October 2007 Archives

10 Tips

In the end, I suppose the fact that hotels are pushing more environmentally benign practices is more important than why they are doing it. So, with that in mind, let me offer a few additional suggestions to facilitate the greening of hotels, motels, and inns everywhere:

1. Eliminate your obscene Internet access charges for guests who agree to receive an electronic copy of their bill instead of a loooong paper printout — entire forests will be saved!
2. Give Earth First! free use of your conference centers and lobbies to stage their awareness protests and offer your best corporate rates to the group’s members.
3. Rig your plumbing and lighting so that guests must listen to pre-recorded environmental messages from Al Gore before opening a faucet, flushing the toilet, or turning on a lamp.
4. Replace the tiny liquor and wine bottles in the mini-bars with full-size ones to lessen the burden of all those little plastic containers on community recycling efforts. Of course, the hotel should absorb the cost of the bigger bottles as their way of “paying” the world back for its plastic footprint.
5. Stop offering pay-for-view movies. That only encourages guests to watch television, which in turn causes more electricity consumption and leads to excessive couch-potatoism.

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Various Eco Friendly Hotels

The Beverly Hilton is identified as green by the California Green Lodging Program. However, that program's guidelines are a very, very pale shade of green.

Put together to help California state employees travel green, the Cali Green Lodging Program awards one or two palm trees depending on a hotel's green commitment. The Hilton has one tree -- meaning it's at the "entry level for the program" and "might not have a written environmental policy in place." Basically, this hotel might become green one day -- Hilton Hotels are experimenting with a few eco-rooms in Chicago, after all -- but hasn't done much as of yet.

Still, the hotels on this list awarded 2 palm trees are likely greener options than other chain hotels. The lone hotel in the L.A.-area with this distinction: the New Otani Hotel & Garden.

Beyond that, the Cali Green Lodging Program's list seems rather out of date -- which explains why the Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica -- which is very eco-friendly -- doesn't make the list.

But the Ambrose got a four-leaf award from the eco-guide Greenopia, and was named Certified Green Business by the City of Santa Monica. Both of Greenopia's and Santa Monica's criteria are much firmer than the Cali Green Lodging Program.

One other Santa Monica hotel also got the Certified Green Business distinction: Best Western Ocean View Hotel. A bit surprising, but apparently this hotel has made some real green changes, with "energy & water efficiency, environmentally conscious office purchasing, and use of less-toxic cleaning chemicals."

Lastly, a few hotels have earned the Energy Star label for using energy more efficiently than comparable businesses. Those are the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, the Renaissance Los Angeles Airport, and the Marriott Los Angeles Airport.

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More green florida hotels

The latest recipient of Florida's Green Lodging Program accreditation: Big Pine Key's Deer Run Bed & Breakfast, which provides organic vegetarian meals and buys fair-trade products and locally grown produce. The voluntary state initiative encourages and assists the lodging industry to adopt cost-saving green practices, while establishing environmental guidelines for hotels and motels to conserve natural resources and slash pollution.

Now one of the 43 hotels endorsed by Green Lodges, Deer Run has reduced energy consumption with energy-efficient appliances, compact fluorescent light bulbs, solar garden lighting, and on-demand water heating.

Besides installing low-flow showerheads with soap-up valves and low-flow faucets, as well as landscaping with less-thirsty native plants, the four-room bed-and-breakfast—which derives its name from the endangered Key deer that frequent its grounds—also stocks recycled paper products, composts food and yard waste, and uses eco-friendly cleaners.

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Going Green in Kerry

Two environmentally conscious Kerry hotels this week showed off their green credentials as part of a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiative called Greening Irish Hotels.

The Derrynane Hotel and the Dingle Skellig Hotel were among 56 nationwide to engage in the unique program which aims to reduce the environmental impact of the businesses.

Speaking at the launch of the final report of the programme, EPA director, Larry Stapleton, said the project had resulted in reduced costs for hotels, giving a win-win outcome for business and the environment.

“The Irish hotels industry has been environmentally benchmarked for the first time in this pilot program which has delivered the blueprint for better, greener business for Irish hotels,” he said.

“What we would like to see happen now is that the momentum from this programme will be carried forward,” Mr Stapleton added.

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Green Travel misses the boat

But only a few hotels in the United States are certified as "green" by the U.S. Green Building Council. None of the big hotel chains, cruise lines or tour operators has published a thorough corporate responsibility report, with metrics, goals and timetable for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

And while the "eco-travel" category is growing fast, no one can tell you with any certainty just what that means.

What's more, while the industry creates jobs and helps alleviate poverty, critics say that industry workers in the developing world are underpaid, and that most of the tourism dollars generated in poor countries leave anyway. That's because visitors tend to favor western-run hotels, western-owned rental car agencies, and western-made products like Coca-Cola over local businesses.

"The tourism industry lags way, way behind other industries when it comes to corporate social responsibility," said Patricia Barnett, director of Tourism Concern, a British advocacy group.

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Florida Lodging goes green

Deer Run Bed & Breakfast was accepted this week into the state of Florida's Green Lodging Program. The four room bed and breakfast on Big Pine Key serves organic vegetarian meals and buys fair trade products and locally grown produce.

Deer Run has reduced energy consumption by installing energy efficient appliances, compact fluorescent light bulbs, solar garden lighting and on-demand water heating.

The B&B conserves water through low flow showerheads with soap up valves, low flow faucets and by landscaping with native plants that require little irrigation. It uses recycled paper products, composts food and yard waste, has implemented a towel and linen re-use program and uses green cleaners. Guest rooms are stocked with cruelty-free personal products.
Key deer doe and fawn at Deer Run Bed & Breakfast (Photo courtesy Deer Run B&B)
Hotels, motels and B&Bs across Florida are quickly greening up their establishments to make them eligible to attract business from the state.

