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BOGOTA, COLOMBIA—Five years in the planning, the Biohotel Organic Suites is just one month from opening in Bogota, Colombia in the district of Usaquen, known as the culinary and cultural hub of the city. The seven-story, 72-room property is “my retirement plan,” says Samuel Huertas, majority owner. Huertas is aiming for LEED Gold certification for the hotel that includes the Green Piece restaurant and meeting space to accommodate up to 150 people. True to its name, the Biohotel Organic Suites is green throughout. The exterior of the building features windows made from recycled glass and vertical “gardens” that help to minimize heat gain from the hot Colombia sun. A 110-panel solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the hotel will supply about 10 percent of the hotel’s electricity.
MIAMI BEACH, FLA.—After the completion of a $25 million dollar restoration endeavor, the historic Courtyard Cadillac Miami Beach Oceanfront announces the opening of its new LEED certified 93-guestroom oceanfront tower. The Cadillac now offers a total of 356 guestrooms, including 19 oversized suites with ocean views, a new oceanfront salt-water pool, a state of the art gym, an updated lobby and indoor/outdoor meeting space, the renovated Carrabba’s Surfside Tiki Bar and new poolside cabanas. “The addition of the oceanfront tower along with our private beach and lengthy list of new amenities has transformed our hotel into a place that visitors can’t help but stop to explore,” said Joseph LaFleur, General Manager of the Courtyard Cadillac Miami Beach Oceanfront.
PHILIPSBURG, ST. MAARTEN—The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten has completed a solar installation that allows the resort to produce six to eight hours of its own power during peak times. The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa is the first Westin hotel or resort in the world and the only major resort in the Caribbean to complete and utilize solar panels to replace its energy consumption throughout the resort. The resort began taking advantage of the island’s abundance of sunshine in 2007 with the installation of solar panels to heat the water used in the property’s guestrooms. The resort’s owner, Columbia Sussex Corp., working with OneWorld Sustainable, has completed the installation of 2,602 Lightway solar panels.
ITHACA, N.Y.—The Statler Hotel at Cornell University received the 2014 Good Earthkeeping Award, the greenest award bestowed by the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association. The award recognizes the Statler, which has developed a culture of integrating superior environmental management practices. The honor was given March 3 in Albany, N.Y., at the association’s 2014 Stars of the Industry Gala and Awards Banquet. “This is a very prestigious award, and all of our staff and our student-employees are very proud to have earned it,” says Rick Adie, the general manager of the Statler. “Our initiatives align with the university goals established by President David Skorton. We are very serious about protecting the environment. Here at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, we teach our students state-of-the-art, exemplary business practices, and in doing so, we’re keeping the Earth.”
BRANDENBURG, KY.—If you are staying at the Southern Grace Bed & Breakfast in Brandenburg, Ky., and can’t finish your tasty breakfast, don’t even think about throwing your food scraps in the trash. The approximately 70 chickens—free range chickens—will be more than happy to eat what you cannot. According to Theresa Padgett, owner of the 15-acre B&B with her husband David, all food scraps are either fed to the chickens or composted. The plate-to-chicken approach to waste management is just one of the ways the B&B owners work to lighten their property’s impact on the planet. In the garden that the owners plant each year, a “lasagna” no dig, no till, layering method is used. Layers of cardboard or newspaper are alternated with layers of “live” material such as leaves or egg shells.
MCLEAN, VA.—Home2 Suites by Hilton, Hilton Worldwide’s mid-tier, all-suite hotel brand designed for modern business travelers and extended stay guests, announced the opening of its 29th hotel, Home2 Suites by Hilton Baltimore/Aberdeen. This marks the second Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified hotel in the brand’s portfolio. “We are excited to unveil our third property in the greater Baltimore area,” said Bill Duncan, global head, Home2 Suites by Hilton. “This market has proven to be a great fit for our Home2 Suites brand and we felt like Aberdeen was a perfect location for our brand. We are also thrilled to open our second Silver LEED certified hotel in Maryland, as sustainability is a key focus for the Home2 brand.” The five-story, 107-suite hotel is located at 20 Newton Road, just minutes from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds Base.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.—It is not often that an investment in renewable energy is celebrated with fireworks and mayoral visits but that is what happened this past Wednesday evening at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. The fireworks and visits by City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief marked the official unveiling of six 52-foot, 4 kilowatt wind turbines that rise above the hotel’s rooftop. Approximately $500,000 was invested in the turbines that required the tallest crane in the state of Florida to install. “It is an exciting day for us,” said Andreas Ioannou, general manager of the hotel, just prior to the celebration. “It’s the culmination of a journey we embarked on almost four years ago.”
GURNEE, ILL.—KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort has been honored with the StayGreen designation from the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA) for its continued efforts to proactively use eco-friendly products and services to reduce its impact on the environment. IHLA’s StayGreen designation standards are extensive and specific. Environmentally friendly efforts outlined in the StayGreen questionnaire include efforts such as recycling and waste management programs, the use of Energy Star products throughout guestrooms and hotel, the use of only non-phosphate, nontoxic, biodegradable concentrated cleaning products and laundry detergent, and consumable paper products made from recycled fibers.
MANKATO, MINN.—All that’s left is the waiting for the official plaque from the U.S. Green Building Council. When it arrives the Courtyard Mankato Minnesota will become the first hotel in the Gopher State to receive LEED certification. Considering all of the property’s green features, the honor will be well deserved. The 93-room property, about a year old, is owned by Mercury Investments L.P. Preston Lougheed is the general manager. “As far as we know we are the first Marriott in the United States to have solar panels,” Lougheed says. “It was a big investment.” The 40 kW, 192 panel system on the roof of the hotel supplies about 3 percent of the property’s electricity. Including a monitor in the lobby that provides daily, weekly, monthly and annual savings information, the solar system cost $279,182. With state, federal and utility credits, the return on investment is expected to be about 10 years.
PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y.—In Los Angeles County, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is available to commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners to pay for building improvements that save energy or create renewable energy on-site. The Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City took advantage of this fixed rate, 100 percent financing to fund $7 million worth of sustainable upgrades. The Hilton project is the largest commercial PACE project in the United States, more than twice the size of two projects completed this past year at just more than $3 million each. The Hilton project will result in an annual energy savings of $800,000 and water savings of $28,000, conserving more than 2.8 million gallons of water. This comprehensive retrofit includes energy efficiency glass installations and new LED lighting, which is expected to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent.
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