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Hersha Hospitality Trust released its first sustainability report this past week. For those of you not familiar with Hersha, it is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns and operates upscale hotels in urban gateway markets including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Miami. The report can be found on Hersha’s website. It successfully captures some of the highlights of Hersha’s many green initiatives. Being a REIT, Hersha is of course focused on financial performance. According to Bennett Thomas, Vice President of Finance & Sustainability for Hersha, any green investments Hersha makes always have to be the right thing to do for shareholders and must have a positive, cumulative return. Hersha's EarthView program was launched in 2010.
Earlier this year Orkin released its 2014 Bed Bug Cities List. Needless to say, it is not the kind of list your convention and visitors bureau is going to be crowing about. Topping Orkin’s list was Chicago, followed by Detroit, Columbus (Ohio) and Los Angeles. My hometown of Cleveland came in at No. 5. A number of cities made big jumps on Orkin’s list. Omaha, Neb., for example, jumped 16 spots, and Sacramento, Calif. jumped 14. The annual list is not based entirely on hotel reporting but all of the different types of places Orkin services. In the press release Orkin released, the company’s Entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D, said, “Bedbugs are a serious issue across the country, and they’re very difficult to control.
A big tip of the hat this week to David M. Stipanuk. David is the author of the new book entitled, “Hospitality Facilities Management and Design.” It is the fourth edition of the book and David has authored it each time. David, Professor Emeritus, taught at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University from 1983 to 2008. I highly recommend the book that includes a chapter on “Environmental and Sustainability Management,” as well as chapters such as Water and Wastewater Systems, Electrical Systems, Lighting Systems, Laundry Systems, Facility Design, and Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Systems. Jeanne Varney, who has taught courses in sustainability and facilities as a Lecturer at Cornell since 2012, contributed to the book.
The evening of Friday, May 8 was unlike any other for Ruben Hernandez, Security Supervisor at New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania. Ruben had just started his shift, which typically runs from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., when he got a call that a guest was unresponsive in a fifth floor room. Ruben grabbed the hotel’s automated external defibrillator (AED) and started running. Fortunately, the elevator door on the ground floor was open. That alone could have meant life or death for the guest. When Ruben arrived at the scene, he and his fellow Security Officer, Danny Sandoval, began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). When CPR failed to revive the guest, Ruben made the decision to activate the AED. The AED told Ruben to administer a shock to the guest using the AED.
I just returned from the annual HD Expo at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. For those of you not familiar with the event, it is primarily a trade show but with many educational opportunities as well. I had an opportunity to walk the entire trade show floor. More than 850 manufacturers and service providers were present. Many of those exhibiting offered products with some type of sustainability component. In lighting everything is LED these days and that was clear in what was offered by the many lighting-related suppliers. If I ever see a compact fluorescent at a trade show again, I would be shocked. LED pricing has come down, color quality has improved, and you can find an LED for just about every application imaginable. Incorporating recycled content in product is a growing trend.
Cold water is “hot.” Last month P&G Professional (not an advertiser of Green Lodging News), the away-from-home division of Procter & Gamble, announced that the Tide Professional Coldwater Laundry System was named a 2015 Award Winner by the internationally renowned Edison Awards. This laundry system enables hotel facilities to reduce the energy needed to heat the water in a commercial washer by as much as 75 percent and to reduce the water used in a commercial washer by up to 40 percent. According to P&G Professional, Tide Professional Coldwater features an advanced system using unique enzymes that are specially designed for lower wash temperatures which help effectively break down stains without the need for higher water temperatures.
The two conferences focused specifically on green lodging that took place in 2014 have yet to be rescheduled but there are a number of opportunities coming up to attend events at which there will be opportunities to learn about various aspects of lodging and restaurant sustainability. First, HD Expo, set to take place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas from May 13 to 15, will include four Green Voice Conversations organized by NEWH as part of its Green Voice Conversations series. Topics will include Biophilic Design, Futuristic Materials, Detoxifying Hotel Interiors, and Smaller Footprint Trends and Guest Experience. NEWH is also planning a Student Green Scholarship Awards luncheon on the first day of the Expo. I will be attending HD Expo and will report on it here in Green Lodging News.
This past week, Earth Week, was a busy week for news. Much of it has already been posted on Green Lodging News but some of it has not. First of all, I heard from Ryan Dillon, Responsible Travel Specialist with TripAdvisor, and he informed me that TripAdvisor has just extended its successful TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program into Australia and New Zealand. The program’s expansion comes exactly two years after the launch of GreenLeaders. Ryan told me TripAdvisor GreenLeaders is now “live” in Latin America and the Caribbean as well, although TripAdvisor has not yet officially released that news. More than 8,000 properties in 67 countries, including 170 in Australia and New Zealand, have been awarded the TripAdvisor GreenLeader status, making it easily the largest green hotels program.
As mentioned in a previous column, I recently participated in a Sustainability Roundtable at Cornell University. At that event there was some discussion about the progress, or lack thereof, of the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meetings Standards. For those of you not familiar with the standards, they are the result of years of collaborative efforts and delineate procedural requirements and environmental sustainability criteria for meetings, events, trade shows, or conferences. There are nine standards and different levels of achievement within each standard. One can obtain certification to a standard through an organization called iCompli. Within the meetings community the standards are a big deal.
It was just a matter of when. That is my take on this past week’s announcement that Clean the World and Global Soap have combined their operations and charitable efforts. It did not make a lot of sense for two organizations to be competing for donor dollars and basically doing the same thing: collecting, processing and distributing soap and other amenities. While separately the two organizations were making a huge difference, together the two will have an even larger impact on improving hygiene and reducing the number of children dying daily from diarrheal disease. Going forward, Global Soap will be a division—a brand—of Clean the World. (Clean the World considers its ONE Project another brand.) Clean the World will manage all soap and bottle collection and recycling.
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