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Hilton Portland & Executive Tower Earns Green Seal Certification

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PORTLAND, ORE.—The ongoing efforts of the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower—one of the country’s first hotels to green its operations and the largest hotel in Oregon—have been recognized by Green Seal with the coveted Green Seal Lodging Properties certification (www.greenseal.org). Green Seal is a nonprofit organization that promotes the management, purchase and use of environmentally responsible products and services.

In 2005, Hilton Portland & Executive Tower turned its attention to greening hotel operations. Recognizing the enormous consumption and dramatic impact of the hospitality industry on the planet, hotel management decided to take action to decrease its environmental footprint.

The average hotel purchases more products in one week than 100 families typically do in one year. Furthermore, both hotel guests and staff may be exposed to many environmental toxins from products ranging from cleaners to paint to floor coverings. The 782-room Hilton Portland & Executive Tower recognized the opportunity to reduce impact, improve sustainability, replace toxic products with eco-friendly products, save energy and save money.

“Focusing efforts to green hotel operations is not only a great business opportunity, it is also the right thing to do,” says Tracy Marks, General Manager of the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower. “With one of our buildings constructed in 1963, the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower is proof that you don’t have to be a new building to be green.”

Marks, who previously worked at the Hilton San Francisco, has been a proactive green leader in the lodging industry. The hotel’s Executive Tower, added in 2002, was included in the Green Seal certification.

Hilton Portland & Executive Tower developed an ambitious four-year schedule detailing energy conservation improvements from 2006 through 2010. In 2006, management-initiated modifications were seen throughout all aspects of hotel operations. Some of these include:

• Guestroom light bulbs were replaced with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) that use one-third the energy of traditional incandescent light bulbs and last 10 times as long. When installed in all rooms, the hotel conserves 153,272 kilowatts continually for a total estimated saving of $1,600 per month. The hotel was previously spending $4,000 per month on light bulbs alone, a cost that is expected to decrease dramatically with the longer-lasting CFLs.

• The hotel also incorporated a rigorous food composting program that has dramatically decreased waste. In fact, over the past 40 weeks, 72 tons of material that would have journeyed to the landfill was composted. The hotel aims to double this figure over the next six months.

• Excess food is donated to the local meal collection program, “Fork It Over,” which is then given to city food banks.

• Guest bathrooms were renovated to encourage water conservation. Upgrades included low-flow toilets, low-flow showerheads, smaller basins and a 50 percent decrease in overall water consumption—all without impact on a guest’s experience.

• Eighty percent of guestrooms received electronic “smart” thermostats that operate by motion sensor, turning the heat or air conditioning to a predetermined conservation setting when guests exit the room. One hundred percent of guestrooms are expected to have “smart” thermostats by the end of 2007.

• Traditional cleaning chemicals were swapped out for eco-friendly products.

• Toilet paper with greater recycled content is now in use.

• Partially used shampoo and conditioner bottles are donated to a local homeless shelter, along with older furnishings, linens, curtains, dishware and bedding.

• The hotel increased recycling capabilities throughout the facility with receptacles present in guestrooms and the hotel lobby.

• The internal escalator is turned off between the late hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

• Hilton Portland & Executive Tower is working to achieve superior energy management with the replacement of mechanical equipment and energy retrofits. This includes replacing the current HVAC cooling tower with a state-of-the-art, highly efficient cooling tower, replacing all “steam-to-hot-water” converters with high-efficiency heat exchangers and switching to 85 percent high efficiency natural gas boilers.

• The hotel’s “Green Team,” comprised of hotel executives, managers and staff, meets regularly to continue the development of eco-friendly operations. This internal network infiltrates Green Seal standards into all aspects of hotel operations and is now a component of new employee orientation.

The Green Seal program is a nationally accepted benchmark for green building operations, recognizing the superior management of lodging operations in areas such as water savings, energy conservation, waste minimization, reuse and recycling, energy efficiency, conservation and management and the elimination of hazardous substances. Over the past 11 years, Green Seal has partnered with the lodging industry, focusing on how environmental efforts can both improve the bottom line and benefit the environment.

Through its “Greening the Lodging Industry” program, individual properties that demonstrate environmental leadership in their operations and purchasing can gain recognition and the market advantage that brings. Green Seal has helped educate hotel executives, managers and staff about the importance of sustainability and the ways hotels can operate in a more sustainable way.

Go to the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower.

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