news & features


Harith Wickrema, Wearing Many Green Hats, is ‘Visionary’ in More Ways Than One

ST. JOHN, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS—As Chief Visionary Officer and owner of the eight-suite Eco Serendib Villa and Spa on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, Harith Wickrema is adamant about providing luxury experiences for guests that “excite, educate, and entertain.” “Eco Serendib Villa and Spa is proof that you do not necessarily have to sacrifice luxury and modern conveniences to live a greener existence,” Wickrema says. Wickrema, who grew up in Sri Lanka where “eco” efforts were standard out of necessity, readily admits that his property is not perfect when it comes to sustainability but he has gone far beyond what is standard to reduce the property’s environmental footprint. The list is very long and can be seen on Eco Serendib’s website but some of the property’s most significant initiatives include: 69 rooftop solar panels, kitchen appliances that use less energy than a 100-watt bulb and are made from as much as 75 percent recycled materials, a gray water system for irrigation, and three separate 20,000-gallon cisterns to collect rainwater.

featured vendor video
Hotel Laundry Made Easy With UniMac®

Length: 3:57

Hotel laundry made easy with UniMac--a Hampton Inn case study from Boulder, Colo.

publisher's point of view
Value of Third-Party Certification Re-Emphasized in New Report

While geared toward gauging consumer reaction to green product claims, a study recently released by UL Environment and conducted by Shelton Group also sheds light, I believe, on how consumers are most likely to react to hotel property green certification claims. In the study, “Under the Lens: Claiming Green, The Influence of Green Product Claims on Purchase Intent and Brand Perception,” 1,017 consumers were presented with a series of visual comparisons in which a problematic claim was paired with a legitimate claim or a certified claim. An example of a problematic claim was language on a product that can easily be perceived as greenwashing. A legitimate claim included credible language on a product but the information was not certified by a third party. A certified claim was one substantiated by a third party. Consumers were asked which product they would be more likely to choose.

guest column
Why On-Site Aerobic Digesters Make Sense for Full-Service Hotels

More than 34 million tons of food waste are sent to landfills annually and the hospitality industry is a significant contributor. The recent trend of jurisdictions implementing food waste restrictions and bans is making sustainable alternatives no longer just a social responsibility; but a mandatory requirement. The good news is some successful back-of-the-house programs can help increase profitability and subsidize the front-of-the-house improvements. The hospitality industry consumes a large volume of food and beverage through in-house restaurants, catering, buffets, and guestroom services. In some cases, hotel guests have been known to produce approximately two pounds of food waste per night per person. Most of the large hotel brands are already taking sustainable actions regarding renewable energy and water conservation, but little attention has been directed towards the reduction of food waste until now.

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green hotel focus
Grand Wailea Announces Resort Enhancements

LOS ANGELES—Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, recently announced a $30 million rennovation—which includes all new guestroom interiors as well as upgrades in the hotel’s meeting areas and its famous pools with a completion date set for early 2015. Known for reflecting a stunning blend of Hawaii’s culture and natural beauty, the upgrades are designed to further enhance the guest experience with a fresh, contemporary island look. Room design updates are being headed by interior architect Robert Barry of the Los Angeles based Barry Design Associates (BDA) who won the account via a design competition. The firm was behind the luxuriously iconic look of the resort’s Spa Grande and has worked on hotels and spas including: the One & Only, Bahamas, the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico, and the Mauna Kea on the Big Island in Hawaii.

upcoming events
Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Virginia Green Travel Conference
Greater Richmond Convention Center

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

AHR Expo
McCormick Place, Chicago

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hotel Association of Canada National Conference
Hilton Toronto Hotel

Monday, February 02, 2015

personnel profile
Aparium Hotel Group Names General Manager of New Charmant Hotel

CHICAGO—Aparium Hotel Group, a leading hotel company specializing in management and development of independent properties across the United States, announces the appointment of Sean Castady as General Manager for The Charmant Hotel, a boutique and historically relevant hotel in La Crosse, Wis. In his role, Castady will direct and oversee all daily operations of the former chocolate factory turned 67-room hotel, scheduled to open in the Summer of 2015. “Sean’s past experience with reputable brands and award winning boutique hotels will complement our translocal philosophy perfectly,” said Kevin Robinson, Chief Operating Officer/Managing Partner, Aparium Hotel Group. “More importantly, Sean will naturally fit into the city of La Crosse with his Midwest roots and hospitable personality. As we prepare for the opening of the property local residents will quickly get to know Sean and will appreciate his commitment to extending the authentic and natural culture of La Crosse through The Charmant Hotel and its future team.”

blog post
Study Shows Best Way to Engage Employees in Energy Conservation
3 days ago

A recent Carnegie Mellon University study of PNC Financial Services Group employees provides some fascinating insight into how best to engage employees in energy efficiency measures. In December 2013, PNC installed Plugwise meters, which measure plug load, or the energy drawn by devices from an electrical outlet, at 80 Pittsburgh employees’ workstations. These 80 employees were divided into four groups, each of which received a different amount of information and control. The first group knew they were being monitored but received no information about their energy consumption. The second group received information through an energy dashboard that collected and displayed plug-load data in real time. The third group also had access to the dashboard and could manually turn on and off specific devices through the use of a switchboard. The fourth group had access to the dashboard and could automate when specific devices turned on and off.

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