December 2007 Archives

traveling green

When you reach your destination, walk or bike when you can, and be sure to use local bus services and cab companies when you can’t. The same goes for local restaurants and hotels; supporting local businesses enriches your travel experience and puts your tourism dollars to good work by helping to cultivate and maintain the community.

A more ambitious option for the environmentally and culturally savvy traveler is to book your holiday through an agency that specializes in sustainable tourism. Companies like Whole Travel and Ethos Travel are dedicated to planning vacations that minimize the negative impact of tourism on local communities while focusing on properties and activities that benefit the economy of your chosen destination.

If surrendering the details of your trip to a third party doesn’t appeal, you may want to research resort management and development companies like Six Senses. These businesses operate hotels and resorts in locations all over the world, and are committed to maintaining the ethos of responsible travel in their establishments.


Greenbuild 2007

Leonardo Academy announced last week during the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Annual Greenbuild International Conference & Exposition that this event is offsetting its emissions under Leonardo Academy's Cleaner and Greener® Program which is dedicated to reducing and offsetting emissions to improve health and climate. For the sixth consecutive year, Leonardo Academy has donated its Cleaner and Greener® services to the USGBC for calculating emissions, gathering emission offsets, and certifying the level of offsets achieved. For this year's conference in Chicago, IL, the current emission offsets donated have offset 100 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions and average of 50 percent of each of the other types of emissions from based on projected Greenbuild attendance and energy use.

The Cleaner and Greener® Program certifies organizations and events for offsetting emissions from energy use. This program addresses emissions that impact both human health and climate. Michael Arny, President of Leonardo Academy, said, "Reducing and offsetting emissions that affect climate and health is a critical pert of reducing our environmental impacts and everyone can follow the U.S. Green building Council's Greenbuild example in taking action."

Projected Greenbuild energy use and emissions were prepared by Leonardo Academy. Leonardo Academy is gathering donations of emissions offsets from both companies and individual donors to offset Greenbuild emissions. Large emission reduction donors for this event are: Milliken & Company, Wind Current, and Sterling Planet. Greenbuild attendees also have the opportunity to offset their personal attendance emissions through charitable contributions toward the purchase of emission offsets. Offset Sources donated through Cleaner and Greener to offset Conference emissions:

Milliken -- Donated more than 25 million pounds of carbon dioxide sequestration credits from its forests, enough to offset 100% of the carbon dioxide emissions generated by Greenbuild 2007 (,

WindCurrent -- Donated 500,000 kWh of Green-e certified wind renewable energy credits sourced from Midwestern wind farms (,

Sterling Planet -- Donated 200,000 kWh of Green-e certified biomass and wind-generated renewable energy credits (

Donated emission offsets will be permanently retired to offset the carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and mercury (Hg) emissions from the conference facilities, travel, meals, lodging, utilities, and other potential energy use connected to the conference. The pre-event estimates of the event emissions and offset achievements are posted on Leonardo Academy's Cleaner and Greener® website ( Following Greenbuild, the emissions and offset achievements will be updated to include the actual event attendance and additional donations made during the event. Starting with Greenbuild 2007 events that are Cleaner and Greener® Certified will have emissions and offsets quantified using methodology referencing the LEO 5000-2001 Draft American National Standard for Trial Use on Emission Inventories, Offsets and Emission Reductions, the EPA Climate Challenge and USGBC credit interpretations on emissions and emission offsets.

Michael Arny said, "There is an important new idea for all of us to think about in addressing climate change. This idea is that keeping carbon sequestered in existing forests is just as important for total carbon sequestered in forests as sequestering carbon in newly planted forests. The math is simple: the carbon sequestered in Preserved forests, plus Maintained working forest, plus newly planted forests = Total Carbon Sequestered!"

Top green hotels by T&L

A complete list of hotels with the highest environmental standards appears in the November issue of the magazine that is published by American Express Publishing Corp.

Here is a list of their top 10:

* Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada

The property's water is solar-heated, the bulbs are energy-saving compact fluorescent, and the pool is treated with salt instead of chlorine.

* Sonveva Fushi Resort & Six Senses Spa, Maldives

This collection of luxury villas has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by next year and achieve carbon neutrality by 2010.

* Tiamo, Bahamas

This solar-powered 11-bungalow hideaway uses less electricity a month than an average U.S. household. It also has a ban on unsustainably harvested seafood and a program to host visiting biologists.

