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It was on June 26, just two months ago, that ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems was released. Less than three weeks later, there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in New York City that left 12 dead and more than 100 infected. Part of the outbreak did trace back to a hotel and there was a cooling tower connection and that quickly got the attention of government officials in New York. New York City Council adopted legislation that requires adherence to part of ASHRAE’s newly published standard and the state Health Department enacted emergency regulations to combat Legionnaires’ disease—requiring building owners to register and test their cooling towers.
As published on Green Lodging News, Xanterra Parks & Resorts just released its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report. For those of you not familiar with Xanterra, its assets include operations at Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park and numerous other parks, two resorts, two hotels, and companies such as Windstar Cruises and VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations. Xanterra is one of the companies I have been reporting on the longest. The company has been tracking its environmental footprint since 2000. Since that year Xanterra has reduced its total fossil fuel consumption across park and resort operations by 29 percent, increased renewable energy use by 18 percent.
I am one of the few people in America who has never had a cup of coffee. And no, thinking about it does not keep me up at night. What should keep me up at night, however, is the incredible amount of waste created by single-serve coffee and other beverage pods (a.k.a. K-Cups, k cups, kups). An estimated 20+ billion k cups will be consumed in 2015. Stack them end to end and yes, they do go pretty far outside of our planet. If you have a Keurig Green Mountain brewer in your guestrooms, lobby or breakfast area, it is most likely consuming non-recyclable polystyrene cups. In an article posted this past week on Green Lodging News, I explore alternatives to the non-recyclable k cups. Click below or the headline above to read that article.
I have often heard speakers cite figures about the number of green certification programs available to businesses. Typically the inference is that there are too many of the programs. That may very well be true but there should always be room for one more in our industry if it has been thoughtfully developed, is innovative, of value to the user, and of benefit to guests. This past week I spoke with Debra Duneier, Founder and President of New York-based EcoChi, LLC about her company’s EcoChi 180° certification program. It is just beginning to be adopted by hospitality businesses. What interested me about EcoChi 180° is that it addresses some issues that other lodging certification programs do not address.
Could the battery in the electric vehicle you are driving today help store and provide energy for your hotel tomorrow? It may happen soon thanks to the partnership between Green Charge Networks and Nissan that was announced last month. Green Charge Networks is one of the companies mentioned in the article I posted last week on energy storage technology. For those of you not familiar with energy storage systems, they are currently being deployed primarily in California. They help reduce demand charges that typically account for at least 30 percent of a commercial electricity bill, and often as much as 50 percent. Demand charges are based on the highest 15 minutes of electricity usage each month.
The International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) has long been my favorite industry show. In recent years the show has experienced a steady decline in attendance as other shows have come along and people’s buying and networking habits have changed. In 2013 and 2014 Green Lodging News worked with the managers of the event to create a Hospitality Green Division—an area where green exhibitors were grouped together. It was a great idea and, I believe, a positive step in helping to stabilize the show. Yet, that step and several others were just not enough to save the show. I just learned that the owners and managers of IHMRS, in the show’s 100th year, have decided to stop IHMRS.
If you read this column regularly you will recall my late March column about the opening of the first 1 Hotel in South Beach in Miami Beach. The “1” concept was first introduced by Starwood Capital Group in 2006 and is the idea of Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO, Starwood Capital Group. The South Beach hotel is the first of three 1 Hotels to open. Every 1 Hotel will be LEED certified. Many of the details about the 1 Hotels already have been published on Green Lodging News. All of the hotels will have significant green features. At 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach, for example, guests are welcomed with 3,000 feet of living wall wrapped around its exterior—probably the largest living wall in the lodging industry.
Next week will mark the nine-year anniversary of Green Lodging News’ launch. It actually took a year to get this publication up and running so I really have spent a decade working on Green Lodging News. I have so many people to thank for their support—the thousands of you who faithfully or even occasionally read the publication, and of course the many suppliers who have purchased advertising over the years. I also have to thank the many folks who have assisted me with circulation efforts since 2006, and Modgility, which provides website technical support. Green Lodging News would also not be as strong as it is today without the article contributions of consultants, suppliers, public relations companies, and others.
Critical to the success of any green program is getting employee buy-in. How do you improve the likelihood of that happening? Consider the findings of some researchers at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a co-researcher. Their paper, “What Drives Employees’ Intentions to Implement Green Practices in Hotels? The Role of Knowledge, Awareness, Concern and Ecological Behavior,” provides some interesting clues. The researchers conducted a survey at 10 Hong Kong hotels, eight of which were 4 or 5 star and two of which were 3 star hotels. Half of the respondents were female, and the majority were aged between 20 and 49.
Two columns ago I mentioned that I would soon be writing an article on eco-friendly alternatives to pesticides used on bedbugs. I posted that article this past week. Be sure to read it. Probably the biggest lesson I learned during research for my article was that if you really want to know the truth about bedbugs and bedbug treatments, talk to an entomologist. Paul Curtis, a Board Certified Entomologist and Manager, Technical Services, Terminix International, was very helpful as I was writing my article. (Paul has written for Green Lodging News in the past.) About six and one-half years ago I welcomed a new company into the Green Lodging News Product & Service Directory—a company that supplied an all-natural spray to kill and repel bedbugs.
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