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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that it will allow LEED users to register projects under the LEED 2009 rating system until October 31, 2016. The original date for LEED 2009 registration to close was June 15, 2015. Extending to October 2016 gives LEED users and members of the green building industry additional time to prepare for LEED v4, the latest version of LEED, which features increased rigor and multiple updates. “When USGBC launched LEED v4 last year, we set out with one goal in mind—to raise the bar in a way that challenges the building industry to reach higher than ever before,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. “This is our nature and USGBC and its members’ collective mission. However, the market has requested additional time to prepare for LEED v4, so we are responding.” In a survey conducted at last week’s Greenbuild conference, 61 percent of respondents said they are “not ready” or “unsure” if they are ready to pursue LEED v4 and require additional time to prepare.
DENVER—Xanterra Parks & Resorts has received a Lodging Sustainability Award. The award was announced at the Lodging Magazine Green + Sustainability Conference + Expo in Las Vegas. A global hospitality company known for its environmental innovations in national and state parks, resorts and other destinations, Xanterra has been long recognized as a visionary in environmental innovation and for its commitment to a softer footprint in those natural places.
NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS—The marine environment at Baha Mar continues to flourish, with the introduction of more than 300 coral antlers to the $3.5 billion resort’s eco-reef experience. The eco-friendly coral antlers were installed in July, adding to the artificial eco-reef experience at Baha Mar. Before the antlers were installed, volunteers from Baha Mar assembled each 55 pound antler by hand. The installation of 48 reef balls and 320 coral antlers began in April 2014 by Baha Mar’s environmental team. The reef balls and coral antlers were designed to complement each other by creating optimal conditions for coral and marine life just feet away from the shoreline at the luxury Bahamas resort. Reef balls provide protective void spaces for fish while encouraging coral growth, while the coral antlers create prime ecological conditions for coral settlement, growth and adhesion. Fish are immediately attracted to the eco-reef layout, which closely resembles a naturally occurring coral reef. Over time, the reef balls and coral antlers will be filled in and covered by a living reef.
LONDON—InterContinental Hotels Group announced that its flagship IHG Green Engage program will be rolled out across the company’s global estate of over 4,700 hotels as of January 1, 2015. IHG Green Engage is an online environmental sustainability tool, which gives hotels the ability to track how much energy, carbon and water they are using, as well as assessing how waste is managed. This allows them to see how much they are spending and saving and to feed data directly to IHG’s corporate clients as part of the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The IHG Green Engage system comprises more than 200 specific actions—or “Green Solutions”—designed to reduce hotels’ environmental impact, with IHG’s managed hotels avoiding $73 million in energy costs alone in 2013. This is another significant benefit given that utilities typically represent one of the highest expenses for hotels. IHG will take an active role in supporting the rollout, helping hotels not currently registered to sign up and reach IHG Green Engage Level 1 certification by the end of next year.
SACRAMENTO, CALIF.—Commercial buildings in California account for nearly 40 percent of primary energy usage, much of which is wasted because of inefficiencies in older construction. According to the United States Department of Energy, commercial buildings could be made 80 percent more efficient with new and existing technology, but many property owners don’t fully appreciate the value proposition that retrofitting can bring to a business.
LOS ANGELES—Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, recently announced a $30 million rennovation—which includes all new guestroom interiors as well as upgrades in the hotel’s meeting areas and its famous pools with a completion date set for early 2015. Known for reflecting a stunning blend of Hawaii’s culture and natural beauty, the upgrades are designed to further enhance the guest experience with a fresh, contemporary island look. Room design updates are being headed by interior architect Robert Barry of the Los Angeles based Barry Design Associates (BDA) who won the account via a design competition. The firm was behind the luxuriously iconic look of the resort’s Spa Grande and has worked on hotels and spas including: the One & Only, Bahamas, the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico, the Mauna Kea on the Big Island in Hawaii, the Beverly Wilshire Spa and the Naples Grand Beach Resort. Sustainability is a focus of the room reimagining with: LED lighting used throughout and all carpet being made from recycled material.
TALLAHASSEE—Sheena Chin-Greene has been named Coordinator of the Florida Green Lodging Program. She replaces JoAnn Shearer. Chin-Greene previously worked in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Northeast District Office. She brings extensive experience with sustainable initiatives including green lodging and pollution prevention and has special expertise with Lean process improvement. Chin-Greene joins a program that now has 717 participants.
NEW YORK—There are just two weeks until the many green activities begin at this year’s Hospitality Leadership Forum, International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) and Boutique Design New York (BDNY). Events will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center November 8 to 11 in New York City. Recently, three NEWH Green Voice Conversations were added to the extensive schedule of sustainability-focused sessions. The Green Voice Conversations will take place as part of BDNY. The first Green Voice Conversation will take place Sunday, November 9 from 10:30 to 11 a.m. The topic will be, “Where Does Your Wood Come from and Why it Matters: Understanding Responsible Sourcing of Wood and Forest Management Certifications.” The guest speaker will be Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners. The moderator will be David Mahood, LEED AP, GGP, Olive Hospitality Consulting. The second Green Voice Conversation will take place Sunday, November 9 from 1:30 to 2 p.m. The topic will be, “Better Design through Nature’s Chemistry: Why Nature Should be Your Model for Buildings and Products.
MIAMI—On Tuesday, October 14, the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association (GMBHA) honored hotels and allied businesses that are leading the adoption of sustainable hospitality practices at its 2nd Annual Sustainable Hospitality Awards. Award winners were selected from nominated local hotels and businesses that are advancing sustainability practices through implementation, promotion and education of guests and employees.
DALLAS—NYLO Hotels, LLC announced they are providing Tesla Motors charging stations at NYLO Dallas South Side, NYLO Irving/Las Colinas and NYLO Plano at Legacy. The service began on October 10. Each DFW-area NYLO Hotel will have three charging stations for electric car owners to use for free on a first come, first serve basis. “We are thrilled to offer NYLO guests a chance to charge up their Tesla vehicle,” said Mike Mueller, CEO of NYLO Hotels. “We believe in the Tesla brand and installed stations because they are reinventing the way people buy cars. This relationship will enhance NYLO’s commitment to be at the leading edge of environmentally friendly hotels, and it will also allow us to provide a wider range of excellent and unique services to our guests.” The Tesla Motors Model S is the world’s first premium electric sedan, designed from the ground up to take full advantage of electric vehicle architecture. In June, California-based Tesla Motors opened a gallery at Dallas’ popular NorthPark Center to join similar galleries in Austin and Houston.
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