Newsletter Lead Articles

JAN/FEB 2017

How to Use Brain Science to Be
Your Best Self In 2017

Neuroscience offers some handy hacks to learn faster,
focus better, and make smarter decisions this year.

Resolutions are often an exercise in wishful thinking. People rarely keep them, mostly because they're vague about their goals and don't have a plan for following through. But that isn't the only thing that may weaken resolve or slow progress toward a goal. Failing to understand some practical brain science can just as quickly do you in. Neuroscience has shown us this year that we may actually have everything we need to stay focused, be more creative, remember more, and make better decisions—just as long as we can work a bit more with our brains, not against them. Here are a few things that can take you closer toward being your best self in 2017.


Authors Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane used a gardening metaphor to explain how certain brain cells act like a landscaping crew, pruning, weeding and nurturing synapses so they function better. They lay waste to unused synaptic connections to make room for more learning. So, the authors remind us, it'simportant to choose your thoughts wisely: the more you think about something, the more you—ll reinforce certain connections, lessening the likelihood that they—ll be pruned.

"If you're in a fight with someone at work and devote your time to thinking about how to get even with them, and not about that big project, you're going to wind up a synaptic superstar at revenge plots, but a poor innovator."


All of that gardening happens surreptitiously while we snooze, Sleep, therefore, is one of the main keys to learning. The problem is that we're likely not getting enough of it. A small but noteworthy recent study showed that getting six hours of sleep can be as bad as staying up all night.

Experts recommend making room for healthy habits at bedtime, such as making sure it's at the same time each night, keeping the room cool, limiting alcohol before bed and putting away your devices at least 30 minutes before turning in. Oh, and try to drop excess weight. Obesity has been linked to sleep apnea.


Recent studies suggest that trusting your instincts in combination with careful consideration of facts can improve your decision-making. Gut instincts can be really valuable, as long as you keep them in balance.

To better tap into your gut's decision-making power, Hana Ayoub, a professional development coach, emphasizes the importance of buying yourself some time to reflect. "Start telling people, 'I need to sleep on this, I'll get back to you tomorrow.' Start building that response into your conversations, especially with the people you work with most," she advises. They'll often respect that. "It's telling people that's how you work."


Sometimes the simplest shift can make the most profound difference. So it is with learning. Mastering something that requires motor skills, for example, is easiest when we change up the way we're moving through the exercise, rather than just repeating it exactly the same way over and over. Try "teaching" the thing you want to learn to another person. Ditto for shifting perspectives. The act of explaining it to someone else can actually solidify those concepts for you.


You already know that learning and remembering takes focus. The problem is that your brain likes to wander. One key to better concentration is to quit multitasking. And while you're at it, take the information you're being fed and learn to distill and summarize it. It's one thing to embrace "monotasking" and another to use the mental energy you save to sharpen those analytical skills in the process.


A new calendar year comes with the fresh promise of moving beyond past pitfalls toward success. But January 1 is hardly the only day that can spur you on to action. Our brain likes so-called "pivot points," like the first of the month or any old Monday, as evidenced by the regular surge of Google searches for "quit smoking" or "diet" on those days. Researchers speculate that it's because such days force us out of our routines to think of the bigger picture.

Creative breakthroughs can happen just by daydreaming or spending time alone (or both). To tap this power any day of the week, Bob Nease, former chief scientist of Express Scripts, says to "pull back from the day-to-day flow altogether, as opposed to just marking its peaks and valleys in order to become more aware of the choices we can make, big and small—and then actually make them."


You've no doubt heard that eureka moments often come when we're lathering up in the shower—72% of people claim that's happened to them. However, science also shows that creative breakthroughs can happen just by daydreaming or spending time alone (or both). Solitude seems to be useful, but the circumstances that encourage creative thought during those periods may be more flexible than we think.

Dishman, Lydia,
cloud-vows-growth-in-2017-but-time-is-running-out, January 3, 2017

NOV/DEC 2016

The New Must-Have Yard Accessory:
a Feral Cat

Homeowners, plagued by rats, clamor for killer felines, wish they wouldn't stray

Nicolas Cuervo and his neighbors called, texted and pleaded. Finally, after over three months of waiting, their highly coveted order arrived: a crate of stray cats. "It was almost like getting a newborn," said Mr. Cuervo, a 44-year-old copywriter, who had three cats from a street pack delivered to him last month. Now, Mr. Cuervo is waiting some more—to see if he can persuade the beasts to stick around. He has changed his schedule to work from home. He coos to them through the wires of the crate. He feeds them gourmet cat treats. All in the hope that once he lets them out of the crate after several weeks, the cats will warm up to him and turn his backyard—now overrun with rats—into their long-term hunting ground. "I'm a dog guy, I was never even drawn to cats," he said. "But if this is what you have to do, you have to do it."

Chicago is awash in rats. A mild winter last year allowed broods of baby rats to survive, leading to an explosion of the critters, terrorizing residents as they run around their yards and dumpsters. By September, there had been 27,000 rat complaints, a 40% increase from 2015. This is turning the alley cat, once considered a rabid urban menace threatening small children and pets, into a prized possession. Or at least as much of a possession as a stray cat can be.

"I've been offered bribes," said Paul Nickerson, who runs the Tree House Humane Society's Cats at Work program, which places feral cats that have been trapped, microchipped and spayed or neutered with rat-plagued Chicagoans. But he won't budge on the waiting list, which has stretched to six months amid the frenzy.

Once the cats arrive, the new owners face a daunting challenge making a connection with wild versions of animals that are famously standoffish in the best of circumstances. Feral cats are more akin to wild raccoons than cuddly house pets, hissing or scratching if you try to pick them up.

Andrea Swank, a 51-year-old freelance writer, had two of her three strays bolt the first time she opened the crate two winters ago. This only fed into the merriment of local wags who mocked her efforts to employ feral cats to go after the rat problem on her tony Lincoln Park block. "You could hear the college girls screaming, 'Rat!' at 2 a.m." as they walked beneath her bedroom window, she said. She said her neighbors tried high-tech traps, rat-repelling frequencies and a "firecracker-looking thing that essentially smothered [rats] in their tunnels." None of them worked.

After Jeff, the stray that stayed, went to work, things changed. The gray and white feline with steely green eyes started killing off the baby rats and adults began to stay away as Jeff marked his territory with his scent. No one is laughing now. "Two people came back and gave me formal apologies," she said. Jeff now walks her and her children to school, sits on her front porch on a heated seat and greets neighbors.

Victoria Thomas's cats all bolted on the first day she let them out of the crate four years ago, despite her best efforts. "I was feeding them tuna fish out of the can, rather than Whiskas cat food," said Ms. Thomas, a 43-year-old artist and wine distributor. "I just really wanted to spoil them." When Patch, Fluffy and Skinny flew the coop, she was heartbroken. But she dutifully kept putting out food for them at the regular time, and after a few days, they were back for good.

Bill Hurley, owner of Empirical Brewery, thought cats would be too much of a pain to maintain in a battle to keep rats out of the grain bags at the craft brewery. The process of brewing "rings the dinner bell for rodents," he said. But he soon put his team to work designing a multiple-level cat condo, which took a week to build. The tower comes with a separate unit for litter boxes, a front porch where the cats could sit and watch the world and multiple hiding spots. When the cats were first released, Mr. Hurley and his crew never saw them, so they set up night cameras that sent alerts to their phones whenever movement was detected. The cats apparently decided they had a "pretty sweet deal" and haven't left, he said. Now, the rats are gone, and people come on tours of the brewery just to see the cats, Mr. Hurley said. One of the cats, Venkman, is a social media star with his own Twitter page.

Ron Ohren, a partner at a law firm, built a feeding station and installed a double-decker heated cat house, and added a cat door to his bicycle room for the feral cats that arrived from Tree House. All three stuck around in the beginning, but despite the plush setup, Bubbles and Buttercup fled, leaving only Blossom on his Powerpuff Girl-themed team. Now, other strays have shown up, keeping rats from scurrying around his yard, like a Disney movie but "less cute," he said. Last winter, Mr. Ohren put on a parka and snow shoes and trudged out to cut safe passages for the cats in the snow. "Emotionally, I am hugely attached to them," he said. "I obsess about them and am slavishly devoted to them." Still, Mr. Ohren gets little love back. The cats have never let him pet or carry them. He is trying to reach out with treats to get the cats to eat out of his hand, but with limited success. "I'm OK with the bargain we've struck," he said. Keeping the rats away "is enough."

Mr. Cuervo, meanwhile, nervously awaits the day he has to release his cats. He said the once-aloof and shy beasts are now making eye contact with him and don't get skittish even when the family dog is around. He will release them after Halloween, so they don't get spooked by revelers. "I really want the cats to come back," but these are cats after all, he acknowledges. "Who knows what will happen?"

Martani, Shrani and Joe Barrett, The New Must-Have Yard
Accessory: a Feral Cat, The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2016

SEP/OCT 2016


As usual, this September / October issue focuses on success green stories of GHA's Charter and Partner Members. You will love these fabulous stories, and be able to feel the excitement at each property as they continue greening. You are all working very hard at being green, and sharing information will make it easier. We know you'll love reading these stimulating, interesting and very exciting green stories! So, we begin again . . .


The Boulder Hot Springs (Montana) area was originally a gathering place for native peoples to bathe and rejuvenate themselves. Even warring tribes came to an agreement and vowed not to fight in this area, but to share the space peacefully, and so the area was named Peace Valley.

In 1863 James Riley, a miner, laid claim to the land and built a small hotel here for the use of local miners. In 1881 he expanded the hotel. 14-year PARTNER MEMBER Boulder Hot Springs Inn, Spa & Retreat Center's 50,000 sq ft main building was enlarged and made a Victorian-style hotel in 1890. In 1909 the building and surrounding 200+ acres nestled amongst the picturesque Elkhorn Mountains was purchased by James Murray, a Butte millionaire who expanded and renovated the property into a California mission-style building including a stucco-like Gunnite finish which still remains. The hotel currently includes 33 guest rooms, 2,500+ sq ft of meeting space along with an outdoor pool, indoor soaking pools and steam rooms. All water features use the geothermal mineral spring water cooled by natural well water. Some of the fabulous changes included hardwood maple floors, highly stenciled ceilings and even gold-leaf stenciling on the walls and ceiling of the card room which catered to poker players.

There are 30 to 40 geothermal springs on the property, and the 140-175°F. heavily-mineralized water contains sodium bicarbonate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, silica alumina and traces of iron among other minerals. There is little sulphur in the mix, so the resort is very fortunate not to have the rotten-egg smell. From the earliest Indian times, the healthful and curative effects of these mineral waters were well known and appreciated for sufferers of arthritis and other ailments such as back, muscle and joint pain. Since the beginning, people have traveled many miles to enjoy the benefits of the waters, and today people travel from all over the world to visit here along with up to 100 day-trippers on the weekends.

In 1989 after the building had lain in disrepair for a decade or so, it was close to being demolished. However, when Anne Wilson-Schaef saw it, she was mesmerized and purchased the property against the advice of others. At that point, there was a true waterfall from the third floor to the ground floor because of burst pipes. She was undaunted, and began a mission that continues today to renovate and renew the property "for the people of Montana."

The hot springs water was used to heat the building through piping to radiators, but the minerals clogged the pipes. Anne developed a heat-exchange system so that well water heated by the hot springs water is now piped through the building for heating. Amazingly enough, their hot spring water is recycled and used three times—it provides building heating, then goes to their 670 sq. ft. greenhouse where herbs and vegetables are grown and then to the chicken coop where 16 hens stay toasty warm while creating all the organic eggs needed for food service. The last rooster they had was apparently mean or protective to an unacceptable point, so is not around any longer. The chickens all stay healthy and fat because they're fed kitchen food scraps.

The property borders on the Deerlodge National Forest which includes many miles of hiking trails. Many fruit trees abound on the property. There are bee hives to promote the bee culture in the area and provide honey.

Early renovations included replacing thousands of pounds of iron piping and radiators, all of which was recycled, resulting in $600 in income and relief at not sending all to the landfill. Replacement of windows with triple-pane versions resulted in many staff members building cold frames and greenhouses at home from retired windows. Fabulous original hardwood maple flooring was reconditioned and restored rather than installing new flooring. Current renovations include in-floor geo-thermal heat where restoration is occurring. Antique rugs and furnishings rather than new will also reside in the renovated areas.

Of course non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products such as vinegar, baking soda, borax and Dr. Bronner's natural soap as well as natural pesticides and fertilizers are used throughout. Rainwater is collected and reused on plantings.

For years 2006 through 2014 Boulder Hot Springs' management is very proud to have won the Montana Eco-Star Pollution Prevention Award. This award was given to Montana businesses, non-profits, schools, hospitals, cities/counties and community groups which have been caring for the environment and reducing their carbon footprint, but the award has now been discontinued.

Management is very proud that staff members take what they learn from the Boulder Hot Springs' green practices and implement them at home, and that employees have commented that they love working for a green organization which is not doing harm to the land or the people and wildlife involved.

Applause, please, for Owner Anne Wilson-Schaef and Manager Kerri Kumasaka for their dedication and diligence in protecting this so valuable historic and incredible site with their superb green practices!


Aruba's long battle with the overpopulation of dogs and cats has a new ally. Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, a 23-year CHARTER MEMBER, has teamed up with island veterinarians to help reduce the number of homeless dogs and cats in Aruba, and to make responsible pet ownership a reality. Introducing "Love me. Sterilize me.," this community outreach program makes much needed spay and neutering surgeries possible for island ("crioyo") dogs and cats, with generous subsidies in part from Bucuti.

Why Should a Resort Care About Pet Overpopulation? At Bucuti, sustainability is all-encompassing and far-reaching, even off property. The resort cherishes being a caring community member. In doing so, it means taking on island issues where it can lend a helping hand even if it doesn't necessarily affect the resort property.

Bucuti is so proud of its island home that it encourages guests to go off property and explore Aruba. So, it's not uncommon for guests to have island dogs come up to them while visiting various landmarks. The homeless dogs are quiet, sweet and docile; however, they are suffering from starvation or are in need of medical care. Due to the overpopulation of unwanted pets, many end up in the island's Kill Cage to be euthanized. Bucuti and its guests find that this is no way to share the world with four-legged companions, and are committed to helping the island community.

Providing a Solution: The only long-term solution to the problem is to reduce the population and to have responsible pet ownership. "Love me. Sterilize me." makes sterilization more affordable by significantly reducing the price of surgery for pet owners and organizations caring for homeless animals. In decreasing the animal population with an ongoing subsidy program, there will be many fewer dogs and cats that cannot be cared for which suffer agonizing, unfair existences. The program was launched last January, and so far 3,200 animals have been registered, and 2,100 surgeries have been completed—a huge success!

How It Works: "Love me. Sterilize me." is intentionally simple. The program is accessible to every pet owner and homeless animal organization on Aruba so that a major impact can be made to curtail the cat and crioyo dog population. Interested pet owners and organizations can go to to register each pet and receive the special rate on the dedicated website. They'll be provided with a registration number, and can then make an appointment at the veterinary clinic of their choice. All island veterinarians are participating at fees from $14 for a male cat to $56 for a female dog. The veterinarian charges them a nominal fee for the surgery and invoices Bucuti for the balance. In addition, Bucuti is also donating microchips that can be implanted in dogs during the operation.

Guests are not actively participating in this particular initiative, rather they are aware of the resort's outreach and support the cause. Bucuti guests have many opportunities to be supportive of the resort's sustainability efforts. Specifically referring to animals, guests may join Bucuti's associates for monthly beach clean-ups that help protect the environment and the marine life, particularly the endangered Leatherback sea turtles that journey ashore annually to nest.

Making the Commitment: As the founder and sponsor of "Love me. Sterilize me.," Bucuti has committed to the program for at least two years. The resort is a longstanding supporter of better living initiatives and has long had a pet adoption program to help visiting guests and employees with the cost of adopting homeless dogs. That alone cannot correct the dog and cat overpopulation issue. This new sterilization campaign will aid in a long-term solution to the island issue and ultimately ensure that every pet has a family to love them.

Dealing with Demand Curtailment

Pat Mitchell, Director of Engineering, Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa (501 rooms), San Antonio, TX, 6-year PARTNER MEMBER reports on their 2016 energy savings program. To learn more, Pat can be contacted at

Our local electrical supplier, CPS (City Public Service) Energy, has a program called demand curtailment. It is a voluntary load curtailment program for commercial and industrial customers and is designed to reduce CPS Energy's peak load growth by incentivizing customers to shed electric loads on peak summer days. The Demand Response program is an integral part of CPS Energy's strategy to save 771 megawatts by the year 2020. It is similar to many programs offered by other utilities. During the summer months, they give us about a 2-hour notice to curtail our electrical demand, normally for 3-4 hours, when their demand usage is high. In a given summer, they normally have 10-20 days when curtailment is in effect. The daily reductions of our curtailment are then averaged for the year. At the end of summer they reward us for our averaged performance, which can add up to quite a bit of savings. As the performance is averaged, it does give a hotel some flexibility in what we can reduce in a given day.

We happily participate in this program. We modified our programming of equipment through our energy management system. Our program is called demand shed, and can be scheduled just like any other piece of equipment. Various tasks are performed under demand shed, and we are constantly coming up with new ways to add to the list. Listed below are some of the things we do when in demand shed:

• Reset static air setpoints on VAV (variable air volume) air handlers, some up to 20%

• Reset supply air setpoints, some up to 4 degrees (depends on business)

• Raise our chilled water setpoint, normally 3-4 degrees

• Duty cycle our constant volume air handlers (15 minutes off per hour)

• Turn off exhaust fans (again, it is a 3-4 hour timetable)

• Duty cycle exhaust fans (pending their purpose)

• Installed relays to some ice machines, and turn them off during curtailment

• Precool areas that will be affected (normally a 2-hour time frame)

• Dim lobby and other public area lighting—normally about 10%

• Currently installing contactors on our golf cart charging breaker panels to turn off the entire breaker panel during curtailment, which will stop cart charging during that time period. This project will not affect this year's bills, but it should help us in future years.

While our performance is not spectacular, thus far this year we are averaging a 200 kwh reduction, which will help reduce our future electric bills, and it helps keep CPS from having to fire up another plant during periods of high demand. Great for us, great for the energy company and great for our community! And a fun project that keeps everyone thinking of what more we can do!


3 cabins now . . . all vegetarian . . . near the Bourbon Trail

Barbara Napier, Host, at 9-year PARTNER MEMBER Hollow Farm B&B in Irvine, KY has 2 rooms, 3 cabins and 2 floors. The property is nestled in the beautiful Red Lick Valley of Estill County in Central Kentucky and conveniently located 45 minutes from Natural Bridge State Park, Red River Gorge, Renfro Valley Music Hall and 1 hour from Lexington, Keeneland and the Kentucky Horse Park. Her organic farm boasts 300 acres of babbling creeks, glorious wildflowers, abundant wildlife, wooded mountainsides and the simplicity of country life.

She also has a very large 100'x40' organic garden that is bursting with veggies this year. So many, so much that there's no way of keeping up. So . . . lucky guests are going home with bags of tomatoes—all kinds, including heirlooms—plus basil, okra and, if they're lucky, some squash. She and her staff are enjoying giving the beautiful, fresh produce away and see that it is fully enjoyed. The extra growth seems to be the result of a very wet spring and the hot summer sun.


5-year PARTNER MEMBER Hyatt Regency San Antonio's Green Team is working to mature their commingled single-stream (paper, plastic and cans) recycling system and is getting help from Waste Management, their recycling hauler. Chef Russell Young and Nicole Galindo, both Green Team members, say they've had a problem with the commingled system in that paper in the mix often gets wet and is then unrecyclable. They've determined that their best opportunity is to focus on paper recycling and getting hotel staff on board to help achieve a higher rate of paper recycling.

Their Green Team has chosen to accomplish their educational and recycling goals through their new and exciting experiment, "The Great Paper Challenge." The goal is to make paper recycling educational, easy and fun. Even though the playing field isn't even between departments, the goal of learning the best and easiest ways to recycle paper will certainly be important for the whole program. The department with the most recycled paper at the end of the challenge will win a prize for their dedication and determination.

The next step for the Green Team is to start a concentrated recycling program throughout the departments where large paper bags (such as are used in lawn care) will be distributed to all departments. Next, trash cans at each desk will be removed and only a recycling container will be at each desk. Each department will have one trash can with the office, and it will be placed so that if anyone has trash, they will have to get up and walk to the trash container. They plan to roll this new program out early next year to management and staff of 300.

So, wish management and staff lots of luck with their The Great Paper Challenge! We'll follow up, and learn the results of this fun and educational event!


Shaheen's Motel (7-year PARTNER MEMBER, 31 rooms, in Tupper Lake, New York) began their eco-conscious journey in 2009 after being certified by Audubon International and joining GHA in 2010. Each year the property owners, Terry and Robyn Doolen, look to build upon their efforts and reach out to guests and invite them to participate in the environmental-awareness programs.

In the fall of 2015 the newest green initiative was launched; a Complimentary Guest Bike Program. Registered guests are informed of the program through in-room informational booklets and marketing material on the motel Green Bulletin Board. Bikes, helmets and locks are provided to the guests who can leisurely ride to local venues, village shops and restaurants. Many visitors just want to get some fresh air and exercise on the community's new multi-use trail system.

Our guests love the option of getting out and exploring the village and town without the use of their cars. Vacationing in the Adirondack Mountains is all about the outdoors. Families have commented that they just enjoy another amenity which allows them to spend some quality time together.

It has been such a well-received program that Terry and Robyn encourage other property owners to consider offering this green feature to their guests. To learn more about biking in this area, see

Irving House at Harvard

Innkeeper Rachael Solem (14-year PARTNER MEMBER, 44-room property in Cambridge, Massachusetts), says "We have supported (as a sponsor) the pedicabs that take guests around Our Fair City on people-powered wheels.

We are hosting a beehive, and will soon have some honey for our guests from our very own hive. I cannot tell my neighbors about this until it has been around for a while, since Cambridge has not made bee-keeping legal or illegal at this time. We work with, so we support the research they are doing on the causes of and cures for Colony Collapse Disorder (as well as providing a home away from other hives so our bees might be hearty pioneers)."

Other important Irving House at Harvard green landmarks include:

• In 2006, the EPA awarded us their EnergyStar Label. The main house at 24 Irving Street was one of only 3,000 buildings in the US to have such a designation as of March 2007.

• In the summer of 2009, Irving House engaged the services of New England Solar Hot Water ( to install an evacuated tube system to heat the guest hot water. This has reduced the therm consumption of natural gas for guest hot water by 25%.

• We no longer offer water bottled in disposable bottles. We offer reusable bottles and cold, filtered Cambridge water. This reduces the plastic production, transportation and land use demands of disposable bottles.

• Our guests love composting, certainly at breakfast, taking away Cambridge water in their branded bottles and using our canvas bags when they shop since Cambridge now has a plastic-bag ban in place.

• Guests may share the use of a refrigerator so that they do not need to throw out their delicious leftovers from dinner.

Rachael continues, "I would say, in general, that green efforts do not save us much money, but do provide better accommodation for a portion of our guests who are environmentally conscious and wish to continue their best practices when traveling.

The awards are lovely, and do get us a bit of attention when they occur. But overall, I just enjoy working with local vendors, insisting on organic products wherever possible, encouraging them to use reusable shipping containers for us as well as them, and having staff become more aware of and healthier as a result of our use of environmentally-friendly cleaning products."

The Stanford Inn By The Sea, 36 Years Green

Jeff Stanford, owner and innkeeper at Stanford Inn By The Sea (9-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER with 41 rooms in Mendocino, California) discusses his fabulous property:

The Inn, the Community, and "Conscious" Tourism: The term "conscious tourism" is usually two thirds of a larger phrase "Environmentally Conscious Tourism," which in many instances signifies inns and hotels that urge guests to hang towels to dry, provide access to environmental treasures such as parks and perhaps purchase organic lettuce to be used in salads served at the inn's restaurant. We believe the term should mean much more. We look at every aspect of innkeeping with an eye on reducing impacts on the environment and providing the healthiest context possible for guests, diners, staff and the surrounding community. We work for social equity for our staff in order that they can survive in a very expensive region. Furthermore, we believe that many visitors come to the Coast not only to experience the rugged beauty, but also Mendocino, an archetypal North American small town of which the Stanford Inn is an integral part.

Your Pet at the Inn: Canoeing, hiking, lounging in the lobby, dining—breakfast or dinner; all of this you can share with your pet at the Stanford Inn. We have been allowing pets since the day we began business. Through the last quarter of the last century, only three inns on the Mendocino Coast accepted pets, starting with us. After the collapse of the dot-com industry that represented over 25% of our business and the wave of national insecurity as a result of 9/11, the hotel/inn business, particularly in remote areas, "failed to thrive."

Searching for ways to create new markets, small inns to large hotel chains began accepting their guests' pets. This was wonderful for us, because we have always traveled with our pets. Many of these inns created elaborate amenity packages, focused on foods. At some hotels, your pet not only can dine with you, but the hotel will serve your pet from a pet menu, often leading to significant distress for both the pet and pet owner. Many dogs are sensitive to dietary change. We do not provide pet foods as a regular course of business. However, we do have pet foods available, and, if needed, can cook oatmeal that is easily digested and steamed vegetables if you wish. By the way, our sweet potato treats are both nutritious and help clean your pet's teeth. Unlike dog biscuits with a variety of processed ingredients and chemicals, dogs easily digest these treats.

An answer to the water bottle conundrum: Last year, Sid Hillman, director of the Mendocino Center for Living Well and I traveled to a small Midwestern college to speak on sustainable practices. When we asked students, "What is the most sustainable action any one person can take," the students generally answered in either of two ways: "Stop drinking bottled water" or "Drive less." Reporting our findings, we suggested the college install water bottle refill stations, and realized that the Stanford Inn lacked a refill station. Now there is one in the center staircase of the Big River Building and we are installing two additional stations on the property. If guests are interested, stainless steel water bottles are available in the gift shop.

Ongoing green activities at The Stanford Inn By The Sea include:

• Helps protect Big River from environmental degradation

• Maintains Mendocino Land Trust access to the bluffs overlooking Mendocino Bay

• Offers one of the few plant-based organic fine dining experiences in North America

• Does not use herbicides or pesticides

• Converted all ten acres to sustainable and organic gardening and landscaping in 1985

• Composts all food and organic wastes that are then recycled into our gardens, virtually eliminating the use of outside fertilizers. Recycles all other waste.

• Provides kayaks, traditional canoes and locally-designed and constructed redwood canoes for low impact exploration of Big River and mountain bikes to explore Mendocino's trails

• Developed energy conservation programs beginning in 1980 for heating, lighting, laundry

• Provides a nurturing work experience for students

• Sponsors community, arts, theatre and athletic events and programs

• Provides educational programs in gardening, cooking, composting

• Provides canoes and kayaks for local school programs at no charge

• Provides a place for local artists to display and sell their work

• Provides a place for the community and its non-profit institutions to meet at no charge

• Uses Vaska ( non-toxic environmentally-safe cleaning and laundry supplies

• Provides sulfate-free Naturally Kind™ Forest Essentials ( amenities

Rainier Guest Services Reduces their Carbon Footprint in Mount Rainier National Park By Anna DeHaan and Pam Newlun, Rainier Guest Services, LLC

In 1899, Mount Rainier was set aside as a special and unique location and became the fifth park in our ever-growing National Park System. For over 40 years Rainier Guest Services has partnered with the National Park Service in operating lodging, retail and food services in Mount Rainier National Park. (The 25-room inn is a 9-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER). The massive park contains 369 square miles of mostly wilderness where there are 147 miles of roadway. During 2015 the park had 1,858,673 visitors. We are committed to assisting the park service in putting climate-friendly behavior at the forefront of their sustainability planning, and are proud to announce the completion of two projects that we believe will have a major impact on reducing our carbon footprint in Mount Rainier.

A propane fueling station was installed in 2015 near our administrative office located in the small gateway community of Ashford, WA just 4 miles from the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. We converted our transportation fleet (four 14-passenger vans and one crew-cab maintenance truck) to propane vehicles, and now operate all propane-fueled shuttles transporting employees, laundry, retail and food products into Mount Rainier National Park. With twelve trips daily between Ashford and the popular Paradise area inside the park, our shuttles log over 322 miles each day. Since propane releases 30–60% less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline, we are making substantial progress in reducing our carbon footprint in Mount Rainier.

Hydration stations were installed in 2014 in the most popular areas of the park—Paradise, Longmire and Sunrise. The stations allow our visitors easy access to clean, cool drinking water where they can refill their reusable water bottles. The stations track the number of fills, so we know that since installation over 105,000 water bottles have been filled at the stations. In addition, we encourage visitors to use reusable bottles, with inexpensive bottles available for purchase in our four retail outlets located throughout the park. The final and most important step of this project was completed in July 2016 when we eliminated the sale of bottled water inside Mount Rainier National Park. The loss of this revenue stream made the decision more difficult—but it was necessary.

Rainier Guest Services is ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified. Our Green Team was conceived to seek out best business practices and the newest technologies as we continue to strive towards the goal of making Mount Rainier National Park a model for climate-friendly behavior!


15-year PARTNER MEMBER Mormon Lake Lodge's Leigh Gold says, "Recycling, it's fun, but it isn't just for plastic bottles and aluminum. Let me tell you all about Mormon Lake Lodge's recycling program that goes above and beyond standard recycling practices."

Mormon Lake Lodge recycles all over our property. Instead of throwing away ripped or stained towels that we don't want to use for our guests anymore, we cut them up into smaller squares and use them for cleaning purposes. We don't want guests to use our pretty white towels to clean up messes and will provide these "rags" to our guests. Not only does this help us with reducing our landfill footprint, it also helps us save on paper towel and water usage. We don't use these rags just in our cabins for cleaning, we use them all over our property. Our Maintenance department uses them, our steakhouse and saloon use them. This also reduces the frequency of deliveries by our local linen company. With this practice in our short and off seasons, we are able to cut our deliveries to once a month. We are more self-reliant and this conserves water and electricity but also reduces the carbon emitted into the air by delivery trucks.

At the beginning of the 2016 season, we started changing our light bulbs in our lodge and steakhouse from CFL light bulbs to LED light bulbs. We switched from CFL to LED because the LEDs have a longer life than CFLs thus saving energy since they use one-quarter of the energy of a CFL while also reducing our landfill footprint. When researching the switch-over from CFL to LEDs, we wanted to make sure that we were doing the best for our company as well as the environment. LED light bulbs cost on an average $1 more than the CFLs, and CFLs also will burn out before 10,000 hours of use. That is only 416 24-hour day's use on average. So we were spending more money on light bulbs due to having to replace them more often. I also must mention that customers really liked the CFLs, and liked to take them as a souvenir! An LED Light bulb can last up to 50,000 hours on average (2,083 24-hour days). So if you consider that our cabins our not always at maximum capacity, the length of our light bulb usage actually expands quite a bit more than that. We are tracking these usages and have yet to see any savings since we just started this year, but we will keep you posted.

We take recycling very seriously. We have recycling bins all over our property, as well as in our cabins and rooms. We want to make sure that the whole community is recycling. We have installed a community recycling center where we accept all types of recyclables from our neighbors and the community at no charge. We also educate the community and our guests on the importance of recycling and what they can do to help protect the environment.

We are especially proud to recycle in our steakhouse. Any leftover food in our restaurants is either composted, goes to our petting zoo or is distributed to local residents who have farm animals.

The environmental practices we participate in do not always save money. However, it is definitely the right thing to do and that makes everyone feel better. Don't you agree? With constant reinforcement, these programs eventually become a culture that is easy to live with and comes without thinking. The fact of the matter is that we are reducing our impact on our landfills by reusing and helping others with recycling while also feeling good about it!

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JUL/AUG 2016


As our green programs continue to be refined, we're reminded more and more that none of us can be really green without the green products and services offered by green vendors. GHA continues to encourage and support our ALLY MEMBERS, and to bring you news of their successes—new products, new ideas, new techniques, recent awards, new contracts, etc. So, each July/August issue of this newsletter focuses on new and refreshing stories about our ALLY MEMBERS' SUCCESSES. Here you'll enjoy more thrilling stories . . .

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Standard Textile to Provide
Marriott's Made-in-USA Towels

In a first for the US hospitality industry, Marriott International announced that it will provide Made-in-USA towels and bath mats in every guest bathroom in nearly 3,000 US hotels. Buying Made-in-USA towels and bath mats benefits US manufacturing communities such as Thomaston, GA, and Union, SC, where 7-year ALLY MEMBER Standard Textile is producing them with 100% cotton fiber grown in the US. Marriott's commitment to buy Made-in-USA guestroom terry products creates 150 new jobs in Standard Textile's facilities, Cincinnati headquarters and through its supply chain.

"As a global company based in the USA, we're proud to be the first hospitality company to commit to providing our guests with Made-in-USA bathroom towels in our US hotels," said Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson. "We believe our guests will appreciate knowing that even simple items they use every day in our hotels represent progress for the US economy," said Marriott Executive Chairman Bill Marriott. We also hope this sends a message to other businesses that buying locally can make business sense."

Overall, this commitment will mean the annual production of 2.6 million bath towels and 4.9 million hand towels—the equivalent of as much as 5.6 million pounds of textiles. If laid end-to-end, the textiles Marriott will purchase in one year would stretch more than 4,300 miles. The commitment to manufacture these textiles in the US also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating more than 300 ocean-going container shipments annually.

Marriott's Made-in-USA commitment with Standard Textile expands the two companies' long-standing relationship. Last year, Marriott recognized Standard Textile's commitment to continuous collaboration, innovative new products and superior service by giving the company its 2015 Americas Recognition Award. "Marriott's desire to provide guests with terry bath products made by US textile artisans speaks to the heart of why Standard Textile is thriving and creating new jobs after 76 years," said Gary Heiman, President and CEO. Our commitment to technology-driven manufacturing and innovation has enabled us to expand our operations in the US, creating a sustainable infrastructure for Marriott's Made-in-USA products." To learn more, see

Atlas Paper Was Born Green!

ALLY MEMBER Atlas Paper is a leading Florida-based paper manufacturer dedicated to providing sustainable premium and recycled tissue products, such as bath and towel for the retail and away-from-home markets. Atlas Paper believes that delivering on the company's sustainability commitments makes it more competitive and helps exceed customer expectations in the long run.

Atlas Paper's Hialeah (Miami) tissue facility is committed to energy awareness and efficiency. Operating since 1976, this Green Seal™-certified facility was "born green," and has been producing 100% recycled fiber products using a chlorine-free process since the beginning. The facility also diverts nearly all of the residual waste produced onsite to a nearby orange grove, where it is applied as fertilizer to the orchards.

The Hialeah facility is currently transitioning from using recycled paper as an input to Green Seal™-certified recycled bleached kraft (RBK) pulp, produced at a Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) chain of custody (CoC) certified operation.

While maintaining or improving product quality in most categories, a 2016 internal analysis has evaluated several environmental performance improvements associated with this process change. Preliminary results include:

• Increased yield from fiber inputs – up to 94%.

• Reduced downtime related to clothing wash-ups.

• Reduced energy use by approximately 20% as a result of bypassing the onsite de-inking process.

• Reduced residual waste by 67.5% (from average of 4 trucks per day to 1.3 trucks per day).

•• Reduced chemical defoamer usage by over 30%.

Achieving these significant improvements over less than a year is a sign of great things to come. In 2016, the Atlas Paper operations will focus on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction initiatives, which will likely lead to further successes and demonstrate our dedication to energy awareness and continuous improvement. On March 14, Atlas Paper's Hialeah facility received a Tissue World magazine award in the most energy-aware mill category.

About Atlas Paper: Atlas Paper is a Florida-based tissue manufacturer that has an operating capacity of 63,000 short tons, along with 3 tissue machines and 13 converting lines in Hialeah and Sanford, as well as 1 recycling center in Tampa. It manufactures branded and private-label products through retail and away-from-home channels, and offers both virgin and recycled products, covering a range of grades. Its branded products are marketed under the Windsor Place®, Green Heritage®, Bunny Soft® and Harmony® brands. Atlas Paper is a nine-year proud member of Green Hotels Association®! Visit for more information.

GenEon's On-Site Generating System

HOORAY! ALLY MEMBER GenEon Technologies was granted an EPA Registration as a Broad Spectrum Disinfectant. GenEon's landmark Broad Spectrum registration comes after sweeping legislation that the State of California has enacted—laws which will require all users of sanitizers and disinfectants to register users so that users fully understand the risk associated with using these products.

The US Congress has passed a bill with the intention to overhaul the nation's 40-year-old law governing 64,000 toxic chemicals—a measure that will, for the first time, impact thousands of chemicals whose companies were not required to fully disclose their toxicity. This bill is expected to be approved by the US Senate and signed into law by President Obama. These changes should not be a shock to anyone. Numerous products once thought to be safe such as cigarettes, lead-based paints and asbestos, have proven to be dangerous. The chemical industry has been exempt until now, but those who use these products will soon be fully informed.

On-Site-Generating (OSG) system technology offers some real alternatives. For example, some solutions produced by OSG technology can replace cleaners that produce fumes which when breathed can cause health issues. VOCs and other carcinogens affect the product user and anyone else in the area such as office staff or children in classrooms. OSG provides great results at lower cost, and clean as well as traditional chemicals. The sanitizers and disinfectants also have faster kill times than the traditional products.

