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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Can Investing in Sustainability Fill Empty Hotel Rooms?


It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is competitive. Online ratings and reviews continue to be a crucial resource for consumers and the rise of the sharing economy has added a whole new element to the game. Hotel owners, executives and managers know how important it is to gain and keep a competitive advantage. They often ask themselves, “How do I bring new guests through the lobby doors while keeping past guests coming back time and time again?” The answer to that question just might be something unexpected: sustainability. According to a recent survey conducted by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), sustainability attributes and environmental impact considerations are an extremely/very important factor to a third (33 percent) of all U.S. consumers and 39 percent of Millennials when they choose hotel accommodations.

Best Practices for Recycling Solutions


In my 20 years of industrial design experience, it continues to surprise me how many people consider refuse collection to be an addition to a building rather than a core part of its design. As Director of Industrial Design at Rubbermaid Commercial Products, I am often tasked with helping hotels ensure waste is disposed of in the right bin—no small feat when you consider how much waste a hotel can generate on a busy day. What are hotels to do when it comes to their refuse and recycling solutions? What are the common errors? Which bins work best in which areas? Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to solve hotels’ collective challenges, but that does not mean they cannot plan accordingly. When designing a refuse and recycling program to bolster sustainability within a hotel, keep the following points in mind. The first is that one size does not fit all. Large, durable containers often work well in the back of house.

Observations on Sustainability Training by an Experienced Hotelier


Are you a visionary hotel general manager who has implemented an active environmental sustainability management system (EMS) in his/her operation for several years? Are you a motivated HR professional, belonging to a resort’s green team since the green team’s inauguration? Do you call a regional hotel brand your own? Have you noticed that the majority of your competitors are including environmental sustainability in their hotel operations? Do you desire to match their actions, but are uncertain as to how to begin? Whatever your background, let’s assume talking about environmental sustainability does not make you defensive or doesn’t scare you. Individually, you, dear reader, might be aware of “going green” since the publishing of Silent Spring in 1962, or the bombing of the MV Rainbow Warrior in 1985, or the Rio Conference back in 1992? Since last year’s COP 21 agreement in Paris, France perhaps?

Atlanta Luxury Hotel Gives Poor Ventilation & Foul Odors the Shaft


Until recently, fixing leaky ventilation shafts has been a non-starter for most hotels, motels and other hospitality facilities. The expense and disruption typically involved in finding, accessing and sealing leaky ductwork made remediation measures impractical at best. As a result, a tremendous number of U.S. lodgings across the country are plagued by the poor indoor air quality issues and high-energy bills that come from improper ventilation. That is changing. A new approach to duct sealing developed by the U.S. Department of Energy is helping solve this near ubiquitous problem. One case in point: While the JW Marriott hotel in Atlanta’s affluent Buckhead district has always been a model of elegance and luxury, owners of the 28 year-old hotel building continued to struggle with issues related to a poorly designed ventilation system.

What the Hospitality Industry Should Know About Solar


Solar is now more cost-effective than ever, offering a number of compelling financial and environmental benefits for the hospitality industry. Solar technologies have been proven over decades in the field, and are becoming increasingly efficient, reliable, and affordable. Large corporations are investing billions in the industry, powering a record number of installations in 2015. Total solar installations hit the 1 million mark in February of this year, and total industry growth is projected to hit a staggering 119 percent this year. As the solar market expands logarithmically, the costs of installation are plummeting. A hotel can reap the benefits of a solar installation in both the short and long terms. Lighting, HVAC and water heating accounts for approximately 60 percent of the total costs for a typical lodging facility; the U.S. Energy Star program estimates that hotels spend about $2,196 per room annually on energy alone.

Installing Energy Storage at Your Hotel


Recent advancements in battery technology, rising electricity demand rates, and the advent of no/low-risk financing models have made energy storage systems a financially attractive option for hoteliers. However, critical questions remain for hotel managers and owners even after they have decided to invest in energy storage: What is the best way to finance the system and how can it generate the highest ROI? In this article, we’ll evaluate the costs, benefits, and risks of a proposed hotel energy storage system given three financing options and using actual utility cost and use data. California is currently the only state that offers rebates to mitigate upfront system costs, and therefore energy storage is not financially viable in other states until they develop similar programs. In this article, a hotel in San Diego is installing a 36 kW/60 kWh energy storage system consisting of two modular 18 kW batteries. The hotel is 175,000 square feet, 210 rooms, and has an average monthly electricity maximum demand of 318 kW.

UV-C LED Systems: Answer to the Hospitality Industry’s Water Infection Problems


One of the big factors for success in any industry is customer care and satisfaction. In the hospitality industry it takes precedence over everything else. Customer experience in hospitality is what drives the popularity and hence, the revenue. So the more the customers are comfortable in the environment the better experience they will have. The biggest driver for their comfort is the feeling of being safe. However, recent incidents have marred the hospitality industry with health concerns over water safety. If the Global Risks 2015 Report by Global Economic Forum is to be believed, the spread of infectious diseases is considered the second most impactful societal risk coming just behind a water crisis. It is said that “fear could ruin any experience” and the fear of water borne diseases is only growing. Possibly due to lack of knowledge, most hotel owners do not realize a central treatment unit is not enough to curb pathogens growing in the pipe and tank systems.

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.

What Makes a Floorcovering Sustainable?


In today’s marketplace, there is a plethora of product certifications, labels and declarations that manufacturers and builders use to communicate a product’s value to clients. However, owners, product specifiers and building occupants all have different interests and motivations. Just as each person’s background and experience varies, so do their beliefs when it comes to sustainability. The good news? Studies show we are all becoming more aware of and concerned with issues surrounding social and environmental health and sustainability. Making use of product labels, including declarations and certifications, is one way to make more informed choices; however, deciphering the claims behind the label can be challenging. So where to start? Everyone is interested in obtaining the most healthy and environmentally friendly products, but the criteria used to achieve these lofty goals must be defined and measured before any manufacturer or specific product can truthfully make these proclamations. Should a product be climate neutral or contain no volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?

Zero Waste Amenity Programs—It’s Time


Sometimes it’s great to feel like a zero. OK, maybe only when it concerns your hotel’s amenity waste program. Pursuing zero waste is a smart strategy for a hotel staff’s ability to significantly reduce the property’s carbon footprint, while reducing both waste and cost. Plus, guests are finding these programs make them happier and increase satisfaction during their property visit. Today’s consumer has a deep desire for an emotional connection with brands, and environmental transparency builds on the travel experience, increasing brand affinity. It all adds up to higher guest satisfaction scores, a more loyal customer base and less resistance to rising rates. Even more encouraging is that putting together a customer pleasing zero waste amenity program is easier than ever, taking minimal effort and time from property team members. Here’s how you can do it in a few simple steps. Today, people demand that the brands they do business with be ethical. That’s giving hoteliers seeking to be good corporate citizens a business reason to use products reflecting their customer’s personal value system.

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