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PHILIPSBURG, ST MAARTEN—The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten made its mark as a game-changer in the hospitality industry by completing a landmark solar installation earlier this year that allows the resort to produce six to eight hours of its own power during peak times. The resort has harnessed the power of the Caribbean sun for more than a year and reached an environmental milestone by generating one gigawatt hour of solar power, or one billion watt-hours. The resort also just installed a completely oil-free Smardt Chiller to further conserve energy; the Chiller is used in the air-conditioning and refrigeration systems throughout the resort. One gigawatt hour of power is enough to provide annual power to 92 American households, and conserves more than 1.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, which equals the emissions from more than 77 thousand gallons of gasoline consumed. It has also spared emissions equivalent to more than 1,600 barrels of oil consumed and enough carbon sequestering of more than 17,000 seedlings grown for 10 years.
TORONTO—The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) announced it has received two coveted distinctions for its sustainability commitment, showing green leadership at both national and provincial levels. MTCC earned the LEED Gold certification by the Canada Green Building Council, the certifying body in Canada for the international rating system, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This certification, achieved by the MTCC’s south building in the Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance version of the rating system, makes MTCC one of the first Canadian convention centers to earn a gold rating.
CLINTON, MD.—The TownePlace Suites is located across Old Alexander Ferry Road from Joint Base Andrews. A large segment of the hotel’s guest base is military personnel on temporary duty at Joint Base Andrews. The hotel prides itself on providing a “home away from home” and an inviting atmosphere to support troops. Both as part of participating in the military’s mission expanding the use of renewable energy, and as a way to cut costs and maintain affordable rates, the hotel started looking into a solar photovoltaic energy system last year. “We thought that solar would enhance our ability to offer a great hotel value to all our guests, especially our military guests and their families,” said Dr. John Miller, one of the hotel’s Managing Partners (along with Mark Rothman, Esq.) “Energy security is a big part of the military mission. We felt this was something we could do to enhance energy security and help the environment, while also giving us the ability to hold costs down.”
CHEVY CHASE, MD.—The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. has become the first Founding Partner of IMPACT 2030: The Global Initiative for the Advancement of Corporate Volunteering. IMPACT 2030 was introduced at the United Nations on Friday, December 5, 2014 on “International Volunteer Day” where The Ritz-Carlton and the fellow Founding Partner companies showcased the meaningful difference their employees are making locally, nationally and internationally through corporate volunteering. IMPACT 2030 is a global private sector led collaboration created to mobilize corporate volunteers to contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Initiative’s partner companies recognize that a commitment to corporate volunteering—when used in concert with the United Nations, peer companies, and philanthropic and nonprofit organizations—is a powerful tool to address critical social and environmental issues and inspire the private sector to positive action. The focus areas for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s social and environmental responsibility program, Community Footprints, are hunger and poverty relief; child well-being; and environmental responsibility, and are key components of the company’s culture of corporate social responsibility.
LONDON—To mark Human Rights Day 2014, the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) has released its latest Know How Guide on Human Rights and the Hotel Industry. The guide is a high-level introduction to human rights for the hotel industry—what human rights are, what they are in the context of the hotel industry, steps to implement the UN Guiding Principles and resources for further reading. Hotels touch every corner of the globe and employ and offer hospitality to millions of people very year. The hotel industry therefore has an important role to play when it comes to human rights and it is imperative that hotel companies understand the relevant issues. Human rights are often dismissed as too complicated or irrelevant. The International Tourism Partnership’s aim is to demystify human rights for the hotel industry—bringing together a complex mass of information into one document specifically for the sector. Human rights needn’t be complicated, or abstract. If they are embedded into a hotel’s strategy and operations correctly, it will be of equal benefit to employees, stakeholders and guests.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.—Koncept Events recently took an inspired cue from their mega client Nutra Blend, and took to the streets of South Florida to extend Nutra Blend’s “Drive to Feed Kids” program to their hotel brand partners in an effort to drive away hunger in South Florida.
ANN ARBOR, MICH.—NSF Sustainability, a division of global independent public health organization NSF International, has certified TexaStone Quarries to the sustainability assessment standard for stone—ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainable Production of Natural Dimension Stone.
NEW YORK—Six patterns of Carnegie’s proprietary high performance Xorel have earned the USDA Certified Biobased Product Label which verifies that the product’s amount of renewable biobased ingredients meets or exceeds levels set by USDA. Biobased products are finished or intermediate materials composed in whole or in significant part of agricultural, forestry or marine ingredients.
ST. JOHN, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS—As Chief Visionary Officer and owner of the eight-suite Eco Serendib Villa and Spa on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Harith Wickrema is adamant about providing luxury experiences for guests that “excite, educate, and entertain.” “Eco Serendib Villa and Spa is proof that you do not necessarily have to sacrifice luxury and modern conveniences to live a greener existence,” Wickrema says. Wickrema, who grew up in Sri Lanka where “eco” efforts were standard out of necessity, readily admits that his property is not perfect when it comes to sustainability but he has gone far beyond what is standard to reduce the property’s environmental footprint. The list is very long and can be seen on Eco Serendib’s website but some of the property’s most significant initiatives include: 69 rooftop solar panels, kitchen appliances that use less energy than a 100-watt bulb and are made from as much as 75 percent recycled materials, a gray water system for irrigation, and three separate 20,000-gallon cisterns to collect rainwater.
LAGRANGE, GA.—Interface has drawn on the natural beauty found in salvaged matter and materials for the design of its new Reclaim carpet tiles. The 25cm x 1m skinny plank series echoes the look of worn, weathered wood, lending interiors a feeling that’s both warm and inviting yet completely modern. Constructed of 100 percent recycled content fiber that combines reclaimed carpet fiber with salvaged fishing nets, Reclaim remains true to its name and at the same time is in lockstep with the company’s Mission Zero promise to eliminate any negative impact is has on the environment by the year 2020.
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