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Whether an industry announcement, or a hotel accomplishment, Green Lodging News reports on the most up-to-date news and offers a unique perspective on trends—all with the purpose of making your company more profitable. Got news or a story idea to share? Contact Glenn Hasek, editor, at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at:

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MGM Resorts Employees Donate More Than 154,000 Pounds of Food to Food Bank


LAS VEGAS—Employees of MGM Resorts International donated more than 154,000 pounds of food to Three Square Food Bank in a continuous effort by MGM employees to extend the staff of life to food insecure residents this holiday season. The food was collected during the company’s sixth annual food drive. MGM Resorts employees gave rice, flour, beans, cereal, canned meats and other food items that Three Square will use to feed the 137,000 local individuals served monthly through its approximately 1,300 community partners. Experts estimate that about 15.8 percent of the population, or more than 305,000 Southern Nevada residents, are food insecure. According to research provided by Three Square, food insecurity happens when a household is forced to short its food budget, the most flexible area of spending that a struggling household may have, in favor of paying rent or mortgage payments, healthcare costs, transportation expenses and utility bills. “This holiday season, many lives will be touched by the outpouring of generosity from MGM Resorts and their selfless, hardworking employees,” said Brian Burton, President and CEO of Three Square.

Preferred Hotels & Resorts Joins Forces with Love146


CHICAGO—Preferred Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest global collection of independent luxury hotels, announced a partnership with Love146, an international human rights organization whose mission is to end child trafficking and exploitation. Confronting the reality that, according to the International Labor Organization, there are more than 20 million enslaved victims, including millions of children, Preferred Hotels & Resorts has expanded its corporate social responsibility program, GIFTTS—Great Initiatives for Today’s (Tomorrow’s) Society—by committing to help Love146 abolish child trafficking through a combination of financial and educational resources.

JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America Debuts with Local-Centric F&B Offerings


BLOOMINGTON, MINN.—The JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America has opened. The property, which was designed in collaboration with award-winning architects DLR Group and acclaimed hospitality industry leader Design Force, is the JW Marriott brand’s first in Minneapolis and is part of Mall of America’s recent luxury expansion. Executive leadership from the property along with officials from the City of Bloomington, Mall of America, hotel developers Mortenson, and hotel ownership Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) hosted an event as the hotel opened its doors to the public for the first time. “The Twin Cities region is particularly well-suited for our continued growth in the United States,” said Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President, Luxury Brand Management & Guest Experience at Marriott International. “Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of the fastest growing areas in the Midwest and the expansion of Mall of America, designed to showcase luxury retail and hospitality concepts, is in alignment with JW Marriott’s brand ethos.” The JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America features 342 guestrooms.

Hyatt Regency Austin’s Green Initiatives Lead to Success in Waste Diversion, Energy Conservation


AUSTIN, TEXAS—The expansion of the Hyatt Regency Austin’s already progressive green initiatives and forward-leaning sustainability practices have led to increased amounts of waste diversion, new conservation measures throughout the hotel and designation of GreenLeader status by the popular travel site, TripAdvisor. For years, Hyatt Regency Austin has been a green leader in the Austin hospitality industry, from its daily hotel operations, to its restaurant, Southwest Bistro, Marker 10 bar and coffee shop. The hotel was the very first in Austin to have its own compost pulper, and has regularly donated barely used shampoos and soaps to charity since 2011, a practice that is now standard in the industry. In 2013, the hotel proactively went even further with its green efforts across the board, with single stream recycling and an eco-friendly laundry cleaning process that conserves both water and energy. The hotel also planted an on-site herb garden which is incorporated into the landscaping for aesthetics and for culinary use. In 2014, the hotel made recycling bins standard in all 448 guestrooms.

National Geographic Announces World Legacy Awards Finalists


WASHINGTON, D.C.—The 15 finalists of the National Geographic World Legacy Awards were unveiled. The World Legacy Awards, a partnership between the National Geographic Society and ITB Berlin, showcase the leading travel and tourism companies, organizations and destinations—ranging from large resorts to small eco-lodges and from wildlife conservancies to geoparks—driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the travel industry based on National Geographic’s work of inspiring people to care about the planet. More than 150 World Legacy Awards entries were received, representing 51 countries and six continents. Finalists in five award categories were selected by an international team of judges. The judging process also included on-site inspections of all finalists. Costas Christ, chairman of National Geographic World Legacy Awards, said, “Sustainable tourism is the foundation for the future of the travel industry, and those destinations and companies that understand this today will be the global leaders of tomorrow. Tourism is based on selling culture and nature—the very things sustainable tourism practices work to protect.

