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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA—A University of Melbourne researcher has found that common consumer products, including those marketed as “green”, “all-natural”, “non-toxic”, and “organic”, emit a range of compounds that could harm human health and air quality. But most of these ingredients are not disclosed to the public. Dr. Anne Steinemann, Professor of Civil Engineering, and the Chair of Sustainable Cities, from the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering, is a world expert on environmental pollutants, air quality, and health effects. Professor Steinemann investigated and compared volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from 37 different products, such as air fresheners, cleaning products, laundry supplies, and personal care products, including those with certifications and claims of “green” and “organic”. Both fragranced and fragrance-free products were tested. The study, published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health found 156 different VOCs emitted from the 37 products, with an average of 15 VOCs per product. Of these 156 VOCs, 42 are classified as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws, and each product emitted at least one of these chemicals.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is increasing the options for refrigerants used in various kinds of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment in the United States that offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer. This final action addresses refrigerants under the Climate Action Plan that calls on EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program to identify and approve additional climate-friendly chemicals.
MOUNTAINDALE, N.Y.—The Green Tourism Working Group announces the 2nd Annual 2015 Green Tourism Conference at the Woodloch Pines in Hawley, Pa., on April 14 and 15. The conference networks regional food service and lodging facilities, tourism agencies, recreational activity businesses and their “eco” product and service suppliers for two days of workshops, training and collaboration to grow tourism through the surging interest in “green” travel and regionally sourced and prepared dining. Last year’s event attracted over 200 participants from Wayne, Monroe, Pike and Carbon counties in Pennsylvania and Delaware, Greene, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties in New York, and from as far away as New Mexico. Tuesday begins with afternoon training from HospitalityGreen in Green Meetings, Green Lodgers, Food Service and Customer Service. The conference Reception and Opening Event follow in the evening. Wednesday starts with a breakfast presentation leading to roundtables focused on interactive marketing and food service experiences, hosted by national and regional experts with attendee participation. A Farm-to-Table Lunch presentation provides a mid-day break.
AMSTERDAM—BookDifferent has begun to publicize the carbon emission figures for 591,000 hotels. According to BookDifferent, it is the first OTA to do this. The carbon footprint of each accommodation is shown by a footprint icon containing the number of kilos CO2 emission per night stayed. Hotels with a green footprint have a low carbon footprint and are therefore a better choice than the hotels with a red one.
NATIONAL REPORT—Several leading associations that develop codes and standards to create green buildings are collaborating to align the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), ANSI/ASHRAE/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1 and the LEED green building program. The initiative is being welcomed by code officials, architects, engineers and contractors. “In just a few years we progressed from developing the first model code for green buildings to a new cooperative document that will make it easier for owners, designers, builders and code officials to deliver sustainable, high-performing buildings,” said International Code Council (ICC) Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. “Thank you to our cooperating sponsors, ICC Members and all who participate in the development of the International Green Construction Code for their support.” Cooperating sponsors in the development of the IgCC are ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). All have agreed to collaborate on the development of the next edition of the IgCC, ASHRAE Standard 189.1 and the USGBC LEED green building program.
PORTLAND, ORE.—February 14 was Oregon’s birthday. So, what does one get a state that has everything? In 2014, visitors to Oregon contributed more than $27,000 to enhance communities across Oregon through an innovative philanthropy program created by Travel Oregon and Sustainable Travel International. Funds will be directed to projects throughout the state that improve the environment, support local culture and enrich the destination through the Oregon Travel Philanthropy Fund (OTPF).
MIAMI—InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced the opening of the Holiday Inn Express Marília hotel in São Paulo State, Brazil. The new-build, 102-room hotel is among the first internationally-branded properties in the city of Marilia. The hotel is centrally situated near Marilia’s industrial district, airport, and less than a mile away from the city’s main shopping center. “IHG properties have thrived in Brazil since the InterContinental brand arrived in 1946,” said Alvaro Diago, COO, Latin America and Caribbean, IHG. “We helped forge Brazil’s hospitality industry, and thanks to strong relationships with our Brazilian partners, we are pleased to be an integral part of this next stage of travel evolution for the country.” Spanning seven stories, the Holiday Inn Express Marilia hotel boasts a modern design, with a strong focus on sustainability, including energy-efficient systems, wastewater treatment plans, solar panels and LED lighting. The hotel offers guests a comfortable, yet affordable stay with innovative, preferred guest upgrades to ensure a pleasurable experience with amenities that include a 24-hour fitness center.
MIAMI—Virgin Hotels is now offering guests car service seven days a week to select areas in Chicago in a top-of-the-line red Tesla Model S, a premium electric vehicle. The new all-wheel-drive Model S P85D is not only electric; it’s also the quickest-accelerating four door vehicle ever built. For guests wishing to arrive in style, they simply need to ring the concierge and a Virgin Hotels representative will drive them to their destination.
OAK BROOK, ILL.—Nine months after taking over as General Manager of the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center, Stefan Mühle is just part of the way toward reaching his goal of transforming the property into a uniquely green destination with a “boutique heart and soul.” Mühle, who co-founded the Sustainability Committee for the Hotel Council of San Francisco, knows a thing or two about greening a boutique hotel. During his time as General Manager, the 104-room Orchard Hotel in San Francisco earned Green Seal and LEED certification. Transforming the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center will not be as easy as it includes a 386-room hotel, 18-hole golf course, ballroom, amphitheater, outdoor pavilion and 39 meeting rooms. When Mühle began his new job he says the hotel portion of the property’s environmental program “was a bit in shambles.” There was a lack of operational consistency as the property had been under another flag for many years and then had become an independent.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI—The new Marriott Port-au-Prince Hotel has checked in its first guests. Among the 200 new Haitian hotel workers who welcomed them were young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and Haitian-Americans who want to share their hospitality skills to help boost Haiti’s tourism economy. The stories of these new associates include Luccardo, who was recruited to work at the hotel’s front desk from the Nos Petits Frères et Soeurs orphanage, and Hermine, who was part of the hotel’s intern program and will be an entry-level supervisor. In addition to members of a Haitian-American executive team, the Haiti Marriott is led by a veteran Marriott general manager who was previously at the Marriott Champs Elysees in Paris. Joined by Haiti President Michel Martelly and former U.S. President Bill Clinton at a celebration ceremony, Digicel Group Chairman and Founder Denis O’Brien and Marriott International President-Caribbean & Latin America Region Craig S. Smith thanked the Kier Construction Company workers, sub-contractors and skilled Haitian construction workers who built the hotel and the Marriott associates who will host its guests.
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