Home Publisher's Point of View A Strong Start to Lodging Green + Sustainability Conference

A Strong Start to Lodging Green + Sustainability Conference


It was one of those events where you wish you could have had a seat at every concurrent session. What I am referring to is last week’s Lodging Green + Sustainability Expo at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The speaker lineup at each session was just that strong. Kudos to the folks at Lodging Magazine and EcoGreenHotel for putting on such a successful first-time event. If you missed the conference, be sure to read my article about it.

The LEED Gold certified Omni Dallas Hotel was the ideal location for the conference and expo. I had an opportunity to tour the facility while in Dallas and the city-owned, $500 million property does impress from a sustainability standpoint. Highlights included significant natural day lighting, a keycard-based guestroom energy management system (management says it has been working very well since the hotel opened two years ago), an HVAC condensate recovery system, rainwater cistern, food waste decomposition system, and Texas Spice restaurant built from reclaimed materials that offers only food items from within a 200-mile radius of the hotel.

It was exciting to see the leadership of the property—Managing Director Larry Magor, General Manager Jeff Smith, and Director of Engineering James Cannon—so passionate about the hotel’s accomplishments and so committed to continuous improvement. It was just as exciting to be able to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and learn about the latest green product and technology advancements during the Expo.

This year’s Lodging Green + Sustainability Expo came together very quickly so hotelier attendance was not as strong as it could have been (overall attendance was around 185). That should change next year as the event’s organizers will have an entire year to drive attendance—once again to the Omni Dallas Hotel.

No Notes Needed

Looking back at the conference, a number of things stood out for me. First was Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s keynote speech. It is always a bit risky bringing in someone so strongly affiliated with one political party but Kennedy delivered (without looking at any notes) an hour-long summary of the state of the planet—frequently using the term “decarbonization”—while offering a renewable energy roadmap for the future. Kennedy said it would take about $3 trillion in investment in renewable energy technologies to decarbonize the United States—less than the cost of the war in Iraq.

Interesting to me was the presence of so many nonprofit game changers at one event—Sam Stephens, Executive Director of Global Soap, Shawn Seipler, Executive Director of Clean the World, and Karena Albers, co-founder, Whole World Water. Each of the nonprofit leaders’ organizations deserve our industry’s support.

Also, each panel session and speech demonstrated how pervasive sustainability has become in our industry. That is a huge change since I launched Green Lodging News in 2006.   

Finally, what struck me at the conference was the diversity of the crowd. What I mean is that there were so many different niches of our industry represented—each person having his or her own stake in moving the sustainability conversation forward. There is a positive ripple effect when so many passionate people gather to learn and share best practices that impact not only the bottom line but also people and planet as well.

I am already looking forward to next year’s conference. Be sure to watch for details about it here on Green Lodging News and don’t forget to support and attend the other green conferences throughout the year (see my column from last week for a few examples).

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Who is Your Sustainability Champion?

Green Lodging News is always looking to profile sustainability champions in our Personnel Profile section. If you would like to nominate someone for this section of Green Lodging News, contact me at (216) 848-1406, 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 (216) 848-1406, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Planning Advertising for 2013/2014?

Green Lodging News is accepting reservations for advertising spots for 2013 and 2014. 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 2013 or 2014 media kit? Be sure to contact me as soon as possible at (216) 848-1406, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com. Media kits can also be accessed by clicking here. 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.