Sanitizers and disinfecting solutions created by OSG technology solve the issues created by bleach by harnessing the power that makes bleach effective, but without the negative side effects. An EPA study concluded that Free Available Chlorine, the active ingredient in OSG's sanitizing and disinfecting solutions is 80 to 200 times more effective against some germs than bleach.

The CDC, in their 2008 Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities noted, "the concept of electrolyzing saline (creating sanitizer and disinfectant with OSG technology) to create disinfectants is appealing because the basic ingredients (salt and tap water) are inexpensive and the end product does not damage the environment." The solutions created by OSG technologies bring the power of what bleach would like to be, and has created a neutral-based, stable killer of germs that has low to no VOCs and can provide the fast kill times that our professional maintenance people need.

Consumers want and demand safer alternatives! OSG is here to stay. Learn more by calling 866/217-0205 or viewing TODAY!

Introducing ION Water Management!

ALLY MEMBER ion Water Management Company is all about a revolutionary invention in water conservation—their Smart LED Showerhead which is designed to help manage shower time more effectively in order to conserve water and energy.

Nick Sadeghi, electrical engineer and entrepreneur, designed the Smart LED Showerhead powered by embedded Micro-hydro turbine so that it would never need a battery. As an engineer, he likes to solve problems. A friend was complaining about her kids spending too much time showering. She wished for a way for her kids to take shorter showers and use less hot water. First, Nick began collecting data on how long a normal shower actually is and how that time is managed. His research resulted in the development of the Smart LED Showerhead, an ideal product that sets a guideline on time spent showering and informs one of time spent via LEDs. The Smart LED Showerhead divides the shower time into three stages—each with a unique LED color.

Stage 1 is a white LED lit for the first 5 minutes—a good guideline for those who want to be extra conservative in water usage. Stage 2 is a blue LED for an additional 2 minutes which alerts one to rinse off and exit the shower while still within the water conservation range. Stage 3 is a red LED indicating over-usage of water and energy, and encourages one to complete their shower as soon as possible. The red LED has an amazing effect on most people since red says "stop" to most of us.

When Nick gave the Smart LED Showerhead to the friend for her kids— bathroom, she thought it was the most amazing showerhead ever. Her problem with kids taking too-long showers is now a thing of the past. The kids enjoy bragging that they finish their shower before they get to the red stage.

Because this concept is so simple and easy to follow that has such a positive effect on children better managing their shower-time, imagine the impact it can have in protecting our water and energy resources if everyone uses it. Perhaps one day all accommodations will have Smart LED Showerheads! To learn more, call 214/501-7227 or see TODAY!

M-iQ Saves Energy and Labor Costs at Marriott

Great results and no more polishing needed
at the London Heathrow Marriott Hotel

Marriott International takes sustainability very seriously. The hotel and hospitality company has set itself the target of achieving energy savings of 3% a year.

Featuring five floors, 391 rooms, two suites, 14 meeting rooms and 9,000 square feet of total meeting space, the hotel also has its own rooftop garden and runs a 100% recycling program that utilizes organic waste to fuel incinerators and eliminate landfill waste. London Heathrow Marriott also participates in the annual Earth Hour event by turning off all hotel lights for one hour, raising awareness on climate change and showing support for a more sustainable future.

Jim Shields, Head of Hotel Engineering, says that "sustainability, saving energy, being green is the first thing I think of when it comes to any project." Marriott'spolicy is to invest to make savings. General Manager Ron Vos leads the drive to sustainability, "We want to be the greenest hotel in Heathrow and the hotel team is all enthused to achieve this."

So when it came to choosing a new dishwasher, Vos and his team dedicated themselves to finding the most sustainable machine on the market. The existing dishwasher was using between 200 and 230 kW/hour, which matched the consumption of the rest of the hotel. Jim Shield, Head of Hotel Engineering, explains: "I have to say (11-year ALLY MEMBER) MEIKO'sresponse was clear and concise and showed that the MEIKO customized machine would pay for itself in year three or four." "Compared to what we had before, it is like the difference between night and day; it is so much more efficient," says Shields. "Wash results are so good we no longer need to hand polish; we are saving labor as well as energy." "When we look at a capital investment now, we are investing wisely; considering not only the costs but also the running costs over the lifetime of the unit. The true cost of ownership is factored in every time."

A successful solution: the London Heathrow Marriott has invested in green M-iQ technology as part of its strategy to become the greenest hotel.

Excellent Service at Hilton Berlin

MEIKO dishwashers offer good energy efficiency ratings
and excellent value for money

The recently renovated Hilton Berlin hotel has emerged from a major overhaul offering even more glitz and glamour in the heart of the German capital. Set in Berlin'sGendarmenmarkt area, the 600-room hotel received the 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award. It is within walking distance of the city'shistoric center and business district and offers a range of delightful culinary selections including the Restaurant Mark Brandenburg. The restaurant is certified by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation, and the kitchen staff is trained to recommend and prepare a suitable menu for guests with allergies.

The Beletage breakfast restaurant offers fantastic views of the Gendarmenmarkt and cathedral. Guests can enjoy cocktails in the Listo Lobby Lounge, or sample the ultimate in Berlin street food—currywurst and chips—on the Dom Curry terrace overlooking the Gendarmenmarkt. Yet this marvelous array of culinary delights also represents a major challenge behind the scenes for the hotel'schefs, kitchen and serving staff and, ultimately, for its dishwashing systems. Olaf Kammerer, WISAG project manager at the Hilton Berlin, has made every effort to ensure that guests can enjoy their meals with the reassurance of knowing that hygiene is a number one priority. In 2013 the Hilton Berlin installed three MEIKO dishwashing machines—two M-iQ customized flight-type dishwashers and one pot-and-pan washer—and more orders are already in the pipeline.

The Hilton Berlin chose (11-year ALLY MEMBER) MEIKO products because they offer good energy efficiency ratings and excellent value for money. Another sound reason to opt for MEIKO is that customers know they will be able to rely on good service and rapid spare parts delivery (within 24 hours)—something that offers real peace of mind, especially in the culinary trade!

Excel Dryer Gives University of Reading

Green Light to Save Energy

The University of Reading has long been at the forefront of sustainability research and initiatives to mitigate its own environmental impact and reduce its carbon footprint. The London-based research university has made a number of changes to its existing campus infrastructure to ensure its facilities are environmentally ready for the future. In 2011, Dan Fernbank was brought in as the Energy Manager at the University of Reading. He had previously spent four-and-a-half years working for the Carbon Trust in a variety of roles and establishing a national carbon reduction program for schools. Fernbank has led several highly successful sustainability initiatives at the university, the most recent of which was the installation of the high-speed, energy-efficient XLERATOReco® Hand Dryers throughout the campus, which the university chose over the UK blade-style model after careful consideration.

"We conduct research about climate science and sustainable construction, so we need to lead by example. Manufacturers like (14-year ALLY MEMBER) Excel Dryer—who continue to innovate sustainable products like the high-speed, energy-efficient XLERATOReco Hand Dryer—allow us to do that"

In order to ensure that the university was installing the most sustainable hand-drying solution available, Fernbank reviewed independently verified energy performance data of various high-speed hand dryers. Using the Salix Finance hand dryer calculation tool and the Carbon Trust'sEnergy Technology List, Fernbank determined that the XLERATOReco Hand Dryer was the best option for the university.

According to the Salix calculator, XLERATOReco Hand Dryers offer the following benefits vs. the UK blade-style model to replace conventional hand dryers:

Compared to the UK blade-style hand dryer, the XLERATOReco:

• Dries hands in 12 seconds using only 500 watts vs. 1,600 watts (at 230 Volt, 50 Hz)

• Uses 55% less energy per use

• Saves the university $2,155.20 annually

• Is manufactured in the Unites States vs. Malaysia

Compared to conventional hand dryers, the XLERATOR eco:

• Represents an annual energy savings of 88%

• Saves the university $13,437.37 annually

Since 2011, Fernbank has also led the university'scarbon reduction program; achieving a 23% cut in their entire estates— carbon emissions in just four years. This has saved $11.1 million cumulatively for the university.

Excel Dryer is a family-owned and –operated company which revolutionized the industry by inventing the patented XLERATOR® Hand Dryer technology that created the high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryer category and set a new standard for performance, reliability and sustainability. The XLERATOReco Hand Dryer has done it again by setting a new bar for energy efficiency.

For over 50 years, Excel Dryer has been manufacturing the finest American-made hand dryers featuring the XLERATOR® Hand Dryer. Learn more by calling 888/998-7704 or visiting

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MAY/JUN 2016

An End to Laundry?
The Promise of Self-Cleaning Fabric!

Scientists found a way to remove stains from fabric in the lab, using sunlight and tiny particles of silver and copper

Scientists in Australia, one of the sunniest places on the planet, have discovered a way to rid clothes of stubborn stains by exposing them to sunlight, potentially replacing doing the laundry. Working in a laboratory, the researchers embedded minute flecks of silver and copper—invisible to the naked eye—within cotton fabric. When exposed to light, the tiny metal particles, or nanostructures, released bursts of energy that degraded any organic matter on the fabric in as little as six minutes, said Rajesh Ramanathan, a postdoctoral fellow at RMIT University, in Melbourne.

The development, reported recently in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces, represents an early stage of research into nano-enhanced fabrics that have the ability to clean themselves, Dr. Ramanathan said. The tiny metal particles don'tchange the look or feel of the fabric. They also stay on the surface of the garment even when it is rinsed in water, meaning they can be used over and over on new grime, he said.

"There'smore work to do before we can start throwing out our washing machines, but this advance lays a strong foundation for the future development of fully self-cleaning textiles," Dr. Ramanathan said. Separate research is under way to test what effect the nano-enhanced fabrics have on germs and whether they are capable of killing superbugs, which resist traditional antibacterial treatments. So far, the team of scientists from the Ian Potter NanoBioSensing Facility, part of RMIT University, have tested the nano-enhanced fabrics using organic dyes and artificial light in the laboratory. The next step is to run experiments with real-world stains such as ketchup and wine, and to see how long it takes the grime to degrade in natural sunlight. The researchers also want to test if the nanostructures remove offensive odors, Dr. Ramanathan said.

Christopher Sumby, an associate professor in chemistry and physics at the University of Adelaide, who wasn'tinvolved in the research, said there were interesting aspects to the work from a chemistry perspective. However, the particles haven'tbeen tested in real-world situations. "It is a bit of a stretch to talk about self-cleaning fabrics at this stage," he said.

An advantage to the technique is that copper and silver are commonly used as catalysts in the chemical industry and are relatively cheap. The research team needed to figure out how to build the nanostructures in sufficient quantity and how to permanently attach them to textiles. Their approach was to grow the nanostructures directly onto the textiles by dipping them in a few solutions, a process that took about 30 minutes. Cotton has a natural, three-dimensional structure that helps the nanostructures attach themselves and absorb light, which in turn speeds up the process of degrading organic matter, Dr. Ramanathan said. The researchers also found the technique worked well at removing organic matter from other fabrics such as polyester and nylon.

Dr. Ramanathan said the team has been approached by various industries, including textile makers. To commercialize the development, the researchers would need to ensure the nanostructures were stable enough to comply with industry standards for clothing and textile products, he said.

Pannett, Rachel, An End to Laundry? The Promise of
Self-Cleaning Fabric, The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2016

MAR/APR 2016


Some of you may remember this cellulose (wood fiber) story GHA printed in a 1999 newsletter. It'sdefinitely one of our all-time most startling stories. See today'scellulose news following.
Patty Griffin, GHA President

How Much Wood Cellulose Slime
Are You Eating?

60 years ago Dow Chemical gave birth to a laboratory mistake. That product, now marketed under the name Methocel, is currently the No. 1 product of their specialty chemicals and plastics group. In the beginning, Dow chemists were experimenting with wood in an attempt to develop a longer-lasting product. They ground wood into pulp, washed it with chemicals to break it down, and thus created ethyl cellulose (used to make early plastic wrap). Someone in the lab screwed up and added one too many carbon atoms to the molecule, resulting in a goo called methyl cellulose. Having a unique sticky layer whose molecules bond together when heated, Methocel becomes something like cooked egg whites. When cooled, it once again becomes oozing slime.

The product has bounced from pillar to post in an attempt to find a strong market—was even killed twice by Dow over the years because its market was too weak. At first it was used in tile putty and drywall mud as a thickener. And, it continues to be used in many construction-related products today.

Dow says that even though chemicals are used in the manufacturing process, the result is all-natural wood cellulose which is tasteless, odorless and calorie-free. The product'sbenefactor, Dr. Don Coffee, realized that the slime, already used in some foods, could also be added to soups, sauces, puddings and gravies as a thickener. Frozen pepperoni pizza snacks may be coated with Methocel to reduce tiny puddles of grease from forming. Food companies have been using corn or potato starches for 100 years as thickeners and fillers, but are finding the low cost of Methocel too attractive to pass up.

In 1993, three PhDs were hired to help expand Dow'smarket further into the food world. 300 employees, including 14 food scientists, now work for the Methocel division which produces 200+ products. The ooey-gooey product has starred in movies such as Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Jurassic Park and The Blob. It is also used by museums to clean artwork.

On a food ingredients label, it will be listed as Methocel or Methylcellulose or perhaps veiled as vegetable gums. Products that you can bite into today that use Methocel 'sooze include: Twinkies— filling, Lean Pockets, Citrucel laxative, Burger King onion rings, Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressings, Marie Callender pot pies, Progresso soups, coated medicine tablets and capsules, veggie burgers, imitation meat and breaded frozen vegetables.

Corporate customers rightfully worry about the reaction of consumers to having a chemical component in their food products. Some even want to keep the ingredient secret. A frozen-food manufacturer, who chose to remain nameless, says Methocel makes cheese cheesier, gravy creamier and fillings fruitier. Without it, he adds, the product is too soft, too hard or too mushy. Perhaps the only consumers who will have a real appreciation for the product will be vegetarians and vegans since they shun all animal products.

Though there may be nothing wrong healthwise with eating wood cellulose, knowing that it is in a food product will definitely not make the food product more appetizing or appealing.

Warren, Susan, "Why Dow Chemical Finds Slime Sublime,"
The Wall Street Journal, November 15, 1999, p. B1, B4

Cellulose in cheese leads to lawsuits

Kraft Heinz is among companies under legal fire for using cellulose, a filler made from wood chips, in its "100% Grated Parmesan Cheese" product. Lawsuits were filed last week against Kraft Heinz in federal courts in Illinois, New York, Missouri and California. Kraft Heinz couldn'tbe reached for comment. Wal-Mart was also sued last week over cellulose, an anti-clumping agent derived from wood chips, in Parmesan cheese.

"Cellulose in cheese leads to lawsuits," Houston Chronicle
attributed to Chicago Tribune, March 1, 2016

JAN/FEB 2016


Rising consumer concern over artificial ingredients
is prompting changes to packaged food

Food scientists at General Mills Inc. have spent years testing hundreds of combinations of fruits, vegetables and spices to replace the artificial food coloring in Trix. Still, they couldn'tfind matches for the neon-green or turquoise corn puffs in the multi-hued breakfast cereal. In consumer tests, "Some people told us they hadn'tseen that color turquoise in any food besides Trix, so we knew even if we could match it, it wouldn'tlook natural," said Kate Gallager, a cereal developer at General Mills. She decided to leave out both colors in the new cereal with natural colors and flavors to be launched in January. At the General Mills— lab, researchers are responding to Americans— increasingly rejecting artificial flavorings, dyes and preservatives and demanding food with ingredients that they can find in their own pantry.

The phenomenon has roiled the food industry in recent years as reconstructing recipes, especially of packaged-food items, isn'ta piece of cake. It requires consumer food companies to find acceptable alternatives and to manage any side effects, from higher costs to unintended changes to taste or texture that could risk alienating loyal consumers. The new environment is frustrating for some in the food industry after decades of technological advances to make packaged food cheaper, longer lasting and more flavorful.

"A lot of consumers think they can just swap this for that, but it isn'tas easy as it sounds," said David Garfield, head of the consumer products practice at consulting firm AlixPartners. "As soon as you tinker with one thing, that affects another, and you're trying to keep everyone happy."

Candy maker Hershey Co. said last February that it would begin swapping out ingredients to create a "simpler, shorter" list of items that consumers "recognize and trust." Some changes were relatively easy, like switching to cane sugar from genetically-modified beet sugar. But removing emulsifiers like polyglycerol polyricinoleate required adding more cocoa butter so that the chocolate would continue to flow into the molds properly. That increased cost and added trace amounts of fat. "It is a little more complicated when you're not a corner chocolate shop," said Will Papa, Hershey'schief of research and development.

Colors offer varying levels of difficulty. Blue and green are among the most challenging colors to replicate because of the instability of similar colored fruit juices when exposed to heat or different acidity levels. Ferrara Candy Co. tried 50 different formulations over eight months to find colors from natural sources that worked in its gummy bears before settling on spirulina extract and carrot juice to get green and orange colors, said Jamie Mattikow, Ferrara'schief commercial officer. Failed attempts made the gummy bears less gummy.

Kraft Heinz Co. was able to develop new coloring for its iconic macaroni and cheese using turmeric, paprika and annatto extract from seeds of achiote trees. Online reviews indicate consumers don'tnotice a change in flavor. But eliminating preservatives shortened the product'sshelf life to 8½ months from 10.

In years past, some efforts to go natural fell flat. John Ruff, former head of research and development at Kraft, recalls the company in the 1990s trying a version of Kool-Aid colored with natural sources. It was pulled because of poor sales.

Mr. Ruff says the fear of artificial dyes and other added ingredients lacks scientific basis. "Consumers have been pushing for this, and the food industry hasn'tdone enough to push back and explain that these ingredients are just as safe, and in some cases safer," said Mr. Ruff, also a former president of the Institute of Food Technologists, a group that promotes food science. Sodium bicarbonate, for instance, may sound alarming, but it is just baking soda, he said.

In the past decade or so, a wave of consumer advocacy groups, food writers, bloggers and other critics have said these ingredients—even when approved by the Food and Drug Administration—are unhealthy or unsafe, fueling demands for simpler food. Sales of many mainstream brands that make products with artificial ingredients have suffered while those of smaller natural-food labels have grown. Large food companies are competing to respond.

General Mills made its pledge in June 2015 to cut artificial colors and flavors from its cereals by the end of 2017. Rival Kellogg Co. announced plans in August to remove synthetic food dyes from cereals such as Froot Loops and its Nutri-Grain bars by 2018, though it still relies on artificial food coloring called Red 40 and Yellow 6 for its Pop-Tarts.

For Trix, General Mills tested each potential new color by putting it in milk and cooking it in pancake batter. For a vibrant red, it tried tomatoes, but the taste was too strong. Beets turned dark purple when heated. Spinach stayed a nice green color in milk, but turned grayish olive when cooked. Other ingredients that passed those tests—like strawberries—made the corn-puff dough too watery. After dropping two colors, the new Trix cereal has purple, orange, yellow and deep-red puffs, and has 10 more calories per serving from the added fruit juices. "It is about finding the right balance of getting the color we want without having to completely change the formula," Ms. Gallager said. "We ate a ton of cereal."

Gasparro, Annie,
natural-flavors-to-win-consumer-favor-1448989427, December 2, 2015

NOV/DEC 2015


TRASH PILES ARE SHRINKING across the United States as a growing number of hotels are opting to divert waste previously destined for land?lls. Adopting greener waste-management practices offers a handful of bene?ts. It aligns your property with state and local waste-reduction laws that, if not enacted in your area yet, likely will be soon. It demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility, which can be an appealing draw for socially conscious clients. And it can yield signi?cant savings when done right.

"Diverting waste from land?lls is a growing concern in our industry, and it'ssmart business," says Randy Gaines, vice president of engineering, housekeeping and laundry operations, Americas, Hilton Worldwide. That'sbecause diverting waste often results in bottom-line savings for a hotel. A few years back, Hilton Worldwide switched from delivering complementary print copies of USA Today to every room to instead offering digital editions of the newspapers automatically available on guests— smartphones and tablets. Lower subscription costs aside, fewer newspapers in the garbage across all 12 of the company'sbrands means much less waste and a subsequent slash in disposal costs.

Beyond offering e-newspapers, hotels have more opportunities than ever to taper the amount of trash targeted for land?lls. As the nation as a whole pays more attention to reducing waste, organizations are cropping up to help businesses—hotels included—dispose more wisely. By working with such partners, Hilton Worldwide slashed its waste output across its property portfolio by more than 26% between 2009 and 2013 (exceeding a 20% goal the company had set). Combine that with additional reductions in energy use, water use and carbon output and the brand saved a staggering $388 million over four years. "We are saving a tremendous amount of money," Gaines says.

If you're looking to make a dent in your own property'sdisposal costs, food waste is a good place to start. Because of its weight, food waste can be pricey since disposal fees are based on tonnage. Rerouting it strategically can cut costs signi?cantly. That'swhy so many full-service hotels, especially those with large banquet facilities, partner with local soup kitchens and shelters to donate unused yet perfectly edible food for people in need. Hilton donates used cooking fats from its kitchens to local farms, which use it for animal food. Many rendering companies also have an interest in such waste, which they also convert into animal food as well as cosmetics, soap and other products. Some provide storage barrels and free pick-up for hotels willing to donate.

Food waste that can'tbe repurposed or donated can be composted on-site or even mechanically "digested" using an environmentally-friendly food digester. Machines like the Eco-Safe Digester from BioHitech America convert food waste primarily into water, which can be ?ushed through standard sewer lines. BioHitech America offers its digester via lease or purchase; the cost varies depending on a hotel'sspeci?c size requirements. "In some areas of the country, waste transportation and disposal costs can be in excess of $100 per ton," says BioHitech America CEO Frank E. Celli. "So a larger facility using one of our units can eliminate enough food waste to save up to $100 a day, which over time is fairly substantial. On that savings alone, our customers are sometimes capable of achieving paybacks in one-and-a-half or two years. So it offers a pretty attractive return on investment."

Bulky, heavy mattresses—which, by the way, never decompose—can be recycled. In fact, mattress recycling is now mandatory in three states—Rhode Island, Connecticut and California. After a mattress is collected and ?lleted, the steel from its springs can be made into construction items, the foam into carpet padding and the cotton into insulation. Wood from the box spring can be chipped for mulch or burned for biofuel.

Since 2009, Hilton Worldwide has diverted more than 20,300 mattress and box springs from land?lls through its partnership with Global Sustainability Solutions in Manassas, VA. Hotels embarking on renovations may see substantial savings by recycling mattresses rather than trashing them. "Nine times out of 10, we can beat the cost to land?ll," says Jessica Stracener, president of Global Sustainability Solutions.

Because land?ll costs differ by region, the company provides cost analysis proposals to hotels interested in its recycling services, which—if clients prefer—include the installation of new mattresses as well as the removal of old. In its cost analysis for Hilton Worldwide, the company found it could recycle mattresses and box springs for an average $20 per set versus the $50 average it would cost to land?ll them. "Also by using our services, you establish yourself as an eco-friendly property," Stracener says, "which generates consumer interest and improves your brand image."

Every day in the United States, hotels discard 2.6 million partially-used bars of soap. By collecting your property'ssoap stubs and sending them to a non-pro?t recycling organization like Global Soap or Clean the World, you can not only whittle away dumpster waste, but also help combat hygiene-related illnesses, which claim more than 1.7 million lives a year globally. These soap recyclers convert used bars into new full-size bars, which they then send to developing countries or disaster areas where soap is scarce. Global Soap estimates that 1.4 million deaths a year could be prevented through simply handwashing with soap.

By forwarding soap scraps, hotels stand to bene?t, too. "Hotels reduce their trash bills by diverting a considerable amount of waste from the trash bins each month. Then, by sending the soap and amenities to Global Soap, they're able to take advantage of a couple of tax deductions as well," says Executive Director Samuel Stephens. "The ?rst deduction is any cost that a property incurs in getting the soap to our factory in Las Vegas—it'sconsidered a deductible charitable contribution. In addition, the soap itself is considered an 'in-kind— donation, which is also deductible."

Since 2009, Marriott International has donated more than 271,000 pounds of soap and 175,000 pounds of bathroom products through its Clean the World partnership. These have been recycled into thousands of hygiene kits that help children in impoverished communities around the world live healthier lives.


Fundamental to good waste management is information. Having a solid understanding of your hotel's waste ?ow (what goes in, how it'sdisposed, what the associated costs are) can generate savings through more effective decision making at the front end: purchasing. When Hilton Worldwide hired a company to help analyze the economics of its waste ?ow, it discovered it was often paying extra to dispose of items categorized as hazardous waste, speci?cally, mercury-containing lightbulbs and oil-based paints.

"So we decided to change how we do things," says Randy Gaines, vice president of engineering, housekeeping and laundry operations, Americas, Hilton Worldwide. "We said, 'Let'sbuy differently. Let'sstop using some of this stuff." The company made the move to environmentally-friendly bulbs that are easily recyclable. It also replaced oil-based paints with recyclable paint with low VOCs, or volatile organic compounds.

BioHitech America offers a picture of a hotel'sfood waste situation through smart technology available in its digester. Customizable to a hotel'sneeds, the BioHitech Cloud can provide data on everything from the type and amount of food introduced to who is introducing it and when. So, for example, if every day at 10 a.m. someone in the kitchen is disposing of a pound of chopped meat, management can receive that information and adjust its purchasing accordingly.

"Reducing waste is truly the greenest alternative," says Frank E. Celli, BioHitech America CEO. "And it offers our customers the most economic benefit."


Hoteliers don't need a degree in environmental science to reduce waste and save money. Here are a few simple tips:

FIND THE RIGHT RECEPTACLE: If you place a plain brown box outside a door, nobody will think it'sa recycling bin. Buy the standard, clearly-marked containers to place around the hotel.

CHECK THE FREQUENCY OF TRASH COLLECTION: Most haulers make a contract based on 100% occupancy. If you're at 40% capacity, why would you want them to show up at your door every day?

EASE UP ON SINGLE SERVINGS: Do you really need to have individual creamers during breakfast service? Go to a small pitcher.

STOP THE STYROFOAM: Forgo those non-recyclable cups in the employee break room. Instead, suggest staff members bring in their own coffee mugs.

PLACE ORDERS SENSIBLY: Plan out food and office supply orders so you don'tget a giant cardboard box with just two heads of broccoli or a couple of notebooks.

Tumolo, Jolynn, Trash Talk: Trimming Your Property'sWaste Output Can Benefit
The Environment—And Your Bottom Line, Lodging Magazine, January, 2015, p. 25-27

SEP/OCT 2015


As usual, this September / October issue focuses on success stories of GHA'sCharter and Partner Members. We are sharing these very successful stories with all members. You are all working very hard at being green, and sharing information will make it easier. We know you—ll love reading these stimulating, interesting and very green stories! So, we begin again . . .

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The 5-year PARTNER MEMBER Hyatt Regency Sacramento has 503-rooms, 15-floors and a 1,200-seat ballroom which they love filling. Charlie Bane, Director of Engineering, sees that this Hyatt is exceptionally green. A few months ago, the Catering Department was approached by clients asking what they would do with the pitchers of ice water left on the tables after large dinners and events.

First, Charlie had to discover how many gallons of water and ice that might be—and found that it would be approximately 400 gallons a week. This is how the problem was solved, and an idea which any other hotel with a restaurant, meeting and/or ballrooms can mimic. Charlie bought four 33-gallon rain barrels and put them on big-wheeled casters so they could easily be moved. Staff was notified that after a dinner the pitchers of water along with all glasses of clean, unused water on the tables are to be poured into the rain barrels. The rain barrels are wheeled outside to water the lawn and gardens or the barrels are wheeled to the back of the property where the water is pumped into the cooling tower. The cooling tower loses thousands of gallons of water a day via evaporation, so it can always use additional water. Their front lawn, gardens and interior plants can almost always use additional water as well.

The best news is the fallout of this new measure, which is that Charlie says all the staff has become very enthusiastic about the challenge—especially so since they're in California. He says the rain barrels are now permanently placed outside the restaurants and ballroom, and they are filled almost every other day. Just as regularly as the rain barrels are filled with unused table water, they are emptied on the lawn and gardens or into the cooling tower. Terrific solution!

Asa Ransom House Country Inn
A Green Hotel

A PARTNER MEMBER since 2004, Asa Ransom in Clarence, NY, continually works to be greener with its 10 rooms and restaurant. Robert Lenz, Innkeeper, says, "We started early—1975—recycling glass, plastic, metal and cardboard, and purchasing recycled paper for the office."

Here are other greening successes at their property:

• Front-loading Whirlpool Duet washers save 50% on water and 70% on soap while reducing drying time.

• Ecosmart and Cree soft-white LED bulbs replaced their CFL bulbs.

• Toilets are one-gallon Flushmate by Water Control International and 1.5-gallon Gerber.

• Soap and shampoo dispensers by Aviva Signature in their showers.

• Guests— option to reuse towels a second day saves water, soap and electricity.

• Pur filtered drinking water in glass bottles.

• Turning kitchen electric and gas appliances on as-needed only.

• Two tankless Tanagi T-K2 water heaters.

• Using green cleaning products such as Green Works by Clorox.

• Energy-saving 3M window film on west windows.

• Composting kitchen produce waste.

• Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers rain barrels collect rainwater.

• Growing herbs for their kitchen.

• Investing in renewable wind energy through NYSEG billing.

• E-mailing their newsletter rather than mailing hard copies.

Their proudest achievement for 2015 is their Destination Charging via a Tesla Motors-sponsored dual-charging station. Electric charging is complimentary for dinner and room guests. Tesla offered to install the units complimentary at any of Select Registry's300+ US members.'sproperties are quality-assured bed and breakfasts, inns and hotels. Tesla wants to make travel easier for Tesla car owners, thus the offer.

Asa Ransom participates in the Audubon Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program. They are a member of Pride of New York (, a program promoting regional and local foods and products supporting the local economy while reducing fuel and environmental transportation use. They are also a member of the New York Farm Bureau (, a farmers— membership organization supporting farmers and preserving land for farming, ensuring a supply of local products. They also support the efforts of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation ( to promote the 406+ wineries and grape growers in NY. Their wine list features over 40 quality NY Wines.

Asa Ransom'smanagement always welcomes any suggestions on other ways to lessen their carbon footprint. See more at


Rene Robles is general manager of 12-year PARTNER MEMBER Big Sur Lodge on the California coast which has 61 one- and two-bedroom cottage-style rooms. Recently they replaced two 100-gallon hot water heaters with a tankless propane water heater. As a result, water bills and energy bills have been reduced considerably.

The property has also placed toilet tank fill diverters in older toilets which save about one-half gallon of water per flush. There is no watering of lawns since it'scurrently against the law in their area, which, of course, has resulted in a brown lawn. Towel and sheet cards ask that guests reuse towels and not have sheets changed every day. Lastly, a small but very important change—they serve only half-glasses of water on request only.

Horticultural Gallery Springs Up
at The Hilton Chicago / Oak Brook Hills

2-year PARTNER MEMBER, The Hilton Chicago / Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center, is committed to sustainability efforts that support its mission of becoming a uniquely green destination. These environmental practices are evident throughout hotel operations, but none more so than what'staking place outside on its grounds, comprised of a 150-acre Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary and the Championship Willow Crest Golf Club. This year the multi-faceted resort announced a "Horticultural Gallery," on Earth Day. Spearheaded by a new full-time horticulturalist, Karen Paquin, the sustainable ecology aims to be the hospitality industry'spremier Midwestern environmental showcase.

Unlike a typical art gallery, the Horticultural Gallery at Oak Brook Hills, an IACC Green Star/Gold Status property, presents a cutting-edge array of eco-friendly hospitality projects happening outside in real time, headlined by the resort'sgroundbreaking beekeeping program. The Horticultural Gallery is open to everyone to enjoy—from individual guests to client events. Paquin, who has been trailblazing in San Francisco'sprogressive horticulture scene for 25 years, wants visitors to be "blown away" by what'shappening at Oak Brook Hills. "It'snot just about plants," said Paquin, "it'sabout the habitat and ecology of the plants coming together. My goal is for guests to walk away with a new aesthetic for not only what'sbeautiful, but also what'sin balance with our native region."

"Gardening is much more than a hobby to many," added general manager Stefan Muhle, who spent more than a decade conceptualizing, developing and managing green hotels in San Francisco while chairing the Sustainability Committee for the city'sHotel Council. "We feel there'sa huge demand for learning more about techniques and approaches that have the potential to result in competitive and fiscal advantages while protecting the natural environment and respect for the local communities in which we operate."

The Horticultural Gallery at Oak Brook Hills has escalated throughout the season. Highlights include:

• Beekeeping Program: Hundreds of thousands of honey bees are currently living and working on resort grounds. Managing the property'snine hives is Executive Chef Sean Patrick Curry (a.k.a., The "Beekeeper Chef"), who is sourcing honey for hotel culinary recipes and beeswax for natural hotel products, while the bees themselves are helping pollinate the Foodscaping and Chef'sgardens.

• Monarch Butterfly Waystation: by planting Milkweeds and nectar source plants, Oak Brook Hills has created a butterfly habitat that promotes the migration of the Illinois State insect.

• "Foodscaping" Garden: an educational garden highlighting a new type of edible landscaping using vegetables in the landscape in an ornamental as well as a functional way.

• Chef'sGarden: a garden that incorporates vegetables and herbs specifically for Executive Chef Sean Patrick Curry's"modern farm cuisine."

• Drink/Cocktail Garden: a garden containing herbs specific to infusions and cocktails for the hotel bar. Part of this plan also involves the planting of Elderberry bushes for a signature blend of house-made signature teas.

• Audubon education: members of Oak Brook Hills— horticultural and grounds team host local middle schools, educating students by discussing green initiatives and joining together for Audubon projects such as installing special landscaped areas.

• Prairie restoration: or prairie "reconciliation"—as Paquin puts it. The development of the native areas on the golf course are taking them back to the way they used to be.

• Native bird boxes: Screech owl boxes, hawk platforms and Bluebird boxes are being constructed and introduced around the estate to encourage native bird sightings and protected habitat.

• 5,000+ bulbs: planted around the property. After blooming each April, bulbs are dug up and transplanted into native/rough areas around the golf course to naturalize.

• Planting of fruit trees. Varieties include Chicago Hardy Fig, persimmon, pear and cherry. The harvest will be used in culinary and bar recipes.

• Continual division and relocation of existing perennials around the property: By making the perennial beds the best they can be, Paquin is helping to create a new esthetic in blooming gardens.


Throughout more than 100 picturesque acres at the PARTNER MEMBER Hilton Chicago / Oak Brook Hills Resort, you will find beautiful greens, wildlife and more than a half million busy sous chefs.

Bees—and lots of them—busily prepare one of Executive Chef Sean Patrick Curry'sfavorite ingredients: Honey. There are two yards of hives that contain 60,000 bees in each hive. It is a hobby Chef Sean started on his own and brought to the hotel. It is farm-to-table on a whole new level. Not only is honey front and center on the chef'smenu, the bees have the veggies blooming too.

"They pollinate," Chef Sean says. "We have 100-plus acres out here, and they pollinate everything. We're seeing flowers pop up all over. The garden is lush, and that has a lot to do with the bees naturally pollinating and taking it from one plant to another to another."

Chef Sean is replacing processed sugar with honey in any dish he can. Things like homemade granola parfaits, smoothies with honey and fruit from the garden and a regional cheese plate with honey comb. Menus are planned seasonally, and will eventually be sourced 50% on site and 50% local.


Traditionally, a resort will inspire guests with its sheer beauty and superb guest service. At 22-year CHARTER MEMBER Bucuti Beach Resort, it'sthe resort that'sleft awestruck by its many guests who arrive and ask, "What can we do to help?"

Long before stepping onto Bucuti'spowdery white sands, guests are introduced to the Aruba resort'ssignificant green and sustainable initiatives through the website, social media, newsletters and blog. In return, the resort finds that guests are eager to engage and learn more about Bucuti'sefforts so they can participate during their stay. Bucuti'smanagement is humbled and proud to know that guests share their passion for nature and its beauty, and grateful to find they are eager to join the efforts from the time they pack their suitcases.

Bucuti, a worldwide sustainable tourism leader, is certified in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), Green Globe 21, ISO 14001 and Travelife Gold and holds the Green Globe High Achievement Award among other distinctions. Bucuti was the very first Charter Member of Green Hotels Association® over 22 years ago. Led by founder and environmentalist Ewald Biemans, Bucuti is dedicated to protecting and preserving the environment and committed to raising awareness within the resort and community to foster sound environmental practices. While the resort has many behind-the-scenes green initiatives, it also involves guests in the efforts. Here are guests— favorite green initiatives for participation while vacationing at the Caribbean resort.

REUSE - Upon arrival each guest receives a reusable water canteen to eliminate the impact of waste and pollution caused by plastic bottles. Guests proudly tote the canteens throughout their stay, refilling them at the four on-property water fountains offering Aruba'sclean, safe water. The resort is elated that guests consider the canteen a favorite vacation keepsake and choose to take their canteen home with them to continue their conservation efforts.

Bucuti and its sister property host approximately 193 guests on any given day, for an annual total of 70,606 person-days of water consumption. Considering the recommended consumption of 64 oz. of water per person per day, Bucuti potentially reduces the number of plastic bottles by 774 per day or 282,424 bottles per year (based on a 16 oz. plastic bottle). In the 6.5 years since the program began, it'sestimated with the help of its guests, this one small resort has kept nearly two million (1,835,756) plastic bottles out of Aruba'slandfill.

