ATLANTA—The Atlanta Marriott Marquis, known for its stunning 50-story atrium, is using its ambitious resource-saving initiatives as a launching point to attract groups interested in holding green meetings. The 1,663-room hotel began its green push in April with a press release highlighting the hotel’s environmental accomplishments.
Green meetings make a lot of sense, according to Chris Anderson, director of sales and marketing at the hotel. The Atlanta property is doing the little things that are part of green meetings—using recycled paper, and mugs instead of paper cups, for example. However, a more significant component of the hotel’s program is the phasing out of meeting room table linens. That is no small step at a hotel with 48 meeting rooms. Having to wash so many linens was eating up a lot of energy, water and chemicals, and also generating recurring linen replacement costs.
Anderson says the hotel could not just remove the linens and continue to use the wooden tables underneath. They were not only unsightly but also capable of causing a splinter or two. The Atlanta Marriott is purchasing attractive new tables that include recycled plastic content. The tables fold down in front and present a clean look unmatched by the linen-clad tables. The tables cost more than wooden tables but not having linens to launder will save the hotel in the long run.
Five Million Gallons of Water Recycled
To address the water consumption challenges caused by the towels and linens that they still have to wash, in late 2005 the hotel installed its own water treatment plant. Greywater from the laundry is treated by the system and then introduced back into the intake line for the laundry. The treatment plant saved the property from buying 5 million gallons of water last year.
The hotel has also switched over to fluorescent lighting in guestrooms and hallways and is in the process of installing fluorescents in its restaurants and bars. Anderson says 300,000 bulbs have been replaced. The initiative will reduce lighting-related electricity costs in the hotel by 30 percent. The new fluorescents will also generate less heat and not have to be replaced as often, saving even more in cooling and labor costs.
To help control energy costs related to the heating of water, new boilers have been installed that boil water only when needed. Anderson says the boilers have been programmed to heat water at full capacity only during hours when guests are most likely to shower. He says the boilers will save the hotel about 30 percent in water heating costs.
The Atlanta Marriott Marquis also has a towel and linen reuse program in place and is working to eliminate toxic cleaning products in the hotel.
Back to Green Meetings
Each one of its programs helps the hotel position itself as a green meeting destination.
“One of our customers wanted breaks that included only organic foods,” Anderson says. “Another customer chose to green its meeting because they wanted to let their employees know that they are making responsible decisions.”
Anderson says he has put together guestroom material that includes resource-saving tips and is considering placing the National Geographic Society’s True Green: 100 Everyday Ways You Can Contribute to a Healthier Planet book in each guestroom. He already gives the book to the hotel’s meeting clients.
“From the top down, Marriott has been figuring out ways to have a smaller impact on the environment,” Anderson says. “It has always been a part of our culture. We feel good doing it.”
In recognition of its continuous efforts to implement environmentally friendly initiatives, the hotel has won Marriott’s Environmentally Conscious Hotel Operations (ECHO) award for significant contributions in saving electricity, natural gas and water.
Go to the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.