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I have always had an interest in composting—even when I was a child. What fruit and vegetable scraps I generate today are placed in a compost pile just outside my home. Every now and then, I add soil, relocate earthworms that I find to the pile, and turn everything over a few times. In a tiny way, I am helping to reduce the flow of food waste to the local landfill.
I suspect that most of you are familiar with the term “greenwashing”. According to Wikipedia, it is a term used to describe the perception of consumers that they are being misled by a company regarding its environmental practices or the environmental benefits of a product or service. (Picture a TV commercial that includes a Hummer driving through a pristine forest with birds singing and deer dancing.)
Dennis Quaintance, the CEO and CDO (Chief Design Officer) of Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels, must be a football fan. During a conversation with him this past week, he kept on using the phrase “go deep” when asked what advice he would give to a hotel developer pursuing green building. Quaintance had every reason to be excited when we spoke—Super Bowl level excited. He just learned that his Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, N.C., had earned LEED for New Construction Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The Proximity Hotel is the first hotel in the United States to reach the Platinum level. Dennis and his development team have every reason to be excited and proud.
Could the metric "Greenhouse Gas Emissions Per Occupied Room" (GEPOR) one day have the same importance as revenue per available room (RevPAR)? In putting together its 2007 Sustainability Report—probably the first one produced by an individual hotel in the United States—the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C. used the GEPOR metric to establish its specific annual carbon footprint. The Willard worked with Washington, D.C.-based EnviRelation, LLC to put together the report. EnviRelation, which provides emissions management services, created the GEPOR metric which takes into account criteria such as a hotel’s square footage, electricity and natural gas consumption, gallons of water used, etc.
What a week it was. Let’s hope we don’t see another one like it. While attending The Lodging Conference in Phoenix last week, an event that drew more than 1,400 people to The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, America’s leaders in Washington, D.C. debated how best to get our country out of what many were calling the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Added to that was the largest bank collapse (Washington Mutual) in U.S. history, and an almost unnoticed $25 billion in guaranteed government loans granted to Ford, General Motors and Chrysler to help keep them afloat.
I have written a lot of articles about products, technologies and programs that are no-brainers from a return on investment (ROI) standpoint. Compact fluorescents, LED exit signs, low-flow toilets, aerators and showerheads, towel and linen reuse programs, and guestroom energy management systems are some of the ones that come to mind. Since launching Green Lodging News more than two years ago, I have written twice about ozone laundry systems. If you have to deal with a high volume of sheets, towels, rags and possibly even uniforms on a daily basis and have not yet considered ozone, you should—soon.
As it does every year in the lodging industry, the official beginning of autumn signals the start of the conference and trade show season. This fall there are a number of events around the United States that will feature opportunities to learn about green lodging trends, new products, and ways of doing business that can help the environment and your bottom line.
When hospitality and food service provider Delaware North Companies and caterer Great Performances celebrated their partnership with Central Park South Events recently, they planned a very unique dinner at The Plaza Grand Ballroom in New York City. It was not so much the type of food that was served that was different; it was where the food came from. The menu was comprised solely of ingredients sourced within a 100-mile radius of New York City. The meal was catered by Great Performances.
In the little more than two years that I have been writing this column, I have received a number of requests to read and write about new books. Up until this point, I have written about and recommended just one book: “Green to Gold,” a book co-authored by Daniel C. Esty and Andrew S.Winston. There is another book that I would like to recommend for anyone interested in making their lodging operation a greener and healthier one.
I am excited to announce that Green Lodging News has started a blog on its website. For those of you not familiar with blogs, they are simple websites that give one the capability to post news, comments, video, etc. Blogs are interactive. At the end of each blog posting, there is a “comments” link that allows one to post a response. There are numerous ways to link to the Green Lodging News Blog. On the website home page there are three links. The first one is located in the upper left area under “departments.” The second link is below the blocks of text that appear below my photo on the home page. You can also link to the blog by clicking on the promotional ad located in the lower right area of the website.
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