RECYCLE - Bucuti has an extensive recycling system that includes placement and use of recycling bins throughout the property for glass, aluminum, paper and carton. Bucuti guests enjoy participating in recycling efforts and their positive impact doesn'tgo unnoticed. Every six months Bucuti conducts an audit to determine how much waste is recyclable and/or recycled at the resort. Bucuti recycles and reuses 60-70% of the hotel guests— disposed trash. Consequently only 30-40% reaches the island'slandfill.

REDUCE - One of Bucuti'snewest green initiatives invites guests to choose a Green Stay. An increasing number of guests are excited to participate in the Green Stay program, which includes reducing housekeeping service and turndown service to help the resort conserve natural resources by reducing energy, water consumption and the detergents used.

Participating Green Stay guests receive a credit of $5 per night per room. Participation means Housekeeping service on Saturday and Wednesday only. Trash will be taken from the room daily, beds will be made (sheets not replaced), and the dehumidifier will be emptied daily. Turndown service is not included. The program is in an early stage of implementation and already enjoys a 15% guest participation rate.

UPCYCLE - As rewarding as it is to recycle, Bucuti found that its guests also enjoy its efforts to upcycle. Bucuti'sGreen Team organizes events several times a year, and we relish having resort guests act as judges during a lively exhibition and competition of recycled crafts created by Bucuti associates.

PROTECT - Bucuti is located on Eagle Beach where endangered Leatherback sea turtles nest. During turtle season, guests of the resort enjoy the magical experience of witnessing a turtle come ashore to lay eggs or the special moment when hatchlings emerge and begin the journey to sea. With the presence of beach signage designating nesting areas, guests become enthusiastic protectors of the sea turtles.

PRESERVE - Many guests are excited when their Bucuti vacation falls on the third Wednesday of any month. Guests team up with Bucuti'sassociates to join in the resort's20-year-old monthly beach clean-up tradition. It'sa fun time for all and a special opportunity for Bucuti associates to work side-by-side with guests to preserve the beach and marine life.

Bucuti weighs the amount of refuse collected on property, which averages 42 lbs. per month and totals more than 500 lbs. per year. As a result of this collaborative program, hundreds of guests have volunteered vacation time to help keep the beach clean of materials that wash ashore or blow into the water from the beach.

NURTURE - Guests often inquire how they can help the Aruba community. Bucuti is now a proud member of Pack for a Purpose, which gives arriving guests the rewarding opportunity to make a lasting impact on young lives in Aruba. By dedicating a small space in their suitcases, guests bring much needed supplies including school and art materials, solar lanterns and flash drives that are given to a local orphanage Bucuti supports.

Bucuti'smanagement knows it takes everyone'scommitment to realize green success. The constant outpouring of support from its guests—both on vacation and long after—humbly reminds them that even on its small Caribbean island, it'sjoined by others committed to making a positive difference in the world. And, that ranks right up there with other cherished vacation memories.


By Rachael Solem, Owner & General Manager

Among the many guests 11-year PARTNER MEMBER Irving House accommodates are those who are environmentally conscientious and want to continue practicing their conservation efforts even when traveling. So we offer them many opportunities to do so: Composting their food scraps at breakfast, recycling their paper and plastic items, indicating they wish to reuse their towels, avoiding renting a car and walking or using public transit to their destinations.

On our web site we indicate that we are a Green Hotel, and have a list of ways we are currently operating that lets prospective guests know how they can participate, or at least what to expect.

Because Irving House is in Cambridge, MA, we have lots to do within walking distance. We provide maps and a bulletin board with a list of current events guests can reach by foot, bus or subway.

As an independently-owned hotel, Irving House has the control over all of our marketing and operations. We understand that people are visiting Cambridge to get an experience they would not get elsewhere. We therefore seek co-operative relationships with the cultural venues, restaurants and stores nearby, particularly those that are locally owned and independent, and we promote them to guests. This way, when people visit us, they are getting a true Cambridge experience.

Another way Irving House offers a true Cambridge experience is by buying local breakfast products as much as possible. So our jams and jellies come from Cape Cod, our baked goods are provided by independent vendors who respond to our requests for special products and changes in our menus. As much as possible we request organic products since more and more guests request them.

Some of our green operations are actually saving us money, of course, like energy conservation measures in our electricity use and heating systems. Some do not: We no longer offer water bottled in disposable bottles. We offer reusable bottles and cold, filtered Cambridge water. This reduces the plastic production, transportation and land use demands of disposable bottles.

The more we do, the more we see we can do, so the process of changing our operations never ends. More and more I am keeping only electronic files, so I don'tfill my file cabinets with paper. I request invoices be e-mailed to me where possible. Of course, we reuse paper for in-house printing, and use 100% recycled paper wherever possible.

Since 2009 we have hosted an array of solar thermal panels to heat our guests— hot water. This saves 15-30% in therm use—varying with season and weather.

Some of the furnishings at Irving House were found on the street and refinished and reupholstered by a local vendor who really appreciates old furniture. It is amazing to see the transformation. I have awakened some of my staff to the treasures to be found on the street.

Our housekeeping staff reuses old bedspreads (if we cannot donate them to charity), for pillows, chair cushions or headboard upholstering, which is done in-house.

Another way we can provide guests with a true Cambridge experience is by hiring locally as much as possible. Most of our employees are from Cambridge or nearby Somerville. They take public transit or walk to work, and Irving House subsidizes T passes for our employees. When guests need directions, or want to know of a good restaurant near somewhere they are going, chances are that we will know the best place to send them.

Irving House has had a recycling program for many years. With increased training of staff and enabling guests to participate in recycling and composting, Irving House has further reduced its waste stream from eleven 50-gallon barrels per week to seven. Guests can put their bottles, paper, cardboard and other recyclables in bins in the common areas. Guests also participate in composting at breakfast. By buying amenities in bulk, Irving House has reduced packaging by eliminating small containers. By buying more things locally and using canvas bags to carry them, we have reduced our corrugated and brown paper bag use. Irving House continues to seek ways to reduce packaging on purchased items and reuse more materials.

Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, do without.

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.

LEED GOLD CityFlatsHotel—Grand Rapids

One-year PARTNER MEMBER CityFlatsHotel – Grand Rapids, MI, opened as an independently-owned boutique hotel property in 2011. The hotel and restaurant occupy a renovated building and were designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, which was awarded in 2013. Since its opening, CityFlatsHotel has expanded with a ballroom in the adjacent renovated 1920'sformer bank space. The success of CityFlatsHotel Grand Rapids has been tremendous. Locals in the Grand Rapids community and tourists have loved the concept, especially the eco-friendly mission of the hotel. Because of this, CityFlatsHotel has expanded again in 2015 with the opening of a blow-dry bar and three additional event spaces, each with green design, recycled materials and energy-saving programs.

Design and comfort features include cork flooring, reclaimed woods, locally manufactured furniture, Michigan-made CityDrem mattresses, naturally hypoallergenic bamboo linens, eco-friendly luxury bath products and custom tiled walk-in showers.

CityFlatsHotel uses innovative design, earth-friendly values, and personal service to give guests a unique hospitality experience.


The State of Oregon is an especially beautiful state in part because of its advanced programs relating to ecology and minimizing our carbon footprint on the Earth. In Lincoln City, where the 5-year PARTNER MEMBER Nordic Oceanfront Inn is located, it is very obvious why ecology is so very important. The coast has brisk beach breezes and magnificent ocean waves which are a tribute to Mother Earth.

There are many things we have done to contribute to the reduction of the carbon footprint to keep the environment safe. The Nordic Oceanfront Inn has changed many of our lighting fixtures to energy-saving versions. We use LED light bulbs, and we turn off the appliances when rooms are vacant to save energy. Our appliances are all EnergyStar rated. We have a towel-reuse program which reduces water consumption and energy use. We use Ecolab products for cleaning and laundry, which means no harsh chemicals are used at our hotel. We converted our swimming pool and spa to salt water, which is better for our guests— health and for the environment. Our guests appreciate all our environmental efforts.


For the third year in a row 8-year PARTNER MEMBER Keys Hotel The Aures, Aurangabad, India, planted tree saplings to celebrate the Indian Independence day last August 15—the country's69th Independence Day. Fulfilling their commitment to plant trees and as part of a CSR activity, they joined a local non-profit at a training center at Chowka Village. Keys Hotel The Aures began this initiative on Independence Day 2012.

After planting about 200 saplings, the team painted the interior of a temple community hall in Sarola Village near Sarola Reserve Forest with the help of villagers. Later that day the team trekked to the forest, and collected plastic waste along the way.

Those involved in this activity from Keys Hotel The Aures were Executive Director Sunil Choudhary, Managers Yuvraj Aman, Subrata Raj, Vishal Ashish and Sanjay Ganesh along with Supervisors Khalil Deepak and Shruti Vijay. A team from the non-profit headed by Mr. Ratan Ambhore and Dr. Suhas Ajgaonkar joined the others. Villagers also got actively involved in this initiative.

The City of Santa Monica—s
Green Business Certification

Anne Carmack, Environmental Practices, at 11-year PARTNER MEMBER, The Ambrose Hotel, Santa Monica, CA, writes that they're very proud to announce that they—ve earned Santa Monica'sGreen Business Certification for 2015-2016.

The Green Business Certification Program is a voluntary program that encourages businesses to implement proactive actions that are good for their bottom line and the environment. The Santa Monica Green Business Certification Program is a collaboration between the City of Santa Monica, Chamber of Commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sustainable Works to certify and recognize green businesses in the Santa Monica community.

Only businesses with a commercial location in Santa Monica can apply. Businesses must fall under one of these sectors: Office, retail, restaurant, grocery, hotel, motel and arts and cultural facilities and must have a minimum of 2 employees. The cost for hotels to participate ranges from $275 to $650 depending on the number or rooms. After paperwork is completed, required energy efficiency, water efficiency and urban runoff inspections are scheduled. If the final onsite visit confirms all program measures are in place, the business achieves certification. Their goal is to identify as many sustainable tasks as are appropriate for the business— facility while practicing good business policy, good economic policy and good policy for posterity.

Benefits include recognition of the business with a graphic, decal, certificate, listings, a presence on various websites and in annual publications, cost savings, priority consideration for utility energy retrofit programs, discounted advertising and regular e-mail updates. To learn more, see

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NOTE FROM Patricia Griffin, President, GHA.

Each and every one of these member properties as well as all our Charter and Partner Members deserve a round of applause and a pat on the back. Please do take a bow. Please go look into a mirror, and blow yourself some kisses. You deserve it for your strong attention to greening all year long year after year!

JUL/AUG 2015


As our green programs continue to be refined, we're reminded more and more that none of us can be really green without the green products and services offered by green vendors. GHA continues to encourage and support our Ally Members, and to bring you news of their successes—new products, new ideas, new techniques, recent awards, new contracts, etc. So, each July/August issue of this newsletter focuses on new and refreshing stories about our Ally Members— successes. Here we go once again . . .

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ALLY MEMBER The New York Times and Financial Times recently announced a new, first-of-its-kind program available to US hotels to provide their guests access to and on any device connected to the hotel'snetwork. The program offers hotels a chance to purchase their own branded web portal that provides guests free entry into both and Participating hotels will receive promotional materials in the form of instructional keycards to notify guests about the amenity.

Guests staying at hotels with this program will receive complimentary access to more than 25 sections on including articles, video, interactives and slideshows. Readers will also have access to the world-class coverage of business, international news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community that only the FT can provide.

"The New York Times has been available in select hotels for years, starting with the print newspaper and more recently with digital access," said Hannah Yang, executive director, Education and Corporate Marketing, The New York Times. "Teaming up with a premier brand like the FT enhances the guest experience, allowing them to explore and discover the vast amount of digital content available on and, which normally require a subscription for full access."

For more information on the program, please contact The New York Times at

Continental releases new high-speed
G-Flex Washer-Extractors for on-premise laundries

Following 60 years of hard-mount washer development and innovation, ALLY MEMBER Continental Girbau Inc. (Continental) recently released its most advanced hard-mount washer line yet. The new G-Flex Washer-Extractors generate extract speeds of up to 200 G-force, offer a highly programmable control and deliver superior results using less water and energy. Available in 40- and 55-pound capacitites, G-Flex Washers also deliver the flexibility of six programmable extract speeds including 100, 140 and 200 G-force.

G-Flex Washers offer high-speed extract for bolstered productivity. As extract speeds increase, according to Joel Jorgensen, Continental vice president of sales and customer services, so does the amount of moisture removed from every load during extract. G-Flex Washers generate extract speeds of 200 G-force, while most other hard-mount washers only reach speeds of 75-150 G-force. In turn, G-Flex laundry loads take less time to dry, which improves laundry productivity and cuts natural gas usage and labor time. "G-force extract speeds on the G-Flex Washer can also be adjusted to meet most laundries— specific foundation installation limitations," added Jorgensen. "Not all on-premise laundries have the 8-inch concrete foundation required to operate a 200 G-force hard-mount washer. The G-Flex can operate on a lesser foundation by adjusting G-force extract accordingly. Programmable G-force is critical when installation variables are not ideal."

Additionally, superior programmability means laundries can properly clean a variety of fabrics and load types depending on specific laundry needs. The highly flexible Logi Pro Control offers 25 individually modifiable programs—each with up to 11 baths, including multiple pre-wash, wash and rinse cycles. Variables within each bath—including wash temperature, water levels, cycle times, rotation and G-force extract speeds—can be individually programmed for maximum efficiency given the load type.

Despite their advanced technology, the controls couldn'tbe simpler to use. Once the programs are set, operators simply select the program number and press start. G-Flex Washers offer two means of dispensing chemistry—manually, using a top-mounted dry and liquid chemical dispenser, or automatically, via chemical injection. The top-mounted chemistry dispenser features up to four compartments—one for wash, one for optional pre-wash and two for liquid-only bleach and sour/neutralizer products. An oversized seal around the dispenser keeps detergents where they belong and a powerful compartment flushing system reduces maintenance by thoroughly cleaning each compartment after every cycle. Automatic liquid chemical injection, on the other hand, not only ensures a consistent clean with every wash, it eliminates the possibility of chemical overuse and resulting damage to fabric due to operator error.

Engineered for longevity, G-Flex Washers operate on single-phase power and plug into a standard appliance outlet—simplifying installation. Packed with green-engrained features, G-Flex Washers feature a sump-less design, which saves up to three gallons of water with each fill. The exclusive AquaFall™ system further conserves water. AquaFall™ releases water into each load through holes in the drum lifters for better saturation and rinsing. In turn, laundries conserve water and save in water-heating costs. The G-Flex AquaMixer™ system mixes hot and cold water to achieve precise bath temperatures—minimizing hot water consumption.

G-Flex Washers feature durable AISI-304 stainless steel inner and outer drums. The front, side and top panels are constructed of steel and coated with Continental'sunique Titan Steel Finish™ for superior appearance and corrosion resistance. An oversized door, which allows for easy loading and unloading, is equipped with a heavy-duty, bolt-style hinge to withstand the rigors of constant use. No wonder G-Flex is backed by a leading 5/3-year ContinentalCare™ warranty. To find out more about Continental laundry products, visit or call 800/256-1073.


Every business has critical moments that define them. Michael Ishayik, owner of ALLY MEMBER Intelligent Blends, a manufacturer of single-serve K-cup beverages, is amazed he'sa coffee and tea provider. Ishayik had a VHS duplication business which evolved into DVD replication. "One thing that will always change a business is evolving technologies," Ishayik stated. With over 50 employees, a fully-operating facility and warehouse, pivoting was necessary.

He needed something in which he could believe. Ideas from organic pet food to herbal medicines were considered. He then learned the Keurig Green Mountain Coffee Company'spatent on K-cup would soon expire, and the product line was hot. It was critical that these pods were not recyclable, which he saw as an opportunity. So Ishayik created an assembly line using only recyclables to create his single-serve capsules. He worked with coffee brands all over the US as their co-packer. Soon Ishayik found the best coffee beans and tea leafs and the process to create exceptional beverages. A 5th generation roast master was the final key in creating Intelligent Blends. They produce quality coffee and tea by micro-batch roasting as opposed to commercial roasting, and minimize the environental footprint.

Ishayik discusses his business with anyone who listens. Talking with his personal trainer about Intelligent Blends, the trainer thought of another client who owns hotels in San Diego. Soon the coffee and tea was offered in those hotels, and is now in thousands of guest rooms across the US. "We create an opportunity for hotels to deepen their stance on sustainability, and also offer custom lids and blends for each hotel—turning their coffee budget into valuable marketing dollars," Ishayik stated. "Single serve coffee and tea is our total focus, so we build relationships one hotel at a time while developing value in the hotel world."

Single-serve capsules are now so commonplace that they are expected and appreciated. The recyclable Kup Intelligent Blends uses produces a capsule with a moisture/oxygen barrier that is up to 10 times less permeable than a typical polystyreyne cup, which is not recyclable. Intelligent Blends— recyclable Kups are made of a proprietary blend of #5 recyclable polypropylene, and recently won a Specialty Coffee Association of America award as the people'schoice best new product in packaging. Never did Ishayik see the twists and turns that have led to Intelligent Blends offering a premium single-serve coffee Kup!

Eco-friendly machines, coffee condiments and samples are available, and a real person will help you find your fit. Contact John Lenz at 858/245-9265, e-mail or visit to learn more.

Tandem+ Nano paper towel dispenser
for limited-space areas

ALLY MEMBER Cascades Tissue Group announces the launch of Tandem®+ Nano™, the small-footprint, no-touch hand towel dispenser, which is the latest addition to the popular Tandem+ towel and tissue dispensing systems line. The Tandem+ Nano roll towel dispenser is engineered as a hygiene solution fitting smaller, away-from-home spaces. Tandem+ Nano is the ideal substitute to folded towels, cutting down on paper usage by more than 40%. Like all Tandem+ products, it is ergonomic, easy to use and provides reliable dispensing for Cascades natural and ultra-white paper towels made from 100% recycled fiber.

"It just makes sense that in business environments where physical spaces as well as operating costs are tight, it'sthe little things that make a difference," said Cascades Tissue Group President and Chief Operating Officer Jean Jobin. "We—ve thought hard about the practicality of hand hygiene where space is at a premium, looking at it from the perspective of both the business owners and the end users. Ultimately, we—ve created a hand-towel-dispensing solution that works for everyone." The Tandem+ Nano not only mitigates cross-contamination of bacteria, but also reduces unnecessary paper consumption. To reduce maintenance, and save labor time and cost, it delivers one sheet at a time and does not require batteries.

Available in white and black, Tandem+ Nano, like Tandem+, features a customizable OnDisplay advertising window. Facility managers can change signage inserts promoting their organization or reminding users about recommended hand hygiene practices. For more information, visit

High-speed, energy-efficient XLERATOR®
hand dryers installed in sporting arenas

ALLY MEMBER Excel Dryer, Inc., manufacturer of the finest American-made hand dryers for over 50 years, featuring the high-speed, energy-efficient XLERATOR® hand dryer, finds that as the green movement grows, a number of sports teams—including the New England Patriots—have placed an emphasis on providing more sustainable solutions in order to green their facilities. The XLERATOR hand dryer helps sports teams achieve their sustainability goals while reducing costs, labor and maintenance, and improving the stadium'sappearance and fan experience."

The XLERATOR hand dryers can also be found in Wembley Stadium in London; the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums in South Africa; the St. Louis Cardinals— Busch Stadium; the Los Angeles Dodgers— Dodger Stadium; the New England Patriots— Gillette Stadium and the Boston Red Sox'sFenway.

The XLERATOR dries hands three times faster (in 10-15 seconds) using 80% less energy than conventional hand dryers and represents a 95% cost savings over paper towels, eliminating their labor, maintenance and waste. The installation of the XLERATOR hand dryers was a significant factor in reducing overall waste removal from Fenway Park by over 123 tons when first installed, which equated to a 24% reduction in waste. A customized cost-savings analysis revealed that the XLERATOR hand dryers reduced Fenway Park'shand drying carbon footprint by 82%. Additionally, the XLERATOR hand dryers at Fenway Park saved $83,000 annually—a 97% savings over paper towels—and saw a full return on their investment in just over 12 months.

Excel Dryer offers custom digital image covers that provide stadiums and arenas with an opportunity to showcase branding with graphics, colors, logos or a custom sustainability message. Excel Dryer has a diverse range of products and options along with the most complete line of accessories in the industry to create the best hand drying solution for any restroom environment, including optional speed and sound controls or HEPA filtration system for a quiet and clean airflow. For more information, call 800/255-9235 or visit


ALLY MEMBER Wausau Paper announced the launch of its new Alliance® high-capacity electronic roll towel dispensing system featuring twice the capacity of typical roll towel dispensers. The revolutionary design of the Alliance accommodates two full rolls—up to 1,000 feet each. With innovative design, the Alliance offers seamless transfer by automatically switching to the second roll when the first is completely depleted. This unique transfer feature results in fewer service interruptions and reduced maintenance time. Combined with Wausau'sEcoSoft®, DublNature® or Artisan® Green Seal™-certified toweling, Alliance offers a new, unique hand-drying experience superior to other systems in the market. Alliance'sunprecedented capacity, combined with selectable dispense modes and paper lengths, makes the dispenser ideal for any application with heavy traffic.

"Wausau Paper is excited to remain at the forefront of new and innovative away-from-home market dispensing technology. Many years ago, the Company was the first to introduce an electronic roll towel dispenser. Now, the Alliance is the first system to accommodate two full roll towels with automatic transfer," commented Matthew L. Urmanski, president and chief operating officer. "Unlike any other system, Alliance offers extraordinary capacity—the highest in the industry—while maintaining a traditional wall space footprint. We are confident the uniqueness of Alliance will satisfy end-user needs for high capacity and touch free." To learn more, visit


Attend an Arbor Day
Specialty Coffee webinar to learn more

ALLY MEMBER Arbor Day Foundation'sshade-grown coffee is rich and flavorful, and your guests will savor each cup they drink. Arbor Day Specialty coffee beans are shade-grown under the canopy of the rain forest. Rain forests cover only 2% of the Earth'ssurface, and are home to almost half of the Earth'sknown living plant and animal species—yet nearly 100,000 acres of rain forest are destroyed every day. In order to help combat deforestation and improve farmers— and their families— lives, the Arbor Day Foundation'sRain Forest Rescue project selects only the best shade-grown coffee beans. With each cup of Arbor Day Specialty Coffee your guests drink, they will save two square feet of rain forest.

The Arbor Day Foundation, the largest non-profit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, has a network of over 200 hotels and resorts that are serving this earth-friendly coffee and pleasing their guests every day. Your property can benefit from this coffee program too! Join us for a brief webinar on September 15, 2015, 10 am CST; September 16, 2015, 2 pm CST or September 17, 2015, 11 am CST. You will also receive an e-mail with webinar dates and times. Don'tmiss this awesome opportunity to learn about the great coffee your guests will enjoy!

It'sa fact that 103 square feet of rain forest is preserved with each pound of Arbor Day Specialty Coffee you serve! Visit to learn about the positive impact of Arbor Day Specialty coffee on the rain forest and those that call it home.

MAY/JUN 2015

for Hotels and Motels

1. Restaurants and other food service establishments can only serve water to customers on request.

2. Hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of not having towels and sheets laundered daily.

Following the lowest snowpack ever recorded, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. announced actions that will save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use, streamline the state'sdrought response and invest in new technologies that will make California more drought resilient.

—Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action,— said Governor Brown. —Therefore, I—m issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state.—

For more than two years, the state'sexperts have been managing water resources to ensure that the state survives this drought and is better prepared for the next one. For the first time in state history, the Governor has directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions to reduce water usage by 25%. This savings amounts to approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months, or nearly as much as is currently in Lake Oroville.

To save more water, the order will also:

• Replace 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought-tolerant landscaping;

• Direct the creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water- and energy-efficient models;

• Require campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use; and

• Prohibit new homes and developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and ban watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.

Every Californian, all hoteliers and every US resident should take steps to conserve water. To learn more, see

MAR/APR 2015

Drought-Conscious Hotels on the Rise

Don'tlet the verdant gardens and fountain-filled lobbies of resorts fool you—most of the Western US is in the 15th year of the worst drought to hit the area in more than 800 years. However, some hotels are finding that sustainability is both fiscally and environmentally responsible, especially as travelers grow more conscious of their water consumption.

—We live in a desert, and our community is dependent on water,— said Chris Brophy, vice president of the Corporate Sustainability Division for MGM Resorts International. —The hospitality industry has started moving in the direction toward lower-flow fixtures and water-smart practices. But, it takes a while to make that change throughout the community.—

The move toward sustainability is exemplified by CityCenter in Las Vegas, a complex launched by MGM Resorts International that encompasses residential units, resorts and casinos. At around 18 million square feet in size, it'sthe largest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-certified development.

—People who come to Las Vegas often don'tworry about their water and energy consumption,— Brophy said. —They come here to have fun. So we make sure that from a building management perspective we do the right thing without impacting the guest experience.—

CityCenter has its own heat and power central plant that produces hot water and 30% of the campus— electricity. The on-site bathrooms have low-flow water fixtures; linens are washed at a default of every three days; and water is only served to guests on request at CityCenter'srestaurants. Drought-tolerant native plants are irrigated with a system using sensors to measure variables such as weather and ground moisture. And more recently, restaurants in the complex have stopped thawing meat under running water in favor of defrosting it overnight. These procedures have reduced water consumption by 160 million gallons per year, when measured against the building-code standards of 2007.

However, water conservation is as much a task for the larger community as it is for the hospitality industry. According to Brophy, MGM'sresort properties in Las Vegas consume less water per year than do their employees when at home. That'swhy MGM launched a Drought Buster campaign in June as part of its My Green Advantage, a website that teaches employees about green practices.

Benita Skalada, director of sales and marketing for Hotel Indigo in San Diego, said business groups have become increasingly environmentally conscious as well. —When companies are looking for a place to hold their meetings, one of the important questions [they ask us] is 'Are [you] green friendly?—— Skalada said. —They want to know what differentiates us from our competitors as far as how we take care of the environment.—

Hotel Indigo uses Green Engage, an online tool designed by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to track and assess energy and water usage. IHG launched the program to more than 4,700 of its hotels worldwide in January. The only LEED-certified hotel in downtown San Diego, Hotel Indigo conserves water through water-efficient bathroom fixtures and toilets, drought-tolerant plants and an offsite laundry facility that uses less water through large-load machines.

Plenty of other hotels have embraced similar measures. Courtyard Los Angeles Torrance/South Bay cut its water usage by 15% when it replaced 900 sq.ft. of turf with local California grass. Aloft Hotel Tempe, the first LEED certified hotel in Arizona, utilizes recycling and eco-friendly cleaning products. And Intercontinental Los Angeles Century City Hotel recently replaced ivy plants on its balconies with water-frugal succulents.

Although the initial construction of environmentally friendly buildings may be more costly, both Brophy and Skalada agree that the long-term savings are well worth the initial premium.

—We didn'tbuild the least costly facilities,— Brophy said. —But, in the long run, we—ll make that money back, use those resources efficiently and pay less in the future.—

Recent studies conducted by the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) support the notion that the hospitality industry stands to gain from sustainability. One study states that LEED-certified hotels financially outperform non-certified competitors for at least two years post-certification. CHR also analyzed the effect of Travelocity'sEco-Leaf label on a group of US hotels, finding that certified hotels had more operations- and-customer-driven resource efficiency.

On the flip side, it looks like travelers also have —going green— on the brain. In 2007, 96% of Conde Nast Traveler readers felt that hotels should protect the environment they operate in, and more than 74% said a hotel'senvironmental measures influence their booking decisions. According to a 2012 Trip Advisor survey, 71% of travelers said they planned to make more eco-friendly travel choices in the next year. As water becomes a scarcer resource for the Western US, drought-friendly hotels may become less of a novelty and more of a necessity.

—Most large hospitality companies understand and embrace the business case for being environmentally responsible,— Brophy said. —I wouldn'tcall it a trend. I would call it the new standard.—

Chudnovsky, Natalie, The hospitality industry is fighting the drought with eco-friendly measures,, December 31, 2014

JAN/FEB 2015

Hotel Groups Fight Wage Law

Two national hotel-industry groups are suing the City of Los Angeles, arguing a recent minimum-wage increase for hospitality workers unfairly targets the lodging business and runs afoul of federal labor law.

The suit, filed in federal court by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, takes aim at the city'snew Hotel Workers Act, which raises the hourly minimum wage for large-hotel workers in Los Angeles to $15.37. City Council passed the ordinance this fall and it is slated to take effect in July for hotels with more than 300 rooms. Hotels with at least 150 rooms will have another year to comply.

But the industry groups said their lawsuit wasn'tabout the wage increase, but about a provision of the act that allows any part of the law to be waived at hotels covered by a collective-bargaining agreement. The industry groups believe the law allows unions to potentially pressure non-unionized hotels to organize. The suit also argues that the ordinance violates state and federal equal-protection clauses by unfairly targeting a single industry.

—This lawsuit is about the fact that the City of Los Angeles took an action that disrupts established labor law,— said Katherine Lugar, chief executive of AH&LA. —Changing the fundamental ground rules in any one city will have real national implications.— The industry groups are asking the court to declare the law in violation of state and federal laws and enjoin its enforcement.

Minimum-wage increases have been passed by cities across the US, including in San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago, and some have been challenged in court. The International Franchise Association, for example, filed suit against Seattle in June after its City Council approved a gradual increase to $15 an hour.

Seattle'slaw allows businesses with fewer than 500 employees to phase in the mandate more slowly than larger employers. But it counts a franchise operation, such as a fast-food restaurant, as a large employer if the brand employs more than 500 workers anywhere in the country. The suit is pending in US District Court in Seattle.

The Los Angeles ordinance is one of very few that apply specifically to hotel workers. A previous unsuccessful challenge to similar law for hospitality workers near Los Angeles International Airport came in state court, not federal. The federal court could find that any different treatment of union and non-union employers violates federal labor laws, said Paul DeCamp, an attorney at Jackson Lewis PC and former Labor Department official in the George W. Bush administration. —A City Council can'tpass a law that interferes with federal labor policy,— said Mr. DeCamp, who isn'tconnected to the suit.

Raymond Martz, chief financial officer of hotel owner Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, said he thinks the legislation would have a broadly detrimental effect on the Los Angeles hotel industry. Making hotels in the city less competitive with neighboring markets could, in turn, hurt employment and —reduce the value of existing hotels,— he said, adding the law would affect two of his Los Angeles properties.

Erica E. Phillips, Eric Morath and Craig Karmin, —Hotel Groups
Fight Wage Law,— The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2014

NOV/DEC 2014

Let the Imitation Sunshine In

Healthier living may be just a flip of a switch away.

Researchers are looking at how dialing up and down the brightness, color and richness of interior lighting can help regulate our circadian rhythms. These rhythms—the mental and behavioral changes that occur in response mostly to light cues over each 24-hour period—affect hormone releases, body temperature and the sleep-wake cycle, according to the National Institutes of Health. Studies have connected circadian-rhythm disruptions with obesity, depression and diabetes. Better lighting also lifts our moods and improves our quality of life, researchers say.

Lighting developers aren'tyet claiming health benefits on their product labels. But online, companies such as Philips NV and Cree Inc. point to studies (some their own) showing LED lights offer such benefits as helping doctors stay alert to perform exams and making it easier for patients to rest well and recover in a hospital. As more studies show the health impact of lighting, doctors might start to recommend —good lighting hygiene— for patients who, say, have trouble getting enough sleep at home, says Luc Schlangen, a senior scientist at Philips Lighting.

Unlike incandescent or fluorescent lights, LED lights— materials and electronic components allow for finer adjustments of color, brightness and intensity. Some experimental homes are being equipped with lighting that automatically mimics sunlight'schanges from soft, warm amber in the morning to bright, cool white during the day and back to amber in the evening—which researchers say will help counteract the disruptive effect of conventional artificial lighting on our circadian rhythms.

What'sconsidered ideal lighting for different parts of a house depends greatly on a person'shabits, activities, age and even gender. But here is a general guide to what you can do with products commercially available now, based on input from Mr. Schlangen and Kelly Cunningham at the California Lighting Technology Center at the University of California, Davis:

Living room: Where people gather for activities such as watching TV or playing games, a brighter, whiter light is desirable (a —temperature— of 4,000 to 5,000 Kelvin; check an LED bulb'slabel for its number). Turning off electronic devices and switching your lighting to a softer, warmer color in the yellow and orange shades (2,700 Kelvin—yes, this —warmer— light has a lower temperature) two hours before bed will help the body get ready for sleep.

Kitchen: The quality of light for cooking is the major consideration for this room. Lights with high color-rendering ability help colors pop and bring out details of meat, vegetables and other ingredients. A color-rendering index, or CRI, higher than 90 provides rich coloring, and white light (4,000 to 5,000 Kelvin) also helps the food look good.

Bathroom: Rich color rendering is desirable when it comes to vanity mirror lighting for applying makeup or shaving. Lights with over 90 CRI are ideal. We need more light to see as we age, so a dimmable light will allow people in a household to adjust the brightness to their liking.

Bedroom for adults: Lights with a warmer glow (2,700 Kelvin, and dimmable) are ideal to minimize the disruption of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy and is typically produced by the body when lighting in our environment dims.

Bedroom for children: A whiter light (above 3,000 Kelvin) will help wake children up in the morning, and an even brighter light can help them stay awake and do their homework after school. A warmer light (2,700 Kelvin) for use at night will help them get ready for sleep.

Hallway: Ultralow and warm lighting in the hallway and stairs helps people navigate without affecting their night vision, or our ability to see in low-light conditions. A white light often blinds people momentarily as they adjust their eyes to it, and that effect could cause people to step on or bump into things and fall if they are up during the night.

Wang, Ucilia, —Let the Imitation Sunshine In,— The Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2014

SEP/OCT 2014


As usual, this September / October issue focuses on success stories of GHA'sPartner Members. We are sharing these very successful stories with all members. You are all working very hard at being green, and sharing information will make it easier. We know you—ll love reading these stimulating, interesting and very green stories! So, we begin again . . .


Maine'sSea Glass Chef finds culinary gems
in food previously targeted for the compost bin

By Rauni Kew, Public Relations, Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, ME,
207/799-3134, C 207/602-8500,, 61 rms

Sea Glass Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich learned most of what he thinks is important from his grandmother, helping her cook family dinners when a boy in his native Argentina.

—Nothing went to waste,— says Kaldrovich. —You bake bread today, tomorrow you make bread pudding. My grandmother respected local farmers and fishermen too much to waste the food they produced.—

Early lessons feed the chef'senthusiasm for the Root-to-Stalk movement. A longtime advocate for farm-to-fork, trawl-to-table and fresh seasonal menus, the chef sees the culinary sense of using up the entire vegetable when possible, rather than tossing stalks, stems, fronds or leaves into the compost bin.

—Rather than using just the florets, a thin slice of a whole broccoli lightly grilled, with stems intact, is delicious, healthy and beautiful on the plate,— states the chef. —Presenting the entire vegetable brings attention to simple, lighter fare with an appreciation for the whole plant. It elevates the vegetable from a side to focal point on the plate just as more guests in Sea Glass are requesting vegetarian or vegan menu options and focused on health.—

Root-to-Stalk makes sense from a waste-not view. With global studies showing 40 to 50% of food produced being wasted, using it all up is better for the planet.

But it isn'tjust about a counter culture to food waste, according to Kaldrovich, the Root-to-Stalk trend pushes chefs to find culinary gems in what was formally relegated to the compost bin. —Leaves, stalks, fronds and roots can introduce new, sometimes earthy pungent flavors, a crunchy texture, or a new presentation that opens doors to delicious recipes, inventive menus or a visually appealing culinary experience.—

Beets are a favorite at Sea Glass. Beet tips are used for vinaigrette, great for salads, but also used by the pastry chef in red velvet chocolate cakes. Braised beet greens, as well as radish leaves, are treated like kale, while the beet itself is marinated, braised for salads, roasted and added to quinoa. Used raw, beets are sliced thin like a radish to add a crunchy texture, or fried for delicious, colorful chips. The chef'ssummer menu features beet slaw with peeled, thinly sliced broccoli stems, tender broccoli leaves and light vinaigrette.

Most people are familiar with carrot and celery fronds and leaves, and view them as worthless, but Kaldrovich uses them both in soups and salads, or to make salsa. —They can be bitter, but are very healthy and, used sparingly, add flavor to soups, a mixed salad or slaw and are good in chimichurri.—

The chef doesn'tlimit Root-to-Stalk philosophy to vegetables—at Sea Glass the same concept applies whenever possible to meat, Gulf of Maine seafood and lobster. —Today, people are interested in good food that is also good for them. They are focused on their health, but they also care about the health of the planet,— says Kaldrovich.

Throwing edible food away wastes resources, such as water and energy used to grow, haul or catch the product, as well as energy from packaging and transport. Wasted food usually ends in landfill, where it generates methane gas. In fact, no food is wasted at Sea Glass because local farmer John Tibbett composts all food waste, and his rich soil amendment is put back into both farmers— fields and the inn'sgardens.

