Publisher's Point of View

Each week, Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor of Green Lodging News, will address the hottest industry topics. Sometimes hard hitting, his column will challenge the industry’s leaders to take action. At other times, he will lift up the industry’s environmental champions. “Point of View” is a column you will not want to miss. To contact Glenn Hasek, call (813) 510-3868, or write to: editor@greenlodgingnews.com.


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The Hotel at Oberlin—Another Renewable Energy All Star

4/29/2016

I just added another hotel to the Geothermal Powered page on the Green Lodging News website—The Hotel at Oberlin in Oberlin, Ohio. Anyone familiar with Oberlin College would not be surprised by the college’s latest venture. The 70-room hotel, set to have its soft opening this month (May), is on track for the rare LEED Platinum certification and will join just a handful of hotels in the United States in that group. I recently spoke with Christopher Noble, Project Developer, SMART Hotels LLC, to learn more about this outstanding property. “Our path to LEED Platinum is based on energy efficiency more than anything else,” Noble told me. The Hotel at Oberlin features a hydronic radiant heating and cooling system tied to the geothermal system. There are 48 geothermal wells, each 405 feet deep, surrounding the property. There is LED lighting throughout the hotel. “It is fair to say we are solar powered as well,” Noble says. During the planning stages for the Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center, of which the hotel is a part, a nearby solar array was built. The energy from that array helps power the Center.


Earth Day: The Perfect Day to Launch the Green Lodging Survey

4/22/2016

I used Earth Day to announce the launch of the planet’s premier Green Lodging Survey. Set to launch in June (watch for it!), the survey is being produced in partnership with Greenview. Eric Ricaurte is the Principal of Greenview and I will be working with him on this exciting project. Greenview has helped launch several innovative industry initiatives including the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative, the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking study, the Hotel Footprinting Tool, the Green Venue Report, and the UNWTO’s sustainable cruise development strategies for South-East Asia. In June and months following hoteliers and innkeepers will be asked to complete the online survey that will consist of about 75 questions covering topics ranging from indoor air quality to energy management to procurement. The intent of the survey is not only to cover the best practices you are familiar with but to also uncover innovative new green products, technologies, and steps seen nowhere else that hoteliers are taking to reduce their impact while increasing profitability.


Hoteliers Gear Up for Earth Day, Earth Week with Wide Range of Activities

4/15/2016

Earth Day is April 22. I have been hearing from some companies and individual hotels regarding their plans. All 11 of Greystone Hotels’ California and Oregon based properties will donate a portion of gross room revenues from Earth Day to the Nature Conservancy. Earth Day will also be an organized day of service for all employees. Kimball International, Inc. is recognizing Earth Day and Arbor Day by continuing its traditional “Trees for Tomorrow” program. For 2016, the program involves a $1 donation for every employee to the Arbor Day Foundation which will plant a seedling in forests on behalf of Kimball employees. To mark Earth Day, properties in the Valencia Group collection will be joining the community in various efforts ranging from tree and seed planting projects to neighborhood beautification and community garden initiatives. Throughout April, Valencia Group hotels invite guests to toast its food and beverage program’s focus on locally sourced ingredients with a special menu of Sustainable Sips cocktail offerings, which utilize gins, vodkas and whiskeys.


TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Quickly Became Global Success Story

4/8/2016

On April 22, 2013—Earth Day—TripAdvisor launched its GreenLeaders program. Almost three years later, that program that recognizes lodging establishments for their green initiatives has more than 11,000 participating properties in 66 global markets across North America, Latin America, Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand. In the last year, TripAdvisor has added nearly 3,000 GreenLeaders participants. The free, voluntary program is clearly one of the most successful green programs to have ever launched in our industry. I interviewed Ryan Dillon, Responsible Travel Specialist at TripAdvisor and manager of GreenLeaders, for a Green Lodging News article that was posted on the Green Lodging News website this past week. Be sure to read that article. As with other green certification or recognition programs, hotels and B&Bs must complete an application in order to participate. Questions in the application address topics ranging from towel reuse to staff training to preventive maintenance. Qualifying properties are marked with a badge on their TripAdvisor page. To see a list of the business’s environmentally friendly practices, travelers click on the property’s GreenLeader badge.


Lodging Industry to North Carolina: There is No Room for Inequality

4/2/2016

At the top of a Marriott website dedicated to lesbian and gay travel, a Marriott statement reads as follows: “At Marriott, there is no room for inequality. We believe that every guest, whoever they are, wherever they go, should feel comfortable and welcome the moment they walk through our doors.” Marriott is just one example of many companies in our industry that have made sure that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is welcome in its hotels. Of course it makes sense—legally, ethically, economically, etc.—to welcome all people just as much as any other without discriminating based on religion or sexual preference. We are indeed all equal, aren’t we? Or, as some believe, are there those of us who are more equal than others? Responding to what I see as another knucklehead-driven piece of state legislation that legalizes discrimination, Marriott joined companies including Hilton, Starwood Hotels, Choice Hotels and many others in signing a letter last week that calls on North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal the radical provisions in the deeply discriminatory House Bill 2 that recently was pushed through the legislature.


