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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What the Hospitality Industry Should Know About Solar

6/29/2016

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

6/13/2016

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

5/31/2016

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

5/16/2016

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?

5/2/2016

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

4/18/2016

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.


Shifting Trends of Sustainability in Wallcoverings

4/4/2016

Hospitality interiors are a shining example of the intersection of form and function. Hotel suites encourage rest; restaurants and storefronts entice indulgence; meeting and event rooms inspire interaction. But these high-traffic commercial spaces are more than “pretty spaces”—they must be as durable as they are eye-catching. Interior finishes, such as wallcoverings, serve both purposes, and continue to evolve to meet aesthetic, performance and sustainability needs. If color and design trends didn’t shift regularly, commercial wallcoverings could be installed for decades in such spaces. But color and design, as it turns out, aren’t the only shifting trends in wallcoverings. For good reason, the interior design industry—and particularly the hospitality sector—puts much more emphasis on health and environment. This focus on sustainability isn’t new to wallcoverings, which has experienced some mighty shifts over the last several decades. Immediately following its first introduction to the marketplace in the 1970s, engineers of Type II vinyl wallcovering began seeking ways to improve upon the product’s success.


It’s Time for Hotels to Get Their Feet Wet on Water Stewardship

3/21/2016

World Water Day will take place this week (March 22). It is a United Nations program which reminds us of our responsibilities to protect this vital—and limited—resource. Hotels (and their guests) are high water consumers and it is time for them to get more proactive on their water stewardship. Ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for everyone on the planet is one of the new SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) which governments and businesses are being asked to implement through combined action. With hotels often sited in exotic locations and water-scarce areas, it’s particularly important that hotel companies also do their bit to ensure water security for everyone. Hotels are generally big water consumers. With pools, golf courses and landscaping all adding to the guest experience—no matter whether the surrounding landscape is arid desert or no—water responsibility is a risk factor. When ITP (the International Tourism Partnership) conducted a survey of more than 200 stakeholders for an event in 2014, water was identified as the highest ranking issue of concern.


Energy Savings Often Overlooked When Buying Commercial Laundry Equipment

3/9/2016

All our actions have a direct and indirect impact on climate change. Both consumers and businesses are actively trying to reduce their carbon footprint and one of the resulting benefits is reduced energy costs. Energy conservation is a win-win for everyone. Consumers are turning to technology to help monitor and save on utility savings. According to an article in Clean Technica, a new report by Navigant Research on the residential energy app market found that residential customers are more and more turning to energy-focused apps to make better use of their household energy usage. Apps provided by utilities, as well as vendors for energy-related hardware such as Nest, ecobee, Honeywell, and others, are all contributing to a rise in energy use awareness, which Navigant believes has saved users of such apps an average of 6 percent to 8 percent on their energy bills. Energy represents 7 to 10 percent of commercial laundry operational costs and is rising.


What You Should Know About Energy Benchmarking & Disclosure Laws

2/23/2016

Yogurt containers have a label listing nutritional value, cars have a label listing miles per gallon, and refrigerators have a label listing their energy usage. Why not buildings? Fourteen cities have decided that they should by requiring commercial building owners to benchmark and disclose (B&D) their buildings’ energy usage. Benchmarking measures and compares energy efficiency between similar buildings using standardized metrics. Cities are banking that B&D will push the market toward increasingly efficient buildings by making a property’s utility data readily available to sellers, lessors, buyers, lenders and investors. The fourteen B&D programs throughout the United States share many of the same requirements. Building owners have to submit monthly electric and gas bills along with key building characteristics—square footage, operating hours, year built, etc. Some programs also require water usage data, in acknowledgment of the energy embedded in water resulting from pumping.


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