—Farmers were, as they are now, an important part of the community,— says Kaldrovich. —My grandmother understood the hard work and resources it took to get good tasting, healthy food to table, and she wasn'tabout to waste any part of it.—


By Leigh Gold, Dining Room Manager, 928/354-2227x14,, 40 rms and cabins

Water conservation at Mormon Lake Lodge has been an ongoing process resulting in great success. As with most hotels and restaurants, guests generally don'tconserve water as they might at home. With our water consumption over the top, we decided to take action at our Mormon Lake, AZ resort in ponderosa pine country. We were able to reduce water consumption in our cabins as well as throughout the property.

In 2007 Mormon Lake Lodge and the Steakhouse began a series of practices to improve water conservation. We started in the Steakhouse dish room by installing a low-flow sprayer. We also trained our dishwashers to use tub washing instead of trying to spray off every dish. This alone reduced water consumption in our Steakhouse profoundly. With such a huge impact on water consumption in the Steakhouse, we decided to take it a few steps further. With a budget of $11,600, we're switching out all the toilets with Glacier Bay 1.28 gpf toilets chosen because of their cost effectiveness and their flush rating of 10 out of 10. Our showerheads all over the property are being replaced with Glacier Bay 2.5 gpm models. We—ve installed Sloan waterless urinals in the Steakhouse and Saloon. It will take a while to get them all in place, having to shut down certain rooms for short periods, but most of the work has to occur in our off season between December and April. Our high elevation (7,120 feet) caused some issues along with some of our worst winters. One storm dropped 7 feet of snow in two days and another storm gave us temps as low as -26°F. We will soon be able to finally complete the low-flow installations.

We researched our billing records from 1997 to 2013 to try to determine how much water is actually being saved. There are a lot of factors to be considered including volume of business, how many cabins were open, occupancy rate and winter weather. All of these affect our water usage, but comparable years— statistics prove we have made a significant improvement.

In 2007 when we elected to install low-flow and waterless fixtures, we had used 2,786,700 gallons of water on the property and earned just over 3 million dollars in revenues. As the upgrades were completed in 2009, only 1,990,400 gallons were consumed with just under 3 million dollars earned. In that brief period, we were able to save 796,300 gallons or use 28.6% less water per year. Annually we continued to see a savings pattern even during busier years. In 2000 and 2001 when Mormon Lake Lodge only had 22 cabins on property, our water usage was 3,225,900 gallons in 2000, and in 2001 usage was 3,919,100 gallons. In 2000 we earned just over 1 million dollars and in 2001 revenues were just a little higher. In 2013 we had a total of 39 cabins and 16 rooms that are occupied 100% of the time in the summer, and consumed only 3,075,700 gallons while earning 2.2 million dollars. Not only have we been consistently busier, we have more variables as we are able to continue reducing water usage.

Last year we started to see a pattern on our guest comment cards stating that even though we had interpretive information in the rooms they did not like or understand why our water flow was so slow. We decided to add a brochure (printed on recycled paper) regarding water conservation including what guests could do while at the lodge as well as at home to save water and money. As a result, our guests are much more understanding about our water issues and our plumbing choices.

Did we stop there? No. We took conservation another step, and decided to look closer at energy conservation. So, in 2007 we made the decision to change all the incandescent bulbs on property to fluorescent. In early 2009 over 700 incandescents including dimmable bulbs were changed to fluorescent. We also instructed staff that lights in cabins or in the Steakhouse and Saloon must be off when they aren'tneeded. As a result, we have been able to reduce our electricity usage and reduce our electricity bill just as we have our water bill! Not only are we saving money, but we are proud now to have become very environmentally friendly.


By Jim Treadway, General Manager, Yountville, CA,
dir 707/204-6001,, 62 rms

What aspect of your green program are you most proud? Without question, being LEED platinum certified in 2010, about a year after we opened, by the US Green Building Council. We were the second hotel in the US to achieve this distinction. Now, there are three. Our vision here was to demonstrate to the world that true luxury and extraordinary sustainability are not mutually exclusive; and we have succeeded. The four big components to our greenness are the materials from which we were constructed, our solar electricity (972 panels), our 72 300—-deep geothermal wells, and, finally, how we operate the property in a very environmentally-friendly manner.

What aspect of your green program saves the most money? The solar energy first, followed closely by heating and cooling geothermally. Also, our automated exterior blinds system and —smart rooms— are wonderful at conserving energy.

The phrase —smart rooms— stems from the fact that all our in-room systems are IP (Internet Protocol), and the thermostat controls several switches, as do motion detectors, at the door. For example, when you leave the room, the blinds close or go down, electricity and fireplace go off, and the thermostat defaults down to 62°F. degrees in the heating season, and up to 78°F. degrees in the cooling season. When you enter the room, all systems activate, the blinds open or go up, motion detectors determine the room is occupied, and the room reverts to the temperature set on the thermostat.

Other features of our smart rooms and their IP systems are:

• A do-not-disturb red-doorbell ring communicates to our pagers that the room is DND, so there are no wasted trips to those rooms.

• A housekeeping green-doorbell ring allows guests to summon a housekeeper to clean the room.

What aspect of your green program is commented on most by guests? They marvel at how we can be so green, yet comfortably luxurious at the same time.

is Green throughout

By Victoria —Vicki— Schomer, C 828/707-2919,, 4 rms

Our choice to open a green hotel and B&B was easy. It was how we had lived our lives for decades, so the process to set it up was simple. Eight years later, operations and maintenance continues to be a breeze, but the most wonderful benefit is still the amazing people who stay with us. Easy going, health and ecologically-centric people make great B&B guests, and many have been dear friends for years and years.

What aspect of your green program are you most proud? Because of the products and materials we use for our furnishings and for maintenance and operations, and since we are smoke- and fragrance-free, we are a safe place for people with chemical sensitivities and compromised immune systems to stay. I—ve worked in this field my entire career, and to be able to offer this to folks with such a huge health challenges makes us feel really good.

What aspect of your green program saves the most money? It'sobvious that energy savings in our lighting and efficient HVAC equipment saves us money, but what makes us even more money is being a green place for folks to stay. We can run an entire operation leaner and more efficiently, without a lot of extra bells and whistles, yet offer an appealing and desirable place for guests to stay.

What aspect of your green program is commented on most by guests? Not one thing, but the whole green and healthy stay package.

Hilton Chicago Oak Brook Hills Resort
Greens its Golf Course

By Stefan Mühle, General Manager, Oak Brook, IL,
630/850-5554,, 347 rms

At the Hilton/Chicago Oak Brook Hills Resort and Conference Center protecting the environment is always in the forefront of our green initiatives. One of the successful environmental projects on property was achieving certification from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by our grounds team at Willow Crest Golf Club. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf is an award-winning education and certification program that helps golf courses protect our environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf. By helping people enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide, improve efficiency and minimize potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations, the program serves as a vital resource for golf courses.

In order to achieve Audubon Certification, a golf facility is required to demonstrate that it is maintaining the highest degree of environmental quality in several areas including Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation and Water Quality Management.

As part of the property'senvironmental efforts to become certified, Willow Crest Golf Club converted 14 acres of manicured turf to natural, un-mowed environmentally sensitive areas, which included all banks along the lake edges. With the taller grasses and emerging plants, the banks have become stabilized and have reduced erosion and aquatic weeds, while connecting habitats. Additionally, the increase of shoreline species has provided nesting areas, shelter and a food source for wildlife.

Further, the grounds team at Willow Crest Golf Club partnered with students at the Westmont Junior High School for the Audubon Adopt-A-School program, which educates students on the importance of protecting and preserving the environment at school and within their own communities. Willow Crest Golf Club also contributed to its certification process by building, installing and monitoring 15 bird houses. The bird houses are meant for bluebirds, but are being occuped most often by tree swallows.


Aruba'spremier adults-only resort continues to
raise the bar in sustainable tourism

By Ewald Biemans, Managing Director, Eagle
Beach, Aruba,, 63 rms

As a leader in both innovation and environmental stewardship, Bucuti Beach Resort has taken the pledge to be a part of the Water Sense H2Otel Challenge. Water Sense is a US EPA program designed to help save water for future generations. Bucuti is the only resort outside of the US and North America that has taken this initiative at this time. The initial step of the program is —ACT.— Assess water use and savings opportunities; Change products or processes to incorporate best management practices and Track results. Upon assessment, Bucuti will begin replacing existing products with Water Sense-labeled models. Simply replacing a showerhead could save an average of four gallons of water per shower.

—After years of maintaining our multiple environmental certifications, it was time for a new challenge. The H2Otel Challenge give us access to new and innovative products as well as case studies on what others are doing,— said Ewald Biemans, owner and managing director. —A high-quality guest experience and eco-friendly practices can co-exist and that is what our resort illustrates. We are passionate about protecting and preserving Aruba'sresources and look forward to implementing and developing initiatives that allow us to do so for years to come.—

The resort'sGreen Team, led by Biemans, has set the benchmark in sustainable tourism, earning more than two dozen environmental awards and certifications, including the Highest Achievement Award as the top performing sustainable travel and tourism business in the Caribbean by Green Globe Certification. Additionally, the resort is the first in the Caribbean to be officially ISO 14001 and Green Globe certified. Bucuti is also in the process of pursuing LEED certification, which will be the fourth green certification the resort receives, adding to their long list of accolades.

One more interesting fact is that Aruba has no water in natural form. There are no rivers, no springs and as little as 9— of rain a year. Desalination provides the island'sonly source of drinking water, and the process requires burning huge amounts of extremely expensive imported oil. So water conservation gain is double—conserving oil, a natural resource, and conserving water. Water is a super precious resource in Aruba.

With an average rainfall of less than 20— a year, an average daytime temperature of 82°F. (27°C.), a location completely outside the hurricane belt, and the constant cooling influence of the trade winds, Aruba is one of the most temperate islands in the Caribbean. Today, the island is populated by 100,000 people and attracts more than 700,000 international visitors annually.

CityFlatsHotel, Holland, MI

By Jack Peaphon, CTA, Marketing Coordinator, 866/609-2489,, 56 rms

What aspect of your green program are you most proud? We are most proud of our LEED Gold certification for our CityFlatsHotel location in Holland. Our company is committed to the conservation and protection of our environment as well as bettering the quality of life for our guests and employees. With these beliefs in mind, all future CityFlatsHotel projects will be designed and built to achieve LEED certification.

What aspect of your green program saves the most money? CityFlatsHotel Holland was built so that 90% of all spaces receive natural light through our floor-to-ceiling treated windows. We were able to cut down on the amount of light fixtures in the hotel because guests receive enough natural light during daytime hours to enjoy their stay without hindering any of their regular activities. All fixtures in the hotel are equipped with LED lights to further our energy savings.

What aspect of your green program is commented on most by guests? The green aspects of our guest room design are what are most commented on by guests, especially the cork flooring incorporated into each room. Cork flooring is naturally hypoallergenic giving guests added peace of mind on the cleanliness and freshness of their room. Though not as soft as carpet, cork is softer than a wood or tile floor, which guests enjoy. Additionally, cork comes from the evergreen oak tree and can be harvested many times throughout the life of the tree without having to cut it down, making it a very eco-conscious and renewable choice.

Located atop the hotel (on the 5th floor) is CityVu Bistro. Fresh gourmet flatbreads and an array of seasonal entrees are usual fare.

CityFlatsHotel Holland was the first hotel in the Midwest and east of the Mississippi to receive LEED Gold certification, and also the second hotel in the world to receive LEED Gold certification through the USGBC.

THE AMBROSE, Santa Monica, CA

By Anne Carmack, Environmental Practices & Food & Beverage
Director, dir 310/315-3181,, 77 rms

What aspect of your green program makes you most proud? 75% of waste is recycled through our hotel-wide recycling program. This makes us very proud!

Also, we provide all Ambrose employees with complimentary bus passes in an effort to lower employee commuting costs and in honor of our commitment to sustainability. All Ambrose team members are eligible for this benefit.

What aspect of your green program saves the most money? By being an Energy Star certified building and using all Energy Star certified appliances, we are able to use 30% less energy annually saving the property an estimated $32,300 per year.

What aspect of your green program do guests comment on most? We—ve had a green program in place since 2005. Over the years we have received feedback on all aspects of our program. Our guests continue to especially appreciate our recycling and water conservation efforts, our non-toxic cleaning program and our room service and catering menus which offer options made with local, organic and seasonal ingredients.


By Deborah Pittorino, Owner, 631/477-0066,, 30 rms

What aspect of your green program makes you most proud? We use so many green practices, but the one we are most proud of is the use of discarded hand soaps in our all-purpose cleaning solution that we use to clean all surfaces including floors and walls. We dilute the soap in water and add essential oils such as tea tree oil, lavender, mint and eucalyptus. We mix it and put it in spray bottles for the housekeepers. The essential oils give a fresh scent to the rooms, and we have had many requests from customers to purchase the solution!

This practice has reduced the waste of these partially-used bar soaps, and has also cut down on our purchase of cleaning solutions at the hotel. Additionally, because we use eco-friendly soap and essential oils, the cleaning solution is free of chemicals and is safer for our staff, our customers and the environment.


By Terry & Robyn Doolen, 518/359-3384,, 31 rms

Shaheen'sMotel is a family-owned lodging property in a small village located in the Adirondack Mountains. We have been members of Green Hotels Association since January, 2010. Our property is certified by Audubon International (2009) and Trip Advisor (2014).

—Our eco-friendly initiatives started out small with a waste management recycling program, conversion to CFL bulbs, and a guest reuse towel program,— stated Robyn. The linen reuse program began timidly, but now over 90% of our guests hang up their towels for reuse and opt out of daily bed linen changes. Projects blossomed each year as we undertook additional endeavors and became confident that our property could make a difference. Shaheen'sis now in a continual refresh mode when it comes to sustainable efforts. Equipment is also purchased with a green mindset.

—We are super proud of our 10kWh 40-panel grid-tied rooftop solar system which lessens our dependency on brown power and saves money in electrical costs,— Terry added. In the last two years the entire building was updated with high-efficient Energy Star and NFRC certified windows. Water conservation was always on the agenda as we switched to low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and recently we finished a three-year goal of replacing toilets with American Standard 1.28 gpf models which use 20% less water than the 1.6 gpf models. Terry installed a 50-gallon Rain Reserve Water Barrel which is integrated into the gutter system and provides water for the garden and plants. During the season approximately 200 gallons of Mother Nature'sfinest gift—water—was put to good use! Yard waste and clippings are composted in the back woods and used as fertilizer.

A local community-help closet receives the gently used furniture items, linens and mattresses from Shaheen'sMotel. As participating members of the Global Soap Project, all partially-used guest soap is collected and shipped to a location where it is sterilized and repackaged for distribution to those in need of basic hygiene items.

Non-toxic zero-VOC paint and stains are used, and guests appreciate that the rooms are cleaned with environmentally safe products. Suggestions are solicited from the guests through in-house forms. Tips from guests which have been implemented include using recyclable paper products and wooden stir sticks in the breakfast area. To alleviate lights being left on at bedtime, small low-wattage nightlights were installed for guests— safety. A —Going Greener— bulletin board offers helpful hints and educates visitors on local environmental issues.

Getting the most from the environment is easy, but giving back is harder because it takes personal commitment. It'simportant to encourage others to try because each of us can make a difference. Take the step, start somewhere and become part of the solution to preserve your community. Set a goal, reach it and then begin again.

Each time comments such as —We love your green philosophy, Your green practices are the reason I chose your motel or Thanks for recycling and keep up the good work, we—ll be back— are received, we are very happy!


By Charlie Bane, Director of Engineering, 916/321-3595, ,, 503 rms

The Hyatt Regency Sacramento has been effectively recycling since 2010. Prior to that, we were recycling cardboard in a cardboard bailer, glass bottles in a bottle bin, and newspapers in small recycling cans. In 2010 we hired a waste company that allows us to comingle recyclable materials. We now have a 7-yard recycle compactor that allows us to put all recyclable materials into one compactor to be sorted off property. This made it significantly easier for our staff to recycle.

In 2011 we also began recycling food waste, which technology processes and converts into renewable energy. For this we have been recognized in California as a leader in recycling organic material.

Our used cooking oil is also made useful by being converted into biofuel.

We went from recycling a fairly negligible amount of material to diverting around 350 tons of material per year from landfills.

Our staff has become increasingly aware of our ability to recycle in part through exposure to our mascot, the —greenman,— who makes surprise appearances to various departments.

ALPINE HOUSE, Jackson, Wyoming

By Erika Anderson, 307/739-1570,, 22 rms + 4 cottages

Our property installed Edison Forever incandescent light bulbs throughout the property to convey the vintage antique bulb shape and look. Expected life of the bulbs is 1,000 to 3,000 hours. Our low-flow showerheads along with linen cards and HVAC cards ensure that guests have opportunities to participate in our green program.

Our guests— absolute favorite amenity here is our loaner cruiser bikes to glide around our small town rather than driving their cars. Guests can just roll around town, have a meal out or visit the farmers market, etc. The bicycles include baskets for guests— convenience. We originally started offering the bikes as a way to help control automobile traffic. Since we—ve been providing the 4 mens— and 2 ladies— bicycles, several other local properties have begun offering loaner bikes, and we're especially proud of being mimicked in this instance.

When our guests ask for suggestions on how to enjoy Jackson

Hole more thoroughly, we always tell them about JH Eco Tour Adventures whose outings are based on wildlife exploration. The company is owned and operated by lead guide Taylor Phillips, and he'sa real local favorite.


By Barry Hutto, General Manager, 843/937-8800,
andrew-pinckney-inn/,, 41 rms

We recently chose to upgrade our linens, and succeeded by choosing Harbor Linens— (a Bed, Bath & Beyond company) 60%-40% blended cotton linens that are stain resistant, which means water and cleaning products needs are reduced. They also reduce dryer time required, lowering electricity requirements.

Our Gilcrest & Soames very green Beekind™ hotel guestroom amenities, including 2 bar soaps, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and a sewing/mending kit, are very appreciated by guests. The amenity packaging is recyclable.

Best of all, because of big-time money savings, but also because of a major feel-good factor, is our changing out 621 incandescent light bulbs to 534 LEDs and 87 CFL 3-way bulbs. The project was managed by Joel Caplan (C 803/530-3321, and cost the property $9,351.70 while we received a $7,354 rebate from South Carolina'sDuke Energy. Our expected return-on-investment is only one year, and the bulbs carry a 5-year warranty. Elite Lighting works in FL, GA, NC and SC.

Many of the LEDs are called non-discrete LEDs which means that there are non-measurable clusters comparable to hundreds of LEDs unseen within the bulbs on a chip. A major improvement in the ambiance of the public areas resulted. Guestroom vanity lighting went from 60-watt incandescent to 10-watt A193s for increased light levels.

COMING SOON . . . to Snug Hollow
Wildflowers galore . . . showing April and May!Join us!

Call 606/723-4786 or email

Snug Hollow Farm Bed & Breakfast invites you to visit our 300-acre mountain retreat in the heart of Kentucky.

Where the seasons set the stage for restorative rest, relaxation and reconnecting, offering comfortable accommodations, walking trails, quiet surroundings and delightful dining.

Ideal for corporate or personal retreats and workshops. —An Environmental Inn.—

* * * * *

Barbara Napier, Host, very wisely used 9 beautiful spring nature photographs of her property with the text above to encourage visitors to come to in Irvine, Kentucky, in a February e-mail broadcast!

JUL/AUG 2014
As our green programs continue to be refined, we're reminded more and more that none of us can be really green without the green products and services offered by green vendors. GHA continues to encourage and support our Ally Members, and to bring you news of their successes—new products, new ideas, new techniques, recent awards, new contracts, etc. So, each July/August issue of this newsletter focuses on new and refreshing stories about our Ally Members— successes. Here we go once again . . .

Fairmont Chicago Chooses
XLERATOR® Hand Dryers

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has 124 properties on six continents. Fairmont'senvironmental commitment is shown by its Green Partnership program which is especially evident at Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. Located near Millennium and Grant Parks, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile and Lake Michigan, the hotel recently underwent a five-year $60-million transformation—using the latest innovative sustainable solutions.

12-year ALLY MEMBER Excel Dryer, manufacturer of the original, patented, high-speed, energy-efficient XLERATOR® and new XLERATOReco® hand dryers helped the Fairmont Chicago get closer to their green goals. —We installed 20 XLERATOR hand dryers in our restrooms,— said Colleen Sweitzer, marketing manager and sustainability team member, —and we have found them to be one of the simplest changes with a big impact.— —Our sustainability team leaders read an article about the environmental and cost savings XLERATOR hand dryers provide, and reached out to Excel Dryer. The XLERATOR hand dryers aligned with our goals,— said Sweitzer. The biggest impact the XLERATOR has had is its return on investment, said Sweitzer, who added that the cost savings dictated their decision to outfit their restrooms with the hand dryers.

XLERATOR dries hands three times faster (completely in 10-15 seconds) and uses 80% less energy than conventional hand dryers. XLERATOR represents a 95% cost savings when compared to paper towels, reduces the need for labor and maintenance and eliminates their waste while improving restroom hygiene.

The XLERATOR hand dryer is more than just a sustainable solution, it offers visitors a more hygienic way to dry hands. —The sensor-activated technology provides our guests with a touch-free experience which reduces the spread of germs and prevents overflowing trash bins,— said Sweitzer. XLERATOR hand dryers significantly reduce waste—but also the labor and maintenance associated with paper towels. The Fairmont Chicago has been able to reduce the number of restroom attendants needed to maintain restrooms without sacrificing a luxury experience.

XLERATOR and XLERATOReco use new —no heat— technology to dry hands in 15 seconds using only 500 watts, making it the most energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly hand dryer on the planet. Drawing 4.5 amps or less, multiple XLERATOReco units can be installed on one circuit, significantly reducing installation time and cost.

XLERATOR and XLERATOReco are also available with several options and accessories featuring sound control options, HEPA filtration and custom digital image covers similar to one designed for the Fairmont units. Check them out at!

Energy Technologies Group—s
System Saves 35-45%

7-year ALLY MEMBER Energy Technologies Group was privileged to complete an installation of their S3E Energy Management System at a new green-built Best Western Inn & Suites Hotel in State College, PA in October, 2009. The installation of 79 hotel rooms was in compliance with the new International Energy Code (IEC). This code utilized their proprietary in-room computer, card-actuated, security thermostat unit (the only one of its kind in the EMS industry). ETG'sproprietary software allows the guest to remove their key card when exiting the room, then 60 seconds later, when the guest is not in the room, all the IEC designated lights, fans and particular outlets are shut down. The S3E thermostat takes over and their proprietary FCPD computer controls the HVAC at energy-saving levels of nearly 40%. When the guest returns and places the key card in the slot, all lights, fans and outlets are instantly activated. The HVAC is reactivated and within a very short time the chosen ambient air temperature recovers.

ETG is proud of its product and of this project which has now been in operation over 4½ years. During the more than 2 million operational hours, only one minor replacement has been necessary. During this time, the S3E system has saved the hotel an average of 35% to 45% monthly on their electricity bill.

For more information, contact VP Rohn Sambol, Energy Technologies Group, LLC, at 877/400-0003 or or visit TODAY!


7-year ALLY MEMBER RD FRESH, with two recent green awards has just added a third, and this one is from the United States Trade & Commerce Institute. Each year the US Trade & Commerce Institute (USTCI) identifies firms that have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields and achieved commercial recognition. Particular emphasis is given to meeting and exceeding benchmarks for customer service, product quality and ethical practices. RD FRESH has been one of those selected this year and this award exemplifies that distinguished accomplishment.

In 2011 The Green Business League awarded their 2011 ECOVISIONARY AWARDS to some industry giants including Home Depot, Hanes and Metlife for their forward-thinking green solutions in reducing their impact on the planet. Along with those giants of industry was RD FRESH and their truly unique green zeolite-based food preservation and energy-saving technology. RD Fresh was chosen the 2013 Supplier of the Year by the Virginia Green program which is a partnership of the Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association.

Here'swhat clients of more than six years say:

We have noticed a significant drop in temperatures throughout the coolers; moisture problems have gone away, quality and shelf life of products have noticeably improved. We have even seen improvements within our wine storage, where we have had mildew problems. The coolers smell and feel better! I strongly recommend RD Fresh'sprogram, says Ron Pollack, Corporate Chef, JS'sOn the Beach, Deerfield Beach, FL.

Our dairy cooler was experiencing heavy moisture issues, creating wet floors and rapid mold growth. We saw immediate results with significant moisture reduction, creating a safer, cleaner environment. As a result, we have been able to schedule cleaning rotations further apart reducing our overall labor costs, reported Kevin Maradie, Director of Purchasing, Four Seasons Resort, Palm Beach, FL.

RD Fresh offers all GHA members a 25% discount along with free shipping. Contact Steve Gerson at 954/977-8776, C 954/732-8025 or or visit TODAY!

Cascades— Moka Line Wins Awards

5-year ALLY MEMBER Cascades Tissue Group, North America'sfourth largest producer of towel and tissue paper, has been awarded —Environmental Strategy of the Year— by Pulp & Paper International at the 2013 PPI Awards in Dubai. In addition, the Cascades® Moka® product line won the company a second award for —Innovative Product of the Year.— The internationally-renowned PPI Awards are the only global awards dedicated to recognizing the achievements of companies, mills and individuals in the pulp and paper sector.

The —Innovative Product of the Year— award was presented to Cascades— Moka product line—the first ever bathroom and facial tissue made from unbleached recycled fiber to hit the North American market. The Cascades Moka tissue products were praised by offering uncompromised softness and hygiene qualities while significantly reducing environmental impact.

The —Environmental Strategy of the Year— award was based on Cascades— commitment to reducing its ecological impact through the continuous improvement of its processes, unique recycling infrastructure and use of recycled fibers in packaging and tissue products. Cascades led the way in environmental reporting with its 2010-2012 and 2013-2015 sustainable development plans, which include objectives to improve environmental impact in every step of production, distribution and waste processing. These advances have enabled Cascades to use five times less water and two times less energy than the North American paper industry average.

More information may be found at

Suzanne Blanchet, Cascades— CEO
Wins Gold 2013 Stevie Award

Suzanne Blanchet, president and CEO of 5-year ALLY MEMBER Cascades Tissue Group, won a Gold Stevie® Award for the —Female Executive of the Year in Canada— category in the 10th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. This internationally-renowned award was given to her as recognition of her outstanding contribution to her company and industry. Under her leadership, Cascades Tissue Group has become a billion-dollar leader in the tissue industry, pioneering environmentally sound and innovative paper products.

—It is with profound gratitude and great humility that I receive this award,— stated Suzanne Blanchet. —I would like to share it with my colleagues, who all contributed to Cascades Tissue Group'ssuccess and international recognition.—

As the first woman to chair a paper company in North America, Suzanne Blanchet was a perfect candidate for a Stevie Award for Women in Business. Her impressive career, which started as a finance intern and evolved to her becoming president and CEO of Cascades Tissue Group in 1997, has been hallmarked by tenacity, dedication to her employees and a willingness to constantly push boundaries and innovate.

In-House Laundry at the Waterfront Hotel
Key to Cost Control and Quality

An investor group and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (UWO) Foundation recently combined interests to rejuvenate a non-functioning hotel property on the Fox River in Oshkosh, WI. Located near the historic district, the new Best Western PREMIER Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center offers 176 rooms, function space, convention space and a restaurant. It also harnesses an on-premise laundry capable of processing 2,400 lbs. of laundry in a single 8-hour shift. Within the next three years, UWO plans to use the property as a hands-on classroom for students in its hospitality program.

The laundry tackles food and beverage skirting, tablecloths and napkins; sheets, pillowcases and duvets; towels, bathmats and robes; pillows, comforters and blankets along with rags, mops and rugs. It features three 90 lb. capacity 5-year ALLY MEMBER Continental Girbau soft-mount E-Series Washer-Extractors and a 120 lb. capacity dryer, as well as a Girbau Industrial (GI) 140 lb. capacity ST-1300 dryer with vacuum load. Highly automated, all towels, bathmats and blankets are automatically folded using a GI FT-LITE drywork folder; while sheets, pillowcases and tablecloths are processed using a GI 5-in-One Compact Ironing System. The Compact—a feeder, ironer, folder, stacker and accumulator—processes up to 82— of linen per minute!

Housekeeping Manager Misty Braun, who began her career in a hotel laundry at age 15, says the laundry facility delivers unsurpassed productivity amped by automation and efficiency. —I came from another property with 95 rooms,— says Braun. When the rooms were full, it took three, 8-hour shifts and three operators per shift just to get the towels and linens done. —Laundry would spill over from Sunday to Monday. Here, when we are sold out, we have five operators for eight hours. Yet, we have triple the rooms and process food and beverage items in addition to regular laundry,— she says. —We are saving a lot on labor as a result of the automation.—

Key to cleanliness and production are the E-Series Washer-Extractors. The washers are highly programmable to properly clean a variety of items, feature a soft-mount design for simple installation, and reach extract speeds of up to 381 G-force. Laundry operators simply select a program number to match the item type—food and beverage linens, towels, sheets, etc.—and press start. The washer automatically combines the correct cleaning solutions, water temperatures and levels, mechanical action and baths to ensure high-quality results.

Unlike hard-mount washers, which must be bolted to a reinforced concrete foundation, soft-mount washers slide into place without bolts. This simplifies installation and resulting costs. Additionally, E-Series soft-mount washers reach considerably higher extract speeds when compared with hard-mount washers, and as a result, remove significantly more water from every load. This cuts dry time by up to 50%, according to GI National Sales Manager Seth Willer, which catapults productivity.

The high-extract means terry items dry more quickly. Sheets and tablecloths bypass drying altogether. A 90 lb. load of towels takes just 50 minutes to wash and 19 minutes to dry using the ST-1300 Dryer. Meanwhile, the Compact feeds, irons, folds and stacks more than 120 sheets per hour—straight from the washer.

The ST-1300 Dryer, used primarily for terry items, is simple to load and ergonomically friendly. With vacuum loading, the dryer inhales items fed by operators. —Thanks to the vacuum assistance, it'seasier to load the dryer because there is no twisting by operators,— says Braun. Once dried and automatically unloaded, terry items and blankets are fed into the FT-LITE folder. The FT-LITE folds small- and large-sized items and requires one operator. It is configured with an automatic stacker, as well, so like items are quickly folded and stacked with minimal effort.

—If we are sold out on Saturday night, we can fold 3,000 towels per day in one shift,— says Braun. —We perform the final fold on our pool towels by rolling them. Bath towels come out with a long fold and we perform the third fold.—

Superior productivity flows out of the laundry'sCompact Ironer as well. All flatwork items—sheets, tablecloths, table skirting and pillowcases—are fed directly from the washer into the Compact. The nice thing about the Compact is it takes on items of different dimensions. It is configurable for one, two or four working lanes, with one lane for sheets, two for table linens and four for small items. It delivers up to three cross folds in one lane. Additionally, small items run through multiple lanes can by-pass folding. The Compact control features 20 pre-set and 20 customizable programs.

Once complete, laundry is stocked on each floor of the hotel for housekeepers. It'sa smooth process—one that will no doubt improve further as management gains experience with the new laundry operation, according to General Manager Dan Schetter.

The Waterfront'slaundry is equipped to handle the hotel'sgrowing sales volume, while ensuring a high-quality product for hotel guests. —It allows us more control over linen inventory and quality, and over time will save us significantly in outside vendor costs,— maintains Schetter.

And, like all the other areas of the hotel, the laundry will serve as a hands-on learning area—showing UWO hospitality students how laundry productivity and quality impact overall hotel operations and profits.

To find out more about Continental and GI laundry equipment, visit and, respectively, or call 800/256-1073 TODAY!

5-Year Ally Member Old Fashioned Milk Co.
Still Churning After 40 Years

Massachusetts entrepreneur Charles Thibeau recreated a long-forgotten, natural-paint formula in his basement in 1974. Forty years later his milk paint has gained international acclaim.

2014 marks the 40-year anniversary of the discovery of the modern recipe for a classic, old fashioned paint—known as milk paint. In 1974, Charles Thibeau, a furniture maker in Groton, MA, had his Eureka moment while trying to replicate an authentic finish for his colonial furniture reproductions. He was not trying to revolutionize the paint world, but his discovery changed the concept of what modern paint is and can be. He introduced a whole new generation to a time-tested, back-to-basics formulation in the process. Thibeau had been involved in Boston'sfirst Earth Day in 1970. His dedication to the environment insured that his milk paint formula kept true to the natural recipes of colonial America.

Milk paint, an ancient form of paint, is famous for being one of the world'smost durable paints. Milk protein (casein) and crushed limestone form a tough-as-nails coating that hardens over time like concrete, making it nearly impossible to remove. In early America, people made their own homemade versions of this paint with locally found materials including clay, chalk and pigments dug from the earth. Milk paint eventually fell out of favor with the invention of the paint can and modern, latex paint.

Like the milk paint used in days of old, Thibeau'sOld Fashioned Milk Paint will not rub or wash off, and it adheres like no other paint ever devised to bare wood, plaster and other porous surfaces. The deep, rich colors match the classic chalky, velvety, mottled look characteristic of the original milk paint used on walls and furniture in colonial America. In addition, the paint contains none of the harmful ingredients normally associated with modern paint. It can be used safely on children'stoys, hospital walls, by pregnant women and many people suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity. It is 100% biodegradable, contains zero VOCs, and was actually the first paint to be awarded the USDA'sBio-based label. Thibeau developed his formula in a powder form, allowing the user to simply mix water to the powder just before use—as easy as making chocolate milk. The powder formula eliminated the need to add chemical preservatives, and created a more efficient way to ship paint, as opposed to costly, heavy, liquid paint cans.

In the mid 1970—s, Yankee Magazine produced a series of books called The Forgotten Arts. They included Charles Thibeau in a chapter on making paint from scratch. When the book came out, Thibeau'sphone rang off the hook with people wanting some of this long-forgotten paint. Over the past 40 years, Old Fashioned Milk Paint has gained such popularity it is used by thousands of people throughout the US and all over the world, from England to Australia. Over the years, others have come out with their own versions of powdered milk paint, but none have ever come quite close to matching the original.

In 2008 The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company introduced a second milk paint formula, called SafePaint. While originally developed as wall paint, it will adhere to almost anything, including metal. Both formulas are best used as interior paints.

In the past few years there has been a resurgence in painted furniture. The soft, chalky look is all the craze, as is the shabby-chic look of restored wooden furniture. The upcycled furniture trend is seen in many homes of modern do-it-yourselfers. And the most stylish, safest way of achieving these looks is with milk paint.

Call 866/350-6455 or view to learn more.

Preserving Rain Forest, Changing Lives

Shell Vacations switches to sustainable, shade-grown coffee

Shell Vacations has teamed up with 4-year ALLY MEMBER, the Arbor Day Foundation, to preserve our world'srain forest by serving shade-grown Arbor Day Specialty Coffee. Shell Vacations, a subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide, spans more than four decades of providing exceptional hospitality service and is respected among vacation ownership clubs. With 24 locations across the United States, Canada and Mexico, Shell Vacations will be making a significant impact on the environment as well as improving the livelihoods of coffee farmers who grow coffee responsibly. Each cup Shell Vacations serves will preserve 2 sq. ft. of rain forest.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to planting trees. As part of their Rain Forest Rescue program, Arbor Day Specialty Coffee is responsibly grown in the shade of the rain forest and is considered one of the most ethically sourced and environmentally friendly coffees on the planet. Trees shade the coffee shrubs to provide protection from the sun'sharsh rays and also deposit minerals into the soil, allowing farmers to grow the coffee organically without the use of pesticides and fertilizers. This approach allows the coffee cherries to mature slowly, which develops a higher-quality bean leading to a richer and more flavorful cup of coffee. For their additional efforts in sustainable farming, the farmers receive a fair wage from the Arbor Day Foundation and are required to provide access to healthcare and education for their workers and families. A portion of the proceeds also go toward improving the infrastructure of their communities by building roads, providing electricity and giving the farmers access to clean drinking water. Since the coffee program started in 2005, the Arbor Day Foundation has helped to preserve over 2 billion sq. ft. of rain forest.

For more information about Arbor Day Specialty Coffee and how your hotel can participate, visit

ERC Wiping Products, Inc.

Environmental Stewardship and proper cleaning
is a win-win for hotels and resorts

3-year ALLY MEMBER ERC Wiping Products, Inc. has a successful partnership with a large 4-star resort and club in South Florida. ERC is a leading supplier of color-coded wiping materials including microfiber cleaning cloths, kitchen rags and stewarding towels. This color-coded cleaning system eliminates the use of discarded guest towels and linens as rags that once caused much confusion between the resort'skitchen and housekeeping rags. The color-coding system improved the property'scleaning quality and continues to make training easier for managers.

This new way of cleaning left the resort with excess discarded towels and other cotton guest linens. ERC purchases these worn, torn, stained and obsolete terry towels along with other cotton textiles. ERC brings these textiles back to their processing plant and recycles them for other industrial wiping applications.

ERC sends large reusable (4—x4—x4—) heavy duty plastic bags to the resort'slaundry facility. These bags take up very little space when empty and can fit on any standard pallet (another way to recycle those pallets from other incoming shipments). Similar to a large laundry tote, each bag can hold about 300 pounds. When the hotel fills 4 to 6 bags, they simply ship the pallets back to ERC at no cost. Within a week of receiving the shipment, a check for the discards is mailed.

This is a win-win for the hotel as well as their guests. The hotel is providing a cleaner environment for their guests and doing their part by recycling their retired textiles. The arrangement is economical for the hotel as the exchange program covers the majority of the microfiber cleaning cloth purchases.

