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Another Book on Sustainability to Add to Your Collection

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As reported in an August column, two books were recently released that address sustainability in hospitality. The first book, “Greening Food and Beverage Services: A Green Seal Guide to Transforming the Industry,” was reviewed in my August column (click here for that article). I highly recommend that book. The second book, “Hotel Sustainable Development: Principles & Best Practices,” is one I also strongly recommend. Edited by A.J. Singh, Ph.D (Associate Professor in The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University) and Hervé Houdré (Regional Director of Operations and General Manager of InterContinental New York Barclay), the book includes contributions from hotel company executives, consultants, and property level managers.

In the first chapter of “Hotel Sustainable Development: Principles & Best Practices,” Houdré and Singh successfully trace the history of environmentalism in the lodging industry (relying on work done by Professor David Stipanuk of Cornell University)—beginning with the preservation of natural areas in the United States in the 19th century, leading up to the International Hotels Environment Initiative in 1992, and efforts by hotel chains today to minimize their environmental impact.

Another chapter addresses trends in sustainability regulation, including possible climate change legislation. “In the future, for all aspects of their businesses, hotel companies should expect laws to discourage their use of fossil fuels and to encourage substitutes, including renewable energy sources and greater energy efficiency,” says chapter author Jared Eigerman, Senior Counsel at Goulston & Storrs, P.C. “These laws can affect not only bricks and mortar and the delivery of services to guests, but all points on the supply chain.” Eigerman discusses local, state and federal mandates as well as energy and green building codes and carbon pricing.

Certification Programs Addressed

In “An Overview of Sustainable Development Standards and Certifications,” Peggy Berg discusses programs ranging from Energy Star to Green Globe, Green Key and others. Berg, founder of The Highland Group, Hotel Investment Advisors, Inc., accurately states, “None of the certification programs has the kind of distribution that drives consumer recognition yet.” Berg concludes her chapter by providing contact information for the many certifying organizations.

Marc Heisterkamp, a Vice President at Bank America and formerly with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), discusses “LEED and the Growth of Green Building in Lodging” in his chapter. He states the business case for green building—from building performance to the competitive advantage—and details the value in achieving the USGBC’s LEED certification.

While part one of the book addresses “Historical Context—Local and Global Perspectives,” part two addresses “Development and Investment Perspectives.” One highlight in this section is a chapter on “Converting Existing Historic Buildings Into Hotels.” In this chapter, Maurice Robinson, president of Maurice Robinson & Associates LLC, discusses the benefits of using historic buildings to develop hotels and provides a case study describing the conversion of a former military base (Fort Baker in San Francisco) into Cavallo Point. Robinson discusses all of the obstacles that had to be overcome to bring the project to completion—e.g., how to pay for an expensive renovation. He details some of the key sustainability features of the lodge and wraps up his chapter with a list of other historic structures that have been successfully converted to hotels.

Part three of the book is entitled, “Hotel Corporate and Property Perspectives” and includes contributions from industry leaders such as David Jerome, Senior Vice President for Corporate Responsibility at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and Sophie Flak, an Executive Vice President with Accor. Jerome, in his chapter, discusses IHG’s approach to corporate responsibility (CR) and its CR priorities: defining the green hotel of the future, bringing new products to the marketplace, finding cost efficiencies for the company and its partners, and enhancing the value of IHG’s brands.

Focus on Operations

Part four of the book, “Operating Perspectives,” includes chapters on “Planning and Delivering Sustainable Meetings and Events,” “A Guide to Measuring Sustainability,” and five other chapters on topics ranging from marketing sustainability to sustainable hotel operations. “Understanding and Implementing Carbon-Neutral Policies,” written by Jeanne Varney and David Mahood, both principals with Olive Hospitality Consulting, addresses the importance of benchmarking a hotel’s energy performance, audits, and carbon-offset options.

While perhaps not a guide book on operations specifically, “Hotel Sustainable Development: Principles & Best Practices” does provide an excellent overview of the state of green hospitality today—something rare in our industry. If you are interested in learning more about the book, click here for more information.

Who is Your Environmental Champion?

In our Personnel Profile section we frequently profile individuals who lead sustainability efforts at either the corporate or property level. (Click here for examples.) We are always looking for new people to profile. Do you have someone in mind for our Personnel Profile section? Be sure to contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor of Green Lodging News, at (440) 243-2055, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.   

Looking for Guest Columnists

Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (440) 243-2055, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Planning Advertising for 2012?

Green Lodging News is accepting reservations for advertising spots for 2012. Many excellent spots are available on the website and in the weekly e-mail newsletter. Many Green Supplier Spotlight dates are also available. Interested in receiving a 2012 media kit? Be sure to contact me as soon as possible at (440) 243-2055, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com. Thank you to all of those companies that consistently support Green Lodging News.

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As always, I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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