* Whitepod, Switzerland

The geodesic domes at Whitepod's camp may be electricity-free, but they keep things cozy with plush organic bedding, sheepskin throws, and fireplaces fueled with sustainable harvested wood.

* Devil's Thumb Ranch, Colorado

With 16 airy timber cabins and a soon-to-open lodge, each heated and cooled entirely with fireplaces, only one percent of this 5,000 acre ranch has been developed, leaving the rest free for guests -- and elk, moose, bears, and beavers -- to roam.

* Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Designated 13 years ago as Tanzania's first managed marine protected area, the park is one of the region's most diverse reefs. A ranger program educates locals about marine ecology and prevents illegal fishing, while Chumbe's rooftop rainwater-collection system and solar-powered lights keep the resort in harmony with nature.

* Adrere Amellal, Egypt

As part of the Siwa Sustainable Development Initiative, the hotel helps to fund and support numerous community projects, including measures designed to encourage sustainable farming.

* Campi Ya Kanzi, Kenya

The lodge and its foundation employ 160 tribespeople and make a daily $40-per-guest donation to support new schools, scholarships and compensation payments to Masai for lost cattle.

* Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, Jamaica

The hotel relies almost exclusively on local suppliers, such as the women's group that transforms discarded paper into stationery for guests. Water is collected in rain tanks, laundry is dried in the sun, and the resort's ENOUGH program raises money and supplies for island schools.

* Tenuta Di Spannocchia, Siena, Italy

This 1,100-acre organic estate of managed forests, vegetable gardens and hiking trails is dedicated to preserving the region's cultural and agricultural legacy.

Green Grading Hotels in London

Hotels, guesthouses, attractions and event venues in London, England are being invited to have their green credentials tested by independent auditors through a pilot scheme that has been enthusiastically endorsed by London Mayor, Ken Livingstone.

The London Development Agency are responsible for the scheme entitled “Green Tourism for London”, which will see hotels graded according to their environmental practices and policies. Each establishment signing up to be tested will receive a Gold, Silver or Bronze grading depending upon the results of 150 separate tests, referred to as ‘measures of sustainability’. The tests will rate how efficiently the hotel uses water, energy and gets rid of its waste, and also how environmentally friendly their purchasing procedures are.

The scheme has been launched following research by the LDA that found that 31% of individuals consider green issues when planning their holidays. That’s already almost one in three people and that percentage is expected to rise significantly in the next few years as more adopt the green agenda. Corporations that extensively use hotel accommodation are also expected to push green issues towards the top of their list when considering where to book a stay for their employees and managers.

The LDA is hoping to persuade 150 hotels to join up to the scheme over the next two years, and as an incentive is offering to pay the £60 joining fee as well as offering a 50% reduction in annual fees to the first 150 establishments to sign-up to the GTL. Annual fees range from £50 for a bed & breakfast sized establishment and up to £250 for a large business or attraction. But, only hotels that are graded members of the VisitBritain or AA rating schemes are eligible to sign up for the GTL initiative.

In addition, there will be financial benefits for hotels participating in the scheme; each hotel taking part that reaches at least bronze standard should expect to save somewhere in the region of 20% of its current energy costs. Indeed, it is the triple benefit of cost cutting, helping the environment and the receipt of an official grading that will appeal to tourists interested in green issues that London Mayor Ken Livingstone hopes will encourage hotels in London to sign up to the scheme. He said: “Consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and Green Tourism for London will enable visitors to choose the greenest possible options during their stay in the capital.”

he term “groundbreaking” took on double meaning today when J.W. (Bill) Marriott, Jr., chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Inc. (MAR:NYSE) picked up a shovel to herald the construction start of a new, 154-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott-Inner Harbor at Historic Brewers’ Park to open in the spring of 2009.

The first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified hotel in Baltimore City and one of several “green” Marriott hotels planned for the LEED certification company-wide over the next five years, the hotel’s three-pronged ownership includes minority-owned A&R Development, a division of A&R Companies of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Long-time Marriott franchisees Summit Associates, LLC, and Hospitality Partners, which will also manage the hotel, also co-own the hotel. Project cost is $23 million.