ERC Wiping Products, Inc. stocks for immediate shipment a complete line of microfiber cloths, microfiber mops, huck kitchen towels, terry bar towels, herringbone kitchen/ server towels, disposable food service wipes, specialty lint-free wipes for flat screen TVs, yellow treated dust cloths, disinfecting wipes for fitness center equipment and towels for golf courses. ERC ships product and buys discarded terry and cotton textiles nationwide. Learn more by calling Larry Groipen at 800/225-9473 or visiting TODAY!

Green Hotels Give a Woo

There are many things that can be done in your hotel to make it more eco-friendly. You can switch up your cleaning products, purchase high-efficiency air conditioning units and invest in water-conserving washing machines. These are all great things, but they're costly and unless you brag about it when guests check in, they have no idea you're doing them. So if you're asking —What can I do to show guests we're Earth-conscious—, ALLY MEMBER WooBamboo has your answer.

WooBamboo provides resorts and hotels a cost-effective way to brilliantly market and brand themselves with eco-friendly bamboo-handled toothbrushes. They're beautifully designed, dentist-approved, and can be customized with a laser-etched logo or web address. Whether they're provided to each guest upon check-in, or sold in the gift shop, these toothbrushes make a statement that lasts.

—Our guests absolutely love them. It'sa piece of their vacation they actually get to take home with them—and use for months. They think of us every time they brush,— says Cassie, a manager of a beach hotel in Florida.

The eco company has been providing their toothbrushes to hotels, gift shops, dental practices and natural food markets for just over a year, and the response has been fantastic.

—Our bamboo brushes are now replacing their plastic counterparts in 15 different countries so far, and it feels great that we're making a difference,— says Christopher Fous, one of the co-founders of WooBamboo, —and for a hotel or resort claiming to be eco-friendly, it'sperfect. Guests get a unique and useful gift, and the hotel gets to brand themselves as green and be remembered for months.—

The toothbrushes are available for adults and children, in 3 different handle styles and bristle strengths. The bamboo is sustainably harvested, organically grown and is completely biodegradable. Billions of plastic toothbrushes end up cluttering the landfills and oceans every year, so it'sgood that someone is finally offering an alternative—and that alternative could have your hotel'sname on it.

Learn more about WooBamboo by contacting Steve Hyde at 855/966-2262, or by viewing

Envision LLC can help
you save 20-30% on your energy bill

Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, WI, has 250 licensed inpatient beds and is one of the largest acute care facilities in their area. With an annual utility bill of approximately $2.3 million and energy usage of 339 kbtu per square foot (the Wisconsin hospital average is 252 kbtu), administrators at Theda Clark knew something needed to be done. They called on the ALLY MEMBER Gundersen Health System Envision® team for help.

During a two-day energy check-up in June 2010, a three-person team from Gundersen Envision® facilitated Theda Clark team members and suppliers to identify more than 110 energy conservation measures (ECMs) throughout the campus. By implementing about 25% of those ECMs, Theda Clark could see energy savings of roughly $800,000. It would also offset nearly 7,000 metric tons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere which is the equivalent of planting 1,500 acres of forest or removing 1,334 automobiles from the road.

Energy-saving opportunities identified:

• Scheduling air-handling units to shut down during unoccupied hours

• Retrofitting lighting with more efficient bulbs/ballasts/reflectors; allowing for 1-2 bulbs rather than 3-4

• Adding automated lighting sensors/controls

• Retrofitting boilers

• Incorporating scheduling changes for heating and cooling mechanical systems

• Insulating pipes, valves and pumps

• Removing lights from vending machines

—The Envision team gave us a kick start and, just as important, a system for identifying energy waste and also identifying the most cost effective means to eliminate that waste. I highly recommend Gundersen'sEnvision team to any organization looking to better utilize resources and reduce energy costs,— reported Albert Park, Director of Facilities Planning, ThedaCare. To learn more, contact Envision at 608/775-0880, (toll free) 855/669-1653, or

MAY/JUN 2014

Climate is a perfect storm for sustainability

With climate change on the radar, hoteliers are in the midst of a
perfect storm for discussing sustainability.

Recently, weather conversations have become more interesting, more intense and much more frequent. Yes, the media is now better at getting our attention, with catch phrases such as The Polar Vortex, Superstorms, Snowmageddon, Snowmageddon 2, etc. We are living with a new reality of increased disruptive weather patterns, temperature extremes and swings, drought and flooding. More importantly, we're living in a new winter reality of increased flight cancellations, weather delays, airport closures, travel advisories, people sleeping at airports and stuck trying to get home, no-shows and frustrated customers. The data will come out, and articles and research will show the effects of the weather on travel and on hotel demand—both positive and negative.

But when considering travel, it may be good to limit travel from mid-December through mid-March. Plan on more conference calls, maybe try out some more video conferences, push travel back, move it around, build in more buffer days to the schedule to allow for delays, prepare for cancellations and for people to call in. Think twice about travel to the Caribbean in the fall, the Northeast and Midwest in the winter or to California in forest-fire season. Several more travel restrictions are popping up. Avoid Singapore'spotential haze in the dry summer when Indonesia sets itself on fire.

The sustainability discussion

When you put these pieces together, the sustainability discussion changes. Let'sforget about the questions as to whether it pays to go green, whether the customer is willing to pay more, whether the return on investment is good. Let'sfocus on the connection that this discussion will bring.

We're talking more about the weather, and more and more people make the link between the weather and climate change. Each major storm, major disaster, major travel nightmare nudges a few more people into being cautious or concerned about climate change.

The shift in public opinion coincides with the effects of climate change today, not far off in the future or in a faraway land. As a result, climate risk for hotels will start to appear in more of our discussions: in company risk disclosure, in feasibility studies, in market forecasts, in insurance premiums and in the daily conversations of executives and travelers alike.

What to do

As the conversation becomes more frequent, we eventually turn to what to do about it. This is where the challenge lies: enabling travelers and guests to put together the pieces themselves and understand the key drivers of climate change, how it'saffecting our daily lives and livelihoods and what are the steps we can all take to embed some form of action into the routine—even if it includes staying in a green hotel (and how the attributes of that hotel are reducing the specific impacts that contribute to climate change).

Here are a few managerial takeaways and actions:

1. Take a look at your green claims and see if they are appropriate.

2. Discuss with the green team to seek a common understanding about climate change (and if your hotel doesn'thave a green team, then please get with the times).

3. Help the guest understand that your energy-efficiency (or even renewable energy) programs and specifications are an important way the hotel is reducing its impact on climate change.

4. Thank guests for supporting in their own conservation efforts while at the hotel.

And of course, let'sconsider sub-segmenting a —staycation— with a —snowcation— spa package for those trying to go on vacation but got snowed in, as well as a last-minute —stranded traveler— package with upgraded amenity kits and airport transfers to pick up some more walk-ins.

We're in the midst of a perfect storm for discussing sustainability. On the downside, we—ll have to put up with more extremist fear-mongering. On the bright side, we have climate change to thank for making conversations more interesting.

Ricaurte, Eric, HNN columnist (,
Article/13396/Climate-is-a-perfect-storm-for-sustainability, March 24, 2014

MAR/APR 2014

The Hotel of the Future

Technology is changing the hotel guest experience. Here are
20 ways tomorrow'shotel will be different from today—s.

At the YOTEL New York, a towering robotic arm takes guests— luggage and stores it in bar-coded storage bins. The Nine Zero Hotel in Boston uses iris-scan technology that opens the door to its presidential suite, while the Hotel E´clat in Taipei, Taiwan, has toilets with lids that open automatically. The hotel experience is changing, and the future will be here faster than you think. We asked planners, hoteliers and hospitality experts to make some predictions on what the guest experience will be like. What follows are 20 features that are already here, or will soon be here before you even know it.


1. Personalization - Industry experts agree that the hotel of the future will be completely personalized. From the height of the desk chair and bathroom mirror and the firmness of the mattress to room temperature, all of these will be to each guest'sliking when they enter the guest room. Inspired by advancing technology and pioneers such as Amazon, the hospitality industry will mine and use data to create a customized experience similar to the one we already see in the e-commerce world.

—The cookie-cutter in-room experience has to die,— says internationally-recognized keynote-speaker Dr. Lalia Rach, associate dean, UW-Stout School of Hospitality Leadership, Menomonie, WI, and founder of Rach Enterprises. —We—ve talked about customization for a long time now,— she notes. —We—ve talked about the colors of the room changing, about what'son the walls changing to be more reflective of the person who is in the room. But it'snot just the physical, it'sthe intangible.—

2. Customized Service - In tandem with the move toward personalization will come a trend toward customized service. —When I land in New York, why can'tI receive a text saying, —Looking forward to seeing you at our hotel today. Do you need anything?—— posits Rach. —It'sgetting to the point that if I grant you permission to know where I am location-wise, you should know what matters to me.—

Pillow menus were once all the rage. From a down-filled pillow to a sound pillow with built-in speakers, this was considered a high-end amenity. Rach is not impressed. —Don'toffer me a smorgasbord of choices. Make sure the pillow I like is in my room. If Amazon can do it, why can'tthe hotel industry?—

3. Female Friendly - Julia Sutton, COO of Exhale Enterprises, which runs 22 spas in the US and the Caribbean, says many female executives do not feel that the hotel industry has embraced them. This will no longer be the case in the hotel of the future. Some hotel companies, Kimpton and Hyatt included, have already launched female-friendly programs that cater specifically toward women travelers.

4. Experience-Oriented - Hotels of the future will seek new ways to create experiences. Already, lobbies increasingly are being transformed into multi-use spaces where groups can eat, drink, work, socialize and take in museum-quality artwork.

Activity options such as the on-site art room in the Gastwerk, a hotel in Hamburg, Germany, that was a former gas plant, will be commonplace. The popular attraction features an artist in residence; hotel guests can pop into his studio and watch him create his works, which are featured throughout the hotel.

The Marriott Marquis Washington, DC, scheduled to open May 1, will be home to one of the US— most impressive sculptures in a hotel—Birth of the American Flag—by renowned artist Rodney Carroll. The 56-foot sculpture, the centerpiece of the new property, is viewable from the ground-floor lobby, mezzanine and the interior-facing guest rooms. It will be the largest piece of art in any Marriott hotel.

5. Grab and Go - More casual dining establishments are becoming popular, where guests can get a quick bite at a reasonable price and enjoy communal seating with Wi-Fi and plenty of plugs.

Herb N— Kitchen is a new dining concept created by Hilton that is now available in the New York Hilton Midtown, the largest hotel in Manhattan. Herb N— Kitchen infuses fresh, local gourmet food into an upscale, casual restaurant and convenient culinary market. It also invites guests into the dining experience by enabling them to see their meals prepared.


6. Hotel Brands Will Redefine Themselves into Boutique-Like Niches - This is already happening, but in the future, more hotel brands will offer meeting groups and other travelers an array of chain options based on demographics. —Brands are being challenged because many travelers do not prefer standardization as much as in the past. Edition is an example of a new approach to hotel branding,— explains Bjorn Hanson, Ph.D., Tisch Center for Hospitality at NYU.

Edition is a Marriott boutique hotel that will anchor a 100-city chain, in an effort to attract a younger crowd. The brand was conceived with the help of boutique hotelier Ian Schrager. Marriott International has launched another hotel brand, Moxy, also aimed at the Millennial traveler.

Indeed, the lucrative Millennial segment is having a big effect on what the hotel of the future will look like. —With this generation, travel is no longer discretionary, it'sa right—and that'sa different reality,— notes Rach. Starwood Hotels & Resorts has its Aloft brand, with more than 75 hotels in 14 countries. —For the always-on next generation of traveler, Aloft offers a tech-forward, vibrant experience and a modern style that is different by design,— says Brian McGuinness, Sr. VP, Starwood. —We are aware of the power of Gen Yers specifically, who are poised to become the largest consumer group in the history of the US and, therefore, the future market for most consumer brands. Gen Y is made up of more than 75 million individuals, and they spend $200 billion each year on consumer products and experiences. Loft-like guest rooms, a buzzing W XYZ bar scene in the open lobby, an urban-inspired grab-and-go cafe´ and industrial design elements throughout make Aloft a far cry from the conventional cookie-cutter brands.—

7. Name-Brand Fitness Centers and Spas - Another trend that will continue is hotels and resorts featuring name-brand fitness centers and spas as a way to differentiate themselves and bump up offerings while offloading the bulk of investments on a partner.

Properties are pairing up with fitness brands such as Exhale, Core Performance, DavidBartonGym and SoulCycle. —Hotels are now trying to create a lifestyle for their guests,— says Sutton. —They can no longer get away with just putting a gym in or a regular spa.—

8. Celebrity-Chef Restaurants - Hotels and resorts have already been adding celebrity-chef restaurants at an unprecedented rate. The days of a hotel restaurant thinking it can rely on a captive audience are long over. They are being judged just like restaurants in the retail space.


9. Front Desk-Less - The hotel of the future will be without a front desk. —In the past, there were wood and marble front desks that served as a barrier. It was as if the staff was afraid of the customer,— says Rach. Those days are over. We are no longer a society that takes to lines. We are definitely not a society of patience. Even the airline industry gets that. There are kiosks and smartphones, where we can check in or change our seat.

The hotel industry has to move away from the structure that currently exists and move into an experience structure with service.—

Right now, 14 Aloft properties are equipped with Smart Check-in, giving travelers the ability to bypass the traditional check-in process and head straight to their guest room with an enhanced keycard equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. An additional 14 will have this capability this year.

10. Keyless Entry - A guest will walk into the lobby and head straight to his room. The room number will be sent via text, as will a barcode that unlocks the door. One'scell phone can be used for easy, keyless entry, something Starwood also is pioneering. Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members who opt in to this offer receive an enhanced SPG/Aloft-branded keycard. On the day of a planned stay, a text message is sent to the guest'smobile device with his room number. Once at the hotel, guests can skip the check-in line and go straight to their assigned room, where their enhanced keycard will unlock the door.


11. Easy-to-Access Technology - The movement toward augmented reality— the use of computer imagery overlaid on the field of view to augment the reality that has recently been introduced with Google Glasses—will eventually make its way into guestroom design. This will enable the attendees to access a variety of information about the hotel, the destination and the meeting or event through interactive technology displays.

Andrew MacCachran, American Chemistry Council, says that in-room technology access is a priority. —We are a society with the philosophy, —I know how I want things and I expect them to be that way,—— says MacCachran, who engages in the end-to-end meeting planning for 30 annual off-site conferences and events ranging from 30 to 900 attendees. —We are a generation that expects everything to be customized and efficient with the technology we now have at our disposal. We want multiple outlets that are easily accessible, wireless, iPod docking stations and flat-screen TVs. These things are not negotiable.—

12. Intelligent Furniture - According to —Hotels 2020: Beyond Segmentation,— a study conducted by Fast Future Research and technology company Amadeus, the hotel of the future will feature intelligent furniture with built-in memory that will adapt to changes in body posture. Guests will also have the opportunity to choose the room'sartwork and display their own photos in digital frames. As technology advances, and intelligent wallpapers emerge, guests will be able to configure the room de´cor on arrival or download their preferred designs beforehand.

13. The Ultimate Blow Dry - Don'texpect a stack of fluffy, white towels to be waiting in the bathroom in the hotel of the future. Head-to-toe body dryers will take their place, say hotel industry insiders. This is great news for the environment, as millions and millions of gallons of water are used every day to wash hotel towels, not to mention the electricity, soap, and labor that also are required.

14. Amenities - Of course there still will be a high-powered hair dryer in the bathroom for styling purposes, and an iron in the closet. But there also will be dermatologist-approved skin-care products, and humidifiers will be waiting in the appropriate rooms. Embedded in bathroom mirrors will be touch-screens and TVs.

Marriott Hotels— 10,000-sq.-ft. Innovation Lab focuses on hotel design concepts for the future

15. The Virtual Concierge - Once in the room, there should be a message on an iPad, TV or on the touch-sensitive tablet walls that display text and graphics to welcome guests and ask if they want reservations in a restaurant that they may have visited in the past, says Rach. This is the guest'spersonal control center, where he or she can order food, get a wake-up all, check on local events and attractions and book spa appointments and golf tee times. Lighting, temperature and music are adjustable from here as well. —The guest will be able to utilize 24-hour concierge-level service at the touch of a button,— enthuses Rach.

16. Smaller Guest Rooms - Guest rooms in the hotel of the future will be smaller than those in the past. —Credenzas have been removed that contained CRT TVs, now that flat screens are the norm,— reports Hanson. —Another factor affecting room size is that Millennials and other travelers are spending less time in their guest rooms. Many prefer to congregate with their computers in public areas.—

17. Interactive TVs - Dan Nadeau, GM, Marriott Marquis, DC, notes that —Interactive TVs are falling into must-have category. They must enable guests to sync up their mobile devices with the TV to actually play their own content on the in-room flat screens. Basically, guests are expecting the tech they have at home, including access to their own content library while on the road.—


18. Customized Meeting Space - The next generation of meeting space is a focus of Marriott International. The ability to customize and personalize ballrooms and meeting rooms is key. —Next-generation spaces foster collaboration with technology integrated into an environment that fosters productive work. Soft seating, spaces to write on the walls, ballrooms that are blank canvases and can be easily customized, and more social networking spaces in the meeting areas are what we are driving toward,— says Jenny Hsieh, VP at Marriott International. An example can be found in the Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre, which has one of the largest LCD screens in China and can be customized for each gathering.

19. Meetings With a Purpose - An emphasis will be placed on much more than just physical meeting space. Marriott'snewly launched —Meetings Imagined— is forward thinking as it is designed to appeal to the next generation of meeting professionals by leveraging an online platform——to make gatherings more —visual, social and purposeful.— According to Marriott, every meeting has one of seven objectives: celebrate, decide, educate, ideate, network, produce and promote. Meetings Imagined plans meetings around experiences that advance those purposes, rather than meetings that fulfill the purely logistical requirements of an RFP.

20. Meeting Attendee Kiosks - Pamela McQueary who plans meetings for a large retail chain, envisions the hotel of the future will offer dedicated kiosks where meeting attendees can check-in, as well as mobile apps that can easily be personalized for each meeting group.

As customization of the guest experience, meetings included, becomes increasingly important for hotels, McQueary expects such personalized conveniences to become de rigueur.


Marriott is doing what it can to make sure it is ahead of the curve. It has a 10,000 sq.ft. Innovation Lab as well as an Innovation Team where employees and hotel owners brainstorm about what the hotel of the future will entail.

Three years ago, our group was formally developed out of this emerging need the company saw in a hotel industry that was becoming a sea of sameness,— explains Jenny Hsieh, VP, insight, strategy and innovation at Marriott International. —We knew we had to create new and innovative ways to differentiate our brand.—

The Innovation Lab, located beneath the company'sheadquarters in Bethesda, MD, also known as —The Underground,— offers rapid prototyping with instant feedback capabilities, bird—s-eye views from Internet-enabled cameras, and multiple avenues for customer participation.

—Everything we do is with the lens of what Millennials like,— says Hsieh. Marriott has tapped into its own workforce by inviting its Millennial employees to be part of an advisory board to help ascertain what resonates with this generation and what does not.

Not to be outdone, Starwood also has its own high-tech design lab at its headquarters in CT.

—The days of the hotel industry offering a product and saying to the consumer, —You better like it,— are over,— says Dr. Lalia Rach. —I—m not suggesting hotels never did research on their consumers [before], but it was done in the vein that the hotel was in charge, and not the consumer. Until the industry realizes the level of disruption that has occurred, it will [continue to] have problems.—

Doyle, Andrea, —The Hotel of the Future,— Successful Meetings, February 12, 2014

JAN/FEB 2014

New Year'sresolutions worth making

Eco-friendly New Year'sresolutions are important, But let'sskip the fluffy stuff like —compost more— and —grow your own food.— This year, let'sget real. Let'sthink about what really matters. This year, let'sresolve to participate in more meaningful behaviors. Things that will make us feel proud on our deathbed, not just in the grocery store check-out line. Behaviors that increase joy, relationships and access in our communities.

This year, let'sdo more. Let'sbe the organizers, planners and volunteers. Let'stake a stand and spread the word.

7 New Year'sResolutions for an Eco-Friendlier 2014:

1. Share - The gift economy, collaborative consumption, the sharing economy—regardless of what we call it, sharing is on the upswing in our world. After decades of me-me-me consumption, many of us have had enough. People all over the world are opening their hearts, minds, homes and garages and learning how to share again. In doing so, we're slowing resource consumption and helping our neighbors make a little cash. We're also remembering what it means to be a community of humans, invested in each other'ssuccess and interested in each other'sstories. Learn more about how to save money, time and resources through collaborative consumption.

2. Attend - When'sthe last time you went to the meetup of a local environmental organization? Or a city council meeting? Or the screening of an Indie documentary? Between our busy lives and the time-suck of social media, we—ve exchanged conversation for poorly worded e-mails and thumb-upping someone else'sviral image. This year, let'sgo do stuff. Let'stalk with people. Let'sargue, debate and expand our minds. When we accept a Facebook event invitation, let'sactually make an effort to go.

3. Donate - If you—ve got some to spare, make 2014 the year when you put your money where your mouth is. Posting pictures, signing petitions or sharing stories from your favorite organizations isn'tenough. Throw them some money. Your favorite organizations fight back against the status quo 365 days a year. If you like celebrating victories every once in a while, and can afford to, take the next step and give a few dollars to the cause.

4. Organize - No money to spare? That doesn'tmean you're doomed to watch from the sidelines. There are plenty of opportunities to organize direct actions in your community. It could be something as small as a movie screening in your living room, or as big as a picket line in front of City Hall. We all have friends and co-workers. We all have access to social media. Google —how to organize local action,— and you—ll find a plethora of digital toolkits designed to help you rally the troops and communicate your message.

5. Volunteer - Do you know the one thing awesome organizations and cooperatives need more than money? People. There was an awesome non-profit bookstore in my town last year, but it had to close. Not because of a lack of books or customers, but because of a lack of volunteers to help with store duties and behind-the-scenes stuff. If there'sa service, group or cause that you love and often take advantage of, consider saying —thank you— by offering your time.

6. Talk - In an effort not to be —that person— who'sconstantly criticizing others— lifestyle, we—ve retreated to the point of almost silence. Here'sthe thing: We NEED to talk about climate change. We NEED to talk about not supporting corporate polluters. We NEED to talk about why organic farming is better for our future than factory farming. Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing. If we're not talking to those we care about WHY we avoid the things we do, why even bother making changes? You don'thave to be condescending, you just have to be passionate.

7. Vote - In a time when our entire democratic process has been gutted by corporate money and special interests, this is perhaps the most important action of all. All year long we complain, point fingers and fire off angry comments, but how many of us actually get out there and vote on issues when the time comes? I—m talking about local issues and local elections. This year, take time to learn the ballot issues in your town. Mark election day on your calendar, and cast your vote.

Buczynski, Beth, Care2,, January 2, 2014

NOV/DEC 2013

National-Park Visitors Are Asked
to Take Their Trash With Them

Pilot Program to Get Rid of Cans Has
Unintended Porta Potty Consequences

National Park Service chief groundskeeper Anthony Migliaccio piloted his utility vehicle down the George Washington Memorial Parkway, surveying the good, the bad and the ugly in the government'snew effort to get visitors to do something that doesn'tcome naturally: haul away their own garbage.

Along the parkway'smain stem-a lush, tree-lined Virginia roadway that runs from George Washington'sMount Vernon estate to the forests of Turkey Run Park-there are now 55 fewer garbage cans. In their place are signs informing people that they are now expected to tote away their half-eaten hot dogs, soiled paper plates, crushed soda cans and the like.

With the Iwo Jima statue in the background, a sign at the Marine Corps Memorial explains Trash Free Parks, with complimentary bags.

The idea behind project Carry In-Carry Out, explained Mr. Migliaccio, is to free up the park service'strash haulers to pursue nobler beautification projects, such as flower planting. But training the masses to stuff their own refuse back into their cars, purses and strollers is causing something of a stink. On a recent day, one lonely can in a busy park overflowed with visitors— refuse. Meanwhile, a nearby dispenser of free plastic trash bags—each printed with a plea for folks to retain their own waste-remained full.

Bus driver Ronnie McGinley ambled over to the overloaded bin, carrying a plastic water bottle. So why not keep the vessel on the bus? —I don'twant it rolling around,— said Mr. McGinley, who seemed a bit nonplused by the voluntary rule. —You want it?—

Still, the trash initiative presses on. The DC region'spilot program calls for replacing garbage bins from 27 locations along the parkway with twice as many signs asking people to own their own messes. It'sa tall order. Each year the George Washington Parkway—a 32-mile national park/commuter route dotted with historic sites, memorials, picnic groves and wildlife refuges-draws about eight million visitors along with their dogs, diapers, paper plates and plastic sporks. It'sthe fifth most-visited feature in the national park system. Visitors create some 380 tons of solid waste each year.

Carry In-Carry Out was launched on Earth Day in April, and now is in the middle of a six-month period that, overall, parkway deputy superintendent Jon —J.J.— James refers to as —bumpy.— Mr. Migliaccio describes it as being in —the teething stage.— Touring his turf in the rain recently, Mr. Migliaccio pointed out a pair of waterlogged boat shoes, a cooler lid and an intact ceramic serving dish. There was also a drive shaft, hubcap and a couple of dozen plastic water bottles. Near the Reagan National Airport exit, inexplicably, was an abandoned white hazmat suit. Nonetheless, Mr. Migliaccio took a rosy view. —Not bad,— he pronounced of his findings. —Most of this stuff would be here even if we did have cans.— His rounds, though, exposed other challenges. Mr. Migliaccio drove past flocks of tourists at the Marine Corps Memorial, famed for its monument memorializing the flag-raising at Iwo Jima. The site draws four million visitors a year. When the trash-free program began-and some cans disappeared-people rushed to the area'sPorta Potties to relieve themselves of their trash. That'sa big no-no. Porta Potties are normally pumped out with a hose. If they're filled with garbage, as opposed to human waste, the contents must be removed by hand. —Dipping trash and dog waste out of Porta Potties is a hazardous activity,— says Mr. James. —That didn'tcontinue very long before we got the cans back out there.— Indeed, after removing five trash cans from the memorial area, the park service put two back, then removed one.

Next problem stop: the aptly named Roaches Run, a waterfowl sanctuary on the Potomac whose parking lot was strewn with pizza boxes, cups and newspapers tossed mostly by taxi and limousine drivers who sit in the sanctuary'sparking lot, awaiting calls to nearby Reagan National Airport. Cab driver Esmail Abedini rolled down his window, releasing a miasma of food smells. —I have my plastic, but some people don'tthink this way, so I—d like to see the trash cans back,— he said, holding up a clear cellophane bag with scraps of his lunch at the bottom. A wilted sprig of fresh mint and a pine-tree shaped air freshener lay across the car'sconsole, but accomplished little. —Right now in America the trash is worse than in developing countries in Middle East. Tehran is cleaner,— he said. —See this?— he said, gesturing in anger at the litter around him, —Maybe it is the bad economy?—

Carry In-Carry Out has gained traction among waste management types because it saves money and time on trash collection, and encourages recycling: the random mess removed from trash bins is fit only for the incinerator. But data on urban programs— success is still accumulating. In New York City, for example, the subway system hauls 14,000 tons of garbage out of its 468 stations annually. It launched a pilot trash-free program, similar to Carry In-Carry Out, in 2011 at two stations. After logging a trash reduction of up to 67%, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority expanded the program to eight more stations last year. There are no numbers for the broader program yet. Since riders continue tossing free newspapers and half-eaten pastries into phone booths and under benches, the MTA is noncommittal. The trash-reduction program —isn'tfeasible at our largest stations, like Grand Central or Times Square,— said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. Sloth, it seems, is ultimately just a part of urban life.

Parks are different, of course, and Mr. James, who began his career in the Great Plains states, has lofty notions about inspiring people to comply. —If we could teach them to look on parks as sacred, like the Nez Perce do, it would be interesting,— he says.

Mr. Migliaccio'steam collected just 22 tons of trash from his territory in May, the first full month of the program-or five tons less than the same month in 2012. Still, the park service has had to alter its can-free vision as time passes. There are no plans to remove trash receptacles from busy recreation areas such as Gravelly Point, where visitors fish, boat and eat while watching planes land and take off at the airport. There, despite the continued presence of about 25 cans, —on Monday morning it looks like Woodstock after everyone went home,— Mr. Migliaccio said. —We're learning as we go, but we have no intention of lowering our standards,— he added.

Meanwhile, the 55 cans removed from his stretch of parkway sit, washed and stacked, in a maintenance warehouse. —They're recyclable-but we're going to hang onto them for the foreseeable future,— he said.

Elizabeth Williamson, —National-Park Visitors Are Asked to Take
Their Trash With Them,— The Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2013

NOTE FROM GHA: Any property that is near a park or public facility that will be implementing —Take Trash with You— programs should be aware that hotels and other businesses will be impacted by these programs. Guests will be bringing more trash and recyclables to hotels and other businesses for disposal. So, hotels and other businesses in the area will need to consider how much their solid waste and recycling programs may be expanded.

SEP/OCT 2013


As usual, this issue focuses on success stories of GHA'sPartner Members. We are sharing these very successful stories with all members. You are all working very hard at being green, and sharing information will make it easier. We know you—ll love reading these stimulating, interesting and very green stories! So, we begin again . . .


By Terrell White, Owner

El Rey Inn, a property in Santa Fe, NM which originated in 1936, is spread out over 5 acres of somewhat lush, somewhat tropical and somewhat dry land with lots of walkways and foot paths. My family and I have owned and run the property since 1973. One goal is to keep the property looking lush and green, which is a real challenge when we are at 7,000 feet in the high desert and in the very dry climate of north central New Mexico. Santa Fe'ssetting in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains produces a mild continental climate with four distinct seasons. However, New Mexico has been on the national map as one of the driest states in the country, and our state is in the third year of a major drought. Consequently, it has been our concern to save our most precious resource—which is water. The image of 18-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER El Rey Inn is our gardens, trees and incredible roses and many private courtyards, patios and fountains throughout the garden property.

Twelve years ago our hotel installed several high traffic areas with artificial turf in an effort to curb the use of water, fertilizer and additional labor. The project was rather expensive initially at about $11,000 for about 1,000 square feet, but the cost savings over all these years has been substantial.

We used a first-class company which happened to be owned by the son of one of our housekeepers for the installation. There was a lot of prep work spreading sand and compaction of the surface to level the area before the turf was installed. The artificial turf allows water to pass through it so the nearby trees receive rain or sprinkler water and the overall look remains most attractive and cared-for in appearance. With the natural light accumulation of pine cones and some pine needles, the turf looks very real as well as natural. I don'tthink that the guests are even aware that it is artificial. Edges of the turf are enhanced with brick and stone edging.

After all these years the areas still look sharp, and we have used far less water because of the investment. Santa Fe has one of the highest water rates in the country with commercial establishments impacted the most. For the first 80,000 gallons of use, the rate is $6.06 per thousand gallons per month and after that the rate goes up to $21.72 per thousand gallons of use per month. The water bills for our property run between $5,000 and $8,000 per month for an 86-unit property, which is over and above the water used from two wells on the property.

Our two water wells are each about 220— deep. One was dug in the —70s and the second in the —90s. Our inn is only allowed to use well water for exterior use which includes our outdoor glass-enclosed spa, our indoor spa and our junior-size Olympic pool. The well water cannot be used inside the buildings. At our home nearby, we have used well water for everything for many years, and find the well water quality to be excellent.

We have an on-site greenhouse built almost 30-years ago that is in use throughout the year to grow bedding plants, flowers for interior use, hanging basket flowers and plantings in barrels all over the property. We have beautiful cascading geraniums all over the property and especially at our porte-cochere. No food or herbs are grown. The greenhouse has always been highly interesting to our guests, and most cannot resist popping in to see what'sgoing on in there.

Should you have questions, do contact me at 505/982-1931 or Our web address is

Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls Green Policy

Surrounded on three sides by Hocking Hills State Park, the 14-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, in Logan, OH, features a setting that puts guests in tune with the harmony of nature, the peace of solitude and the simple joys of the Earth'sbeauty. Mammoth rock formations, caves and waterfalls native to the Hocking Hills, OH region share their breathtaking beauty with the inn'scharming cottages, 1840s log cabins and antique-filled bed and breakfast rooms.

Our green activities include:

1. Use saran wrap on sandwiches instead of using to-go boxes

2. Use recycled hoagie bags for sandwiches instead of boxes

3. Reusable containers for lunches

4. Use recycled paper products

5. Reuse garbage bags when possible (empty together)

6. Use reverse of previously printed paper in computer printer

7. Use liquid soap and reduce use of bar soaps

8. Wash laundry with cold water whenever possible

9. Switched to environmentally-safe cleaning products

10. Offer a linen (both towels and sheets) reuse program in all rooms

11. Donate retired sheets and towels to staff and homeless shelters.

12. Installed low-flow showerheads and sink aerators

13. 70% dual-flush or high-pressure toilets

14. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs in guestrooms and sensors in infrequently used areas

15. Keep heat turned down in cabins, cottages and rooms

16. Leave heat/AC on one setting and not turn it up and down

17. Use less paper by reducing size of paper used

18. Our current spa products are natural and environmentally conscious

19. Offer organic healthy snacks

20. Offer discount rates to sustainable living/environmental organizations which book rooms or meeting space at property

21. Recycle plastic garden benches

22. Repaved all driveways with recycled concrete / blacktop

Contact Ellen Grinsfelder, Owner, at 740/385-7489 or


13-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER Little St. Simons Island is a private barrier island just off the Georgia coast. The natural world presides here across 10,000 intrusion-free acres of maritime forests and marshlands, enjoyed by no more than 32 overnight guests at a time. Seven miles of shell-strewn beaches and energizing outdoor activities beckon guests to explore and discover. Accessible only by boat, this extraordinary natural sanctuary is among the last of its kind anywhere. Vastly different from most other barrier islands along the Atlantic seaboard, Little St. Simons Island remains virtually undeveloped.

LSSI has recently completed a project to replace our old bulkhead (or seawall) with a more ecologically friendly form of bank stabilization—a living shoreline. The previous 300— bulkhead which was adjacent to our main dock was beginning to fail and in need of replacement. After the wooden bulkhead was removed, the sandy creek bank was angled backward. At low tide, plastic mesh bags holding about 20 pounds of oyster shells each were put in place against the bank. Recycled pieces of concrete were put at the base of the bank to serve as the toe. After the bags of oyster shells were in place, native plantings were added to complete the upland portion of the living shoreline. Planning to completion of the project took more than a year. Our goal was to continue to protect the shoreline from erosion, but to do it with the least impact possible and in a way that benefits the ecosystem there. Cost of the project was significantly less than a traditional bulkhead.

The project is the third in a series of pilot projects in Georgia, installed with the help of several conservation partners including The Nature Conservancy, Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, Georgia Department of Natural Resources— Coastal Resources Division and University of Georgia'sMarine Extension. We also received funding from a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) grant. (

What is a living shoreline? It'sa method used to stabilize banks and prevent erosion from tides and surface water runoff using oysters and native plants. In Georgia, we have lost 90% of our historic oyster reefs. Our oysters were overharvested in the early 1900s for the cannery industry and the shells were not returned to the marshes. Oyster larvae (called spat) require a substrate to settle on, often other oyster shells. Our waters have been tested and are rich in spat, so they should settle on the newly-installed shell and begin growing within the next year, creating a living reef. Oysters are considered a keystone species in our saltmarshes and play important roles in water filtration and in enhancing fish habitat. With the creation of the oyster reef and by planting native vegetation, we are beginning to reconnect the upland, marsh and creek ecosystems at this site.

In addition to our conservation partners, volunteers from Coastal WildScapes ( and AmeriCorps have put in nearly 1,000 volunteer hours bagging oyster shells and replanting native vegetation along the shoreline. Although we had to purchase quite a bit, we have also been able to take advantage of the restaurant oyster shells that we had stored on site. Our guests have also unknowingly played a role with this project. Of the 10,000 bags used in the project, about 2,000 of those came from our Friday evening oyster roasts.

In the future as we are better able to document the success of this new technique, we hope to continue working with our partners as they develop living shoreline guidelines to share with private landowners and others encouraging the use of this type of stabilization as an alternative to traditional types of hardened shorelines. For further information, contact Scott Coleman, Ecological Manager, at 912/638-7472 or


Since 1986, 13-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER The Cove at Yarmouth Resort has been a prime vacation spot for visitors to the Cape Cod, MA area. The West Yarmouth facility features 229 one-bedroom timeshare condominiums, and is the largest year-round resort on Cape Cod. For the majority of the year the property features occupancies north of 70%. In the June, July, August and September months, the occupancy spikes above 95%. With such a high volume of use, General Manager Michael Edwards was looking for ways to not only modernize the systems in the facility, but also to lower its energy and water consumption totals.

He did that by initiating a number of retrofits that have produced significant savings. The biggest change was the installation of 19 Eternal hybrid water heaters ( —The complex previously used 23 100-gallon high-recovery hot-water tanks (199,000 Btu each), which were not overly efficient,— Edwards says. Edwards notes the new 98% efficient, 195,000 Btu hybrid models have resulted in an average natural gas savings of 17% a month since the December 2012 installation. —Overall efficiency wins the day,— Edwards says. —Cost was $91,000, and we're saving approximately $1,700 a month on gas bills.— Edwards says a crane was needed to switch out our water heaters in the past creating maintenance troubles and big expenses. —The hybrid models are about the size of a family suitcase, and are easy to work on. It'sa matter of unbolting the air, gas and water lines and putting in a new one,— he says.

