Guest Columns

Green Lodging News provides a forum for anyone in the lodging industry to offer their take on a particular topic. All are welcome to participate. Contact Glenn Hasek at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at: Submissions should be approximately 800 words and should include a photo of the writer.

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PACE Activity Picks Up, Especially in California


I want to alert hotel owners and operators about a new approach to finance upgrades without burning cash or using a bank loan. PACE (Property Assess Clean Energy) has been in development for years but is now ramping and the largest project to date is a Hilton hotel project. In November 2013, the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City financed $7 million of infrastructure improvement through PACE. The hotel estimates will reduce its utility bills by 50 percent with an improved guest experience. This article explains whether this is relevant to your business and how to get started. Hotels owners wanting to implement major facility upgrades in 2014 and 2015 will soon realize that there is an increased pressure from utilities, local and state governments to either encourage or mandate energy efficiency.

What’s Driving Hotel Lighting? Eight Top Trends for 2014


Hotels are big business, literally. In the United States alone, hotels comprise more than 5 billion square feet of space according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and spend in excess of $7.5 billion on energy each year as cited by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This translates to an average spend of nearly $2,200 per available room each year on energy by the more than 47,000 hotels and motels in America, which in turn accounts for around 6 percent of all domestic hotel operating costs. Given these realities, there exists within the hospitality industry both a significant opportunity to reduce environmental impact related to energy consumption, and a powerful financial incentive to do so. It is important that any changes result in a healthy, productive, comfortable environment for guests.

Are you Asking For It!? The First Step Toward a More Sustainable Events Industry


“We would offer more sustainable options if our planners were asking for them.” ”We would prefer a more sustainable option if we knew what our suppliers offered.” These are the two comments often made by suppliers and planners respectively, when asked about their sustainable business practices. And after years and years of hearing this response, the Green Meeting Industry Council has launched a change campaign focused on creating a solution to this seemingly gaping lapse of communication…simply, Ask For It! Ask For It is a call to action for stakeholders in our industry to ask for their suppliers and venues to be certified to the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standard specific to their sector. It is an empowerment tool for the planners.

Polymer Bead Technology & Commercial Laundry Operation


Everyone wants to go green. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for business. But isn’t there a better way than just asking customers to reuse their towels? Commercial laundry has been done the same way for more than 60 years—lots of water, detergent, and agitation to get the stains out. But now a new kind of technology uses tiny polymer beads to get hotel linens and towels even cleaner than before, and uses much less water and detergent in the process—this means it actually costs less to go green. This article will explore how the hospitality industry is starting to use innovative polymer bead technology for its commercial laundry operations to deliver superior cleaning power, while saving money and helping the environment. The hospitality industry is striving to be greener.

The Benefits of Going Green—and How to Get There


Most players in the hotel industry are well aware that their industry has been “going green” for quite some time. In fact, this change has been occurring throughout North America; involves all types of properties, from sole ownership locations to major chains; and includes facilities new and old, large and small. According to a study* recently released by McGraw Hill Construction regarding green operations in retail, hotel, and hospitality properties, 28 percent of hotel properties reported putting an emphasis on green and sustainable strategies in 2011. By 2013, that number had jumped to 48 percent, and is expected to rise even further, to 62 percent, by 2014. Green strategies include reducing energy and water use; recycling and managing waste; and improving indoor air quality.

Why Using Electrolyzed Water for Cleaning Makes Sense


It seems like every discipline in facility management is going green these days, and for good reason. Green solutions and practices deliver occupational and environmental safety benefits and at the same time can often create operational efficiencies. Commercial cleaning and sanitizing is no exception to this trend. Green cleaning and sanitizing can generate cost savings, provide greater convenience in obtaining solutions, and eliminate the use of harsh chemicals at the facility, which often have negative environmental and safety impacts. One of the newest green cleaning and sanitizing options available today is electrolyzed water. Electrolyzed water describes two solutions—a grease-cutting cleaner and a powerful sanitizer.

Top 10 Ways to Stay Green While Travelling


It’s easy finding ways to be green when you are at home and sticking to your usual routine. When you head out on holidays, whether it’s driving to the seaside or taking a further trip abroad, it can be a challenge to contain your carbon footprint. After all, you should be sampling the local fare, treating yourself to a spa treatment, room service and visiting the local attractions to truly immerse yourself in your holiday experience. So what steps can you take to help reduce the impact of all your activities while still enjoying all of the fun? Start by getting your own home ready for you to be away. Turn off all power at the source. Cancel your newspaper, cleaner and any regular food deliveries to avoid waste. If you are flying to your destination, opt in to the airline carrier’s carbon offset scheme.

Hotels—Moving Toward Effective Water Management Strategies


With rising stress on water resources and the competing needs of businesses and communities, effective water resource management is crucial to a business’s ability and licence to operate, and the hotel sector is no exception. Yet, despite all we hear on water crises, how many businesses are factoring this information into their forward planning? While perhaps not on the same scale as industry, it takes a lot of water to provide the standard which customers have come to expect in servicing guestrooms, laundries, gardens and food and beverage operations. According to a forthcoming report from EC3 Global and Griffith University, the average Hong Kong hotel uses 102 gallons of water per guest night. If a hotel has a pool or spa, this increases on average by a total of 33 percent.

Are You Paying Too Much for Your Carbon Offsetting?


With the majority of Americans now at least concerned or cautious about climate change and the increased storms, fire, and drought mucking up travel and commerce, carbon is turning more serious. Carbon is quickly becoming currency, and you should start treating it as such, especially if you are currently paying large sums to offset carbon emissions from your business, your travel, or your events. When traveling abroad, people are often zealous about getting the best exchange rate for their money so they can save a few dollars. Yet when someone exchanges their carbon emissions for an offset, they don’t seem to be as attentive to notice that underneath they could be paying a few dollars more than necessary to offset their trip, negating the currency exchange savings altogether.

Eliminating Your Carbon Footprint for Less Than the Cost of a Late Night Snack


Companies in every industry are identifying ways to reduce the costs, energy use, and carbon footprint of their operations. However, an elite few are broadening their scope by quantifying the downstream environmental impact of their products to more holistically address their actual environmental footprint. For instance, Apple recently published their carbon footprint using a “comprehensive lifecycle analysis,” which estimated the lifetime energy use by all of their products, above and beyond the emissions from their manufacturing facilities. Apple calculated 22 billion pounds per year of carbon dioxide equivalents. This begs the question: Is it possible that other industries could make a similar effort to address their downstream environmental impacts?

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