planning for its first Lodging Green + Sustainability Conference + Expo. It will be held from October 1 to 3 at the LEED Gold certified Omni Dallas Hotel. Details are available on the conference website but you should know that the conference organizers have secured the participation of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as the keynote speaker. Many other green lodging leaders you have come to know here on Green Lodging News will also be moderators, speakers or panelists. I will be moderating two sessions. Kennedy’s speech will highlight the first day of the event.
More than three years ago I wrote about shuttle vehicle idling. That column was prompted by a flight attendant who wrote to me about the many hotel shuttle vehicles she has to ride and the drivers’ practice of keeping the engine running at all times. While idling is often something out of our control as drivers, we can do some things to minimize idling—turning the engine off when not actually driving anywhere and not using restaurant or coffee shop drive-throughs. In the article I posted this past week on electric shuttle vans, I talk about idling. Electric vans do “idle” but there are no emissions at all. “There is no reduction in charge,” says Christine Smith, vice president of sales & marketing for Zenith Motors. In fact, whether “idling” or not, there are no direct emissions from an electric van.
It is amazing what a rain storm and some innovative thinking can do. As detailed in my article this week about the Grand Hyatt Atlanta, Wes Shirley, the hotel’s director of engineering, was standing one day watching the rain fall on the third floor terrace of the 439-room hotel. He wondered how the hotel could best capture and recycle the rainwater falling on the terrace. He got together with a couple of friends—a plumber and another engineer—to figure out a plan. What the three came up with, with the assistance of some students at Southern Polytechnic University, is an extensive rainwater harvesting system that has the potential to capture almost one million gallons of rainwater a year. Rainwater falling on the 32,000 square feet of terrace previously drained directly into Atlanta’s sewer system.
This month Green Lodging News will celebrate its seven-year anniversary. I just might order a cake. My one-year-old (soon to be two) will love that. To all of those readers who faithfully follow my publication, thank you for doing so. I also have to thank all of you who have submitted content for publication over the years. Your contributions have helped build the Green Lodging News website into a database of almost 6,000 articles. Seven years ago, in Green Lodging News’ first month, there were fewer than 4,000 different visitors to the Green Lodging News website. Last month (June) there were almost 27,000. Please continue to spread the word about Green Lodging News. This publication would never have made it this far without the support of its advertisers. A huge thank you to those suppliers. Be sure to support them with your business.
This week the dual-branded Home2 Suites by Hilton/Hampton Inn & Suites will officially open in Huntsville, Ala. The property, which features 175 guestrooms (77 in Home2 Suites by Hilton and 98 in Hampton Inn & Suites), has been open for several months. I was invited by Hilton Worldwide to spend a night at each of the properties last week. My goal was to identify the efficiencies that come with a dual-branded property and check on the green attributes of each hotel. The hotel is owned by Apple Hospitality and managed by LBA Hospitality. There are now approximately 100 dual-branded properties in the United States. Dual-branding eliminates redundancy in costs in many areas. For example, the Home2 Suites by Hilton/Hampton Inn & Suites includes a shared boiler room, laundry room, fitness room, and meeting space.
One down and 49 more to go could soon turn into three down and 47 more to go. What I am referring to is efforts in the 50 states to create statewide recycling programs for used mattresses. As reported here on Green Lodging News, earlier this year Connecticut passed legislation to create the infrastructure for a mattress recycling program. Late last month, California’s State Senate approved SB 254, a bill which would create the same. Assembly hearings on that legislation, according to Ryan Trainer, president, International Sleep Products Assn. (ISPA), are expected to begin early next month. In Rhode Island, a bill similar to Connecticut’s is expected to be considered by the Rhode Island Senate in the next couple of months. This is all good news for the lodging industry.
Several weeks ago, while in Las Vegas just prior to HD Expo, I had an opportunity to tour around The Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino. My guide was Jenny Yu, director, Global Sustainability for Las Vegas Sands Corp. I wrote about part of that tour in an entry on my blog. If you have never been to the complex that includes The Palazzo, The Venetian, and Sands Expo, I highly recommend it. The site features the largest hotel site solar thermal installation in the United States and other very unique green design and operational features. During a tour of one of the guestrooms at The Palazzo, Jenny told me about the very lengthy process her team went through to select the LED lighting for the guestrooms. I was pretty amazed and would love to know if your property or company has done something similar. I spoke with Jenny again this past week.
Every now and then I get invited to join other journalists on a press trip sponsored by a hotel company or management company. I have had some memorable trips in my almost 20 years in lodging journalism. These types of trips include property tours, good food, trips to nearby attractions, and opportunities to do things one typically never would have a chance to do on one’s own—rafting down the Colorado River, zip lining, etc. On such trips, there is always an opportunity to chat with industry leaders who work either at the corporate office or individual property level. Putting together a successful press tour is a lot of work and takes a team effort. Whether you run a green establishment or not, press tours can help create media buzz surrounding a property.
There really is no such thing as a nonsmoking room in a hotel that allows smoking in some of its rooms. Hoteliers who promote guestrooms as nonsmoking rooms in hotels that allow smoking in some areas are deceiving their guests—whether intentionally or not—into thinking they are sleeping in healthy spaces. And, any green lodging or green building certification program that makes room for properties with smoking rooms need to stop, push the restart button, and no longer accept them. Strong words? In case you missed the article that was posted on our website, research conducted by San Diego University and published online in Tobacco Control found strong evidence of third-hand smoke in the nonsmoking rooms of hotels that allocate some rooms as smoking rooms.
A towel cabinet with a discreetly placed sensor that lets your housekeepers know whether or not towels were touched by a guest—saving you from washing unused towels. Shower curtains and liners made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate. Amenity dispensers that can be imprinted with any photo or image you wish. Architectural hardware made with antimicrobial bronze. Bed frames made from recycled railroad t-rail. Automatic sensor-based faucets with the look of luxury. A mattress company with its own mattress and foundation recycling program. These are just some of the unique innovations I came across last week while walking the floor of the Hospitality Design Expo in Las Vegas. As with other HD Expos I have attended, this year’s show was filled with FF&E with green features.
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