Also on the retrofit list were the facility's27-year-old boilers which were original to the property. Those 250,000 Btu boilers were replaced with nine Weil-McLain ultra-high efficiency models (230,000 Btu, 95% EE rating). —With the old ones we had to package three together, and they were running all the time,— Edwards says. —The new models are variable-speed, modulating-condensing and are in a series together. They fire only when they are needed.—

Other green upgrades include the installation of low-flow, 1.28-gpf American Standard toilets, Oxygenics and American Standard 1.0 gpm shower heads, Moen shower valves and aerators. Edwards has noticed a 12% downturn in the facility'swater usage since going to greener fixtures.

Edwards realized additional efficiencies by installing CAR-II'sconstant airflow regulator grilles in each bathroom. Greenheck direct-drive, variable-speed exhaust fans with dampers replaced the existing 21 exhaust fans. The new setup controls air flow being drawn from the rooms and thus lowers energy usage. Edwards also installed 165 LED lights throughout the facility (35 emergency outdoor lights, 90 restaurant recessed lights and 40 meeting room lights).

The retrofit projects were aided by a rebate program from Mass Save (, an energy auditing organization that provides energy audits and energy-efficiency rebates for homes and businesses in Massachusetts.

—Cape Light Compact is an inter-governmental organization that assists with delivery of proven energy efficiency programs. We worked a relationship with them through Rise Engineering, and got a lot of the project subsidized,— says Edwards. Cape Light Compact is a contractor for Mass Save in the Cape Cod area. —We made a capital investment of somewhere around $600,000 for the equipment we installed (water heaters and boilers), and we received more than $31,000 in direct rebates from Mass Save.— Edwards, who is investigating the potential future use of solar technology, is glad he went through with the sustainable upgrades.

—Before, we were wasting utilities,— he says. —The mechanicals— useful life had come due. It was time to do something about it. We're very happy with the results.—

Michael also says he especially likes the hospitality trend toward eco-friendly sheets which are100% recyclable microfiber purchased from He says they have the feel of 600-thread-count cotton sheets, they are stain resistant, dry in half the time and the cost is comparable. He likes them so well that he uses the sheets on his bed at home. Michael can be reached via 508/771-3666 or


12-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER Cottonwood Cove Resort and Marina on Lake Mohave has made history, becoming the world'sfirst floating green building to receive the prestigious LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Spearheaded by the National Park Service and Forever Resorts, LLC, the marina building serves as the marina'soperations office.

For use of decking made of rice hulls to exterior stucco made of recycled tires, from the beginning, the marina was lauded for its use of green materials. The floating eco-friendly structure features sustainable modular construction and state-of-the-art energy-efficient and environmentally-responsible materials and fixtures. Use of low or no-volatile-organic-compound (VOC) materials, paints and adhesives rid the building of the typical new-building smell, improving the overall indoor air quality.

For commercial buildings and neighborhoods to earn LEED certification, a project must satisfy all LEED prerequisites and earn a minimum 40 points on a 110-point LEED rating system scale. According to the USGBC, participation in the voluntary LEED process demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

—We, together with the National Park Service, are proud to have made history with this achievement,— says John Schoppmann, executive vice president, Forever Resorts. —This building embodies Forever Resorts— company-wide commitment to embracing eco-friendly, sustainable business and public-private partnership principles.—

The project'skey earth-minded elements and commitments include the Forever Resorts— Forever Earth Environmental Management System and a mix of new and existing programs:

• Green cleaning program throughout the resort

• Green purchasing program

• Energy and environmental education programs for boaters and community members

• Extensive energy-saving materials and systems, including high-performance insulated glass

• High-efficient HVAC equipment and delivery systems

• Extensive use of recycled and regionally extracted and manufactured materials, such as concrete, steel, drywall, metal studs and carpet

• Finish materials, paints, adhesives, caulks and sealants that contain low or no VOCs to ensure healthy indoor air quality

• Extensive natural daylight and views to the outdoors throughout, maximizing east/west orientation

• Recycled and recyclable building and landscape materials

• Prevention of night-sky pollution via nighttime light fixtures

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the fifth most visited national park in the country and is located adjacent to Las Vegas, the nation'stop tourist destination. Its 1.5 million acres, which includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, hosts nearly 7 million visitors each year. Forever Resorts is an exceptional collection of destinations providing hospitality services throughout the world. The company focuses on properties with access to nature and one-of-a-kind surroundings for vacations, including houseboating adventures. Cottonwood Cove Resort and Marina are located 90 minutes from Las Vegas and offer lakeside accommodations, houseboat and powerboat rentals, the Cottonwood Cove Cafe and a full-service RV park. To learn more, see


By Shakti Klalsa, Owner

12-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER Park Lane Guest House is a half-acre eco urban oasis nestled beneath the shade of the live oaks in the historic Travis Heights/SoCo (South Congress) district of Austin, TX. We are within walking distance of downtown, and near the state capitol, the Austin Convention Center, Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trails and just 2 miles from The University of Texas, Zilker Park and Barton Springs.

These elegant private cottages were built out of reclaimed building materials. In fact, our Tiny Texas House is built out of 100% reclaimed materials. We chose Sherwin Williams— Historic House Paint Collection paints. I used my history as a historic restoration carpenter in the Northeast to determine how and where to use the colors.

Being a GreenLeaders Platinum certified property as of this year means continuing to provide our guests with leading-edge environmental initiatives. The fundamentals of respecting the environment are key to our long-term success.

Today we are proud to announce the installation of a solar-powered system at Park Lane. Now we will not only be conserving energy—we will be creating it. Also, any guest that has an electric car should know that we have a Level 2 charging station, and the plug-in is always free.

We aim to reduce waste through our recycling and composting program. All of our guests are encouraged to participate in our environmental program by simply sorting their trash into the bins provided in each room and setting aside all organics to either be shared with the chickens or composted on site.

Speaking of chickens: Our chicken coop houses nine free-range hens. We have carefully selected heritage breeds and breeds that are on the endangered species watch list. We—ve just harvested the first batch of honey from our bee hive. The bees have been busy all spring and summer pollinating our fruit trees, and have yielded some very tasty honey that will be sure to top guest breakfasts in days to come. Guests are assured of having the freshest organic breakfast which will include fresh edible flowers and herbs from the garden. Our natural pool in the shade of the live oak tree is a great place to relax.

Further greening includes:

• 100% smoke free

• Serving only organic fair-trade coffee

• No cleaning chemicals or fragrances used

• GHA ALLY MEMBER EO/Small World organic personal amenities

• All 100% cotton linens and organic cotton robes

• Our organic, vegetarian breakfast includes fresh eggs from our free-range hens

• Herbs, fruits and vegetables from our garden

• Many locally-sourced products

• OrganicPedic mattresses by OMI

Want to know more? Call Shakti Klalsa at 512/447-7460 or e-mail her at

Bardessono, Greening and its Luxury Travelers

When 7-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER Bardessono Hotel, Restaurant, and Spa was conceived, the vision was simple—to be the greenest and best luxury hotel in the world. Period. Clearly, this was not an easy undertaking. On February 2, 2009, at the absolute bottom of the lodging industry'seconomy, Bardessono opened in Yountville in the heart of Napa Valley, CA. This 62-room property was developed at a cost of over $1,000,000 per key, enabling it to quickly join Auberge, Calistoga Ranch and Meadowood in the elite group of Napa Valley'sfinest luxury hotels.

Its differentiation was two-fold—greenness and its location within the town of Yountville, considered by many the most desirable location in the valley, and home to arguably some of the finest restaurants in the US, including Thomas Keller'sThe French Laundry. Bardessono was developed and then operated to LEED Platinum Certification standards, and not long after it opened, earned that certification officially from the US Green Building Council. It currently is one of two LEED Platinum-certified hotels in the world, and with revpar commensurate with its market-leading luxury positioning. How it was developed and how it is operated are the subjects for another story. Suffice it to say that the 72 geothermal wells, 972 solar panels, the materials used in construction and the green operating practices all speak volumes to its extreme eco-sensitivity. But that'snot what this is about.

It'sabout marketing and the consumer response to green luxury. When MTM Luxury opened Hotel 1000 in Seattle in 2006, the property began as the most technologically-advanced hotel in the world. Hard to believe, but true nonetheless. The PR, as a result, was phenomenal. When MTM opened The Liberty Hotel in Boston, the story there was the conversion of an 1851 iconic county jail into a luxury hotel, and again, the PR was phenomenal. In 2009, Bardessono'sopening PR thrust was its greenness, the result being much more media attention than what just another new luxury hotel would garner. We were an instant hit among environmentalists. Groups and individuals, rooted in environmentalism all came to see us. Good for occupancy. Not as good for ADR.

Within a year, it became crystal clear to us that our lead story might not be the right one for our targeted customer. With our in-your-face approach to marketing our greenness, we lost sight of the need to focus on our location, extraordinary luxury, and staff ratio of two per room and the resulting attentive service we consistently deliver. Some prospective guests, used to the finest things in life, were stuck in the conventional wisdom at the time that green and true luxury are mutually exclusive. They conjured up visions of minimalism and discomfort. In some respects, the initial media attention we received for our greenness worked against us. Our guests seek a great hotel experience first, and can get one at comparable rates elsewhere. Our value-add to them is the knowledge that the carbon footprint they leave behind in Napa Valley is about half the size it would be at another hotel.

So into and throughout 2011, our marketing and its messaging have been all about being a world-class hotel. Our greenness has become a secondary message . . . an —Oh, by the way . . . we're one of the greenest luxury hotels in the world, as validated by our LEED Platinum certification.— The customer response has been excellent as evidenced by Bardessono being named by the #1 Hotel in America for —Relaxation and Spa,— and the #5 Hotel in the World.

While the green message is secondary, it is still an important one. When groups and individuals are weighing their options with respect to the Napa Valley'sfinest lodging, those with even a shred of an environmental conscience choose us. A good example being an A-list film celebrity, who wanted to do her latest movie media launch in Napa Valley, and when she learned about our eco-sensitivity, she chose us because of her strong environmental awareness and support for like-minded organizations.

While our guests are here, we subtly make them aware of their support for the environment by association with discreet physical messaging, as well as staff dialogue. When we pique their interest, we can go into the role of being full-on educators. If we sense disinterest, we move off the subject of the environment and move on to what we believe will interest them. Most often wine and food. Go figure.

The moral of this is remarkably simple. Know your prospective and existing customers. Market to them as individuals—not as market segments. Promote your hotel on the basis of its merits and what each of your customers wants and needs, either consciously or sub-consciously. Your greenness is a value-add, and is appealing to more and more travelers. Its ability to drive revpar is increasing. But in our world, it'sall about luxury first—how we market it, then how we deliver it. This is the foundation upon which Benchmark Hospitality'sPersonal Luxury Resorts & Hotels is built. Being green is increasingly good for business, and much more importantly, it'sgood for the world in which we live.

When questioned regarding what about greening most interests his luxury guests, Jim responded, —From nothing to everything here . . . it runs the gamut. Some are incredibly impressed with everything we did during the property'sdevelopment, as well as how we operate the hotel, and want to know everything about us regarding all things green . . . to others who are completely oblivious, don'thave a clue and don'tcare about the environment. Those folks drive $100-500K cars getting less than 10 mpg. The former group rolls up in their Lexus Hybrids, Teslas, Fiskers, Priuses and a few Volts and Leafs.— He continues, —I think it'sour CCOF (California Certified Organic Farm) garden that gets the most raves. We grow our own produce, herbs and some fruit on site. And we buy zero processed food. Everything comes in the back door in its natural state. We make everything from scratch . . . even ketchup . . . made from tomatoes we grow or occasionally buy from local famers.— Contact Jim Treadway at 707/204-6001 or


6-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER, Snug Hollow Farm B&B in Irvine, KY, is a secluded 300-acre retreat with restored log cabins and a spacious farmhouse surrounded by babbling creeks, wildflowers, wooded mountainsides and wildlife. Barbara Napier purchased the property 35 years ago, and since starting her B&B has served gourmet vegetarian lunches and dinners by reservation. She gained her love for food and cooking from her very talented mother, who was the local florist, a seamstress, worked full-time and had 5 children. Like her mother, Barbara is well known for her cooking and has been a vegetarian for 36 years.

Barbara has published a cook book, Hot Food and Warm Memories. Her very successful vegetarian cookbook was inspired by her guests requesting her recipes. She wrote the copy, took most of the photographs herself, and it took a year to put the book together. Her cook book is sold online, at and at area events and bookstores.

Each summer, she teaches a cooking class in Berea, KY, which is the art capital of the state. The four-hour class costs $100, participants are inspired to cook vegetarian and are provided a delicious meal and a copy of her cook book. She invites locals and guests to enjoy an evening of cooking and sampling gourmet vegetarian fare while learning creative ways to serve up old favorites as healthful vegetarian dishes. At the class she talks about what to cook along with ideas about familiar foods that can be served in new and imaginative ways. Many have been thrilled to learn they can be a vegetarian one day at a time.

Barbara says it all with, —Cooking is not a chore, but a daily meditation. It is a joy for me, and a gift to my guests.— She can be contacted at 606/723-4786 or


6-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER Forever Resorts - The Grand Canyon Lodge - North Rim is the first hospitality company in the State of Arizona to receive the prestigious Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Certification from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The award recognizes employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries.

The VPP award is granted to companies that successfully complete a rigorous application and investigation process, and the Grand Canyon Lodge - North Rim is one of the smallest companies to have received the award and one of very few hospitality companies in the US to have done so.

Grand Canyon Lodge - North Rim is the only lodging inside the National Park on the North Rim. Located at Bright Angel Point, the lodge was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The original Lodge was constructed in 1928 and burned in 1932. The current Lodge was rebuilt in 1937 using as much of the original structure as possible. Here, guests may enjoy the quiet serenity of the North Rim while enjoying comfortable guest rooms and cabins, which were constructed in the 1930s and 40s.

Guests may take an easy hike along the rim or ride a mule along steep trails into the canyon; or enjoy stunning views from the main lodge'sexpansive windows or outdoor terrace. Learn more at


Last year we reported that 6-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER Keys Hotel The Aures celebrated Indian Independence Day (15Aug2012) by planting more than 1,000 neem, sal, custard apple, etc. trees in the nearby hills of Aurangabad. One goal was to help control runoff rain water as well as increase green cover. Unfortunately, most of the saplings planted last year haven'tsurvived due to drought in the region. Saddened, but not discouraged, this year management and staff have planted over 1,200 neem and sal saplings to honor the 67th Independence Day. Management and staff of the Keys Hotel The Aures along with many volunteers completed the plantings in the village of Khamkheda, which is enroute to the Ajanta Caves near Aurangabad, where the hotel is located. As for the future, the decision has been made to plant at least 1,000 trees each August 15 in the area. Excellent!


6-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER Skytop Lodge received the coveted PMVB (Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau) Green Tourism Achievement Award for our conservation and ecological efforts here at Skytop Lodge! With a history tied to nature, Skytop has always made efforts through awareness and preservation programs, and working with some of the country'stop ecological organizations.

A member of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America and —Green— Hotels Association®, Skytop Lodge sits atop 5,500 acres which includes deciduous and evergreen forests, scrub oak forests, rocky outcroppings, a rhododendron swamp, a glacial bog and small grassy meadows, which have all been held in conservation since 1928.

Wildlife conservation efforts have been an integral part of the history of Skytop Lodge, and the original forester, Pat Fasano, worked hard to develop a trail system for the guests to enjoy. Pat also began a wildlife inventory of the property to provide a baseline for future management decisions which he knew to be important to conservation efforts such as the preservation of a forest and its inhabitants. His published book, The Nature of Skytop, was ahead of its time, and is still available on

Under the management of former naturalist, John Serrao, much of the bird life, forest community and reptile and amphibian inhabitants of the property were recorded. This information was subsequently shared with statewide organizations such as the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, the Pennsylvania Herpetological Atlas, the Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas, the Pennsylvania Biological Team, the Amphibian and Reptile Technical Committee and the Dragonfly and Damselfly Technical Committee.

Recent conservation efforts include providing nest boxes for Eastern Bluebirds, Purple Martins and Screech Owls which are monitored during breeding season, sharing results with the Pennsylvania Society of Ornithology and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. A similar program is underway building bat boxes.

Skytop also chose to refrain from broadcast spraying of gypsy moths recently to preserve other insect species that would be harmed by such a wide attack, and when installing the new Tree Top Adventure zip-line obstacle course, tree removal was kept to a minimum with much of the removed wood being used for on-site projects. Conservation continues inside the lodge, too, with farm-to-table dining, highlighting local farmers and growers at their annual Harvest Lake Stroll in the autumn.

To preserve the dropping honeybee populations, Skytop'sBee Mindful initiative is distributing over 10,000 packages of wildflower seeds to help fight Colony Collapse Disorder, by helping others grow wildflower gardens like the ones at Skytop that have provided homes to our winged friends for over 80 years. Skytop is also arranging a viewing of the award-winning documentary, The Vanishing of the Bees, to raise awareness, and bringing a local bee keeper on site to share the art of bee keeping and the secrets of honey.

Skytop Naturalists, Rick Koval and Jackie Speicher, educate visitors about the native species at Skytop. There is also a native animal collection containing a 7-foot Black Rat snake, a Timber Rattlesnake, a Northern Copperhead snake, (which all chow down on frozen rodents at public feeding times), an Eastern Garter snake (who prefers to slurp up his earthworms), Bullfrogs, Green frogs, American toads, 5 species of salamanders and a 45-year old box turtle named Myrtle.

Rick also hosts edible plant walks teaching how to identify safe plants for food, teas, mushrooms and medicinal use, as well as poisonous plants to avoid. He highlights popular edible species including stag horn sumac, which makes a tea-like pink lemonade, sassafras for root beer, pineapple chamomile (which tastes like, you guessed it, pineapple!), wild basil, dandelions and acorns, as well as rare plants, such as bog rosemary growing in Skytop'sremote cranberry bog, which must be left undisturbed. Rick published a great acorn bread recipe in the Pocono Record.

Skytop also works with leading conservation organizations. In 2004, Skytop Lodge hosted a Wooley Adelgid Summit organized by the Paradise Creek Study and the Brodhead Watershed Association to examine the aphid that'sinfecting the Eastern Hemlock trees (not to be confused with the Poisonous Hemlock Shrub). These trees help prevent river bank soil erosion and provide cooling shade that shelters many forms of wildlife. Working with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Survey, a plant and grass survey was completed, and a tree survey of the golf course is underway toward certification from Audubon International.

The Pocono Avian Research Center has conducted research including an investigation on the productivity and survivorship of the breeding songbirds at Skytop Lodge. Information generated at Skytop is shared with the Institute for Bird Populations and the United States Geological Survey, the Migratory Bird Office and the Bird Banding Laboratory. A 10-year study by the Pocono Avian Research Center on the Northern Saw-whet Owl at Skytop has provided evidence of a strong population that has kept the Saw-whet Owl from being listed as a Species of Concern and offers encouragement.

Ann Pilcher of the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau stated, —What really made [Skytop] stand out was their Bee Mindful Program and all the efforts of their naturalists. We were really looking for someone that was a —Green— Hotels [Association} member, and made conservation and nature a priority.—

Skytop Lodge is proud to be recognized for their efforts and will continue their ongoing conservation plans to enrich and strengthen our beautiful natural surroundings for generations to come. To lean more, contact Elaine Leies, Sales Manager, at 570/595-8966 or


By Sarah Jessup, Owner

5-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch sits within a 3,200-acre working cattle ranch near Loveland, CO at a 5,280— elevation. The property, which began in 1919 includes 28 guestrooms, but can accommodate 500+ for special occasions. The Jessup family has owned and run the guest ranch since 1946. The mountain getaway is nestled in the Big Thompson River Valley, and it'spromised that one will see eagles soaring overhead and deer grazing nearby.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Those three words are the core of Sylvan Dale'smission —to apply practices in our daily work routine that support a sustainable operation in harmony with the natural environment.— Green practices have been integral to Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch since the beginning. As children of the Great Depression, my parents, Maurice and Mayme Jessup, knew what it meant to recycle—nothing was ever thrown away. Mom reused plastic bags and tin foil! Dad put things in storage. —We—ll use that someday,— he—d say.

In the 1990s we made a big commitment to green by initiating conservation easements on our land. To date, we—ve preserved over 70% of our land with Larimer County Open Lands and the Legacy Land Trust protecting scenic foothill views and wildlife habitat. Our commitment to green practices has proven to be a deciding factor for many of our guests and corporate clients.

Some of our green practices include:

• Room signage encouraging guests to reuse linens and towels.

• Line-dried linens.

• Turning down water heaters to conserve energy when the cabins are vacant.

• Extensive recycling for all areas of the ranch.

• We serve all food and beverages with reusable service ware.

• NO Styrofoam, only compostable cups, plates, napkins and plastic ware when necessary.

• Using environmentally-friendly and bio-degradable cleaning solutions.

• Support local vendors and use Colorado produce and all-natural or organic meats.

• Using produce from our garden for guest meals.

• Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs or LED lighting.

• Purchasing wind energy.

• Rotational grazing of the cattle and horses.

In December 2008, Sylvan Dale became a proud member of —Green— Hotels Association®. It'sgratifying that the values we—ve held for years, doing the right thing, striving for energy efficiency, water conservation and promoting other sustainable practices has become so popular and important in today'sworld. We will continue to follow the example my parents set to preserve and protect our little piece of paradise, and to share the beauty of Sylvan Dale for future generations. For further information, call me, Susan Jessup, at 970/667-3915 or e-mail me at


A bastion of casual elegance since 1885, the 2-year GHA PARTNER MEMBER Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa is poised in the heart of historic downtown Sausalito on a lush hillside overlooking Richardson Bay. The luxury boutique hotel is located on the waterfront in a picturesque and upscale Bay Area community north of San Francisco located just across the Golden Gate Bridge.

When Marin County offered financial assistance to encourage energy savings through installation of LED lighting in county hospitality public areas, General Manager Stefan Mühle was quick to accept the offer. An auditor from, an intermediary, walked the facility and made a list of the lighting replacements necessary which then required a commitment by hotel management. The project included replacing all incandescent bulbs in stairways, hallways, event rooms and outdoors—any areas used by the general public. Almost all of the property'slighting is recessed, so no fixtures had to be replaced. Cost of the new LED bulbs was about $8,000, but the final cost to the hotel was only the sales tax. The bulbs had to be installed within a defined time frame after which the auditor returned to confirm installation. About six weeks later, a rebate check was received. Since the installation last winter, the 63-room Casa Madrona'selectric bill has been reduced from about $3,500 a month to about $3,000 monthly—a big savings. The only difficultly was that the event-space dimmable lighting was unsatisfactory, but the auditor was quick to assist with solving the problem.

Expected soon is another Marin County rebate offer which will involve replacing guestroom and/or interior lighting. This replacement may be more difficult since guestroom lighting needs to be warm, without flicker and, hopefully, without afterglow. Some guests have complained about LED bulb afterglow, which means the bulbs can take a little longer to be completely off. Contact Stefan at 415/332-0502 or or visit .


New GHA PARTNER MEMBER Inn at Nye Beach, Newport, OR, was built in 2010 with a total green focus. The previous accommodations on the property, the historic Viking Cottages, were over 100 years old, simply not repairable and were torn down. Most of the wood from the cottages was salvaged. In fact, much of the wood framing, wood doors and wood window frames were used in the new construction. A lot more of the wood was sent to a local manufacturer to be made into the guestroom furniture—head boards, chairs, etc. All the wood that was left after that was chipped, and is now landscaping mulch on the property.

A 58-panel solar array was installed during construction on the entire south-facing roof and designed to produce over 16,000 watts of electricity daily. Electric bills are generally only $80 a month. On their website (, the amount of energy that is being produced is shown in real time. Their on-demand tankless water-heating system by Navien saves water as well as energy. Low-flow 2.0 gpm Culligan RainDisc showerheads and American Standard H2Option Siphonic dual f lush toilets give guests the option of a 1.0 or 3.8 gpf, and also save water. All appliances are Energy Star certified. Lighting is all via fluorescent compact or tube. All paints are low-VOC. The carpet is made from recycled plastic bottles. Smart Space Eco-Empty-Room energy-saving technology by controls guestroom energy use. All Oregon native plantings were used in the exterior landscaping and throughout the interior of the building. In-room recycle collection bins and a towel reuse program encourage guests to participate in the green initiatives. Regional wines from Oregon and Washington are included with packages, available for sale and served at the weekly wine socials.

Hotel Manager Stephen Davis also explained that all of the towel and terry linens used throughout the hotel are bamboo-blended. Created from organic and sustainable resources, bamboo towels are not only naturally soft and luxurious, but more absorbent and dry faster than ordinary cotton towels. Additionally, they are hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial, as well as mold and mildew resistant. All linens are processed on-site using highly-efficient Elextrolux machines and utilizing phosphate-free chemicals by EcoLab. Ecolab'ssustainable laundry solutions are formulated to conserve water and energy, increase safety and reduce waste. The 3-cartridge bathroom dispensers by Better Living Products contain Olive Branch Botanicals— shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. Bar soap remnants and bottles of partially-used lotion are sent to

Stephen also noted that the property is in a very busy and active year-round tourism area. Local attractions that draw people to the area include the historic Newport Bay Front, its sea lions, Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and all of the recreational activities that the Yaquina Bay has to offer. Stephen can be reached at 541/265-2477 or

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Cascades Tissue Group'sMoka Facial Tissue

5-year GHA ALLY MEMBER Cascades Tissue Group, North America'sfourth largest producer of towel and tissue paper, launched the Cascades® Moka™ facial tissue, an addition to the bathroom tissue product line.

Cascades Moka tissue products are made from 100% unbleached recycled fiber and are the most environmentally responsible choices on the market. By adding 20% corrugated box fiber into the pulp mixture and eliminating bleaching chemicals, Cascades Tissue Group has achieved an amazing feat: reducing the environmental impact of the raw material by 25% without compromising the softness of the tissue. This innovation, which eliminates the bleaching stage of the fiber, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 30% compared to the Cascades greenest white tissue, also made from 100% recycled fiber. The Cascades Moka products are certified Processed Chlorine Free®, Green Seal™ and EcoLogo™. Those products are offset 100% with Green-e® certified wind electricity.

A detailed life cycle analysis (LCA) of the new pulp mix used in Cascades Moka tissue products revealed a reduction in overall environmental impact by at least 25% when compared to the pulp mix used in traditional Cascades 100% recycled fiber tissue. The latter had been regarded as the sustainable tissue benchmark in recent years even though it includes a chlorine-free whitening process for aesthetics.

—Based on the success of the Cascades Moka bathroom tissue, we believe people will adopt this product unique to Cascades, if color is the only thing they're giving up,— said Suzanne Blanchet, Cascades Tissue Group president and CEO.

Cascades Tissue Group has recently been honored with a first place finish in Green Manufacturer magazine's2013 Green Manufacturer'sInnovation Awards for the company'sfirst-of-its-kind Cascades Moka 100% recycled unbleached bathroom tissue. The panel of judges praised Cascades for the product's—outstanding features— and commitment to sustainability, as well as its low environmental impact compared to similar, traditional products. For more information about Cascades Tissue Group, visit

JUL/AUG 2013


As our green programs continue to be refined, we're reminded more and more that none of us can be really green without the green products and services offered by green vendors. GHA continues to encourage and support our Ally Members, and to bring you news of their successes—new products, new ideas, new techniques, recent awards, new contracts, etc. So, each July/August issue of this newsletter focuses on new and refreshing stories about our Ally Members— successes. Here we go once again . . .

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RD FRESH, Ecovisionary

ALLY MEMBER RD FRESH is an ECOVISIONARY award-winning 100% natural, 100% green, 100% passive, zero footprint product?a refrigeration dehumidifier?that keeps food fresher longer and saves energy while doing so. As a company, RD FRESH continues to move forward, not only expanding nationally with very successful distributorships in Texas, Virginia, Washington and more, but also expanding to Vancouver, Canada; Puerto Rico and even Norway?the greenest country in the world!

—We—ve also expanded into the retail market with VegieFresh which is doing equally well, already in 300 small chain supermarkets and health food stores and having just signed up our first major chain, Sprouts.—

—Most importantly for —Green— Hotels Association® members, we are also now at the point where we can handle direct ship accounts for those hotels in places where we do not yet have distributorship representation. Please contact me directly at 954/732-8025. As the developer of the product, founder of the company, and a 6-year member of GHA, I—ll be happy to take care of you and your hotel personally including special discounts for all —Green— Hotels Association® members,— explains owner Steve Gerson. To learn more, visit


As the hotel industry becomes more environmentally-conscious, hotel owners and managers must consider sustainability while balancing budget pressures and required brand standards during renovations. This juggling act is forcing many to rethink the renovation process entirely, and instead, invest in emerging, best-practice solutions like furniture asset management.

An establishment that has recently demonstrated such fiscal and environmental leadership through the use of furniture renovation solutions, such as refinishing, remanufacturing and re-upholstering is Best Western Plus at King of Prussia, PA, a 168-room property owned and operated by RWK Enterprises, Inc. After receiving guest feedback around the need for larger screen LCD televisions, the property managers were left with the difficult decision to either buy new furniture or repurpose existing, high quality television armoires.

Choosing the more sustainable and cost-effective option, the King of Prussia hotel invested in The Refinishing Touch'sfurniture asset management solutions to restore headboards, nightstands, side chairs, benches, desks, micro-fridge cabinets and armoires in 100 rooms throughout the establishment.

7-YEAR ALLY MEMBER THE REFINISHING TOUCH'sproduction crew remanufactured the television armoires by eliminating a top portion of the furniture piece, applying a granite surface and staining the asset with a more contemporary, darker finish. Refinishing and laminate replacements were also completed on 143 nightstands, while 100 benches received a color change and were re-upholstered using the company'sdurable fabrics from its Touch Textiles division. The expert team then refinished headboards, desks, micro-fridge cabinets and side chair legs using the company'sinnovative non-toxic, low VOC lacquers. The work was completed in just 30 days, and The Refinishing Touch'ssame day room turnover allowed the property to stay open for business throughout the entire renovation project.

As a result of choosing furniture asset management, and avoiding the need to buy new pieces, the Best Western Plus King of Prussia reduced its total expenditure by an estimated 75.8%. In addition to the cost savings, the property also prevented landfill waste and deforestation, while minimizing carbon emissions from 125.32 tons to a mere 1.24.

To read more about these renovations, see a before-and-after video or for more information on The Refinishing Touch'sfurniture asset management, visit


Wyndham Resorts and the Arbor Day Foundation Preserve
the World'sRainforests, One Cup at a Time

Approximately two years ago, Wyndham Vacation Ownership properties made the switch to serving Arbor Day Specialty Coffee?a certified shade-grown coffee?in their 185+ resorts around the world, thanks to a partnership with ALLY MEMBER ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION, a non-profit focused on planting trees. In doing so, Wyndham has done more than provide great-tasting coffee to their 900,000 owner families. They—ve provided fair wages, access to healthcare and better housing and education options for Peruvian farmers while preserving vital tropical rainforests and the ecosystems they support. By selecting and exclusively serving this eco-conscious coffee, Wyndham'scommitment to the environment is evidenced in the numbers: more than 25 million square feet of rain forest has been preserved each year since 2011 through their participation in this coffee program.

Arbor Day Specialty Coffee has certifications through Fair Trade, Rain Forest Alliance and Smithsonian Bird Institute and is made from certified shade-grown coffee beans that thrive underneath the rain forest canopy. Unlike typical coffee, shade-grown beans thrive in harmony with the rest of the rain forest, thus saving an entire eco-system including plant life, trees, birds, insects and mammals. Shade-grown coffee beans produce a richer, more flavorful coffee and prevent the clear-cutting of rain forests that usually accompanies mass-produced, sun-grown coffee. For more information about Arbor Day Specialty Coffee and how your hotel can participate, call Ryan at 402/473-2105 or visit TODAY!

Success for Impact Enterprises, Inc.!

Sixteenfifty Creative Intelligence teamed with ALLY MEMBER IMPACT ENTERPRISES, INC. to provide environmentally responsible, unique and quality presentation products to the recently renovated and magnificent Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, CA (, a nationally recognized creative development team for the casino and hospitality industries, was chosen by the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa to develop environmentally responsible presentation products and print for all areas of the resort., an internationally recognized design and manufacturing company specializing in eco-friendly custom presentation products, information and product packaging, custom signage, and other custom products, was chosen by Sixteenfifty to manufacture and offer design suggestions based on materials chosen and Impact'sunique manufacturing capabilities.

Together, Sixteenfifty and Impact developed a collection of environmentally responsible presentation products that are branding quality and distinctive. Most items are solid woods from Verified Sustainable Forests. Other products are manufactured with fabrics that are durable and aqueous coated. Items include: Guest Services Directories, Table-top Displays, In-Room Products, Menu Covers, Wine List Covers, Check Presenters and Stationary Holders. For more information, please contact Ralph Salisbury, or


ALLY MEMBER EO has been a pioneer of green/natural products since its inception 18 years ago. Co-Owners Brad Black and Susan Griffin-Black founded the company on using only pure essential/organic oils (NO synthetic fragrance ever), and natural ingredients for their products that are both body and earth friendly. Manufacturing has always been an important element at EO (which stands for essential oils) because we can control not only the quality of what goes into the product but also how to manufacture with minimal impact to the environment. 2013 has been an exciting year for EO as we have opened our first retail location in downtown Mill Valley, CA, and have moved to our new facility in San Rafael, CA. This new facility has allowed us to further our commitment to the environment with our new water recycling system, which is saving up to 250,000 gallons of water per month, and we have increased our cooling and heating efficiency by 50%!

EO'svalues and practices are all documented: Bay Area Green Certified, 8-year —Green— Hotels Association® Approved Vendor, Certified B Corporation. Many of our products are also Certified Organic, non-GMO. Certified and Gluten Free! You can find us in all Whole Foods and other natural food stores across the US. Our amenity program currently serves 300 amenity properties nationwide! Learn more at TODAY!

Cascades Tissue Group Launches
100% Recycled Bathroom Tissue

North America'sfourth largest producer of towel and tissue paper, 5-year ALLY MEMBER CASCADES TISSUE GROUP, announced the launch of Cascades® Moka™ 100% recycled, unbleached bathroom tissue, a first-of-its-kind product available to the away-from-home market. Beige in appearance, Cascades— Moka™ offers commercial purchasers the highest hygienic qualities and softness while significantly reducing the environmental impact associated with manufacturing a very common, single-use product. In addition to eliminating chemical whitening, Cascades— value-added tissue product is made of a pulp mix composed of 100% recycled fiber, 80% of which is post-consumer material and 20% is derived from recovered corrugated boxes. The product is also offset with 100% Green-e® certified renewable wind electricity; saving 2,500 pounds of CO2 emissions for each ton produced.

A detailed life cycle analysis of Moka™ undertaken by the company revealed a reduction in overall environmental impact by at least 25% when compared to Cascades— 100% recycled fiber bathroom tissue, which has been regarded as a sustainable tissue exemplar in recent years, but includes a chlorine-free whitening process for aesthetics.

—Beige is the new green, at least as it relates to towel and tissue,— said Cascades Tissue Group CEO Suzanne Blanchet, who personally conceived and championed Moka™ bath tissue'sdevelopment. —The last several years have brought about countless habit changes meant to preserve the environment. The quality of this bath tissue hasn'tbeen sacrificed one bit, so adjusting to a new color seems like a small step to take for even greater sustainability.—

Cascades started offering its Moka™ concept with the introduction of its Moka™ napkin line in the late —90s. Commercial sales for the product have steadily increased, as corporate purchasers have become more aware of its environmental benefits. In 2004, the Moka™ napkin line represented 10% of its total away-from-home sales in North America, whereas it now comprises over 23% of case sales. The company believes that the commercial market will continue to serve as the first frontier for sustainable innovations, as people evolve their tastes and habits out in public before modifying behaviors at home.

While the recycled bath tissue is still cleaned and de-inked, the elimination of the whitening process ultimately reduces manufacturing impact associated to the elimination of natural gas and whitening chemicals. Virgin pulp prices have more than doubled over the past three years, invoking price increases in recycled fiber as well. By expanding to varied fibers such as corrugated, Cascades believes it can hedge its products— exposure to commodity price fluctuations and white fiber shortages outside its control, keeping tissue prices affordable in its served markets. For more information about Cascades Tissue Group, visit or


ALLY MEMBER LUX LIGHTING DESIGN recently converted outdoor lighting of the Hilton Doubletree Bedford, MA'sapproximately 5 acres of beautifully groomed grounds and terraces. The property'sgracious landscape is used for outdoor eating, weddings and other outdoor events. Prior to this installation, the grounds were originally lit with 150 watt incandescent bulbs in outdoor fixtures. The fixtures were later switched to include CFL screw-in bulbs which were inappropriate for the fixtures and resulted in a gloomy nighttime look. These required a lot of maintenance related to their position in grassy areas.

Doreen LeMay Madden, Owner and President as well as Lux Lighting Design'sCertified lighting designer (LC), did the necessary research to find the best technology for this scenario. She chose 27 watt LED high efficiency, minimal maintenance, 42— bollard pathlights with the best light levels and color rendering to enhance the outdoor pathways. The 28 fixtures are generally lit 12 hours each day and are very important to the general appearance and safety of the property at night. The installation with save approximately 3,500 watts per month on the property'selectric bill, and also resulted in a $3,000 rebate from the State of Massachusetts for the energy conservation on which Lux Lighting Design coordinated all paperwork.