A Preview of Villages Nature—a Joint Venture of Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs and Euro Disney

3/25/2016

This past week I had an opportunity to chat with Dominique Cocquet, CEO of Villages Nature. I am working on an article on the very impressive Villages Nature project. For those of you not familiar with it, it is a joint venture of Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs and Euro Disney and is located 20 miles east of Paris and just a few miles from Disneyland Paris. Villages Nature is expected to open next spring with 916 dwellings, more than two-thirds of which will be cottages and one-third family suites. Within the next five years there will be more than 1,700 dwellings. The dwellings will be owned by individual and other investors and managed by Villages Nature. Villages Nature is expected to host up to 900,000 visitors a year—almost 2,500 daily—on its 444 acres. In addition to places to stay, there will be many attractions including the Aqualagoon covered water park and outdoor lagoon, shops and restaurants, farm, lake, spa and gardens. All of the heat demand will be covered by geothermal energy.


More on Bottle Filling Stations, Sustain 2016 & Other Upcoming Events

3/18/2016

Last week’s article on water bottle filling stations was tweeted about by many and already has had about 1,000 page views. It was great that so many folks got to read the article. While traveling this past week, I saw one of the bottle filling stations I had written about at Philadelphia International Airport. They are certainly becoming more common. In response to my article, I heard from Jack Hlavec, General Manager of the Hilton Concord in Concord, Calif. Jack told me his property, which I have written about numerous times in the past few years, began implementing bottle filling stations early in 2015. The hotel has added fill stations on guestroom floors and in employee break rooms. All employees have been provided with refillable water bottles to use while they are working. The bottles include the Hilton logo. An in-room tent card advises guests about the stations. Guests have the option of purchasing the refillable bottles located in their guestrooms or in the lobby gift shop. “The water bottles have been well received,” Hlavac says.


Water Bottle Filling Stations: A No Brainer You Should Consider & Implement

3/10/2016

Experts generally agree that approximately 50 billion plastic bottles are used each year in the United States. Only about one-quarter of those are recycled. The lodging industry is certainly an enabler when it comes to plastic bottle waste. One can typically find plastic bottled beverages wherever there is a soda machine or gift shop. What I consider to be a no brainer when it comes to reducing plastic bottle waste is bottle filling stations. This past week I wrapped up an article on bottle filling stations. They are just beginning to take hold in our industry and are currently available primarily through three companies: FloWater, Haws and Elkay. If you have not yet considered placing bottle filling stations on guestroom floors, in lobby areas, fitness rooms, back of house areas, etc., you need to start doing it. You can reduce waste, save money from not having to purchase, store and manage bottles, and possibly even make money through the sale of refillable bottles.


Column Number 500: Looking Back—Up in Smoke & For the Birds

3/4/2016

Anniversaries are the types of things that can sneak up on you. In this case, however—my 500th column and 500th weekly e-newsletter—I clearly saw it coming for years. Each week, at the top of my e-newsletter, the “Issue Number” is moved ahead one click. You just can’t avoid the passage of time. Five hundred columns and newsletters. Wow. Early on, it was not always easy generating original content for “green lodging.” Today, however, it is truly a challenge to keep up with all of the developments in green building, operations, products and technologies. Looking back on all of the columns I have written, there was one that was easily read by more people than any other—the one about the birth of my son. He will be five years old in August and last night, for the first time, he read me a sentence from a book. It is one of those parent moments that I will never forget. My son helps me keep things in perspective and makes me want to continue to write about ways to make our planet a better place. The first topic I ever covered in a column: second-hand smoke.


USGBC’s New Hospitality Report Highlight’s LEED’s Dramatic Growth

2/26/2016

It is a success story that just is not getting the attention it deserves—our industry’s utilization and embracing of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating program. In case you missed it, USGBC recently released its LEED in Motion: Hospitality report which provides an update on our industry’s LEED participation. Compared to when I first launched Green Lodging News almost 10 years ago, the level of interest in LEED has grown tremendously. According to the report, there are more than 400 LEED certified hotels globally, comprising nearly 133.9 million square feet. The number of LEED hotels is expected to increase significantly over the coming years: there are currently over 1,600 registered hotels totaling 986.6 million square feet in the pipeline, nearly four times the total number of LEED certified hotels. The report includes a map of the United States where one can find LEED hotels. The state with the most by far is California with 31.


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