When looking for best practice information on green hotel operations, where do you go? Is there a website that you visit most often? A book that you read? An event that you attend? Where is the best place to network? Please write to let me know so that I can share that information with our readers. I have discovered that there is a lot of good information available but not all in one place and sometimes the most likely places disappoint.
The first place I looked when planning this publication is the Green Hotels Assn. website. The site could use a redesign but it does include a long list of green product suppliers and hotels that incorporate energy management, water conservation, waste management and more in their operations. The association offers a “Guidelines and Ideas” manual to members as well as a “Greening Newsletter” that is published six times a year. Membership rates vary but start at $100 a year.
Another place one would expect to find a wealth of information is the American Hotel & Lodging Assn. (AH&LA) website. The home page itself is absent of any links to green resources except one. That link in tiny text at the bottom of the page leads to the organization’s “Energy Center.” Elsewhere on the site, in the AH&LA’s business plan, it states that the Energy Center program with Ernst & Young has been cancelled.
In fairness to the AH&LA, the organization does have a Good Earthkeeping program but one has to search to find it. In partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, the AH&LA provides helpful resources to help hoteliers save energy, assess energy performance, set goals and track savings. The AH&LA also has a Good Earthkeeping Alliance for vendors and an Engineering and Environment committee for interested hoteliers.
It is understandable that the AH&LA has other issues on its plate—immigration reform, for example—but it should at least include a link to its environmental programs from its home page.
New York Show—A Missed Opportunity?
After the Green Hotels Association and the AH&LA, the next most logical forum to exchange green ideas is the industry’s largest trade show—the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show. The event will take place in New York from November 11 to 14. Having been to the show many times, it is definitely the place to be to learn about the industry’s newest resource-saving products.
Unlike the National Restaurant Association Show, which had a Green Pavilion for some vendors earlier this year, the IH/M&RS will not segregate green vendors into one area on the show floor. In the future, organizers should consider having a green products show within a show to make it easier to find such products. It would benefit vendors and attendees alike.
At this fall’s show, the Hospitality Leadership Forum is not focusing on the environment in any of its sessions but it is possible green issues could be discussed in the CEO Leadership Panel and other panel discussions. It is disappointing that not one show seminar will focus on green building design, energy management or any other environment-related issue. Organizers of the show missed a great opportunity. With rising energy costs, how can this happen at our industry’s biggest event?
If important environmental issues are not being given proper attention at the national level, to what degree is it happening at the state level? I know there are a lot of states—California, Florida, Massachusetts and others—that make the environment a priority for discussion but what about the remainder of the United States? I am just learning what each state is doing. Please don’t hesitate to drop me a note or give me a call to keep me up to date. I will do my best to write an article or post upcoming events.
From an environmental perspective, it is clear there are a lot of great things happening in our industry. What is also clear, however, is that we have a lot of work to do to create resource centers that will help all of us. It is my goal as publisher and editor of Green Lodging News to make GLN one of the best resource centers.
Who knows, maybe one November soon we will all be meeting at the International Green Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show. We can dream, can’t we?
As always, your comments are welcome. Please write to Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor of Green Lodging News, at firstname.lastname@example.org.