Lux is now preparing to convert the property'slighting on their three major parking areas. The goal will be to control glare from guestrooms, provide high efficiency along with minimal maintenance. Contact Doreen at 617/484-6400 or visit to learn more.

P&G Achieves Zero Manufacturing Waste
at 45 Sites Worldwide

—P&G'sefforts are helping protect the environment, conserve precious natural resources, and make our planet cleaner and healthier for our children, families and future generations.— Three-year ALLY MEMBER PROCTER & GAMBLE, the Company behind consumer brands including Gillette®, Ariel®, Tide® and Pampers® announced that 45 of their facilities have now achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill, which marks a major step towards the company'slong-term vision of sending zero manufacturing and consumer waste to landfills.

Over the past 5 years, P&G'swork to find worth in waste has created over $1 billion in value for the company. P&G has a vision for the future, where plants are powered by renewable energy, products are made from recycled and renewable materials and resources are conserved, with no waste going to landfill. Changing the way the company sees waste has brought P&G one step closer to this goal at 45 sites worldwide, where all of the manufacturing waste is recycled, repurposed or converted into energy.

P&G announced its first zero-manufacturing-waste-to-landfill site in Budapest in 2007. Since then, the company has shared a long-term Environmental Vision, pledging to work toward zero consumer and manufacturing waste worldwide. Through quality assurance, packaging reduction, compaction and recycling efforts, the company now ensures that 99% of all materials entering P&G plants leaves as finished product or is recycled, reused or converted to energy. Now, as the Company celebrates its 175th year, less than 1% of all materials entering P&G sites globally leaves as waste!

To drive all sites toward zero, P&G has searched for innovative ways to find value in what was once seen as waste. In Mexico, paper sludge from a Charmin toilet tissue plant is turned into low-cost roof tiles used to build homes in the local community. At a US Pampers site, scrap from the wipe manufacturing process is converted to upholstery filling. And, in the UK, waste created in the production of Gillette shaving foam is composted then used to grow turf for commercial uses. Learn about these and other innovative reuse stories in the short video —Worth from Waste.—

—There are well-defined systems for recycling materials like paper, plastic and glass, but our product portfolio is incredibly broad, resulting in a diverse set of waste streams for which to find sustainable solutions,— shared Dr. Forbes McDougall, who leads P&G'sglobal zero manufacturing waste program. Today, we have found ways to divert most of our major waste streams away from landfill, so we're now seeing new sites achieve zero manufacturing waste to landfill nearly every month.— Learn more from the —Worth from Waste— video at

Hotels Embrace Green Laundries
for Big Savings

Going green is a hot topic among hoteliers, according to Joel Jorgensen, ALLY MEMBER CONTINENTAL GIRBAU INC. vice president. —This is because a hotel'son-premise laundry greatly impacts overall water, electricity and natural gas usage,— he said. —It also impacts labor costs and service quality.— No wonder hotels across North America are embracing energy-efficient and productive Continental washers, dryers and ironers. In doing so, hotels can curb utility costs, boost productivity, reduce wastewater and become greener in the process. Critical, too, is wash quality and finishing quality. Continental equipment delivers superior results.

With this in mind, the Westin® Riverwalk Hotel, located in drought-stricken San Antonio, TX, recently reinvented its on-premise laundry. The remake involved the removal of water-guzzling washers for more efficient Continental models, and the installation of a complementing water reclamation system. The rehabilitated laundry gleaned a $29,000 rebate from the San Antonio Water System, and despite processing around 2.6 million pounds of laundry per year, slashed water usage by 3.6 million gallons annually.

Key to its success is the laundry'snew Continental E-Series high-speed, freestanding washer-extractors (two 130s and one 55), and Continental L-Series hard-mount washers (two 125s), as well as an ozone and water reclamation system. Productivity catapulted as water, natural gas and chemical consumption plummeted.

The same holds true at the first LEED-certified hotel in Tennessee?the Hilton Garden Inn in Gatlinburg. The green hotel boasts an in-house laundry complete with an ozone system, Continental E-Series high-speed washer-extractors and Continental high-efficiency dryers. In five years, the laundry will likely save $60,000.

At both properties, Continental E-Series high-speed washers were embraced over traditional machines because of their efficiency, productivity, ease-of-use and simple installation. They also play a critical role in water, natural gas and energy conservation. They reach 387 G-force extract speeds, unlike traditional washers, and thus, remove considerably more water per load. As a result, dry time is decreased?by up to 40%. This means more laundry is completed in less time, using less labor and natural gas.

When high-speed washers are combined with Continental ironers, utility savings and productivity further improve. Gouldings Lodge, a 68-room resort located in Monument Valley, UT, saves $40,000 annually because it no longer outsources laundry. The new on-premise laundry, which includes Continental high-speed washer-extractors and drying tumblers, also features a Continental flatwork ironer. Like the Continental high-speed washers, the flatwork ironer bolsters laundry productivity and cuts natural gas consumption and electricity. Uniquely, damp linens are fed directly from the washers into the ironer, where they are finished and folded automatically. This eliminates the need for drying the linens first, which conserves natural gas and electricity, while extending linen life. Because linens aren'ttumbled dry, more laundry is completed in less time, using less labor. Three employees run the laundry three days per week. During their 10-hour shifts, they complete all the washing, drying, ironing and folding.

Continental Girbau, Inc. is the largest of 14 subsidiaries of the Girbau Group, based in Vic, Spain. Girbau laundry products, marketed throughout 90 countries worldwide, hold both ISO9001 and ISO14001 certifications, and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGB). To find out more about Continental laundry products, visit or call 800/256-1073.

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MAY/JUN 2013


About three decades ago, Donn Tice was an MBA student at the University of Michigan, studying with the late C. K. Prahalad, who was developing his argument that companies can make money and do good by creating products and services for the world'spoorest people. It'san exciting notion, popularized in Prahalad'sinfluential 2004 book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Today, Tice is the CEO of d.light, which sells solar-powered lanterns to the poor. He'strying to prove that his teacher was right—a fortune awaits those who can create and sell life-changing products that help the very poor.

For now, this remains an unproven hope. Dozens of startups have ventured into the global south, selling everything from $100 laptops, cheap bikes, clean cook stoves and solar panels to the poor. Some have enjoyed success, but few have achieved meaningful scale. Or made anything approaching a fortune.

The good news is that d.light is getting there. The company is now selling about 200,000 solar-powered lanterns and lighting systems a month in about 40 countries. By its own accounting, d.light has sold nearly 3 million solar lighting products and changed the lives of more than 13 million people. And if all goes according to plan, the company will turn profitable this year.

—In addition to bringing lighting to people who need it and power to people who can'taccess it—which is our mission—we think we have the ability to demonstrate that this is a business model that works,— Tice said during a recent visit to the d.light offices in San Francisco. Earlier this year, d.light was recognized with the $1.5 million Zayed Future Energy Prize.

D.light is a for-profit company started in 2007 by Stanford MBA students Ned Tozun and Sam Goldman, whose idea for solar-powered lights was born out of a Stanford Design School course called —Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability.— As a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, Goldman had seen a young boy badly burned by a kerosene lamp. Both founders knew that more than 2 billion people in the world don'thave access to reliable electricity. Venture-capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which sponsored the design contest, invested $250,000.

Tice, meanwhile, had enjoyed a more conventional business career in the consumer products industry, running the Folger'scoffee business for Procter & Gamble and helping to develop new products for Dreyer'sice cream. While working with advanced nanotechnology to create stain and wrinkle-resistant fabric for a company called Nano-Tex, he decided to make a change. —I woke up one day and realized that I was having the world from stains,— he said.

Through a networking group that looked at ways that entrepreneurs could help alleviate global poverty, Tice was introduced to investors who were considering putting money into d.light. He became an informal adviser to the company, joined the board when they closed their first round of financing in 2008, became chairman in 2010 and CEO about two years ago. He'sglad he did: —I love the work. I love our customers. You bring something into their lives that changes their life. What'snot to like?— One key to the success of d.light is the company'swillingness to listen to its customers. Senior executives visit rural villages in India or Africa, where most of the lanterns are sold.

—The consumers really design our products,— Tice said. —It'swhat we used to do at P&G. Our teams tromp around in the dust with prototypes.— By coincidence, Jacqueline Novogratz, the founder of the non-profit Acumen Fund, an investor in d.light, wrote a blog post the other day about a visit that she and a company executive, David Small, had made to a d.light customer named Teresia in Benin. Teresia had bought a $40 lantern, borrowing the money to do so and paying it back at the rate of $3.50 a week—less, she said, than she used to pay for kerosene. She proceeds, at some length, to tell David Small how to improve the product: She—d like the light to be able to charge her phone, she—d like it to charge a radio because batteries are expensive, and couldn'tshe have a way to hang the light from the ceiling?

Novogratz writes: As I watch Teresia and David exchanging thoughts about consumer satisfaction, emotion swells inside. This is why I am doing this work. This is why I started Acumen: I am witnessing a conversation of equals, one between an empowered consumer and a businessman trying to serve her. Teresia is not pandering nor is she begging. David is neither self-satisfied with his own sense of benevolence, nor is he assuming he has the answers. Teresia may have next to nothing of material value in the world, but here she is, full of dignity, full of the confidence that comes with doing something for yourself and paying for it, to boot. Her eyes sparkle with curiosity and strength. Teresia has earned this conversation. David must continue to work for her loyalty and trust as a customer. In the process, both have the chance to be transformed. Interesting, no? This helps explain what Tice says is the company'scompetitive edge.

—The really big thing that has changed is that we have pushed the whole market in the direction of a better-quality product,— he said. —Consumers don'twant a cheap product. The product has to work, and it has to work for a long time.— D.light is now offering two- or three-year warranties on their lanterns, telling customers that the products should last for five years, and designing them to last longer. —It'sreally important that people trust what they buy,— he said. In other words, poor consumers are very much like you and me: They want a quality product at a good price from a company they trust.

D.light has raised about $20 million so far, including about $15 million from a mix of traditional venture investors like DFJ and Nexus India and from impact or social investors like Acumen and the Omidyar Network. The company borrowed about $3 million from Deutsche Bank, and it has brought in about $2 million in grants. It will probably need more capital, Tice says, to reach its goal of changing the lives of 100 million people by 2020. —It'sgreat to celebrate our success,— he said, —but we shouldn'trest until we—ve really moved the needle.—

And it'sproven that yes, there really is a fortune at the bottom of the pyramid.

Gunther, Marc, —Startup d.light brings solar power to the poor,—, March 8, 2013

MAR/APR 2013

Critter Counteroffensive

Tactics to Take Back the Great Room From Stubborn, Furry Visitors

The wooded area surrounding Cheryl Giudicessi'svacation home in Galena, IL, offers beautiful views, privacy and winged invaders. Ms. Giudicessi heard scratching and squeaking from the rafters of her living room'svaulted ceiling. Suspecting bats, the retired preschool teacher spent two nearly sleepless nights with her bedroom ceiling fan on full speed, a light on, towels stuffed under the door and her dog at her side, hoping to keep the nocturnal bats away until she could get an exterminator to visit. The bats are now gone, but Ms. Giudicessi still has the seven-year-old house regularly inspected for mice and insects.

As both wildlife—and people—have found the perfect habitat in upscale suburbs, often new developments in former woodlands, homeowners are turning to new ways to evict their unwanted guests. Deer in the garden seem easy compared with bats in the new cathedral ceiling or raccoons in the garage.

—Animals are just like people—they need food, water and shelter,— says Gary Bauhof, owner of Austin'sWildlife Removal Services in Austin, TX. —If they can make a steady living in your home, they will stick around—you would, too.—

Some 30% of Americans used pest-control services last year, up from 20% in 2004, according to the National Pest Management Association. The landscaping that dots suburbia—not to mention the endless buffet of garbage cans—is more hospitable to many animals than the pastures and fields that covered much of the US generations ago. Add the enticing aroma of dinner on the stove or a warm breeze coming from an attic vent and critters are eager to find a way to move in.

Rabies is also a concern. Some 40,000 Americans receive rabies-prevention treatments each year, with wild animals accounting for more than 90% of the reported cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exterminators say such problems usually aren'ta reflection of a home'sage or cleanliness. —We probably do more work on new construction. A lot of times it is the contractors leaving gaps,— says John Adcock Jr., owner of Adcock'sTrapping Service in College Park, MD. —We do —multi-multi-million— dollar homes where there is not a crumb to be found, and they have rats.—

Today, most exterminators focus on finding and closing up pests— entry points into the home, a far different strategy from the chemical blasts many relied on until the early 1990s. Cracks in foundations, roof lines that don'tperfectly meet and damaged or missing screens around the eaves are common problems.

For maximum discretion, some pest controllers drive unmarked trucks. People like that because they don'twant the neighbors to know. To nosy passersby, a standard response can be —I—m doing a little maintenance.—

Homeowners have plenty of ways to keep unwanted animals out, beginning with a stroll around their home every month. —Look up and down—you should be familiar with your house and look for any changes,— says Tony DeJesus, of Big Blue Bug Solutions in Providence, RI. Pay particular attention to the eaves, foundation and any vents, he says. Even peeling paint can be a problem, since the accumulating moisture is a draw for insects.

Mr. DeJesus urges homeowners to check their dark garages and basements on a sunny day. —Look for any areas where you see light coming in,— he says, noting that worn weather stripping around doors and spots where cable runs through the wall are common entries for animals. —We're not talking about big openings,— says Mr. DeJesus. —A mouse needs a hole the size of a dime, a rat between a nickel and a quarter.—

Mr. DeJesus shudders when he sees vines crawling up houses—a common sight throughout the New England region he serves. —I know aesthetically some people like it, but you asking for problems,— he says. —It'sa highway for animals to get into your house.—

With some invaders, homeowners have to wait until spring before beginning the eviction process. Carol Swart, co-owner of Exclusive Batproofing Inc. in Raymond, MN, begins her work in April, when bats that are dormant all winter begin to seek food again.

Using a method she calls —exclusion,— Ms. Swart and her husband identify the areas where bats come and go and create one-way mesh doors over the holes so the bat can leave but can'tget back in. Bats need just a tiny opening—usually a quarter of an inch wide by an inch long—to enter a house, often along the roof line. Openings can be identified by smudges from oil on bats— wings. Droppings, which sparkle when crushed, often show up nearby, too. After entering the attic, bats typically will live inside walls, leaving at night to feed. Most homeowners report hearing scratching and fluttering sounds in their walls, Ms. Swart says.

For years, former US congressman Vin Weber dealt with bats in his large log cabin on Leech Lake in Minnesota'sNorth Woods. Many evenings Mr. Weber used a tennis racket to encourage bats to scram as his wife and daughters anxiously stood by. —People weren'tenjoying being there,— says Mr. Weber. —We were told there was nothing you can do about it; you have to live with it or shoo them out.— Mr. Weber hired Ms. Swart'scompany to try its exclusion technique. They scoured the log home to close its many small openings and installed one-way doors. —To my amazement, it worked,— Mr. Weber says.

Erik McCue decided to take on the squirrels that took residence in his Hartsdale, NY, attic. Over several years Mr. McCue, trapped about 20 squirrels, but he and his family continued to hear them, especially at night. Increasingly frustrated, Mr. McCue hired someone to trim back the trees in his yard. The squirrels were still getting in. Finally, last spring Mr. McCue spent about $16,000 on new siding for his home, which effectively covered all the openings. Since then, the squirrels have stayed away. —I was never a squirrel fan, but I—m really not now,— he says.

Take Back Tactics

Bats: Close the room and open a window. The bat will feel air currents and fly away. Stay in room to confirm it leaves.

Mice: Sprinkle baby powder or flour near suspected openings to detect tracks. Use wire mesh, screening or quick drying cement (not caulk or rubber fillers) to plug holes.

Raccoons: Dissuade them by keeping pet food indoors, securing trash cans and emptying bird feeders at night.

Squirrels: Turn off lights, close curtains, then open a door or window. He—ll run for the light.

Skunks: Turn on lights and block dark hiding places. Then grab a box: The skunk, seeking darkness, likely will crawl in. Release outdoors.

Building To Dos

Install an animal-proof chimney cap. Keep gutters clear. Keep vines and other plants off the building. Keep branches away from building. Monitor where different building materials join, including window wells. Check attic for droppings and signs of chewing. Repair roof holes, loose screens, warped siding and trim board. To find possible animal entryways, check dark garage for outside light leaking in. Watch foundation for cracks, especially openings for pipes and cables. Cover compost piles. Stack firewood away from building. Tie down garbage cans, and wait until morning to put out trash for collection.

Byron, Ellen (, —Critter Counteroffensive,— The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2013

JAN/FEB 2013

Australian Grocery Chains

Say No to Factory Bacon and Eggs

Some major news came out recently from our friends Down Under. Two of Australia'slargest grocery chains have pledged to phase out factory-raised eggs and pork. The two chains are ColeRs (the nation'slargest), which began banning these products January 1st, and Woolworths, expected to phase them out by the middle of 2013. The two chains combine to cover 80% of the nation'sfood market share.

As an immediate result, 34,000 mother pigs and 350,000 chickens will be freed from their cages.

What is really exciting about this announcement, besides the obvious fact that it takes Australia one step closer to a humane, non-violent, ethics-based civilized society, it also shows the power of consumer sentiment to effect change. The announcement came about in no small part because of a campaign by Animals Australia calling for an end to factory farming, calling it —the biggest cause of cruelty to animals in the country.— The campaign featured the video called When Pigs Fly, which can be viewed at

While some business folks complain that their investments in social responsibility might not be paying off quickly enough, they might be missing the way that these things can slowly build to a tipping point.

Here in the US, there are laws against cruelty to animals, but they don'tapply to animals raised for food. Still, there are efforts to expose the kinds of cruel practices that occur in factory farms, despite the fact that an increasing number of states are passing laws making the disclosure of what actually happens inside these death camps illegal.

A number of food producers have come forward and announced decisions to voluntarily stop these practices. Among them are food retailers Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, Wendy'sand McDonalds, which have all pledged to begin phasing out either gestation-crate pork or caged-hen eggs or both in the near future (notice a little peer pressure here?). Meanwhile Domino'shas steadfastly refused to make the change. Food distributors Sysco and Aramark have also vowed to eliminate gestation crates from their suppliers. On the producer side, Oscar Mayer and Wienerschnitzel have also gotten on the bandwagon.

But I would think that grocery chains would have even more leverage among a wider range of suppliers, since they are likely to carry multiple brands on their shelves. The issue of supply chain leverage particularly in the area of GHG emissions, has become a hot topic in itself, and the inclusion of Scope 3 emissions, those coming from outside the walls of the company in question, serves as fitting analogy to the cruelty that might be taking place upstream of these outlets.

Australia has been generating an impressive sustainability track record and recently added the announcement that 90% of their seafood catch comes from sustainable sources. They also have demonstrated their willingness to make tough choices.

But the grand prize in this category might have to go to the EU, as least on the cage-free chicken issue, since they have passed a law, requiring all eggs to be produced by cage-free chickens or those kept in cages meeting enhanced standards.

Siegel, R. P.,, December 14, 2012

NOV/DEC 2012

Blackouts Are a Fact of Life.
Let'sDeal With Them.

Four steps to making sure that outages
do as little damage as possible

Let'sjust say it upfront: The idea that the electric grid can be made invulnerable is nonsense.

The US grid contains 160,000 miles of high-voltage lines, five million miles of distribution lines, thousands of generators and transformers, and tens of thousands of other pieces of equipment. It is difficult to imagine hardening so massive a structure against random, natural disturbances; it is almost inconceivable that it could be hardened against deliberate and intelligent attacks.

Extremely smart engineers are working to make the grid more reliable, but the rate at which blackouts happen hasn'tchanged in the 30 years since we began keeping good reliability statistics. Cost-effective changes that can be shown to reduce the frequency of power failures should be made, but they are unlikely to eliminate all failures.

But that doesn'tprevent us from making things better. Our research over the past decade has shown that instead of assuming success in the Sisyphean task of eliminating every grid problem, it would be much smarter to focus on continuing the essential services that the grid provides.

Economics tells us that the last dollar invested in grid-blackout reduction should have the same social benefit as the last dollar invested in maintaining essential services when the grid goes down.

How do we do that? How do we get the most social benefits for the least cost? Let me offer four basic steps.

1. What'sCrucial - The first step is to have municipalities run an exercise in which businesses, nonprofits, communities, government agencies and residents list, in order of importance, the critical missions that are provided by electric power—and that, if not fulfilled, would have serious consequences.

A business, for instance, might identify what constitute essential data that should be duplicated at a remote location. The owner of a low-rise apartment building might decide that elevators are essential if the building has elderly residents. Or a city bus department might find that their diesel depot needs emergency generators to get fuel from underground tanks uphill into the buses.

In fact, when colleagues and I surveyed police stations in our city, Pittsburgh, we found that 60% of them lack on-site backup generation—even though most people would agree that keeping our police stations powered and officers— walkie-talkies charged is of critical importance during a power outage.

2. Been There, Done That - The second step is for cities to take the information from the first step, and help determine which missions are already protected and which aren—t. For example, hospital emergency rooms already are required to have backup power, as are critical airport landing systems.

The Department of Homeland Security must back off its long-standing tendency to lock up all data of this sort and not let the real decision makers see data they themselves have generated.

Weak links in the chain are identified at this step. For example, while Newark and Kennedy airports quickly restored power for passenger screening and other boarding functions the day after the August 2003 blackout struck, LaGuardia could not; as a consequence, traffic on the East Coast was snarled. This summer, 60 flights at Charlotte were canceled and passengers had to stay in a powerless hot terminal overnight when a transformer failure cut power to the airline hub for 13 hours.

3. Fix It - The third step focuses both the private and public sectors on implementing cost-effective technologies that can fulfill the critical missions during the events.

We can ensure traffic flows in important urban corridors, for instance, by using LED traffic lights at critical intersections with batteries that can be charged with individual solar panels. Subway trains can have onboard energy storage that can allow them to creep slowly to the nearest station to discharge their passengers. And a supermarket chain may invest in backup generators that can keep freezers in some of its largest stores going when the grid fails.

4. Carrots and Sticks - The fourth step is to make cost-effective changes in our incentives and rules. Important private services such as grocery stores, gas stations and cellular phone service are vulnerable to extended blackouts. Tax incentives and permission to charge more for services during blackouts can nudge businesses in the helpful direction of buying a generator.

Businesses that have their own generators are now forbidden to sell power to other businesses. While we are investing in smart meters and other new devices, we should change the law so that these firms can sell power to others in need. A few projects that demonstrate emergency sharing of this type could go a long way to providing points of light during a blackout.


Some of the ways communities can maintain essential
services when the power goes out

GREEN MEANS GO - Fit traffic lights in critical corridors with battery backups charged by solar panels.

PUMP PRIMING - Make sure a few gas stations have generators so they can pump fuel.

POLICE POWER - Provide backup electricity at all police stations.

KEEP —EM ROLLING - Equip subway trains with stored energy (e.g. batteries or flywheels) so they can proceed slowly to the next station, rather than stranding passengers between stops.

STANDBY SYSTEMS - Install natural-gas generators at schools, hospitals and other critical installations to provide power and run heating and cooling systems.

* * *

All these steps begin with engineers being candid with customers that the system can'tbe made completely reliable within a reasonable future. Then it is up to customers and governments to decide what they should do to protect themselves from outages.

If we think about the problem in this way, then when the wind blows or the earth shakes, many of our essential services will still be provided.

Apt, Jay, —Blackouts Are a Fact of Life,— The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2012

SEP/OCT 2012


As usual, this issue focuses on success stories of GHA'sPartner Members. We are sharing these very successful environmental stories with all members. You are all working very hard at being green, and it—ll be easier for all by sharing information on what has worked for some. We know you—ll love reading these stimulating, interesting and very green stories! So, we begin again . . .


Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa, Sausalito, CA, is a 63-room property on a hillside overlooking Richardson Bay that is a hodgepodge of structures dating from 1885 to the 1980—s. Weekend business is mostly high-end leisure with rooms from $300-500 a night. Monday through Thursday is both leisure and corporate. They have garnered a few environmental awards recently, including the coveted Cool California Small Business Award ( Stefan Mühle is now General Manager after serving 10 years greening two prominent boutique hotels in San Francisco.

Renovation changes:
• Toto dual-flush toilets 1.6/0.8 gpf.
• Occupancy sensors in guest bathrooms, 2 lights.
• Low VOC indoor paints, ALLY MEMBER Benjamin Moore and Aura brands.
• Low VOC carpet, Interface and ALLY MEMBER Shaw Hospitality Group brands, both in rolls.
• FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) Custom designed by to fit spaces with a timeless maritime decor since this is a boating area. Sorrentino Mariani ( manufactured the furniture which they now call —The Sausalito— line.
• Bathroom counters are Caesar Stone (, 93% natural quartz aggregates with pigments and polymer resins, very durable, no water rings, manufactured in Israel.
• Bathroom shelves are handmade opaque recycled glass by
• Re-used and refurbished existing materials whenever possible, i.e., bamboo flooring was removed, refurbished and replaced; historically significant fireplaces were cleaned; flues replaced.

Ongoing Operations:
• Environmentally-friendly cleaning products - all-in-one product used for floors and general cleaning. products are used on carpet—especially to control moisture. The spa uses an autoclave sterilizer for manicure and pedicure instruments.
• In-Room recycling - 2-section trash and recycling receptacle.
• Refillable bathroom amenity bottles - ALLY MEMBER
• Towel and bed linen reuse program - hotel signage offers knowledge as well as an option - a challenge because of the room rates. Sheets changed every 3 days or on request.
• products used in spa are cruelty-free, biodegradable and sourced from small farmers not using chemical pesticides, etc.
• Retail body products are packaged in recyclable bottles.
• Bathroom tissue and facial tissue made of biodegradable, recyclable and compostable sugarcane fiber. Activa and Kimberly-Clark'sSurpass brands are obtained via local vendor
• Use of Goodwood products for fireplaces (see

Public transport:
• Participation in for staff commuting.
• Several staff members carpool from San Francisco to Sausalito via the Golden Gate Bridge.
• Offers an online package to hotel guests including ferry tickets and bicycle rental.

• Local artist consignments featured in hallways ( and spa (
• Working with to streamline energy and utility bills. Cost is $1/mo/rm to determine bill correctness, notification of leaks or aberrations.
• Considering association with EDC Technologies ( to lower gas consumption through monitoring hot water temperature via thermometers in boilers at about $2/mo/rm.

Here'sto making a difference! Contact Stefan at 415/332-0502 or for further info.


Madden'sResort on Gull Lake (287 rms, 2 fls) in Brainerd, MN, hosts thousands of visitors each year April until October. In 2009, they started using a ozone laundry system. When used in laundry wash water, ozone allows for shorter wash cycles, works best with cold water, attacks most organic soils and kills bacteria much faster than chlorine bleach. Ozone is totally biodegradable and when it completes its function, it reverts rapidly back to oxygen, leaving no chemical residues behind. And because there is no chemical residue, the laundry is much softer.

NuTek units that create the ozone are attached to the washers and inject ozone into each wash cycle.

BENEFITS: • Drying time is significantly less because the laundry is cool. Natural gas and electric bills were cut by almost 9% in 2011.
• Two 100-gal hot water heaters were eliminated because the system uses only cold water creating a huge energy savings.
• Uses 1/3 less water than before. No phosphates from soap are being introduced into the sewer system.
• No detergent or bleach expense, handling, storage, fumes or residue.
• No detergent residue means sheets and all linens are much softer.
• Payback for the system was realized in only 6 months!

Madden'sreceived the Explore Minnesota —Sustainable Tourism Award— in 2009.

Tim Schultz, Resident Manager, Madden Inn, Madden'son Gull Lake, dir 218/855-5941, will be glad to respond to questions.


Newly renovated green cabins at Forever Resorts— Cedar Pass Lodge in the extraordinary region of the 244,000-acre Badlands National Park of South Dakota include features that qualify the property for LEED Gold.

• New one-bedroom cabins feature interior wall and ceiling wood paneling salvaged from Black Hills pine trees felled by beetles. The wood bears the distinctive —beetle-kill— markings on beautiful grey-streaked wood.
• The new cabins are furnished with regionally sourced handcrafted lodge-pole pine furniture felled by beetle kill.
• Furnishings and table tops by Levi Davis at were made from repurposed wood from an old grain storage structure built in the 1930s that later became the warehouse (circa 1940-50) used by Owenhouse Hardware, a company in Montana that is still in business today.
• Tempra 24 plus tankless on-demand hot-water heater with expected 50% energy savings installed in each cabin.
• Cool and heat the cabins with 20-SEER mini split energy-efficient units which are quieter than PTACs.
• 90% of the cabin structural wood-based materials are FSC- certified from
• The roofing system (32% recycled steel) reduces energy consumption and landfill impact. It has a 50-year warranty for 120 mph wind and high impact resistance to hail.
• Windows are dual-pane windows.
• Compact-fluorescent lighting is used throughout each cabin for energy efficiency.
• Bamboo towels will be provided for guests— use in each cabin. They should dry quicker and last 3 times as long.
• AquaSource high efficiency 1.28 gpf WaterSense toilets.
• Modular cabins were manufactured locally over last winter inside a large warehouse which kept workers employed during the slow winter season.
• Recycling, reducing the impact on the environment and educating visitors of Cedar Pass Lodge will continue as part of the lodge'sEnvironmental Management System in place since 2002 called Forever Earth™.
• New cabins include custom repurposed-concrete bath slab countertops.
• New cabins have Energy Star Magnavox 32— flat-screen TVs, along with Danby refrigerators, coffee makers and microwaves.
• New cabins were built to meet LEED Gold specifications. However, Forever Resorts chose not to apply for the LEED certification because of the time and expense required. However, the US Park Service wanted the information, so they kept track of the necessary paperwork.

Darla Cook, General Manager (605/433-5460, would be pleased to answer questions or clarify aspects of the story.


The City of Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India, was founded in 1610 AD, is a tourist hub and is also one of the fastest growing cities in the world with a population of one million plus. It is surrounded with many historic monuments, including the Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as the Baby Ka Maqbara, a memorial monument similar to the Taj Mahal.

One of the great things about Aurangabad is the presence of hills and hillocks in and around the city. These hills / hillocks are a reason for people to get out of the concrete jungle that Aurangabad has become. It is not only important that we preserve the hills, but we also must increase their green cover so that we can improve the quality of air we breathe. It is clearly recognized that sustainable tree planting cannot succeed without the active involvement of locals and without meeting the trees— development needs.

We at the Keys Hotel The Aures are associated with the Dr. Hedgewar Trust in Aurangabad, which runs a hospital and is a healthcare not-for-profit. This trust has done water conservation work in a nearby village and on the adjacent hill.

They have used the technique of continuous contour trenches (CCTs). CCTs are built around the hill at different heights. Each CCT is made to slightly slope at a particular side, so that the water flowing down the hill is retained and soil erosion is minimized. This is a great example of rainwater harvesting. The water saved / accumulated has ceased many hardships faced by the farmers, especially after monsoons.

To complement the existing work of water conservation, we joined the trust for tree planting. On the occasion of Indian Independence Day (15Aug2012), more than 1,000 trees were planted in the village and on the hill. The Keys Hotel The Aures not only paid for the sapling trees, but 18 to 20 managers and staff worked on the planting. The trees are planted giving enough distance between each other so they don'thamper the growth of neighboring trees. The trees chosen are those found locally such as neem, sal, custard apple, etc.

The neem tree is a fast-growing evergreen tree relatively unknown in the US, a cornerstone of the ancient Ayurvedic healthcare system and is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs in the world. In its native India and tropical countries around the globe, neem is called the —village pharmacy— for its incredible healing properties.

Sal is one of the most important sources of hardwood timber in India, and the dry leaves of sal are a major source for the production of leaf plates and leaf bowls. The used leaves/plates are readily eaten by goats and cattle that roam the streets freely. The tree has therefore protected northern India from a flood of Styrofoam and plastic plates that would have caused tremendous pollution.

In India the custard apple tree is cultivated, runs wild in many areas though nowhere is particularly esteemed. A leaf decoction may be given as a vermifuge. Crushed leaves or a paste of the fruit flesh may be poulticed on boils, abscesses and ulcers. The unripe fruit is rich in tannin; is dried, pulverized and employed against diarrhea and dysentery. The bark is very astringent and the decoction is taken as a tonic and also as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery.

Any tree planting drive will not be successful if the trees are not nurtured by watering, so local villagers are committed to nurture and care for the young trees. Two major challenges facing us are cattle grazing and awareness. The first one is tackled by planting only those trees which cattle do not care to consume. The Hedgewar Trust has taken up the task of creating awareness among the locals of the importance of water conservation and tree planting. Henceforth, Keys Hotel The Aures shall celebrate August 15th every year as a Tree Planting day.

Satyajit Kotwal, Operations Manager, Keys Hotel The Aures,, will be pleased to respond to your e-mails.

Farm to Fork & Trawl to Table at Inn by the Sea

61-room Inn by the Sea is located in Cape Elizabeth on sandy Crescent Beach, Maine'spremier beach destination. The luxurious property has both Maine DEP Green Lodging and Silver LEED® certifications, and was selected as one of the 2012 Top 50 US Resorts by Travel & Leisure.

The argument over whether touting sustainable initiatives in business really helps the bottom line continues. Inn by the Sea has had many sustainable initiatives in place for over a decade, and has been successful at marketing the property as both a luxury and a green hotel. Success has come by creating programs that engage the guest in the inn'senvironmental message through fun, food, whimsy and education.

These programs speak volumes about the inn'scommitment to sustainability without being boring or preachy. Unless incredibly eco-minded, most people don'twant to hear about businesses— initiatives around water, waste, energy and chemicals. But happily, the same is not true when it comes to food—a good story around food that'slocal creates a unique and memorable dining experience, and adds great value to a guest stay.

Letting the guest in on a story about the fungi forager who brings locally foraged mushrooms or fiddleheads to your menu, or on the Nubian goats at a neighboring farm that produce the chevre for your velvety cheese cake just makes food taste better. (See menus at

Celebrating food that is local, and exposing a sense of your hotel'scommunity, with support for local vendors and growers, is an important part of sustainability. Giving credit to, and adding the names of the farms, foragers, fishermen and vendors to restaurant menus not only adds color and local interest while supporting your community, but assures guests that your food is fresh and nutritious.

Inn by the Sea'sExecutive Chef, Mitchell Kaldrovich, and Rauni Kew, their PR and Green Program Manager, served on the Gulf of Maine Research Institute's(GMRI) steering committee to develop a collaborative effort with local fishermen and area chefs to raise consumer awareness around lesser known and lesser valued seafood. The goal of this GMRI restaurant program, Out of the Blue, is to improve the market for a greater diversity of seafood, give overfished populations a break, help local fishermen get better dock prices for species that are abundant and to support a sustainable seafood industry in Maine.

You won'tfind Cod or Haddock on the menu in Sea Glass restaurant at Inn by the Sea. Chef Kaldrovich only serves up delectable, but lesser known, underutilized seafood in support of Out of the Blue. Guests not only enjoy the delicious menu offerings, but love hearing about the collaboration between fishermen, chefs and research in support of a sustainable seafood industry in Maine.

Reaching out to local agencies and collaborating with competitors can benefit an entire community and have a larger impact on environmental issues than individual initiatives. Out of the Blue has been successful at bringing attention to fish that are abundant in the Gulf of Maine, but previously had little demand, and it has proved to be a delectably compelling and successful —fish story— for guests at Inn by the Sea.

Rauni would be pleased to respond to your questions via, 207/799-3134 or C 207/602-8500.


Our optimistic success story has to do with our fertilizer, which we use for the hotel grounds— needs.

We are situated at beautiful Zakynthos, in the Ionian Sea of Greece; a green paradise, with very hot weather for about 6 months, and very rainy winters. Our hotel'sgrounds are approximately 12,000 square meters (3 acres), a large part of which are gardens?the botanical garden, our vegetable farm, lemon trees and olive groves.

The island'scharacteristics reflect instantly a holiday paradise. At the same time, we believe our guests will also enjoy learning more about the local community, thus adding more color to their precious leisure time?taking walks around the scenic villages, visiting the Castelli farm and getting acquainted with Greek nature'swealth, taste the fresh fruit, pick olives with our team and see how the local pure extra-virgin olive oil is produced.

First, a few words about our buffet breakfast. It features our home-made breakfast cake, baked with our own fresh, pure ingredients?pure extra-virgin olive oil, eggs from our farm, oranges/grapefruit from the garden.

The olive groves that surround the hotel are not sprayed with toxic chemicals, and the pure virgin olive oil produced is used for baking the home-made cake served at breakfast, and also for salads at the pool snack bar. In other words, our gardens— perfect status is a high priority, and essential for the hotel guests— richer experience. Gardening demands a great deal of laborious hours and has many costs, one of which is fertilizer.

Until last year, the local fertilizer supplier served our needs, but since April, 2011, our composter is creating our fertilizer! We mostly recycled materials we already had on the premises to build the composter, so the cost was very low. All food-preparation staff are involved, so now all vegetable waste is used to create our organic fertilizer. In just 6 months, we produced more than 10 sacks of fertilizer—more than enough for last autumn'sneeds. Since each 50 kg (110 lb) sack would have cost about 50 euros ($62.50), it is a big achievement!