Sustain 2016 Hospitality Conference Set for March 14 to 15


DOVER, DEL.—The dates for Sustain 2016, the Mid-Atlantic’s Annual Hospitality Conference, have been announced. The event will take place March 14 to 15, 2016 at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. The conference will be presented by Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and planned and developed by HospitalityGreen LLC. Attendees will have three tracts of activities to choose from: Culture, Marketing and Sustainability. Each visitor can attend any of the workshops and other activities within any of the tracts. Topics will include introduction of new products, green training programs and advice on how to engage millennials. Day one will feature six concurrent afternoon training sessions. Day two will begin with three full-conference morning sessions, a farm-to-table lunch, and keynote address followed by nine concurrent afternoon sessions. The conference will wrap up with a full-conference Q&A session with all of the session speakers. The event will include yoga and a morning stretch each morning and multiple opportunities each day to visit with vendors. Pricing is available on the conference website.

Survey: Most Consumers Favor Electric Vehicles


WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a survey released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), most Americans (54 percent) have a positive view of electric vehicles (EVs). While 33 percent of the respondents had no opinion, only 13 percent had a negative view of EVs. More significantly, almost one-third (31 percent) say they will consider buying an EV in their next car purchase even though, at this early stage, only one percent of vehicles sold are EVs.

Carpet & Mattress Recycling Made Simple with Newly Released How-To Guides


BOSTON—The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) has released two new “how-to guides” for recycling scrap carpet and used mattresses to help state and local government officials address the multi-million dollar challenge of managing these bulky products safely, responsibly, and cost-effectively. More than 50,000 mattresses are discarded each day in the United States, the equivalent of close to 20 million annually. While as much as 90 percent of mattress components—steel, cotton, and foam—are recyclable, only a tiny percentage—less than 5 percent—of mattresses are salvaged annually; the rest present operational problems for landfills and waste-to-energy plants. Scrap carpet also poses a looming threat, with Americans discarding nearly 3.9 million tons of carpet and rugs each year and recycling only about 7.5 percent. In May, Connecticut became the first state to implement legislation that requires manufacturers to manage, and consumers to fund, mattress recycling programs. Rhode Island and California will implement similar programs in 2016. California, the only state with a similar “producer responsibility” law for carpet, launched its program in 2011.

Seven New York City Hotels Honored for Sustainable Hospitality Initiatives


NEW YORK—Seven New York City hotels were honored for their environmentally friendly lodging practices and socially responsible initiatives as recipients of the second annual Sustainable Hospitality Awards, presented on Monday, November 9 by the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. at HX: The Hotel Experience 2015. The Hotel Association’s Sustainability Committee offered awards in two classifications to hotels with fewer than 250 rooms, and to hotels with 250-plus rooms. In the small hotels category, the Roger Smith hotel was presented the Social Responsibility Award for numerous charitable endeavors supported by its employees. The Hyatt Union Square was recognized with the Environmental Protection Award for implementing a comprehensive energy retrofit to minimize energy consumption and output. The Pierre—A Taj Hotel received the Sustainable Hospitality Award for its overall achievement in environmental and social sustainability. Among the large hotels, Courtyard by Marriott Central Park was given the Social Responsibility Award for integrating an active social responsibility policy for its employees and promoting green initiatives.

Energy Efficiency the Focus at Islandia & Melville Marriotts


UNIONDALE, N.Y.—PSEG Long Island, through its Commercial Efficiency Program, announced that it is helping the Islandia and Melville Marriotts save more than $173,000 per year in combined electricity costs, solely from the retrofitting of more than 10,700 of the hotels’ inefficient lighting fixtures and lamps to energy-saving LED lighting. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated in a 2009 study that lighting represents nearly a quarter of all electricity consumed in a typical hotel, not including its effect on cooling loads. The study went on to indicate that lighting retrofits can reduce lighting electricity use by 50 percent or more, depending on the starting point, and cut cooling energy requirements by 10 to 20 percent as well. The improvements made by the Islandia and the Melville Marriotts, owned by Columbia Sussex, will help the hotels cut electric demand by 286 kilowatts (kW) and reduce electricity consumption by 964,974 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. This is the equivalent effect of reducing 102 cars from the road or 62,909 gallons of gasoline not consumed per year.

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