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Three years ago I wrote about showerheads that filter out chlorine and why they are important for guests—especially those guests with any kind of chemical sensitivity or compromised immune system. In a hot shower, chlorine gas is released from the water and is easily breathed in. The human body also absorbs chlorine through the skin, mouth, and eyes. A paper recently released by two departments within the University of Colorado suggests that there may be another hazard from taking a shower—notably, Mycobacterium avium, which is a relative of the organism that causes tuberculosis.
The CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, caused quite a stir recently when he suggested in a remark to The New York Times that he would not hire obese people if he lawfully could do so. He later apologized to Clinic staff and Cleveland area residents for comments that “were hurtful to our community.” In his comments related to health care reform, Cosgrove chose extreme words but I understand his concern about obesity.
The U.S. lodging industry has been waiting a while now for one of the numerous national green lodging certification programs to catch on in a big way. Green Seal has certainly gained momentum in the past year, with major commitments from the Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, as well as from hotels in the Chicago and Los Angeles areas. Green Globe International has also made some headway, as well as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program.
I have written a couple of articles now about toilets and I have to say that I will never think about them the same way again. This past week I spoke with several experts about dual flush toilets. It was definitely a worthwhile endeavor. I strongly encourage anyone looking into purchasing dual flush toilets to talk to as many vendors as you can. The toilets, which offer the option of two different flush modes—one for solid waste and one for liquid—are becoming much more common here in the United States.
I have not done much traveling for business so far this summer but late summer and autumn will be different with the coming conference and trade show season. There is just one conference before the end of the year with a specific green lodging focus—the Green Lodging & Hospitality Conference in Orlando, Fla., December 9 to 11. Be sure to review the Events page on Green Lodging News for a complete list of links to information on the various conferences and shows.
What a green meeting is should be more clearly defined by the end of the year according to Karen Kotowski, COO of the Convention Industry Council (CIC). She told me this past week that more than 200 volunteers have been working for almost two years to help develop a list of Green Meeting and Events Voluntary Standards. The effort has been led by CIC’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC).
About a year ago, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), based upon the recommendations of its Green Task Force, decided not to partner with a third party to offer its members a property certification program. Instead, the Task Force established a set of 11 Minimum Green Guidelines for any lodging property to follow. Their purpose: to reduce operating costs and environmental impacts through reduced utility consumption, recycling programs, employee training, and supply chain management.
I have read about a lot of green marketing ideas in the last few years—giving guests who drive hybrids free or preferred parking is one of the most popular—but I have to say that what the Sheraton Seattle and Sheraton Kauai Resort started at the beginning of this year has got to be the best one yet. They launched a pilot program called “You Tidy, We Treat.” Now known as “Make a Green Choice,” it gives guests the option of not only opting out of towel and linen replacement but also all housekeeping for a day.
Three of the largest U.S.-based hotel companies—Hilton Hotels Corp., Wyndham Worldwide and Marriott International—are now walking their green talk at home in their headquarters offices. Hilton just relocated its headquarters from Beverly Hills, Calif., to a LEED Gold certified building in the Tysons Corner area of McLean, Va. Wyndham, which opened its new headquarters in a brand new building in Parsippany, N.J., earlier this year, is pursuing LEED for Commercial Interiors for the structure.
Numerous cities in the United States have green lodging or tourism programs—initiatives that encourage conservation, networking and education. Chicago, Cleveland, Boston and Philadelphia come to mind. No city that I know of, however, has taken it upon itself to create its own green lodging certification program—until now. I recently learned that Chattanooga, Tenn., now has its own Green Lodging Program for hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other lodging facilities.
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