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OAK BROOK, ILL.—Nine months after taking over as General Manager of the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center, Stefan Mühle is just part of the way toward reaching his goal of transforming the property into a uniquely green destination with a “boutique heart and soul.” Mühle, who co-founded the Sustainability Committee for the Hotel Council of San Francisco, knows a thing or two about greening a boutique hotel. During his time as General Manager, the 104-room Orchard Hotel in San Francisco earned Green Seal and LEED certification. Transforming the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center will not be as easy as it includes a 386-room hotel, 18-hole golf course, ballroom, amphitheater, outdoor pavilion and 39 meeting rooms. When Mühle began his new job he says the hotel portion of the property’s environmental program “was a bit in shambles.” There was a lack of operational consistency as the property had been under another flag for many years and then had become an independent.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI—The new Marriott Port-au-Prince Hotel has checked in its first guests. Among the 200 new Haitian hotel workers who welcomed them were young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and Haitian-Americans who want to share their hospitality skills to help boost Haiti’s tourism economy. The stories of these new associates include Luccardo, who was recruited to work at the hotel’s front desk from the Nos Petits Frères et Soeurs orphanage, and Hermine, who was part of the hotel’s intern program and will be an entry-level supervisor. In addition to members of a Haitian-American executive team, the Haiti Marriott is led by a veteran Marriott general manager who was previously at the Marriott Champs Elysees in Paris. Joined by Haiti President Michel Martelly and former U.S. President Bill Clinton at a celebration ceremony, Digicel Group Chairman and Founder Denis O’Brien and Marriott International President-Caribbean & Latin America Region Craig S. Smith thanked the Kier Construction Company workers, sub-contractors and skilled Haitian construction workers who built the hotel and the Marriott associates who will host its guests.
CHICAGO—More energy-efficient elevators can significantly reduce the costs of operating a building, but the information needed to help building owners identify the appropriate elevator system—and the savings associated with it—aren’t readily available, according to a new study published by a leading policy group. The study, by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, was published with the support of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, the parent organization of Otis, the world’s largest manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products. Elevators and escalators make up 2 to 5 percent of the energy used in most buildings, but can reach as high as 50 percent during peak operational times. At 5 percent, that means the yearly energy consumption of U.S. elevators is approximately five times of that used in all of Washington D.C. The technology exists today to reduce that consumption by 40 percent or more, especially by cutting energy use between trips, when an elevator is idle, according to the study.
NATIONAL REPORT—The Association of Green Property Owners and Managers (AGPOM), along with the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), are planning several educational webinars. The first one, “How to measure and report your carbon footprint using the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) methodology,” will take place on Tuesday, March 17.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Accelerating growth in markets worldwide, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced the opening of Element Vancouver Metrotown—the second Element hotel to open in Canada. Owned by Bosa Properties and managed by Atlific Hotels, Element Vancouver Metrotown is part of Bosa’s new Sovereign building, the tallest tower in Burnaby, B.C.. Offering picturesque views of the North Shore Mountains and downtown Vancouver, the new Element features 169 light-filled rooms and suites. Element Vancouver Metrotown joins Element Vaughan Southwest in the greater Toronto region and will be followed by the opening of two more Element hotels in Canada next year. “Element Vancouver Metrotown is a terrific addition to our growing portfolio and an ideal choice for this location, given Vancouver’s bold initiative to become the world’s greenest city by 2020,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood.
ALEXANDRIA, VA.—The majority (57 percent) of European-based companies have sustainability initiatives written into their company’s travel policy, according to a recent study on sustainability in travel programs by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Assn. (GBTA).
TORONTO—Fairmont Hotels & Resorts announced that it has achieved World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Climate Savers Program targets, reducing its operational CO2 emissions by 20 percent below 2006 levels. In doing so, the luxury hotel brand known for its industry leading sustainability programming becomes the first hotel brand to meet this ambitious environmental goal. WWF’s Climate Savers Program was designed to inspire companies to change their thinking about climate solutions, while also encouraging them to transform themselves into low-carbon leaders. This leaves member companies better placed to avoid carbon-related risks while realizing opportunities within their long-term business strategies. Fairmont joined Fortune 500 companies and other top businesses like The Coca-Cola Co., Johnson & Johnson, and Nike to develop practical, cost-effective strategies that reduce emissions of CO2 and achieve energy efficiency solutions. “According to the United Nations, emissions generated directly from the tourism sector account today for 5 percent of global CO2 emissions but may be higher,” said Jane Mackie, Vice President, Fairmont Brand.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Sustainable Travel International (STI) recently announced changes to its leadership team, adapting to a changing landscape for the tourism industry and cause-based organizations. These changes come as the nonprofit organization takes the next step in its own evolution, driven by a goal to positively impact the lives of at least 10 million residents and their families in destinations around the world with and through its partners over the next 10 years.
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.
PARIS—Accor announced that it is a signatory of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). This program, an initiative of UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact, defines seven principles that foster the empowerment of women in the workplace, the marketplace and the community.
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