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NATIONAL REPORT—A little more than six years after it first began taking applications, the Tennessee Green Hospitality program now has 82 businesses certified. Sixty-five of those businesses are lodging establishments. Among the certified hotels that are part of the Tennessee program are the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Jackson, Nashville Airport Marriott, and the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Knoxville At Cedar Bluff. Perhaps a first for welcome centers in the United States, all 14 Tennessee Welcome Centers are also certified. Each of the businesses in the program have submitted applications and then undergone an on-site inspection by Skye Con’s Dobbin Callahan. Callahan helped initiate the Tennessee Green Hospitality program in 2009. Tom Cupo, General Manager of The Chattanoogan, a Benchmark Hospitality International property, was also instrumental in the program’s launch. The program was developed with encouragement from and in consultation with the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development. Callahan says the on-site audit adds credibility to the certification, especially if a facility is being considered by meeting planners for a green event. There is no charge to undergo the certification process but a reasonable audit fee is charged to cover the travel expenses of the auditor.
CHENGDU—China’s Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain is going the extra mile with conservation and environmental responsibility. The resort, which opened August 1, incorporates all the Six Senses sustainability benchmarks for which the group is recognized and has now taken a step further with the introduction of a Tesla Model S electric vehicle for airport transfers. As the first hotel in Chengdu to offer such a sustainable experience, it is a testament to the eco-friendly initiatives that drive Six Senses. The vehicle, which accommodates three to four passengers and offers generous luggage capacity, travels up to 310 miles (500 kilometers) on a single charge from a standard power outlet. Using the Tesla Supercharge system, the vehicle can be fully charged in less than one hour. A guest’s arrival experience is also enhanced with the addition of the vehicle’s all-glass panoramic roof constructed from lightweight safety glass, which gives the feel of a convertible yet with total protection from the elements. In the setting of Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, this feature is important.
NATIONAL REPORT—As of September 8, according to Plug In America, 360,236 plug-in vehicles had been sold in the United States. Since the introduction of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) about five years ago, total sales are on pace to double that of plugless hybrids for their first five years. Today, there are more than 32,000 charging stations listed on the PlugShare website. Undoubtedly, there is a shift taking place in how folks get from point A to point B. According to the most recent AH&LA Lodging Survey, prepared by STR and funded by AHLEF, 11 percent of surveyed properties offer electric vehicle charging stations for their guests who drive electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles. Some properties are even using electric vehicles for in-town or airport transfers, making it even more essential to have on-site charging stations. Most properties that have invested in charging stations for visitors, guests and others have done so at Level 1 or Level 2. A 120-volt Level 1 charger can charge a battery two to three miles per hour, depending on the vehicle.
LAS VEGAS—Hosted buyers, visitors and exhibitors alike can all enjoy a greener IMEX America this year thanks to a host of sustainability initiatives focusing on waste reduction and education. A new charity recycling initiative, becoming part of the Green Team and attending relevant education sessions will help attendees to reduce waste and increase their awareness of corporate social responsibility. This follows the results of the MeetGreen Sustainability Report for IMEX America 2014 which showed a 31 percent reduction in total waste from the previous year. The use of locally sourced foods increased by over 150 percent and food waste decreased by 56 percent. The organizers of IMEX America 2015, which takes place October 13 to 15 in Las Vegas, are building on this success as Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group, explains, “IMEX America is committed to encouraging the meetings and incentive travel industry to address sustainability issues and to tackle these issues in a proactive, practical way. The intention is to raise the green bar across the board and strengthen our sustainability efforts.”
LAS VEGAS—Global Experience Specialists (GES), a global full-service provider for live events, has become the first general service contractor to be certified to an international sustainability standard for the meetings and events industry. GES exceeded Level One and achieved Level Two certification to the Accepted Practices EXchange/American Society for Testing and Materials (APEX/ASTM) Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards pertaining to the Evaluation and Selection of Exhibits for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and Conferences.
NATIONAL REPORT—Much has been written about the many millions of partially used bars of soap and amenity bottles disposed of each year. Thanks to Clean the World and other nonprofits, a sizable amount of that waste is now being repurposed. But what about k cups, those little single-serve beverage (mostly coffee) pods used in Keurig Green Mountain brewers? According to research by data firm NPD Group, 40 percent of Canadian homes have a single-serving coffee brewer. In the United States that number is closer to 30 percent. An estimated 20+ billion k cups will be consumed in 2015. Many of those will reach the landfill by way of a hotel guestroom, lobby or breakfast area. With such a steady flow of waste to the landfill—it is not only the cups but their contents, filters and lids as well—what can an hotelier do to address it? One step one can take is to explore alternatives to the non-recyclable polystyrene cups. Waterbury, Vermont-based Keurig says on its website that it has committed to making 100 percent of its K-Cup packs recyclable by 2020.
DETROIT—Thom Connors, SMG Regional Vice President and General Manager of Cobo Center, announced that Cobo Center has received the Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) certification, by the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), a nonprofit, membership-based professional organization, and spearheaded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which provides educational resources to planners, suppliers, and venues seeking to meet the ever-rising standards consumers set for sustainable meetings.
TAMPA, FLA.—Go Green Planters, Inc. (GGP), a family operated nursery stock dealer, is collaborating with K9s for Warriors. The company is calling the program Plants for K9s. On behalf of K9s for Warriors, a leading nonprofit organization that rescues dogs to train them to be service dogs for veterans battling the effects of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, GGP provides a lush tropical plant for each guestroom at no cost to the hotel. In consideration of this new amenity, guests are asked to contribute $1.00 to K9s for Warriors.
NEW YORK—To mark its centennial anniversary, the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) is unveiling a new brand and mission to better capture the dynamic innovation of the hospitality industry. HX: The Hotel Experience—Rooms to Restaurants (HX), will debut November 8 to 10, 2015 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City and represents a bold new strategic direction. This multimillion-dollar investment aimed at revitalizing the largest hospitality trade event in North America is founded on the belief that true hospitality is anticipating a guest’s needs to create a memorable and unique experience. To achieve that, HX will focus on innovation, inspiration and information. “Making this enormous change at our 100-year juncture is exciting,” said Anthony G. Mangano, President Syramada Hotel Corp. (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Chairman of the Board for HX 2015. “These are not tweaks or modest improvements. HX 2015 is an entirely new show.” The deep dive transformation from IHMRS to HX called on industry experts, research-based data, and prior-year show assessments to identify what the show could and should bring to the industry.
PORTLAND, ORE.—This summer, the Oregon Convention Center will install what is anticipated to be one of the largest solar arrays on a convention center in the United States. More than 6,500 rooftop solar panels are expected to produce 25 percent of the facility’s electricity. Construction of the two megawatt project is scheduled to begin in August and the system is expected to be in service this fall. “One of our core values is sustainability,” said convention center Executive Director Scott Cruickshank. “The rooftop solar installation will help us meet our carbon emission reduction goals, offset utility costs and provide an important learning opportunity for our convention center visitors and guests.” “I want to personally thank our partners at Pacific Power Blue Sky renewable energy program and Energy Trust of Oregon for supporting this installation,” Cruickshank added. “Their financial support made it possible to expand the original project scope of 1.1 MW to 2.0 MW, with no upfront costs borne by the facility or the taxpayers.”
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