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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Why Hotels are Switching (or Should Be) to LED Lighting


More than any other large properties, hotels and resorts can take advantage of the great benefits offered by LED lighting because these facilities have a fixed operating cost for heating/cooling and lighting in all their common areas. While the facility may not always be operating at full occupancy, all the lighting in their lobbies, hallways and other common areas are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This makes these areas the best place to start either a retrofit or new installation project, as the Return on Investment (ROI) offers the quickest payback. An LED lamp or fixture will last 50,000 hours—that’s more than five years operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week before it requires changing. On the other hand, an incandescent lamp may only run 2,000 hours, which is less than two months operating 24/7. This means the incandescent lamps would need to be changed at least 24 times in the same five years as the LEDs. It’s not difficult to see why the LED alternatives offer a very good ROI.

Impact Extends CSR Program to Wounded, Homeless Veterans


When I established Impact Enterprises, Inc.’s environmental initiative in 2003, the word “environment” invoked a particular meaning; the physical world around us, nature. It did not include people. People, however, are central to our environment, and as such deserve protection and help as do our forests, rivers, lakes, and air. As Impact expanded its environmental initiative, it began to see the unfair challenges so many are confronted with on a daily basis. When possible, we as a community, as individuals, or as a company cannot in good faith turn a blind eye to these unfair challenges. In 2010, in collaboration with Lt. Chris Salisbury USMC Foundation,* Impact expanded its corporate responsibility program to include assistance to our seriously wounded soldiers and homeless veterans, many of whom have had their emotional strength shattered by combat experiences. Our program began with contributions to respected military charitable organizations, and soon grew into providing support to those in need.

The Advantages of High-Performance Building Envelopes


As energy costs continue to rise and building codes become more rigorous, lodging facility professionals are searching for higher-performing building envelope assemblies. One such system, structural insulated panels (SIPS), helps reduce energy consumption up to 60 percent compared to other structural systems, while providing a host of other construction and operations benefits. SIPs are a prefabricated, engineered building system typically used for walls and roofs. They are composed of structural-grade wood panels such as oriented strand board (OSB) laminated to both sides of a rigid insulating foam core like expanded polystyrene (EPS). The system provides both structural strength and thermal insulation. Architects can incorporate SIPs into virtually any building design up to four stories tall, from modern to rustic, making them well suited for lodges, motels and other lodging facilities in both urban and rural settings.

Part Two of Defining Water Use, Water Consumption in Indoor, Outdoor Water Parks


A water consumption ratio is a metric by which we can begin to understand the actual consumption of water at recreational water attractions. As identified in part one of this series, the water consumption ratio is the number of gallons used daily as top off for a water attraction divided by the total initial fill gallons. The ratio represents the portion of the water actually consumed on a daily or monthly basis. This article profiles several outdoor waterpark attractions and analyzes their water consumption versus their water use. For purposes of our discussion, the initial fill gallons equate to the amount of water used or the attraction’s water use. The amount of water added to the system equates to water consumption. The following are profiles of outdoor waterparks in various regions across the United States. We have kept their identities confidential.

The Internet of Things Improves Sustainability in Laundry Operations


Buzz about the Internet of Things is everywhere, and many companies are trying to figure out how their devices can connect to the Internet in a smart way to bring new benefits to users. For instance, the Nest smart thermostat has become a poster child for the Internet of Things, spurring Google to acquire Nest Labs for $3.2 billion in early 2014. Although the consumer-focused Connected Home market may be the most talked about segment of the IoT, industrial applications, infrastructure management, energy management, environmental monitoring, and medical and healthcare systems are all looking to the Internet of Things to make their systems smarter. Ultimately, these applications will likely have more of an impact on society than smart gadgets for our homes. Technology analysts and visionaries define the Internet of Things as a network of physical objects accessed through the Internet.

Why Hotels Should Know About Aqueous Ozone Cleaning Methods


More than two decades ago, a company that manufactures circuit boards* for use in a variety of electrical products was facing a quandary. To clean their circuit boards, the company was using a solvent that contained ingredients determined to be harmful to the environment. As a result, they were given two years to phase out the use of these solvents. Company management decided they had four possible options to address this situation: 1. They could simply not clean the circuit boards, a solution referred to as the “no-clean” process. 2. They could turn to cleaning processes that use nonsolvent cleaning chemicals. 3. They could use solvents that were not harmful or less harmful for the environment. 4. They could look into alternative cleaning processes that would use no chemicals whatsoever.

How Energy Benchmarking Can Help the Hotel Industry


Being comfortable in a hotel is one of the top guest priorities, which can mean a chilled, air-conditioned room, steaming hot shower, or keeping the television on all night. However, guest comfort and satisfaction can sometimes come at a cost, equating to big energy footprints and hefty utility bills. On average, America’s 47,000 hotels spend $2,196 per available room each year on energy. It’s no surprise that energy represents the single fastest-growing operating cost in the lodging industry (according to the EPA). To track and manage that growing energy use number, hotels can benchmark their buildings, which can result in energy savings, lower utility bills, and an all-around more efficient building that guests will want to return to, again and again. The old mantra still holds true: you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Funding Energy Projects for Hotels & Resorts


At the management team meeting for a major hotel in a Northeastern city, the consensus is that the priority for the 2016 capital budget is to update the lobby. Earlier in the meeting, the facilities team presented a report on the state of the hotel’s core systems, including HVAC, lights and water infrastructure. The management team decides to do the lobby upgrade in 2016 and the HVAC/lighting and water conservation projects in 2017 and 2018. This is a very logical and thoughtful plan, with one hidden problem: The team just cost the hotel money. Funding the energy system upgrades now with third party funding and paying for the project out of energy savings would provide a higher net present value to the hotel ownership group than waiting and doing the project out of the capital budget over the next couple of years and keeping all the savings.

Myths & Realities of Hotel Green Retrofits; Going Beyond Towels & Lighting


This article challenges some common myths about green retrofits and makes the case for taking the first step or additional steps, beyond towel reuse programs and lighting and toilet retrofits, to reduce your property’s carbon footprint. The First Myth: Going green or greener means depriving my guests and decreasing their comfort level. Converting to more efficient plumbing and lighting fixtures can occur without any compromises to guest experience, if designed correctly. Some retrofit measures such as new controls on space heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems can even improve the guest experience, while cutting utility costs.

Defining Water Use, Water Consumption in Indoor, Outdoor Water Parks


“How much water does an outdoor waterpark use?” I am frequently asked that question, but the answer isn’t as simple as it seems. Calculations for outdoor waterparks are heavily dependent on factors that simply don’t apply to their indoor counterparts, namely those related to climate and the environment. There is no way around it—outdoor waterparks require large amounts of water. Public perception often assumes that the outdoor waterpark is constantly being refilled with a giant spigot that is tapping the community’s water supply, which may be at a premium. Water use, however, is not water consumption. Facilities that practice proactive water conservation can save water.

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