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Environment America recently released its report on America’s Dirtiest Power Plants. It is important reading because it is likely that your property’s electricity is generated by one of them. You can help address the problem by reducing your property’s draw of electricity and by pressuring your utility company to clean up their plants and transition to cleaner, renewable energy technologies. According to the report, power plants are the largest source of global warming pollution in the United States, responsible for 41 percent of the nation’s production of carbon dioxide pollution, the leading greenhouse gas driving global warming. The 50 most-polluting U.S. power plants emit more than 2 percent of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide pollution—or more pollution than every nation except six worldwide.
If you are considering capital investments to increase the energy or water efficiency of your building, you need to pay attention to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. I have met a couple of people recently specializing in PACE and just posted an article on the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City and how it used this type of financing to fund $7 million in upgrades in items ranging from LED lighting to HVAC systems. According to PACENow, PACE is an “innovative way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to buildings. Interested property owners evaluate measures that achieve energy savings and receive 100 percent financing, repaid as a property tax assessment for up to 20 years. The assessment mechanism has been used nationwide for decades.
Do your homework. That is my recommendation before purchasing, leasing or renting a food waste decomposition machine. I just posted an article on the machines after chatting with representatives of seven system suppliers. Several other vendors are also mentioned in my article. I first wrote about the food waste decomposition machines five years ago. Since then a number of new suppliers have entered the market, some have disappeared, while several others have done quite well. There is no doubt the systems have become a highly effective and accepted way of either reducing huge volumes of food waste down to grey water for the drain or a compost mix for outdoor use. The two types of machines available (one producing grey water and one a dry compost) can have a huge upside.
The 98th annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) and the fourth annual Boutique Design New York (BDNY) were held this past week at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. I was happy to be part of an effort that resulted in a new Hospitality Green section of the IHMRS trade show floor, as well as five green panel discussions in the Hospitality Green area. A big thank you to ST Media Group International, manager of the show, for involving Green Lodging News, and to the Hospitality Association of New York City’s Sustainable Hospitality Committee for their assistance in planning the five panel discussions. If you were unable to attend the show this year, I strongly encourage you to check out the lists of exhibitors who were there.
Be skeptical of claims regarding a product’s ability to biodegrade quickly in a landfill. That is the takeaway from the Federal Trade Commission’s recent six enforcement actions against companies making false claims regarding biodegradability and recyclability. In one case, ECM Biofilms and two of its customers—shopping bag maker American Plastic Manufacturing and golf tee maker CHAMP—were caught making false claims regarding biodegradability of plastic products. ECM markets additives under the trade name MasterBatch Pellets. These are supposed to make plastic products biodegradable. ECM allegedly claimed, for example, that “plastic products made with [its] additives will break down in approximately nine months to five years in nearly all landfills....”
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.
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