Home News & Features Ryan Butler Keeps PM Hotel Group Centered, Focused on Sustainability Goals

Ryan Butler Keeps PM Hotel Group Centered, Focused on Sustainability Goals

361
0
SHARE

Name: Ryan Butler
Title: Corporate Director, Sustainability + Energy
Years in Current Position: One year and 9 months.
Primary Responsibilities: “Looking at our brand and local compliance standards. Understanding what brand needs are, as well as investor needs. Handling utility procurement. Explaining the renewable energy credits market. Educating around sustainability.”
Company’s most significant accomplishment in sustainability: “One to highlight is releasing six sustainability reports. It shows continued transparency. When comparing our first report with our 2024 report, it is like night and day.”
Company’s most significant challenge moving forward in sustainability: “Education for ownership groups and translating sustainability initiatives for the groups. Making sure we are speaking the same language. Making sure they see the value beyond the cost. Making sure everyone understands the work we are doing.”

Ryan Butler

CHEVY CHASE, MD.—At PM Hotel Group, a management company with 70 hotels and 58 brands, its sustainability strategy is centered around reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption, and waste going to landfills. Leading that effort is Ryan Butler, Corporate Director, Sustainability + Energy. Butler joined PM Hotel Group in October 2022 after working for organizations including JLL where he was Project Manager—Energy and Sustainability.

Last year, PM Hotel Group continued its four-year commitment to the EPA Green Power Partnership (GPP). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established GPP in 2001 to encourage organizations to use green power voluntarily to protect human health and the environment. PM Hotel Group currently purchases Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and leverages on-site solar power generation as part of its commitment to reducing climate change impact. Last year RECs and on-site power generation covered 12 percent of the company’s electricity consumption.

According to Butler, four hotels in PM Hotel Group’s portfolio have on-site solar. “We are working to add more,” he says.

With so many different brands in its portfolio, part of Butler’s job is keeping pace with each brand’s sustainability standards. “It is a challenge,” he says. “We make sure there is a champion at each property to handle it.” Brand sustainability dashboards are consistently monitored. “We make sure properties know the brand requirements,” Butler says. One brand follows another in the sustainability space. Dealing with so many requirements is an opportunity to learn best practices.

Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport

Energy-Saving Opportunities

When asked where the opportunities are for energy reduction in the group’s hotels, Butler said, “Hardware that works, LED lighting, sensors, and in-room thermostat controls. Those are going to be our main focus. They will have the most significant energy reductions.” He emphasized the importance of technologies meeting the skill sets of employees.

In 2023, Renaissance Philadelphia and Marriott Old City Philadelphia performed LED retrofits avoiding over 500,000 pounds of CO2. At the Hotel Dupont in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, the property underwent a $2.6 million deep energy retrofit in 2020. Eight energy conservation measures were taken. From November 2021 to November 2023, there was a reduction in CO2 of 5,838 tons.

Throughout PM Hotel Group’s portfolio, low-flow fixtures and ozone laundry systems help to reduce water consumption.

Butler says PM Hotel Group is piloting composting programs at some hotels while making sure properties follow other waste management standards. Of composting, he says PM Hotel Group is making sure this type of program makes sense for hotels. Early results are good, with waste hauling trucks not picking up as much. Other waste-reducing actions include bulk amenity dispensers, water bottle filling stations, and furniture donations. PM Hotel Group is also a partner with Clean the World, collecting and recycling discarded soap and plastic amenity bottles.

At its 2023 Leadership Conference, over 250 leaders across PM Hotel Group gathered at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to participate in magnet fishing—the casting of magnets into the water to catch metal trash. “It was a fun activity that became a sustainable education activity,” Butler says.

Commitment to Certification

PM Hotel Group has five LEED certified hotels in its portfolio—the equivalent of 1,100 keys. Among them is the LEED Platinum Home2 Suites by Hilton Silver Spring in Maryland. Compared to a standard hotel, that property offers a water savings of 42 percent and energy savings of 35 percent. A rooftop solar array provides 9 percent of the hotel’s electricity needs.

“We have more [LEED properties] in the pipeline,” Butler says, adding that Green Key Global is another certification program PM Hotel Group is looking at.

Refillable water bottles are an amenity provided at The River Inn to cut back on in-room water bottles and provide guests with a more sustainable option and a surprise and delight moment.

Butler leads the Sustainability Committee at PM Hotel Group. The Committee is comprised of executive teams and meets monthly. PM Hotel Group launched the PM Green Team in 2023, designed to engage and involve on-property associates on topics of sustainability and forge a direct line of communication between the hotels and PM Hotel Group’s sustainability team to make a greater impact. Butler says his company’s goal is to have green teams at all individual properties by the end of this year. To celebrate each Green Team sign up, PM Hotel Group partnered with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for each Green Team Member.

Butler is one of two full-time associates at PM Hotel Group dedicated to sustainability. The other is Riley O’Connell, Associate Project Manager, Sustainability + Facilities. They are assisted by consultants from outside of the company.

Community Activities

To create positive change in the communities in which they operate, PM Hotel Group has engaged in a host of philanthropic causes, from Feed the Fridge which provides meals for food insecure individuals, to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network which supports research, resources, and advocacy for patients with pancreatic cancer. At the property level, hotels in the PM Hotel Group portfolio actively work to advance worthwhile causes within their own communities. As an example, hotel and conference center Airlie in Northern Virginia donated 32 rooms worth of furniture to Homes Not Borders, an organization that helps rehome refugees and forced migrants in the Washington D.C. area.

At the 2024 Leadership Conference, Butler and other PM Hotel Group associates helped assemble North Texas Food Bank kits.

North Texas Food Bank kits (2024 Leadership Conference)

In late May, PM Hotel Group announced its partnership with Procure Impact. As part of its commitment to the Dignity of Work Pledge, PM Hotel Group has pledged a goal of creating 2,000 hours of work for overlooked populations through purchases of products on the Procure Impact platform. This new partnership is the latest example of PM Hotel Group seeking to create positive change in the communities in which it operates. At Hotel Hive, Hon’s Honey is a local partner from Baltimore that PM Hotel Group uses. At Motto DC, PM Hotel Group works with Open Water & Dog Tag Bakery.

At The Windsor Suites, Ecodrive is a program PM Hotel Group is participating in. When guests choose to skip daily housekeeping during their stay, two trees are planted on their behalf.

When asked what he most enjoys about his current position with PM Hotel Group, Butler said, “Getting to work with everyone. I get to work with legal. I get to be at the cutting edge of sustainability. There is so much work to be done in the hospitality space. At the end of the day, it is about people, planet and profit.”

Glenn Hasek can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

LEAVE A REPLY