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: editor@greenlodgingnews.com. Submissions should be approximately 800 words and should include a photo of the writer.


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Window Film Pays Off in Energy, Financial, Other Savings

7/30/2012

Window film is making a big difference in energy savings for hotels all over the country, and now it is making big news because of its proven energy savings. California recently incorporated window film into its state building code, making it the first state to recognize window film as a practical way to save energy through reducing solar heat gain and improving window insulating performance. This code change takes effect in January 2014. Window film was also recently found to be the most cost-effective choice for energy savings in retrofit applications. An independent study compared window film to other traditional energy-saving techniques like updating HVAC systems, air sealing and caulking, and adding R-38 ceiling insulation. Window film came out on top as the most economical way to save energy.


Getting (Back) to Grips with PIPs

7/16/2012

Doing more with less is a common theme for many industries, but few more than lodging. This industry was hit hard, and funding in the shape of bank loans or other external capital was simply not available for hotels needing to renovate, purchase new furniture or redesign rooms. While anxious hotel owners and managers waited for available financing to flow again, it wasn’t uncommon for corporate hotel brands to put their Product Improvement Plans, or PIPs, on ice. Suspended PIPs were a short-lived financial relief, but hotel owners and corporate brands are now reinstating mandatory improvement plans. Many hotel owners now feel they are finally emerging from the depth of recession only to face new financial concerns over how to replace less-than-perfect furniture, and overhaul lodging décor.


Unraveling the Green Supply Chain

7/2/2012

From independents to national chains, U.S. lodging facilities are bringing greener hues to their rooms and services. Yet for all the improvements, there is still much more that can be done. One important example relates to their supply chains. From coffee to bath tissue, where do all the elements that fill hotel rooms come from? What is required of their disposal? With their continual and broad purchasing, upkeep and disposal of so many kinds of goods, lodging facilities carry tremendous power—and responsibility—from an environmental standpoint. The issue is so important that it stretches well beyond the walls, extending to outside suppliers, transporters and disposers that comprise the organizations’ full end-to-end supply chains. Bookkeepers pay detailed attention to whether lodges are in the red or black, but who’s looking to see when it’s “in the green?”


Sustainable Energy Strategy That Improves Property Valuation

6/19/2012

Implementing and promoting green, sustainable energy initiatives is a proven strategy for marketing a hotel to environmentally-inclined guests and meeting planners. But do these efforts contribute to the property’s value in the investor’s portfolio? The U.S. Green Building Council has found that “green” hotels enjoy a 6.8 percent to 10.9 percent property value premium. Hotel managers and owners are constantly looking to ensure that improvements and capital expenditures made to the property’s energy infrastructure can make the hotel a more attractive asset, improve the cash flow and net income. There is a growing opinion that properly selected and implemented energy efficient technologies can directly increase a property’s value by improving four key metrics.


Ways to Get Through the Financial Barriers to Sustainability

6/6/2012

A company in the hospitality industry may want to enhance its sustainability profile because it wants to save money, target a green customer base, develop a corporate responsibility program or genuinely become a more environmentally and socially responsible business. No matter the reason, changing behaviors, operations or physical infrastructure most often requires some amount of capital investment. Fortunately, a lot of these investments pay for themselves very quickly. Often called the low-hanging fruit, these include no-brainer improvements in areas such as energy, operations and waste efficiency. But a myriad of other methods exist to help to finance larger and more in-depth projects. With a small amount of extra attention and innovation, hotels can see real returns on sustainability investment.


A New Tool in Your Hotel's Green Cleaning Arsenal—Bio-cleaners

5/23/2012

Spring cleaning, at least for the hotel and lodging industry, typically has more to do with evaluating the facility’s current cleaning tools, products, and processes than actually performing special cleaning projects. With this in mind and because more and more properties have transferred to green cleaning products and systems, we are finding that many hotel and housekeeping managers are asking what’s new in green cleaning during the spring cleaning season. Green cleaning is evolving as it continues to grow. Along with the development of chemicals and products that are sustainable as well as green, one new area of interest is the use of what are known as bio-cleaners and bio-enzymatic cleaning products. These cleaners are typically made from agricultural products such as corn and soybeans.


Hotels Turning to Maintenance Management Software as Part of Green Initiatives

5/9/2012

The transition toward greater sustainability is impacting how hotels are approaching operations. As part of many green initiatives, more and more hotels are now implementing an Enterprise Asset Management Computerized Maintenance Management Software system to gain better control of their energy usage. I will elaborate more on this later. The definition of hotel sustainability has evolved over time from a simple going green idea to a philosophy that more and more organizations are recognizing as critical to their long-term success. For hotels and resorts the move toward sustainability issues is a win-win scenario. Surveys have shown that an increasing number of guests are determining where they will stay based upon a hotel’s commitment to the world environment.


Building a Sustainability Index for Hospitality Purchasing

4/30/2012

Hotel executives are constantly reviewing cost-benefit analysis throughout their properties: Will the addition of a particular guest amenity pay for itself in an incrementally higher average room rate, or more nights sold? Will the investment in a new property management system deliver solid returns through better revenue management or inventory planning? There are some investments hoteliers need to make, which are not as easy to quantify, but yet are among the most significant decisions made today. What sustainability initiatives should you implement in your hotels? A recent study of 5,000 Expedia consumers found that 75 percent define sustainability as building, furnishing and operating hotels in ways that are “better for the guest, better for the community and better for the planet.”


Daily Housekeeping—Keeping it or Skipping it—& the Benefits of Going Green

4/11/2012

An unmade bed, wastebaskets full and overflowing, damp bath towels scattered on the bathroom floor, a vanity top spotted with shaving soap and used paper coffee cups on the desk. What’s wrong with this picture? Well actually, nothing. Although I am staying in a perfectly respectable hotel in Pittsburgh, the housekeepers aren’t on strike and I feel at home in the disorder. Welcome to a new wrinkle in hospitality where some hotel chains and independent lodgings pay you to be “green” with a cash voucher or frequent guest reward. Just choose to opt out of daily room cleaning. It’s that simple. And with the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day coming up on April 22, hotel guests should be reminded of the Make a Green Choice program.


Forest Certification Gaining Traction in Green Building

3/26/2012

Third-party forest certification has long been an excellent—and simple—way for the hospitality industry to show it is buying wood, paper and print products from responsible sources. And a growing awareness of the benefits of independent certification is making it even more accessible. Green building is a good example. Green rating tools that value wood as a critical component of environmentally progressive architectural design have been offering credits for certified wood for some time now; and most recognize all credible forest certification standards in their programs and policies. In North America, these standards include the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and American Tree Farm System (ATFS).


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