In July, Governor Charlie Crist signed an executive order that requires state agencies and departments to hold meetings and conferences only at hotels with the Green Lodging designation starting January 1, 2008, whenever possible.

Launched in March 2004, the Florida Green Lodging Program is a voluntary state initiative that provides the lodging industry with technical assistance, and encourages hotels and motels to adopt cost-saving green practices that reduce waste and conserve natural resources. It establishes environmental guidelines for hotels and motels to conserve natural resources and prevent pollution.

As a further reward for designation, Florida is recommending Green Lodges to companies and trade organizations seeking environmentally conscious lodging and convention facilities.

With the addition of Deer Run Bed & Breakfast, the program has 43 hotels designated, including five in the Florida Keys, and has more than 120 applicants.

"We are proud to be a part of Deer Run Bed & Breakfast reaching this milestone," said Jon Iglehart, South District director for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. "Pollution prevention projects like this one protect the environment while saving resources for businesses."

The Deer Run B&B has a special environment to protect. Situated on one of the Keys' rare sandy beaches, it is frequented by Key deer, a small deer on the endangered species list found only in the Florida Keys.

"It is our obligation to be a good steward of the gifts of our environment," said Deer Run owners Harry Appel and Jennifer DeMaria. "We are so proud to become an official Green Lodging establishment certified by the State of Florida and shall use this opportunity to lead by example, and continue to learn from others."

Forks and Knives

4. Use a travel mug (and fork and spoon)

Many consider a steady supply of coffee a necessity for extended road trips, and take out food is convenient and inexpensive. However, the waste produced from meals and snacks on the road quickly adds up. Take along a travel mug for coffee and reusable plastic sports bottles for other beverages and water. Skips the straws if you can. Inexpensive plastic containers from your grocery store can hold snacks from home such as fruits, vegetable sticks and trail mix (another money saver).

You might also want to pack an inexpensive set of cutlery to use for takeout food rather than opting for plastic utensils (which are often wrapped in plastic as well). Also, you can request silverware and dish soap at your hotel if it isn’t already provided.

Need to know what items belong to which family member? Try permanent marker or nail polish to label items such as water bottles and utensils.

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Florida Hotels go Green

The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando and the Plaza Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach have been designated as part of the Florida Green Lodging Program by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The Florida Green Lodging Program is a voluntary state initiative that encourages hotels and motels to adopt cost-saving green practices that reduce waste and conserve natural resources.

The Shingle Creek resort is the 12th participant from Orange County on 44th overall in the state. The Plaza Resort is the third participant in Volusia County, joining its sister hotels the Palm Plaza and the Beachside Plaza Resort.

Kimpton Seattle

The boutique Hotel Vintage Park, a downtown Seattle hotel. Our charming luxury hotel in the heart of downtown Seattle celebrates Washington's wine industry by dedicating each room to a local winery and vineyard. In the style of a Seattle boutique hotel, the luxury Hotel Vintage Park offers a welcome respite from the busy outside world. Yet we're located in the heart of downtown Seattle in the city's retail and financial center, making our boutique hotel an ideal destination for business and leisure travelers alike.

In 1884, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts was founded on an enduring connection to the land and communities where we do business. Remaining true to this principal, the company took a proactive approach in 1990 with the launch of its industry-leading Green Partnership program. This comprehensive initiative to minimize the impact of hotel operations on the environment addresses key issues including waste management, water and energy conservation, habitat protection, purchasing, employee and guest education and community outreach. In addition to publishing “The Green Partnership Guide,” a “going green” handbook for the hospitality industry, individual Fairmont properties are innovating with food re-distribution and composting, tree-planting days, lighting retro-fits and a wide range of other everyday activities, special events and capital investments that protect their communities and the planet.

Today, The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, along with its 50-plus sister properties, continue to grow environmental stewardship from setting expectations with external vendors, to daily business decisions affecting hotel construction, operations, renovation and training.

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Eco friendly in Seattle

Sleeping Lady Mountain Retreat
This legendary 67-acre lodge pioneered a sustainibility program: It's built from recycled materials and uses low-energy florescent and LED lighting and green cleaning supplies. 7375 Icicle Rd, Leavenworth, WA

Hotel Vintage Park
Part of the first boutique hotel chain to go green, this spot follows EarthCare standards with its use of enviro-friendly cleaning products, recycled paper and soy-based inks. 1100 Fifth Ave, Seattle, WA

The Edgewater Hotel
Water-conserving toilets, a compost program in the kitchen and an active recycling program are a few ways Seattle's only waterfront hotel helps the environment. 2411 Alaskan Way Pier 67, Seattle, WA

The Inn at Langley
Guests are encouraged to try one of owner Matt Costello's five-course dinners, which highlight local Whidbey Island cuisine and sustainable agriculture and ingredients. 400 First St, Langley, WA

Cedar House inn and yurts

Set in the lush north Georgia Wine Country 70 miles north of Atlanta, these yurts feature canopied beds and private decks. Visit Dahlonega’s Holly Theater just west of the historic town square or head to the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi in Amicalola State Park. On you way, stop at the Funky Chicken Art Project, an art gallery set inside an old chicken coop, and visit the Garden of Peace Project .

The Green Factor: As members of the Green Hotels Associatioon, owners Mary Beth and Fred Tanner incorporate passive solar principles throughout the property. The inn’s low-flow toilets and showers and a pesticide free lawn and garden keep with their earth friendly principles. Guests who stay in the light-on-the-land yurts have use if a shower house and composting toilet. DAHLONEGA, GEORGIA

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