I attended the Hospitality Design Exposition & Conference in Las Vegas this past week. I have attended the event many times. My focus is always on trying to identify new green products to write about or pick up on new green trends. If you have never attended this event, I recommend it. It is a great opportunity to pick the brains of those in our industry who walk the talk of sustainability and who are leading innovation in product development, design, manufacturing, and end-of-life consideration. When you talk about the sustainability of a product, you need to consider its entire lifecycle. That is becoming increasingly more important to those who specify products—designers, architects, owners and other stakeholders.
While I had many conversations on the trade show floor, there were a few that really stuck with me.
In chatting with a representative of Interface Hospitality, I learned about the company’s efforts to replace all material in its products made from virgin oil by 2020. Interface is increasingly relying on recycled material, including even nets from the fishing industry, to create its modular carpet. Interface recently announced a strategic partnership with The Carpet Recyclers, a La Mirada, Calif.-based business that, since its establishment two years ago, has diverted more than 150 million pounds of used carpet from West Coast landfills, saved more than 15 million gallons of oil and created more than 100 green jobs. The partnership will result in Interface having access to more non-virgin materials for its carpet manufacturing. Interface is just one example of a company hell bent on eliminating waste and trying to wean its way off of oil.
Another conversation was with a representative of Switch Lighting Co. The company was at the show for the first time selling its LED A-lamps. They featured 40, 60, 75, and 100 watt-equivalents. There was even a 3-Way lamp on display. LEDs are already playing a huge role in our industry; I am just waiting for this market to explode. The person I spoke with told me the story of one hotel—a customer of theirs—that has a large, very high chandelier that was not using LED lamps. Each time just a few bulbs burned out the owners had all of the bulbs changed because the labor costs involved in getting a crew to change the bulbs was so much. With LEDs installed, however, that has all changed. The LEDs will last three to four years if burning 24/7. Can you even begin to imagine the labor LEDs will save across our entire industry?
A Lesson in Green Design
I also stopped at Humanscale’s booth. The company featured its desk chairs and LED task lights. What struck me most about my conversation there was not only the attention to making their products recyclable but also the idea of compartmentalization. What I mean here is that because Humanscale’s products are designed with as few parts as possible and with interchangeable parts, the possibility of an entire chair or task light having to be thrown away is minimized. A chair’s arm gone bad can easily be replaced. Of course Interface’s approach is similar with its modular carpet. Why replace an entire room of carpet because of one stain when you can just replace one square?
A couple years back I met two guys from a wood flooring company. I won’t mention the company name here. I would describe them as outspoken. I saw them again this year. Back then they told me about the environmental advantages of wood flooring over carpet. It is not a story often told in our industry. This year they expressed strong views about our industry’s lack of commitment to using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood in construction projects. They mentioned one very prominent LEED hotel project in Las Vegas as one that did not use a stick of FSC wood. What it comes down to is cost; FSC certified wood costs more, they said. Have you also found that to be the case?
Finally, one of the coolest new products I saw was framed art from Moving Murals. The framed pieces include scenes of nature in motion in high-definition—scenes truly mesmerizing.
In case you are wondering, none of the above companies are Green Lodging News advertisers. If you would like to read about some of the other companies that had a “green” presence at the Hospitality Design Exposition & Conference, click here.
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