“The new Fairfield Inn & Suites will bring us closer to achieving two major Marriott initiatives – to become a greener and a more diverse company,” said Bill Marriott. “By 2010, we plan to have 500 minority- and women-owned hotels – we’re currently at 400 – and Marriott is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 million tons, a goal we set in 2000.”

Theo Rodgers, president of A&R Development, embraced Marriott’s diversity goals, adding, “We are proud that our first hotel project carries the Marriott flag.”

Gene Singleton, president of Summit Associates, said that the hotel is in the historic Jonestown District, on Baltimore’s Heritage Walk, and on the site of the former Baltimore Brewing Company at Brewer’s Park.

In keeping with the green theme, Singleton noted that materials from the original brewery – such as beer storage tanks that will be used to collect rainwater, hardware, bricks, and the original Baltimore Brewery sign – will be incorporated into the hotel’s design.

Singleton saluted the hotel’s interior designer, George Conte, who worked with the owners to create public spaces that would “emulate what was there” – a favorite and welcoming community gathering place; and said that the hotel is complying, both during and after construction, with LEED guidelines established by the United States Green Building Council.

James B. Kraft, Baltimore City Councilman and “champion” of the city’s Cleaner Greener Baltimore initiative, said, “In 2009, LEED certification will be a requirement for all Baltimore City developers. That’s how strongly we feel about the importance of green building. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott is taking this step without being required to do so by law—they are doing this because it’s the right thing to do. I am honored to help commemorate this milestone in our city, and I hope that this project will serve as a model for future development.”

Survey Results

'Seventy-five percent of survey respondents said it is important to them that the hotel where they stay follows 'green practices,' and those surveyed are more than willing to do their part,' said David McAleese, CEO of A Closer Look. 'In recent years, Americans have become more environmentally aware, and thus have changed their behavior and the expectations of businesses they support.'

The majority of respondents are happy to reuse towels during part of their stay and say hotels could be doing more to help the environment. Many hotels have long been offering the option of reusing towels during a guest's stay, and 69% of people interviewed said they were given the option during their most recent hotel stay. Of those who were offered the option of reusing towels, 40% reused their towels for one day, 24% reused them for two or more days and 19% reused some of the towels and requested replacement of the rest. Only 16% of respondents said they requested new towels daily.


The Silent Sport Lodge Bed & Breakfast in Wolverine has earned Green Lodging Michigan (GLM) Steward certification from the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG).

Green Lodging Michigan (GLM) encourages hotels, resorts, motels, and bed & breakfast facilities to implement environmental initiatives and cost-saving ‘green' practices to conserve energy, reduce water consumption, protect air quality, reduce waste, and participate in environmentally preferred purchasing.

"This accreditation is the mark of environmental responsibility of hoteliers who are committed to ‘green' business practices that make environmental and economic goals their top priority," said DLEG Director Keith W. Cooley. "GLM also helps to ensure the viability of our lodging facilities and the thousands of related hospitality jobs in Michigan that will never be outsourced."

Silent Sport Lodge implemented several environmental initiatives at the facility such as installing a wood-fired boiler; using a rain water collection system for watering plants; and using low-flow faucets, showerheads, and fixtures to conserve water. Silent Sport Lodge also grows many of the fresh, organic vegetables served at the B&B in a greenhouse located on site.

"It was just natural for us to participate in the Green Lodging Michigan program since being green has been a way of life for us," said owners Rhonda and John Smit. "We have always grown our own organic vegetables, gathered wild fruits, recycled in many ways, and have strived to be energy efficient."

GLM is a joint effort between DLEG and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to encourage the lodging industry to conserve and protect the state's natural resources while increasing marketability and lowering utility costs.

"This program has given Michigan's hotels and resorts the opportunity to play a valuable role in our efforts to protect and preserve Michigan's environment," said Steven E. Chester, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

GLM is a voluntary and non-regulatory certification program offered through the Michigan Energy Office in DLEG to hoteliers at no charge. The Michigan Energy Office and the DEQ provide technical assistance to those who are interested in implementing "green" strategies and earning certification. The GLM program certifies facilities based on environmental initiatives such as air quality, energy efficiency, solid waste reduction, toxic waste management, water conservation, purchasing and communication. There are three levels of certification: Partner, Steward, and Leader, which can be earned by completing a self-assessment checklist and achieving a minimum number of requirements and points.

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