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PHILIPSBURG, ST MAARTEN—The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten made its mark as a game-changer in the hospitality industry by completing a landmark solar installation earlier this year that allows the resort to produce six to eight hours of its own power during peak times. The resort has harnessed the power of the Caribbean sun for more than a year and reached an environmental milestone by generating one gigawatt hour of solar power, or one billion watt-hours. The resort also just installed a completely oil-free Smardt Chiller to further conserve energy; the Chiller is used in the air-conditioning and refrigeration systems throughout the resort. One gigawatt hour of power is enough to provide annual power to 92 American households, and conserves more than 1.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, which equals the emissions from more than 77 thousand gallons of gasoline consumed. It has also spared emissions equivalent to more than 1,600 barrels of oil consumed and enough carbon sequestering of more than 17,000 seedlings grown for 10 years.
TORONTO—The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) announced it has received two coveted distinctions for its sustainability commitment, showing green leadership at both national and provincial levels. MTCC earned the LEED Gold certification by the Canada Green Building Council, the certifying body in Canada for the international rating system, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This certification, achieved by the MTCC’s south building in the Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance version of the rating system, makes MTCC one of the first Canadian convention centers to earn a gold rating.
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, CALIF.—Nestled amongst picturesque forests and meadows and steps from the famed General Grant Tree, John Muir Lodge in Kings Canyon’s Grant Grove Village has been lending itself to unforgettable national park trips for close to two decades. A fixture of countless family getaways and outdoor adventures, the rustic stone-and-timber lodge offers intimate and inviting quarters for guests in all seasons. Now, its welcoming atmosphere is further enhanced and equipped to deliver an authentic national parks experience after a full remodel of the lodge’s 36 rooms. Partnering with local Darden Architects, concessionaire Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts devoted approximately $400,000 to update everything from carpeting, bedding and window treatments to headboards, lounge chairs and fans. In keeping with Delaware North’s GreenPath philosophy, which applies environmentally conscious practices across all facets of business, all furniture, carpeting, fabric and blinds are eco-friendly. Much of the wood furniture is crafted from sustainably sourced hickory saplings that would not be able to grow healthily in nature and would have to be removed.
DALLAS—The Renaissance Dallas Hotel last week unveiled new multi-million dollar innovative, modern event and meeting spaces. The Renaissance Dallas’ new 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space includes a 16,000 square foot technologically advanced Grand Ballroom accommodating up to 1,500 guests. The Grand Ballroom space includes modern décor, 24-foot vaulted ceilings, skylight crystal chandeliers, a state-of-the art lighting and sound system with remote controlled screens, and window shades allowing natural light during the day.
NATIONAL REPORT—Most chafing dish fuel gels found today are made from corn-based ethanol, methanol and other additives to help the product burn hotter. Methanol is added to make it too toxic for consumption. Fuel gel using methanol and other additives is considered hazardous waste and should be treated as such, several industry experts told Green Lodging News for this article. Methanol gel, according to Don Haldenby, CEO of Ecoflame International Inc., is poisonous and contains dioxin and emits nitrous oxide, arsenic, carbon monoxide and excessive carbon dioxide when burned. It is dangerous to touch and dangerous to the environment when containers end up in the landfill. There, they leach their poisons into the water table. Dennis Paul, CEO of ECOFuel Worldwide Inc., said the emissions from most fuel gel today are not only potentially hazardous to those who work around it; they can also impact the taste and quality of the food the gels are working to heat. “You may be ingesting it and it changes the flavor of the food,” he says.
CLINTON, MD.—The TownePlace Suites is located across Old Alexander Ferry Road from Joint Base Andrews. A large segment of the hotel’s guest base is military personnel on temporary duty at Joint Base Andrews. The hotel prides itself on providing a “home away from home” and an inviting atmosphere to support troops. Both as part of participating in the military’s mission expanding the use of renewable energy, and as a way to cut costs and maintain affordable rates, the hotel started looking into a solar photovoltaic energy system last year. “We thought that solar would enhance our ability to offer a great hotel value to all our guests, especially our military guests and their families,” said Dr. John Miller, one of the hotel’s Managing Partners (along with Mark Rothman, Esq.) “Energy security is a big part of the military mission. We felt this was something we could do to enhance energy security and help the environment, while also giving us the ability to hold costs down.”
CHEVY CHASE, MD.—The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. has become the first Founding Partner of IMPACT 2030: The Global Initiative for the Advancement of Corporate Volunteering. IMPACT 2030 was introduced at the United Nations on Friday, December 5, 2014 on “International Volunteer Day” where The Ritz-Carlton and the fellow Founding Partner companies showcased the meaningful difference their employees are making locally, nationally and internationally through corporate volunteering. IMPACT 2030 is a global private sector led collaboration created to mobilize corporate volunteers to contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Initiative’s partner companies recognize that a commitment to corporate volunteering—when used in concert with the United Nations, peer companies, and philanthropic and nonprofit organizations—is a powerful tool to address critical social and environmental issues and inspire the private sector to positive action. The focus areas for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s social and environmental responsibility program, Community Footprints, are hunger and poverty relief; child well-being; and environmental responsibility, and are key components of the company’s culture of corporate social responsibility.
LIMA, PERU—The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that it has joined the Global Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform, along with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE). The Global Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform is a program of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Sustainable Energy for All (#SE4ALL) initiative. The USGBC and BCSE constituents represent thousands of businesses and organizations that are driving energy efficiency solutions all around the world.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and its Foundation today released the definitive industry survey examining the top trends in the hotel industry, which this year is marked by personal service, healthy lifestyles and convenience. The survey, “The 2014 Lodging Study Hotel Trends: An Inside Look at Popular Amenities and Guest Services” conducted by industry data provider STR, illustrates how hotels are adapting to consumer demands by adjusting their services and amenities to take into account guests’ needs. This survey, funded by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF), shows that in addition to advancing consumer service, hotels are also giving back, making charitable contributions and being good stewards of the environment. Environmentally-friendly programs, such as towel reuse programs, recycling capabilities and water savings programs are increasingly popular, with overwhelming majorities of hotels participating. Hotels are also giving to charities, and employees are offering their personal time to volunteer efforts. The innovation and creativity of the hotel industry continues to benefit the guests.
PARSIPPANY, N.J.—Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest hotel company with approximately 7,590 hotels and part of Wyndham Worldwide Corp., announced its continued commitment to preventing human trafficking by partnering with Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors.
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