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Cooper Hotels in Florida

Cooper Hotels, a leading, multi-brand owner and operator of 22 hotels in the eastern half of the U.S. today announced that its four Florida properties are in the process of becoming certified "Green Lodges" by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The hotels are the Hilton Naples, Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs, and two Fort Myers hotels, the Homewood Suites by Hilton and the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Bell Tower Shops.

Certification depends not only on implementing green practices required by the department, but also on securing the commitment of top management. In this case it is Pace Cooper, President and CEO of the Memphis, Tennessee-based company. "While all of our hotels practice conservation, our Florida hotels are taking it to the next level with constant monitoring of results and feedback," said Mr. Cooper. "Most importantly, we will involve our guests in our efforts. Since many of them practice some level of conservation at home, they will appreciate the opportunity to contribute while traveling."

Criteria in five areas must be met in order to attain green status. Communications efforts must include a "green team" chaired by the hotel general manager, with representatives from each job position. The hotel staff must be familiar with the hotel's environmental policy and their role in it. Discussions on green practices at staff meetings are mandatory and require documentation. Guests and staff must receive communications on environmental initiatives via newsletters, or placards in guest rooms. Finally, a suggestion box or survey form must be provided for guests and staff to give feedback on green practices.

For water conservation, towel and linen reuse programs are required along with low flow faucets, showerheads and toilets and automatic faucets or toilets in public restrooms.

Energy efficiency measures include using Energy Star-rated equipment, programmable thermostats, sensor-controlled lighting, high-energy efficient lighting and a computerized energy management system.

Waste reduction is accomplished by recycling ink and toner cartridges, paper, cardboard, aluminum and steel cans. Use of recycled office paper, toilet tissues, paper towels or paper napkins is required as is bulk purchasing or reduced packaging.

Clean air practices consist of environmentally preferable cleaners, high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, cleaning air handler units and coils at least annually and following up with a preventive maintenance schedule.

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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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."

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.

Green Hotel Trend Keeps Spreading

We like that they quickly run through the half-hearted efforts, like putting a little placard up asking guests to reuse their towels, and quickly get to some practices that take real effort. We're still a little grossed out by the waterless urinals at The Colony Resort and Cabana Club, but we do like their idea of using recycled carpet squares instead of wall-to-wall. "When one square wears out, detach, recycle and replace it, without throwing out the whole rug." Owner and manager Jestena Boughton also reuses sheets that have gotten a rip, turning them into curtains or pillowcases.

In wealthy Palm Beach County, The Colony Hotel (above) and the Breakers Palm Beach have both earned a "Green Lodging Certification" from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In downtown Miami, the Four Seasons and InterContinental have gotten the nod.

Kudos to Rick Hawkins, The Breakers' director of materials management, who puts it all in language that the Wall Street Journal editorial page readers can understand. "If we don't do things to save the planet, our lovely historic hotel is going to be a dive site one day. And everything we've done boosts profitability. The return on investment long-term is huge."

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