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A soap dispenser, faucet, sink and hand dryer—all in one unit. A water based towel that has been proven to be twice as effective as hand sanitizers in removing viruses from hands. Electric vehicle charging stations. An electric powered passenger van. Food waste decomposition machines. Food packaging made from 100 percent biodegradable and compostable material. A mattress company with its own mattress take-back program. These are just a few samples of products and programs from a long list of what I consider to be green suppliers that will be exhibiting at the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS). The 98th annual event is coming up very quickly—November 9 to 12 at the Javits Center in New York City. I have attended almost every New York hotel show since 1989.
In the coming week I will be chatting with a representative of the U.S. Green Building Council regarding LEED v4, the new version of LEED that will be introduced at Greenbuild in Philadelphia beginning November 20. Be sure to watch for the article. LEED v4, which came together after USGBC received more than 21,500 comments, is set to include LEED Hospitality-New Construction, LEED Hospitality-Existing Buildings, and LEED Hospitality-Commercial Interiors rating systems. It had been a long time since I received an updated list of LEED certified hotel projects but I received such a list this past week. I often receive requests for this list. If you would like to receive it, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are now 235 LEED certified lodging/hotel projects, and another 1,381 LEED registered hotel/lodging projects.
In my research for my article on bed linens (sheets and pillow cases) this past week it became clear quite quickly that with linens there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to their sustainability story. Of course I expected as much. To clearly understand the complete environmental upside to a sheet you have to examine the entire lifecycle of the product—not just what it is made from, although that is of course important as well. In my article I spoke with folks from Standard Textile, 1888 Mills, Monarch Cypress and Luxurious Organics. For one reason or another, six other companies chose not to return my calls or e-mails, or were just unable to get back to me. I still did my best to include those companies in my article. When choosing the linens that you buy, to what extent does their green story matter?
When you hear the word “wellness,” what comes to mind? According to a recent study, “The Global Wellness Tourism Economy,” wellness is a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.” If you are not familiar with wellness travel, you should be. According to the aforementioned study conducted by SRI International in agreement with the Global Spa & Wellness Summit, wellness tourism is a near half-trillion dollar market, representing 14 percent of total global tourism revenues ($3.2 trillion) overall. The category is projected to grow on average 9.9 percent annually over the next five years, nearly twice the rate of global tourism overall, reaching $678.5 billion by 2017, or 16 percent of total tourism revenues. According to the study, there are basically two types of wellness travelers.
It was one of those events where you wish you could have had a seat at every concurrent session. What I am referring to is last week’s Lodging Green + Sustainability Expo at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The speaker lineup at each session was just that strong. Kudos to the folks at Lodging Magazine and EcoGreenHotel for putting on such a successful first-time event. If you missed the conference, be sure to read my article about it. The LEED Gold certified Omni Dallas Hotel was the ideal location for the conference and expo. I had an opportunity to tour the facility while in Dallas and the city-owned, $500 million property does impress from a sustainability standpoint. Highlights included significant natural day lighting and a keycard-based guestroom energy management system.
I will be attending the Lodging Green + Sustainability Conference in Dallas from October 1 to 3. Be sure to watch for coverage on the Green Lodging News website. The first-year event will be held at the LEED Gold Omni Dallas Hotel and will kick off with a tour of the property that includes green features ranging from a 25,000-gallon rainwater cistern to a keycard-based guestroom energy management system. The conference will feature Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as the keynote speaker and two full days of educational sessions, trade show exhibits and networking opportunities. If you are going to be in the Dallas area, the organizers of the Lodging Green + Sustainability Conference are currently offering free entry into the Exhibit Hall during the event.
A Vitamin C infused shower? Alarm clocks that waken you gradually instead of sending your heart racing? Wall surface enclosures that cover equipment with elevated electromagnetic fields (EMF) emissions? These are just a few of the features found in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino’s Stay Well Rooms—rooms that guests are paying $30 more a night to stay in. In case you missed it, Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel & Casino and Delos, a real estate developer, announced this past week that the MGM Grand will be quadrupling its Stay Well room count from 42 to 171 rooms and suites, encompassing the entire fourteenth floor of the hotel’s main tower. I asked Delos founder Paul Scialla about the expansion and he said the rooms have received positive guest feedback since launching a year ago.
At this past April’s Green Meeting Industry Council Sustainable Meetings Conference in Chicago, Green Lodging News was an exhibitor. While manning our exhibit table at that event, I had someone come up to me to tell me that he often uses our online Green Product & Service Directory to shop for the property he has in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of course I was happy to hear that. The person told me he had recently purchased laundry equipment through one of our listing companies. I did some checking this past week and about 1,000 of you visit our Green Product & Service Directory each month. To those of you who already do visit the Directory, thank you. Those of you who have yet to visit the Directory, please do so. There are now more than 100 listings in 44 different categories.
Back in April I reported on the coming of Drive Electric Orlando to the Orlando, Fla., area. The program officially launched last week. With the help of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which is renting Nissan LEAF plug-in electric vehicles at its Orlando International Airport location, Orlando visitors can now drive an electric car to their hotel and favorite destinations. More than 20 Orlando area hotels/hotel companies are partners in the venture—each offering charging stations for guests. The Drive Electric Orlando website includes a handy map where one can find charging stations. There are now more than 300 charging stations available. Many of the hotel partners are offering free valet parking for electric cars. Attendants will not only park the car, but also plug it in to recharge the battery.
Let’s say you are planning a trip and you use TripAdvisor to help you identify a place to stay. Once you enter your destination and dates of travel and hit “enter” you are taken to a list of lodging establishments. At that point you have the choice of sorting your options by criteria such as “Best Value,” “Luxury,” “Romantic,” and “Green.” According to Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel at TripAdvisor, that “Green” option has been selected 100,000 times since TripAdvisor launched its GreenLeaders program earlier this year in April. This past week I posted my fourth article in my series on green lodging certification programs—this time on TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders program. More than 2,100 hotels and B&Bs now participate as either a GreenLeader or GreenPartner in TripAdvisor’s green lodging recognition program.
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