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NEW YORK—A certification program incorporating guidelines in unique areas such as Classical Feng Shui and environmental pyschology is beginning to gain traction within the hospitality industry. Launched by Certified Eco Designer Debra Duneier, Founder and President of New York-based EcoChi, LLC, the EcoChi 180° seal confirms that 18 guidelines have been met. In addition to the aforementioned Classical Feng Shui and environmental psychology, guidelines cover topics including energy efficiency, non-toxic materials and finishing, ergonomics, representing nature indoors, improved lighting, sound attenuation, creative workspaces, and green practices. Unlike other certification programs, guidelines can vary by project and are customized for each client. There are always 18 guidelines that have to be met. Until now, the EcoChi 180° seal has been sought only for projects on which Duneier’s company has been involved as a designer. That is beginning to change, however, as other companies are expressing interest in the program. According to Duneier, fees for certification vary per project. The system can be applied to new construction, renovation or finished spaces.
CHICAGO—More than a dozen leading, U.S.-based companies, including Hilton Worldwide, announced the formation of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which has the goal of being the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America’s young people. The coalition has the collective goal of engaging at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth—16 to 24 year olds who face systemic barriers to jobs and education—by 2018 through apprenticeships, internships, training programs, and both part-time and full-time jobs. Additionally, the coalition will leverage existing collaborative efforts on the ground in a handful of cities to partner in building these pathways. In addition to Hilton, the founding companies include Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, HMSHost, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens and Walmart. The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will accelerate the coalition’s hiring commitment with an employer initiated Opportunity Fair & Forum for Opportunity Youth in Chicago on August 13, where the participating companies expect to collectively train more than 2,000 youth.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIF.—Grand Pacific Resorts, a timeshare management company with three resorts in the Lake Tahoe area, presented the League to Save Lake Tahoe with a $1,200 check on June 15, 2015, to support the organization’s advocacy work. The presentation came at the conclusion of a two-day scavenger hunt involving four travel bloggers, who competed to raise funds for the environmental group and the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe.
ANAHEIM, CALIF.—Sixty years ago this month, Walt Disney dedicated his dream project: Disneyland—a land beyond the boundaries of the motion pictures with which he’d made his reputation, a park where families and guests of all ages could be immersed in worlds of fantasy and adventure. As part of its Diamond Celebration, the Disneyland Resort honored 60 years of that dream by announcing “Million Dollar Dazzle” at a ceremony at Sleeping Beauty Castle. Each month during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the Million Dollar Dazzle Crew will surprise one or more local nonprofits that exemplify Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ Better Together philosophy with a $60,000 gift, totaling more than $1 million. Girl Scouts of Orange County was surprised with the first gift. The funds will support the organization’s Comadres outreach program that helps the Girl Scout experience transcend language and cultural barriers for girls in low-income neighborhoods. The ceremony at Sleeping Beauty Castle also included the tradition of playing the recording of Walt Disney’s July 17, 1955 welcome to the first Disneyland guests.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Dates were announced for future Greenbuild International Conference & Expo events through the year 2019 by Informa Exhibitions and the U.S. Green Building Council.
HONOLULU—On July 8, 2015, the prestigious Journal of Experimental Biology published a first of its kind study providing new insights into how bottlenose dolphins breathe and handle dive related respiratory challenges. This study, which would have been extremely challenging to conduct in the wild, was hosted by the Kahala Hotel & Resort on Oahu, and represents a joint collaborative effort by Dolphin Quest, a dolphin interaction and conservation facility, and scientists from Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi, and Micah Brodsky, V.M.D. Consulting. The study’s findings identified that the dolphins’ unusual lung anatomy allows them to inhale and exhale two to three times faster than humans, and their collapsible lungs likely helping them avoid decompression sickness. The study also produced valuable baseline dolphin lung function data from healthy dolphins providing veterinarians and scientists better tools for diagnosing and treating dolphins in a variety of situations such as during mass stranding events. Andreas Fahlman, PhD, the lead author of the study and professor of biology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi collaborated with wildlife veterinarian Micah Brodsky.
ATLANTA—Long awaited industry guidance on legionellosis is now available in a new standard from ASHRAE. The document establishes minimum legionellosis risk management requirements for building water systems.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA—Hotel Verde has just been awarded a second LEED Platinum Green Building Certification by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) making Hotel Verde the first hotel globally to achieve a double Platinum certification for LEED. The first Platinum certification was awarded in May 2014 for New Construction in the Green Building Design & Construction category. This established Hotel Verde as one of only six hotels in the world and the only hotel in Africa, to receive this accolade, at the time. The second and most recent certification was awarded for the Existing Building Operations & Maintenance of the hotel, giving Hotel Verde its double Platinum status. Sustainability consultants for Hotel Verde on the LEED submission, André Harms of Ecolution Consulting and Jutta Berns-Mumbi of Ecocentric, targeted several strategies to obtain the second Platinum Certification in the category for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (v2009). For the Sustainable Sites section of LEED, Hotel Verde scored 21 out of 26 points.
DETROIT—Thom Connors, SMG Regional Vice President and General Manager of Cobo Center, announced that Cobo Center has received the Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) certification, by the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), a nonprofit, membership-based professional organization, and spearheaded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which provides educational resources to planners, suppliers, and venues seeking to meet the ever-rising standards consumers set for sustainable meetings.
NEW YORK—The de Blasio administration earlier this month announced a proposal to require large-scale commercial food establishments to separate organic waste. Food scraps and other organic material makes up one-third of all commercial waste, and diverting this material from landfills—to be used as a soil amendment through composting or as feedstock for clean, renewable energy through anaerobic digestion—will be a critical opportunity for New York City. The City laid out an ambitious plan to send zero waste to landfills and reduce waste disposal by 90 percent relative to 2005 levels, by 2030 in “One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City,” the administration’s comprehensive plan for a sustainable and resilient city. All food service establishments in hotels with 150 or more rooms would be required to participate. Businesses covered by this proposal would be given the option to arrange for collection by a private carter, transport organic waste themselves, or compost on-site in an in-vessel composting or aerobic or anaerobic digestion system, subject to compliance with the City’s sewer discharge regulations.
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