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LAS VEGAS—Possibly by August of this year, 26 percent of the electricity needs of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino will be met by a more than 8 megawatt (MW dc) photovoltaic array sitting atop the property’s convention center roof. “Juice” is already flowing from the first phase of the installation—a 6.4 MW dc array. The remaining 2 MW dc amount will be operational once solar panels are installed atop an expansion of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The array is already the world’s largest rooftop solar array on a convention center. According to Chris Brophy, Vice President of Corporate Sustainability Division for MGM Resorts International, the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino project is a “proof of concept.” “Now that we have done it, we are not stopping,” he says, adding that MGM Resorts is putting out a portfolio-wide RFP that would cover just about all of its properties with solar—seven additional properties. MGM Resorts chose the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for its new solar array due to its large sun-oriented rooftop space.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Energy Star certified clothes dryers are now available nationwide through major retailers. At least 45 models of dryers earning the Energy Star label, including Whirlpool, Maytag, Kenmore, LG, and Safemate, are at least 20 percent more efficient and now available at prices comparable to standard dryers. “Dryers are one of the most common household appliances and the biggest energy users,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “EPA’s Energy Star certified clothes dryers offer Americans an opportunity to save energy and do their part to combat climate change. By working with industry, we are bringing innovative technology to market that’s good for the planet.” Clothes dryers consume more energy than any other appliance in the home, and 80 percent of American homes have dryers. But unlike clothes washers, which have seen a 70 percent drop in energy use since 1990, the energy efficiency of most dryers has not improved.
LOS ANGELES—Energy Smart Lodging has launched a website to cater to multi-hotel operators who want to reduce their energy costs. Energy Smart Lodging provides guestroom HVAC and lighting controls, Energy Star rated LED lighting fixtures and Energy Star rated LED light bulbs.
CHICAGO—When Virgin Group opened its first hotel last month—the 250-room Virgin Hotels Chicago—what was not talked about much in the media was the green story behind the renovated historic Old Dearborn Bank Building at 203 N. Wabash Ave. Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, and member of the B Team leaders who recently called for a global commitment to net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, established a hotel brand with the goal of LEED Silver for each hotel. Virgin Hotels Chicago’s green story begins with its site selection. Rather than building new, Virgin Hotels chose a historic bank building and kept many of its features. The facade features rich, ornate designs including medieval characters, dragons, griffins, ducks, squirrels and more. About 80 percent of the building’s original lobby remains. The Oak Cigar Bar in the lobby is now used as the check-in desk where DIY kiosks are placed.
TAMPA, FLA.—Hasek Communications, the Tampa, Fla.-based publisher of Green Lodging News, welcomes Laundrylux Inc. as a Green Product & Service Directory partner in the “Ironers” category. According to Laundrylux, using a Electrolux IC4 4832 FLF series Ironer is a more efficient and faster way to dry linen than drying with hot air from a conventional dryer. What makes the Electrolux model so appealing is that it can be mounted against a wall and accomplish the work of four people with only one operator.
QUINCY, MASS.—Next Step Living’s EcoThermal Filter System has earned the Green Restaurant Assn. endorsement by meeting its rigorous environmental endorsement standards. The EcoThermal Filter System can earn a restaurant up to nine GreenPoints towards becoming a Certified Green Restaurant. This one step can help restaurants achieve 90 percent of their energy requirements.
SAN FRANCISCO—In a landmark decision, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved the “Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program,” a measure that will give millions of California residents and businesses the chance to participate in a utility clean energy program for the first time. The decision, which benefits the majority of the state’s businesses and over 38 million residents, directs the three largest investor-owned utilities—Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison Co., and San Diego Gas and Electric Co., which together cover nearly 80 percent of the state—to offer a Green-e Energy certified 100 percent renewable energy option to their customers. The measure also encourages the three utilities to develop a range of green power options that will allow ratepayers at all income levels to use more renewable energy than the state’'s current requirement of 33 percent by 2020. The measure, which passed the Commission in a 5-0 vote on January 29, directs utilities to seek Green-e Energy certification for their programs.
FARMINGDALE, N.Y.—LaMar Lighting Company introduces the second generation of its LED occu-smart series of motion-sensor controlled bi-level lighting, which delivers ample illumination when the space is occupied and dims down for energy savings the rest of the time. The new fixtures feature superior LED components made in the United States and offer enhanced performance optimized for bi-level lighting applications.
NATIONAL REPORT—Green walls, also known as vertical gardens or living walls, increasingly are being used in interior and exterior areas of hotels to make a green design statement. Aside from being aesthetic symbols of a property’s commitment to sustainability—perhaps even a means to earn LEED credits—green walls offer many other benefits. They can help deaden sound in large spaces, absorb and clean toxins from the air, reduce carbon dioxide levels, keep air temperatures down, improve employee alertness and energy levels, increase humidity, reduce airborne dust levels, and even help increase the property values of commercial buildings. According to Ambius, a green walls design expert, exterior green walls can reduce wall surface temperatures by as much as 50 degrees F, resulting in significant energy savings and air-conditioning costs. Green walls can be massive in size and expand over multiple floors, or as small as a framed piece of art—what Ambius calls its LivePicture.
PEARL RIVER, N.Y.—Now in its 64th year, the Good Design Awards, one of the world’s oldest and most recognized programs for identifying design excellence worldwide, announced its 2014 winners. Hunter Douglas, a leader in custom window fashions, received design excellence awards for its Silhouette A Deux window shadings, Solera Soft Shades and the Platinum App for motorized shades. Hunter Douglas was the only window covering manufacturer to be recognized.
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