news & features


Revitalization of Existing Buildings at Heart of McMenamins’ Sustainability Approach

PORTLAND, ORE.—McMenamins has built a reputation in Oregon and Washington for revitalizing aging structures by converting them into useable spaces. It began its journey back in 1983 and now has 70 pubs and restaurants, 25 breweries, two distilleries, a winery, and 10 hotels. The hotels once had other uses. For example, McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell, Wash. was once Bothell Junior High. The historic Edgefield in Troutdale, Ore. was built in 1911 as the county poor farm. The Hotel Oregon in McMinnville, Ore., built in 1905, was once home to a restaurant and lounge, banquet hall, Greyhound bus depot, Western Union, soda fountain and beauty parlor. Next on McMenamins’ list for renovation is the old Elks Lodge in Tacoma, Wash. It is listed on the National Registor of Historic Places and was purchased by McMenamins along with the adjacent annex building in July 2012. Shannon McMenamin, General Manager of Lodging, Gift Shop and Spa Operations, says McMenamins is still in the “trying to recruit investors” stage. “The building is spectacular,” she says.

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publisher's point of view
Behind Every Successful Green Travel Program You Will Find Talent

I posted an article this past week on Tom Rhodes, NC (North Carolina) GreenTravel Initiative Program Manager. I had an opportunity to meet Tom at a conference a number of years ago. One of my readers suggested Tom as someone I should profile in our Personnel Profile section. Of course Tom was a great choice. Any kind of city, regional, state or national green lodging recognition program is only as good as the person or people behind it. Tom is a very good reason North Carolina’s GreenTravel Initiative is such a success. For those of you not familiar with the NC GreenTravel Initiative, it is a program that was developed through a partnership of the North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service (NCDEACS), The Center for Sustainability at East Carolina University, Visit North Carolina and the Waste Reduction Partners program. It was launched toward the end of 2011 and allows businesses to be certified and recognized as green businesses, meaning they have accumulated enough points for their best practices as noted in the Application for Recognition.

guest column
Using Digestion & Data to Divert & Eliminate Food Waste

Food waste continues to be a global crisis. Globally, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food ends up in landfills every year, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming while negatively impacting valuable natural resources such as land and water. As the earth’s population continues to grow toward nine billion people by the year 2050, we continue to place an enormous burden on our natural resources and our environment while struggling to feed a growing population. In the United States alone, food waste makes up a staggering amount of landfilled waste. Thirty-four million tons of food waste is sent to landfills every year. To put that number into perspective, that’s over 200 pounds of food waste per person in the United States, every single year. As greenhouse gasses and global warming continue to become bigger problems in today’s world of globalized industry, new ideas and technologies are needed to deal with this ongoing environmental crisis. Managing waste more responsibly is an effective way to have a meaningful impact.

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green hotel focus
LEED Platinum Hotel at Oberlin Readies for May Soft Opening

OBERLIN, OHIO—One of the world’s most innovative green hotels—The Hotel at Oberlin—is just one month away from its soft opening in Oberlin, Ohio. The hotel is owned by Oberlin College and eventually will qualify for the rare LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 70-room Hotel at Oberlin is the first LEED Platinum hotel owned by a college and anchors the Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center, the cornerstone of Oberlin’s Green Arts District, an ongoing development conceived by the city and college to transform Oberlin into a model for environmentally aware economic development based on education and the arts. The Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center also includes a conference center, commercial and office space, jazz club, and restaurant that features locally grown and sourced fare.

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personnel profile
Tom Rhodes Leads NC GreenTravel Initiative Towards 200 Participating Businesses

RALEIGH, N.C.—Later this year, the NC GreenTravel Initiative will turn five years old. It is very possible that 200 travel-related businesses in North Carolina will be participating in the program by that point. When the program launched toward the end of 2011, its focus was on hotels and restaurants. Today, led by Tom Rhodes, NC Green Travel Initiative Program Manager, many kinds of travel-related businesses have been recognized as green businesses—attractions, museums, parks, vacation rentals, convention centers, festivals and other travel-oriented establishments. “Although I wear several ‘hats’, the majority of my workday involves tasks associated with the green travel program,” Rhodes says. Businesses participating in the NC GreenTravel Initiative first fill out an application geared toward their type of business. There is even an application customized for breweries. There is no cost to participate. Applications are reviewed by Rhodes. While there is no mandatory site visit in order to become a certified business, Rhodes says there are 62 retirees in North Carolina who volunteer their time to do site assessments covering water, waste and energy. “They provide the service at no cost,” Rhodes says, adding that some of the volunteers previously worked for NC DEACS.

blog post
E.ON Survey Offers Glimpse at How Travelers Perceive Green Hotel Practices
6 days ago

E.ON, one of the United Kingdom’s leading power and gas companies, last week released the results of its survey of 2,000 travelers. The survey primarily focused on traveler attitudes toward green hotel practices. According to the survey results, one-third of guests say hotels and B&Bs should be judged on sustainability, with an accreditation system similar to food and service quality. One in five people would be more likely to stay in or recommend a B&B or boutique hotel if it used renewable energy sources. Similar numbers would be swayed by knowing the hotel used energy efficient measures such as low energy lighting (17 percent). Half of guests say that the sustainability and energy use of a hotel is important to them. One in 10 want their accommodation to have smart thermostats in the room so they can monitor their energy usage, while a similar number want a recycled water system. The research also found that half of hotel guests would be willing to be an “eco-customer” if they got a 10 percent discount for adopting environmentally friendly behaviors such as using a single towel during their stay, having their lights and electricity on stand-by, and limiting hot water use.

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