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The Walt Disney Company just released its 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report—a very polished review of its progress in areas such as children and family, content and products, environment, community, and the workplace. Disney’s impact on the environment is huge, as one would expect with its resorts, theme parks, film studios, stores and other ventures.
“There should be solar hot water heating on 90 percent of hotels.” “Just do it! This technology has arrived.” These are just two examples of the types of comments I heard when conducting research for my recent article on solar hot water heating. To be honest, I did not hear one negative comment about these systems. I cannot say that I spoke with every single hotel user but those I did speak with are all happy with how their rooftop systems are performing.
Can a lodging property be considered “green” but still set aside some of its rooms for smoking? I don’t think so. What do you think? We all know the fatal results of first-hand smoke. According to a 2006 Surgeon General report, second-hand smoke leads to the death of 50,000 Americans each year and there is no safe level of exposure. A January 2009 article in Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, makes a case for the dangers of third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is the residual tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette is extinguished.
Are you unhappy with the rate of employee participation in the green initiatives at your property? You have done everything you can to make the programs work but are just not getting enough buy-in? Too many don’t recycle? Too many room attendants replace towels and linens even when guests say it is O.K. not to? You may want to try what the green team at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge is doing.
As interest in green lodging has exploded the last couple of years, few books have come along to provide guidance to those interested in greening their operations, greening a building’s design from the ground up, or highlighting the success stories of those who have successfully built and operated green establishments. I occasionally receive press releases about new text books that touch on the topic in a chapter or two but a book dedicated specifically to green lodging? I have not seen any—until now.
With an inventory of more than 4,100 hotels and more than 600,000 guestrooms, it is incredibly important for the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to pay attention to its carbon impact. As of September 30, 2008, the company had 1,700 hotels in its pipeline. If those hotels were to open today, they would add another 243,000 guestrooms to the more than 600,000 currently open. IHG’s brand portfolio includes InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.
As an environmental journalist, I have often found hotel investment conferences a little difficult to attend. Why? Almost every seminar and speech is geared toward growth. Here are just a few of the questions on everyone’s mind: What can my company do to grow the number of hotels we finance, build, manage or franchise? Where can I find the financing I need for my new project? Which markets hold the most growth potential? You get the idea.
Every successful supplier or hotel owner has great success stories to tell. What I have discovered from my seat as an editor, however, is that most companies never bother to tell their success stories—at least in a well-documented and organized fashion. They are missing out on a great opportunity to educate our industry and drum up new business at the same time. There are many great green hotel success stories but few have been as well documented as The Nines hotel in downtown Portland, Ore. I was recently sent a 10-page case study of the property by Gary Golla.
One of my tasks as editor of Green Lodging News is to maintain a list of events on the Green Lodging News website. While not all of the events have a green focus, the majority of them have some type of green component—a session focusing on green design or operations, a trade show where one can find resource-saving products, etc.
Over the New Year’s holiday I spent some time in Florida. One day during the trip I drove from Treasure Island on the Gulf Coast over to Myakka River State Park. The park is a great place to watch alligators warming themselves in the sun or to catch a glimpse of the many varieties of birds that make a home there—egrets, herons, and even eagles.
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