Once the waste is separated and passed to the gardener, the extra time needed is very little. We are actually using waste to create something essential, and we produce this fertilizer as pure as possible, which is very difficult to find in the market.

At the same time our waste volume is reduced, so cleaning ladies need less time to carry the waste to the bins, and fewer plastic bags are used, so more benefits arrive at the same time! This year we have already increased our fertilizer production?great practice of reusing and recycling! And our guests thoroughly embrace it, which makes us even more confident for greater results in the future!

As Castelli celebrates 20 years in business, we also proudly celebrate the award of our third Green Key eco-label awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FFE) through The Greek Society for the Protection of Nature ( The Green Key committee evaluates both green management and education actions, taking into consideration sectors such as water and energy-saving policies, recycling and also how the guests and staff are involved in the greening. Castelli also celebrates its second Gold Award (2012) which acknowledges our very high commitment to sustainability.

Contact Maria Lougaris, Managing Director, at for more information on this exciting project.


Built as an environmentally-friendly hotel, the 208-room, 8-floor Comfort Inn and Suites composts leftover food. In 2005, the property began composting with A compost collection drop hole, beautifully aligned with recycling and trash collection drops, is provided in a dining area counter for guests and employees to discard undesired food. In addition to table scraps, all plates, cups and flatware are compostable products, and can be tossed into the same drop hole. The compost is transported to Brick End Farms, a large composting facility, where it decomposes, and is sold under the —KidzBKidz— brand at Whole Foods.

Diverting as much waste as possible from the trash by composting and recycling is the goal. In 2011, the Boston airport property composted 18 tons of food waste and tableware. Recycling accounts for 28% of total property waste by weight while composting diverts 11% more.

Among the first initiatives at the Comfort Inn and Suites were amenity dispensers which save roughly $40,000 a year. Both the dispensers and liquids are the products of, and the shampoo and shower gels are —WindRiver— Salon products. —WindRiver— products are environmentally-friendly, biodegradable and are purchased in five-gallon containers. The dispensers are designed to provide a sufficient amount of shampoo or soap, and the cost is only for product used. Individual amenity bottles always result in wasted product. Each unit is locked, preventing tampering. Dispensers are refilled daily. To fill the dispensers, housekeepers use refillable squirt bottles that are replenished from a larger bulk supply.

Megan Falkenberry, Environmental Program Coordinator (, 781/485-3600) may be contacted for further information.

JUL/AUG 2012


As our green programs are tweaked, we're reminded more and more that none of us can be really green without the green products and services offered by green vendors. GHA continues to encourage and support our Ally Members, and to bring you news of their successes—new products, new ideas, new techniques, recent awards, new contracts, etc. So, each July/August issue of this newsletter brings you new and refreshing stories about our Ally Members— successes. Here we go . . .

Anderson Chemical Company—s
INTEGRA Program®

ALLY MEMBER Anderson Chemical Company'sINTEGRA Program® continues to add to their line of products that are recognized for safer chemistry by the EPA'sDesign for the Environment (DfE) with the release of the High Performance Green (HPG) Foodservice products in late 2011. Whether it is kitchen, laundry or housekeeping needs, the INTEGRA Program® offers one of the deepest lines of DfE recognized cleaning products on the market. The HPG product family—Auto Dish, Rinse, Oven & Grill, Delimer, Presoak, Pot & Pan and Foaming Hand Soap—joins INTEGRA®'sTotal Impact Program (TIP®)—DfE'sfirst recognized institutional laundry program in 1997—for laundries, along with five DfE recognized housekeeping products.

The INTEGRA Program®'sfocus is not only on green products, but also on providing programs that affect the sustainability of operations, working to reduce the amount of energy, water and waste that is produced from cleaning. The INTEGRA Program® recently received feedback from a hotel general manager, her housekeeping staff as well as hotel guests regarding the use of DfE cleaning products. The general manager prefers to have their staff cleaning with safer products, the housekeeping staff prefers to handle safer products . . . that perform and the guests have indicated that the use of INTEGRA®'sDfE recognized products would positively influence their decision to stay at the same property again.

For more information about the INTEGRA Program®, go to, e-mail or call 800/366-2477 TODAY!


ALLY MEMBER Hospitality Battery Holder currently offers nine different battery holders designed to fit the different electronic locking systems for SafeLock, Ilco, AD Schlage, SecureLock, TimeLock and Wingfield brands—all of which can be used with alkaline or rechargeable batteries. The goal is to save hoteliers the cost of buying expensive battery packs every year for their electronic door lock systems. The systems no longer require the purchase of expensive battery packs when fitted with these battery holders, and can easily use alkaline or recyclable batteries purchased in volume at a much lower cost. Recent installations include:

• The luxurious Mandarin Oriental Geneva Hotel located on the River Rhone recently purchased battery holders for their 198 guestroom doors— SafeLock 5000 series locks and expects to save more than $2,600 within five years. The decision has also enhanced the staff'spersonal interests in responsible ecology.

• Likewise, the Courtyard King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel has replaced the 452 guestroom SafeLock 6000 series electronic locking systems— battery packs with Hospitality Battery Holders. They expect to save more than $6,238 over five years by not having to purchase battery packs every year. 452 battery packs will no longer be disposed of each year.

• Also, Ramada Philadelphia Airport Hotel has replaced their 294 guestroom SafeLock MT series electronic locking systems with Hospitality Battery Holders using recyclable batteries instead of expensive battery packs.

Check out or call 407/401-6733 to learn how much your property can save!


Proud to be a new ALLY MEMBER of GHA, Busch Systems manufactures the world'slargest, most complete line of recycling, waste and compost containers. As part of their commitment to the community and the environment, they engineer their containers to use fewer natural resources and to ship far more effectively, thereby avoiding large volumes of carbon emissions. All of Busch Systems— products contain recycled content, are 100% recyclable and are proudly made in North America.

Busch Systems develops more new molded recycling, waste and compost containers than all other manufacturers combined, and their recycling systems are specifically manufactured to be easy to use in order to prevent contamination and generate the cleanest possible stream of recyclables. They will also assist and support customers in creating recycling programs in their companies and communities. With over 100 years of combined recycling program experience, the Busch team of recycling consultants will be pleased to share their expertise and make your program a great success. Do not wait; contact your friendly representative today at or 800/565-9931 TODAY! Busch Systems is Recycling Made Simple.


ALLY MEMBER Impact Enterprises offers custom binder covers, presentation folders, menu covers and other custom products to enhance your business— image.

Congratulations to Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies! Their animated feature movie, Rango, won a 2011 Oscar for —Best Animated Feature.— Impact Enterprises manufactured the binder covers that held the script. Impact is proud to have been asked to produce these environmentally responsible binder covers.

These environmentally responsible binder covers are solid Blue Pine, the —Greenest— of —Green— solid woods. Blue Pine inventory is provided by nature, rather than through man'ssustainable forests programs. Blue Pine is a Lodgepole Pine that has been attacked by the Mountain Pine Beetle. We harvest these trees before they fall, and the processing treatments render these trees free of all beetle infestation. The integrity of the wood is essentially the same as that of solid woods harvested from Verified Sustainable Forests. Blue Pine binder covers and guest directory covers have become favorites for Live Nation Entertainment, Marriott, as well as resorts, fine restaurants and spas. To learn more, visit or call 866/370-0340 TODAY!


ALLY MEMBER Cascades Tissue Group announced that 17 US and 10 Canadian distributors have received achievement awards honoring their strong partnerships and dedications to furthering environmentally preferable products. By offering their commercial and industrial customers tissue paper products made from 100% recycled fiber, instead of virgin fiber, these distributors collectively conserved 255,700 trees (the equivalent of 638 American football fields of paper) and avoided emissions of greenhouse gases equivalent to 12,785 cars off the road for one year.

Approximately 20% of the distributors— total greenhouse gas savings were achieved through the sales of Cascades Tissue Group'sNorth River products, which use Green-e certified renewable energy credits to offset 100% of the electricity used in their production. Cascades Tissue Group'sannual 20,000 MWh of wind energy credits are sourced from the Charles City Wind Farm located in northern Iowa.

Cascades Tissue Group, a division of Cascades, ULC, is the fourth largest manufacturer of tissue paper in North America. Founded in 1964, Cascades produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue products that are composed mainly of recycled fibers. See to learn more.

Colgate Receives Recognition from the US EPA

ALLY MEMBER Colgate has been recognized by the US EPA through their Design for the Environment Safer Detergent Stewardship Initiative (SDSI) program for our use of safer surfactants in personal care and home care products. DfE, or Design for the Environment, is a US EPA standards program designed to recognize and encourage industry use of cleaning products that incorporate environmentally preferable chemistry. Through the SDSI, the EPA'sDesign for the Environment Program recognizes environmental leaders who voluntarily commit to the use of safer surfactants in detergents. Safer surfactants break down quickly to non-polluting compounds and help protect aquatic life in both fresh and salt water. Colgate is being recognized as a Champion, the highest level of recognition offered under SDSI.

A sampling of Colgate'sDfE products are Murphy® Oil Soap, Palmolive® Dishwashing Liquid, Softsoap® Brand Green Forest™ Foaming Hand Soap, Ajax® Glass and Multi-Surface Cleaner, Fabuloso® All Purpose Cleaner and Ajax® High Performance Degreaser. To learn more, check out


The Westin Riverwalk Hotel—located in drought-laden San Antonio, Texas—recently reinvented its on-premise laundry to save 300-350,000 gallons of water per month. The remake involved the removal of water-guzzling washers for more efficient ALLY MEMBER Continental Girbau models and a complementing water reclamation system.

To combat 2011'srecord Texas drought, San Antonio'swater districts dangled water-conservation incentives to commercial businesses. Faced with skyrocketing water costs, the hotel moved to remake its laundry and captured a $29,000 rebate while dramatically cutting water costs.

Water meters were attached to every washer to determine which ones used the most water and reveal accurate numbers regarding water usage per pound. With removal of less efficient washers and installation of Continental Girbau water-conserving models, The Westin'slaundry features two 130-lb. capacity Continental E-Series soft-mount washers; a 55-lb. capacity E-Series soft-mount washer; and three 125-lb. L-Series hard-mount washers. Both the L-Series and E-Series washer models offer superior efficiency, performance and programmable controls. Everything from water temperature, wash action and fill levels, cycle time, delayed start, automatic cycle advance, automatic chemical injection and extract speed are programmable to properly clean a variety of fabrics. The washers are programmable to cut utility costs and bolster laundry productivity, and both models are engineered to use fewer gallons of water per load.

To curb water usage further, a water reclamation system and Continental recovery tank were installed. The system reuses washer rinse water and condensate from the air conditioning system. The Westin'slaundry went from using three gallons of water per laundry pound to just one gallon per laundry pound—an impressive savings! Its Continental washers also deliver a higher quality clean in less time. See to learn more TODAY!


ALLY MEMBER Indie Lee & Co.'saward-winning, botanically- based luxury skin and hair care products are:

» Enjoyable - your guests will love how the products make them feel
» Safe - Indie Lee uses no parabens, sulfates or synthetic fragrances
» Humane - We never test on animals
» Environmentally friendly - No chemicals down the drain
» Easy to offer in a novel and fun way

And that'swhy we're the proud winners of TWO awards:
Healing Lifestyles & Spas 2012 Beauty Award Winner for Best Body Scrub and
Shecky'sBeauty At Its Best 2011 Beauty Award Winner for Best Body Oil

Let Indie Lee & Co. enhance your property'sother touch points by including our products in your spa, fitness center, restrooms and in-room showers and sinks. For more information about our all-natural products, visit TODAY!

MAY/JUN 2012


By Patricia Griffin, President, GHA

I recently attended the —Re-Think Waste— Massachusetts recycling meeting, and was absolutely blown away by a session on textile recycling. I—m sharing with you what I learned, and hope you too will consider making textile recycling as important as we all make paper, aluminum, plastic and glass recycling.

Fleece, flannel, corduroy, cotton, nylon, denim, wool and linen. What can you do with these fibers when you're finished wearing them, sleeping on them or draping them over your windows? One way to benefit both your community and the environment is to donate used textiles to charitable organizations. Most recovered household textiles end up at these organizations which sell or donate the majority of these products. The remainder go to either a textile recovery facility or the landfill.

Textile recycling seems to be forgotten among its more strongly recycled—paper, aluminum, plastic, glass, etc. Yet textiles are at least 95% recyclable. Currently, only about 15% of textiles are being recycled, so we have a lot of work to do in informing the public and businesses (including hotels) about recycling textiles. First of all, textiles are—so that means clothing, accessories, outer wear, underwear, rugs, draperies, bed and bath linens, table linens, placemats, rugs, purses, belts, hats, gloves, boots, shoes, scarves, etc. The tiny percentage of textile materials that are disposed of as trash by repurposers are either wet, mildewed or contaminated with oil, paint or another hazardous material.

The only items that are unacceptable are those that are wet or heavily stained or soiled. Once the item is dry, it may be recycled. This definition means that less than 1% of textile items should be going to the landfill. So, one message here is that if you drop clothing in a curbside collection box, it would be best if it'sdonated in a repurposed dry cleaning or plastic bag, so it won'tget wet inside the collection box.

Again, ANY textile that is not wet, heavily stained or mildewed is acceptable for recycling or repurposing. It doesn'tmatter if a zipper is broken, if it is missing buttons, if it is torn or if it has staining or paint. Repairs and enhancing modifications may be made by vendors in other countries.

—Lightly Worn—: We all know that term, but we all need to forget it because all textiles can be repurposed. Clothing that is suitable for resale in the US will be offered for sale by a charity or resale shop. Clothing not suitable for resale will be sold by the pound to a repurposing company—so your charity will still benefit.

The textile repurposing company will sort items into about 300 categories. The second most important and most valuable of these categories will be clothing to be offered for sale in other countries. So, these are then separated according to categories beginning with gender, age (baby, teen, adult, etc.), type of clothing (men'sshirts, women'sblouses, etc.), type of fabric (wool, cotton, etc.) and season. Each group of these items will be baled very tightly (which makes shipping more efficient) and sold by the ton to vendors around the world. These vendors often have special requests for the textile items they want to offer their customers, and so place specific orders. Some of the most coveted clothing sought are bras and underwear! Who knew? They also desperately want belts, purses, shoes, hats, etc.—and all clothing accessories.

The donation of clothing, shoes, linens and bedding supports a thriving industry across the country. Charities such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, church charities, etc. report that about 15-20% of the clothing and textiles they receive as donations are sold in their retail stores. In some areas, Goodwill has secondary stores where they mark down clothing that hasn'tsold in the other stores. About 45% ends up being sent to developing countries as wearable clothing, another 30% is sent to wiping cloth companies where they are converted into industrial wiping cloths and the remainder are sent to fiber converters where they are broken down into their basic fiber components to be re-manufactured into insulation, carpet padding or sound-proofing materials. The industry is actively seeking other uses for these textile materials.

—Recycling textiles allows charitable organizations to meet their triple bottom line goals: operate successful social enterprises, provide much needed services to communities in which they operate and support environmental efforts,— says a Goodwill Industries representative.

Since the mid-1940—s, US charities and the post-consumer textile recycling industry have repurposed and recycled billions of pounds of clothing, household textiles, shoes and accessories. This ensures your old clothing, footwear and textiles continue to add value to the US economy and beyond. They also help keep people employed here and all over the world. There are some very interesting videos about recycling clothing around the world at

Post-Consumer Textile Recycling is one of the oldest, most efficient recycling industries in existence. Clothing recyclers add tremendous value through the labor-intensive sorting, separating and recycling of secondhand clothing into 3 main categories: fibers, reclaimed wipers and used clothing.

The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART) Association is working to increase the amount of textile waste that can be recovered while developing new uses, products and markets for products derived from pre-consumer and postconsumer textile waste. Key in your zip code at to learn where you can recycle textiles. Also, you can use to determine where in your zip code you can recycle anything.

Textile recovery facilities separate overly worn or stained clothing into a variety of categories. Based on data from the Council for Textile Recycling, it was estimated that 1.3 million tons of clothing textiles were recovered for recycling in 2009. Some recovered textiles become wiping and polishing cloths. Cotton can be made into rags or form a component for new high-quality paper. Knitted or woven woolens and similar materials are —pulled— into a fibrous state for reuse by the textile industry in low-grade applications, such as car insulation or seat stuffing. Other types of fabric can be reprocessed into fibers for upholstery, insulation and even building materials. Buttons and zippers are stripped off for reuse. Very little is left over at the end of the recycling process. The remaining natural materials, such as various grades of cotton, can be composted.

For the first time ever, clothing brands, retailers, consumers, municipalities, charitable organizations, academics and recyclers are joining forces to promote the recycling of clothing and textiles. The Council for Textile Recycling (CTR) recently released its new website aimed at educating the public on the importance of recycling all clothing and textiles, not just those that are —gently worn.—

—Our goal is to have zero post-consumer textile waste going into landfills by 2037,— says Eric Stubin, CTR Chairman of the Board. —In the US the average person discards 70 lbs. of their old clothing, shoes and household textiles in their local landfill each year. We're educating people that clothing and textiles are among the most recyclable items in their lives.—

In the US, the EPA estimates more than 25 billion pounds of clothing and textiles including clothing, linens, belts and shoes are generated annually. The agency also reports more than 21 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste ends up in landfills every year.

Many organizations promote sustainable clothing manufacturing and green initiatives in the apparel industry, and it'sexciting to finally have an organization representing all of the stakeholders as we strive to bring wide scale awareness to a very solvable problem. If consumers, municipalities and the apparel industry implement, promote, and market —Wear. Donate. Recycle,— we will significantly divert more post-consumer textile waste in the years to come. The Council'swebsite,, will be compiling a resource library for consumers, municipalities, apparel and footwear brands and retailers interested in developing clothing and footwear recycling programs.


¦ An estimated 13.1 million tons of textiles were generated in 2010, or 5.3% of total municipal solid waste (MSW) generation.

¦ An estimated 14.0% of textiles in clothing and footwear and 17.1% of items such as sheets and pillowcases was recovered for export or reprocessing in 2010.

¦ The recovery rate for all textiles was 15.0% in 2010, 2.0 million tons.

¦ The US EPA estimates that textile waste occupies nearly 5% of all landfill space.

¦ While the EPA estimates that the textile recycling industry recycles approximately 3.8 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) each year, this only accounts for approximately 15% of all PCTW, leaving 85% in our landfills.

¦ The average US citizen discards 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually.


Q: If clothing has a stain, a rip, a missing button or broken zipper, I can'tdonate it, can I?

A: Yes, absolutely, you can donate any fabric or textile piece, including shoes, belts, hats, stuffed toys and accessories of any kind. Absolutely everything wearable will all be repurposed or recycled. The only fabric or textile that should go into the landfill are those that are wet, moldy or exceptionally dirty items.

Q: How do I decide whether or not I can donate clothing?

A: Don'ttry to decide. Just donate it if it'sdry, not moldy, mildewy or exceptionally dirty. It'sbest if the item is dry and clean. It doesn'tmatter is it'sstained or has paint spots.

Q: I can'tdecide if I should leave my clothing in a box for the Red Cross or another group?

A: First of all, don'ttry to decide where your item is going. Don'tthink, —Oh, someone is Haiti would really like this item, so I—ll give it to the Red Cross and they—ll send it to some devastated area.— It would not be unusual for a for-profit company to pay the Red Cross or any other charitable entity to use their logo and brand. The company that owns the box will recycle the materials and will probably pay the Red Cross a fee or percentage.

Q: How do I decide to which group to give my clothing and textiles?

A: Remember that what the charity wants is the money earned from selling the items. Of course, they also want to help the community they're assisting. So just choose the charity you want to help most—just as you would decide which group deserves your money. You can look at or for evaluations of charities.

Q: Where will my good used clothing end up?

A: All wearable clothing will first be offered for resale in a second-hand store, perhaps a Goodwill store. If it'snot sold there, Goodwill, for instance, has outlet stores, where the price is reduced considerably. If it'snot sold there, it—ll probably be sold to a textile recycling entity where it will be graded and sorted into one of 75 categories according to the type of fabric, quality and seasonality, and then sold by the ton.

Also, US apparel and accessories are very desired all over the world. They desperately want our used clothing, and textile dealers all over the world order items by the ton from US textile recyclers. Items they especially want are underwear (yes, underwear—especially bras), belts, hats, bathing suits, shoes of any kind (even singles). There'seven a company! (Bras are extremely important to young girls around the world.) Drapes, curtains, rugs, shower curtains, towels and bed linens are also recyclable textile products.

From there, for instance, blue jean fabric items are chopped up and all hardware is removed, then ground up to take the materials back to its fiber form and possibly made into insulation for homes. Textiles not useful otherwise may be made into wiping or polishing cloths for commercial and industrial applications. Some are chopped and/or ground up and are made into carpet padding. The main thing to remember is that there'slittle reason for any textile to end up in the landfill because there are so many ways it can be repurposed.

Q: What about the fact that we're always told to donate —gently worn— clothing?

A: Ignore it. —Gently worn— clothing will probably be offered for sale as second-hand clothing, but so will many other items that are —well worn.— All other textile items will be recycled in one form or another. So, donate any dry, hopefully clean clothing or accessories or anything made of textiles. It will be recycled and repurposed. Recycling textiles will help and be useful to people all over the world. Recycling textiles will maintain and create jobs. Recycling textiles will keep thousands of tons of textiles out of our landfills.

Q: What should hotels do with retired bed and bath linens? What about clothing items in their —lost and found?—

A: Though locale may be the difference because of the cost of shipping, hotels can sell retired linens directly to textile reprocessors, i.e., wiping cloth companies (see or they can donate linens and clothing to one or more local charities which accept textiles.

Footnote: Two college students decided that the US was abusing Africa by sending all our old t-shirts there, and set off on a mission to repatriate 500 t-shirts. You can see what they learned in an interesting video related to textile recycling at, Watch the second video, —I didn'tdance my ass off at Josh'sBar Mitzvah.— It'sa meaningfull 17+ minutes. You—ll love the story, and you—ll love the results., December 31, 2011

MAR/APR 2012

UNDER PRESSURE; will California's new
Green Building Standards Code
leave luxury hotels in hot water?

Now that California'snew Green Building Standards Code (also known as CALGreen) has officially gone into effect, many industry leaders believe the code will eventually affect the design, construction and specification of plumbing material for new hotel projects on a national level. However, questions remain about its long-term impact on business and the guest experience.

Background: Without question, CALGreen is complicated legislation. It requires residential and commercial developers to implement a wide range of sustainability measures in the areas of planning and design, energy efficiency, water efficiency and conservation, material conservation, resource efficiency and environmental quality. The law only affects newly-constructed residential and low-rise non-residential buildings-including hotels and motels (three stories or less). In the area of water conservation, CALGreen requires a 20% reduction in water consumption and addresses indoor and outdoor water use, as well as wastewater reduction. (This article will only be focusing on indoor water use—one of the more controversial aspects of the law.)

To demonstrate a 20% reduction in water usage, low-rise hotels in California must show a performance calculation with a combined reduction for lavatory faucets, showerheads, water closets and urinals. To achieve a 20% reduction, lavatory faucets are now at 1.5 gpm (gallons per minute), superseding the national requirement of 2.2 gpm; kitchen faucets are now 1.8 gpm, compared to 2.2 gpm nationally; and showerheads and hand showers must now be under 2.0 gpm, compared to 2.5 nationally. All must have a maximum allowable pressure of 60 psi (pounds per square inch). Water closets are 1.28 gallons per flush, while urinals are 0.5 gallons per flush.

Obstacles: The problem for hotel owners begins with the showerhead requirements. Since the combined flow rate of all showerheads cannot exceed 2.2 gpm, the shower must be designed to only allow one showerhead in operation at a time. (The maximum allowable volume is 80 psi).

This portion of the law virtually eliminates volume and redefines the nature of a shower system—a problem for high-end hotels that depend on the bath suite as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition. Jeff Burton of The Bath + Beyond in San Francisco sums it up best: —You can'tgo to a five-star hotel and be expected to take a two-gallon-per-minute shower when you're paying $500 to $1,000 a night.—

Also, if a hotel owner retains a design firm in New York City and a contractor in California, who'sresponsible for ensuring the product is compliant?

—The law is pretty clear about the requirements, but there are still many questions about responsibility,— says Tom LeDuc, a 45-year plumbing industry veteran and Certified Green Plumbers instructor who has been leading CALGreen seminars for the Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association (DPHA). —At first, we thought it was the plumber'sresponsibility since we supply the fixtures. But we quickly found out that wasn'tnecessarily the case. The designer should specify the product for their project, but showroom dealers have a responsibility to educate their customer too. They need to make sure they cover themselves.— The last thing a showroom dealer wants to do is sell a luxury shower system to a hospitality specifier that doesn'tpass inspection. —Lawmakers didn'tthink of how it would affect the dealers or customers,— Burton says. —We're advising our customers to check with their local building department code on water allotment. We don'twant the responsibility of recommending shower products to designers, and then they come back to us and say, —You sold it to us, and it didn'tpass inspection.——

The nearly 200-page law also has many gray areas, with some experts calling it —convoluted.— Depending on where your hotel is located in California, a local inspector may interpret the law to your advantage—or disadvantage—for the same reasons. Additionally, what constitutes residential or non-residential? Who defines what —new construction— means?

Hospitality chains that entered into master contracts for large quantities of faucets and showerheads may also be concerned about using their existing inventory. Rather than keep separate stock for California, they will eventually need to make the switch to plumbing product that meet the strictest standards for all of their properties.

However, from my perspective, one of the most troubling aspects of the law is the potential watering down of the luxury bath experience. The exclusivity of that experience may be lost as more hoteliers adapt the code'sshower requirements.

Overcoming obstacles: How can hotel owners avoid the hot water? Even if a new hotel project is not in California, plumbers, inspectors, dealers, mechanical engineers and hospitality designers should start familiarizing themselves with these codes now and establish open communication with their local building department. Since it will take some time for the requirements to trickle down nationwide, it is an opportunity for hoteliers to plan ahead. Why not begin looking for products with modern technology that are designed to meet stricter sustainability measures?

Product-wise, options include installing advanced digital shower systems with water tracking systems or replacing pressure balance valves with thermostatic valves that have built-in volume control and diverter in one. These relatively inexpensive valves not only eliminate varied volume control and reduce flow rates, but also meet CALGreen standards.

Greener future: CALGreen is one of the most significant pieces of water conservation legislation ever passed in the US. It'snot surprising that such a major code change has created confusion and panic. The timing of CALGreen may be unfortunate with the recession, but the challenges it poses are not unlike those we have faced in the past. If anything, we can view it as an opportunity: Future hotel projects will be set up for more advanced green-rating systems like the US Green Building Council'sLEED Rating System.

Abel, Avi, —Under Pressure,— Lodging Magazine, November, 2011, p. 48
JAN/FEB 2012


Google is investing $280 million to help private homeowners put solar panels on their rooftops. It'sGoogle'slatest—and largest—investment in clean energy. The money will allow installer SolarCity to offer solar systems to homeowners for no money up front. In exchange, customers agree to pay a set price for the power produced by the panels. Google earns a return on its investment by charging SolarCity interest to use its money and reaping the benefits of federal and local renewable energy tax credits. —It allows us to put our capital to work in a way that is very important to the founders and to Google, and we found a good business model to support,— said Joel Conkling of Google'sGreen Business Operations in an interview before the company announced the investment.

Google co-founder and chief executive Larry Page wants Google'soperations to eventually produce no net greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, Google has invested in wind farms in North Dakota, California and Oregon, solar projects in California and Germany and the early stages of a transmission system off the East Coast meant to foster the construction of offshore wind farms.

A typical rooftop solar system costs $25,000 to $30,000, too much for many homeowners to lay out. Instead, solar providers like SolarCity and competitors SunRun and Sungevity can pay for the system with money borrowed from a bank or a specially-designed fund. The resident then pays a set rate for the power generated. The rate is lower than or roughly the same as the local electricity price.

A typical 5-kilowatt system will generate about 7,000 kilowatt-hours of power in a year, or about 60% of the typical household'sannual use. The homeowner buys whatever remaining electric power he needs from the local utility. The homeowner typically enjoys lower overall power bills and is protected somewhat against potentially higher traditional electricity prices in the future.

These types of programs don'twork well in all states or for all homes. In order for both the solar company to make money and the homeowner to save money, there must be some combination of high local electric rates, state and local subsidies, and low installation costs. And, of course, sunshine. A home needs a roof, preferably facing south, that is not shaded by trees or structures.

Google's$280 million is expected to pay for 10,000 rooftop systems that will be installed over the next 18 months. These types of programs originated in California, by far the nation'slargest solar market, because the state has offered generous incentives, power prices are high and there is ample sunlight.

Google'sinvestment generates returns three ways. Google gets a tax credit from the federal government of 30% of the cost of the solar projects, in this case $84 million. It also can write off the total value of the systems in the year they are built, an accounting benefit called accelerated depreciation. The value of state and local tax credits also flow to Google.

Google—and solar installers—hope that this investment will inspire other corporations to establish similar funds.

Fahey, Jonathan, AP Energy Writer, San Antonio News, September 28, 2011
NOV/DEC 2011

How to Build A Greener City

Can cities be part of the environmental solution instead of part of the problem? The question isn'tan idle one. Urban populations around the world are expected to soar in the next 20 years, to five billion from more than three billion today. If the current rate of urbanization holds steady, cities will account for nearly three-quarters of the world'senergy demand by 2030.

It wasn'tlong ago that the idea of using —green— and —city— in the same sentence seemed absurd. Cities were considered a blight on the environment: energy-hogging, pollution-spewing, garbage-producing environmental hellholes. But in recent years, they—ve begun to be seen as models of green virtue. City dwellers tend to walk more and drive less than their suburban counterparts and dense urban development encourages transit use. Apartment living generally means lower per-household energy use. Building on these strengths, planners and developers are devising innovative solutions to meet urbanites— energy, water, transportation and sanitation needs.

Some improvements are fairly easy, such as switching to energy-efficient LED lighting in buildings and streetlights, or setting aside bike lanes and widening sidewalks to encourage alternatives to driving. Others are more ambitious, requiring new construction or even an extensive rebuilding of city infrastructure—consider what is needed to add a second set of pipes for a water-reuse system. Some of the most ambitious projects—and the greatest source of innovative ideas—are the dozens of —eco-city— developments in the works or on drawing boards around the world. But green initiatives aren'tjust found on blueprints for new cities. Chicago, for example, has about 350 green-roof projects covering more than 4.5 million square feet. So, how can cities—old or new—take green to a new level? Here'sa look at some of the ways.

DISTRICT HEATING: In a typical office building, heating and cooling account for nearly two-thirds of total energy use. So an alternative to traditional electricity or natural-gas HVAC systems can go a long way toward making cities greener. One solution: tapping the excess heat produced by nearby utilities or industry. A network of pipes distributes the heat, which can be used for hot water, space heating and in absorption chillers to provide air conditioning in the summer. These district heating systems are considerably more efficient—capturing up to 90% of the available energy—than in-building boilers. And they can tap any number of heat sources, including high-efficiency natural-gas turbines, large-scale solar thermal systems, biomass incinerators or furnaces in a steel mill. Common in Europe, high-efficiency district heating systems are being used in South Korea'sSongdo IBD and are in the plans for other eco-city developments.

MICRO WIND TURBINES: The giant windmills that dot the countryside aren'tsuitable for cities, where vibrations can rattle windows and the noise would be annoying. So developers are turning to microturbines. These small generators sit atop commercial or residential buildings and are designed to take advantage of the quirks of big-city wind patterns—lots of turbulence and frequent, sudden shifts in direction. The turbines are generally small, rated at one to three kilowatts each. But when installed in arrays and combined with high-efficiency solar panels, they can generate a large share of a building'senergy needs, especially when the structure is equipped with a full set of energy-saving features. A handful of companies provide micro wind systems around the world, and the devices, while more expensive per kilowatt than bigger systems, have been installed at scores of locations, including PepsiCo Inc.'sChicago office building.

PUMPED HYDRO STORAGE/MICRO HYDROPOWER: Wind and solar power are notoriously fickle, producing more power than needed at some times and less than needed at others. A city that wants to rely on such intermittent sources needs to find a way to bank that power. One technique: pumped hydroelectric storage. When wind or solar power is plentiful, electricity is used to pump water to an upper reservoir. Later, when power is needed, the water is allowed to flow downhill, turning turbines in the process. (The lakes have the added benefit as open-space landscaping.) Large-scale pumped-hydro systems are increasingly used for storing energy, and many isolated towns rely on small-scale micro hydro plants to generate electricity. Adding a pumped-storage capability isn'ttechnically difficult, but it'sexpensive, especially on a small scale, and current technology generally requires a large —drop,— or change in elevation to produce much power—though companies are working on lower-flow hydro turbines that can work in more level settings.

WALKING AND BIKING: When it comes to transportation, dense urban areas like Manhattan already have an advantage over suburbs: By packing people, jobs and services close together, they reduce the need for many car trips and provide the density to support bus and transit services. Green-city planners do even more, designing streets so that walking is safe, convenient and interesting—with wide sidewalks, landscaping and abundant crosswalks—and providing separate designated bicycle lanes. Songdo's1,500 acres are designed so that most shops, parks and transit stops can be reached in less than a 15-minute walk, and the city also has a 15-mile network of bike lanes.

PERSONAL RAPID TRANSIT: Not every urban trip can be made on foot, bicycle or public transit. Cities can encourage greener auto choices by providing electric-vehicle charging stations in parking garages. A futuristic solution: personal rapid transit, or PRT—pod-like, self-powered vehicles that can carry as many as six passengers. The vehicles can travel along dedicated roadways, like an automated airport transit system, or on streets equipped with buried magnets. There are no fixed schedules or routes; passengers pick their destinations, and a central computer guides the car without intermediate stops. Although still a novelty, PRTs are operating at Heathrow International Airport near London and at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Masdar City, an eco-city development in Abu Dhabi. Masdar, however, has put on hold plans to deploy the pod cars throughout the entire planned two-square-mile development.

PNEUMATIC GARBAGE COLLECTION: Even the greenest cities produce lots of garbage, which creates two problems: collecting the trash and getting rid of it. On the collection side, a centralized waste system, using an underground network of pneumatic tubes, can replace the fleets of trucks that block traffic, tear up streets and burn fossil fuels. The tubes can collect garbage from both households and outdoor trash bins and carry it to a centralized collection and sorting facility. Though some systems handle only food waste, others are set up to handle separate streams for paper and other recyclable trash. The systems are used in scores of cities world-wide; a pneumatic trash-collection system on New York'sRoosevelt Island has been in operation since 1975.

WASTE TO RESOURCES: Getting to zero waste is as important to cities as getting to zero carbon. This doesn'tmean just encouraging residents to recycle—cities also can deploy technologies to tap the energy and other valuable resources buried in the trash. Advanced anaerobic digesters process organic garbage waste and the sludge left over from treating wastewater to produce biogas, which can be burned for energy; more common in Europe, the technology is just being deployed in the US for handling municipal garbage. High-temperature plasma-arc gasifiers can consume nearly the entire waste stream, making a synthetic gas that is burned to produce electricity; the leftover slag can be used in building materials. One novel approach under consideration by the PlanIT Valley project, an eco-city development planned for northern Portugal: Aluminum cans are processed with water and energy, producing aluminum oxide and hydrogen, which can then be used to power fuel cells. But because aluminum oxide requires tremendous energy to make aluminum, it may be more economically feasible just to recycle aluminum containers.

GREEN ROOFS: Rooftops, which take up a fifth of urban surface area, can be used to support solar panels or wind turbines, but they're otherwise underutilized. Covering the tops of buildings with grasses, shrubs and other plants can deliver a host of benefits. Though often more costly than traditional coverings, green roofs can provide insulation and trim a building'sheating and cooling needs. They absorb rainwater, reducing the load on storm-water systems, and filter what water does run off so it can be used for many domestic needs. They also filter air pollutants.

Totty, Michael, —How to Build a Greener City,— The Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2011
SEP/OCT 2011


This newsletter and each September/October issue in the future, will focus on success stories of GHA'sPartner Members. We want to share your successful and not-so-successful environmental stories with all members. You are all working very hard at being green, and it—ll be easier for all if we share information on what has worked for you as well as what has not. We know you—ll love reading these informative, interesting and very green stories! Here we go . . .

* * * * *


Maria Lougaris, Managing Director, Castelli Hotel, Zakynthos, Greece,, 2-year GHA member

One of our most successful practices has been embraced by our guests, and involves Archelon, a very important voluntary non-profit organization. Located on the beautiful island of Zakynthos, we have the pleasure of being visited by the protected loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, which choose our island as the place to lay their eggs every year and hatch babies. The turtles are of great interest here, and the first marine park in Greece has been established on Laganas Bay, one of the longest Mediterranean beaches (9 km), to help protect this species. All motorized water sports have been stopped in the park for the last few years. Many newer regulations are also enforced, i.e., no flights over the park are permitted during some nighttime hours, some fantastic parts of the beach cannot be visited at all or only prior to 10 p.m., all sunbeds must be put away at night and no sun umbrellas are allowed to be pushed into the sand—all so the turtles can use the beach.

So, at our first opportunity, we always inform our guests about the Caretta caretta sea turtles and our marine park. It is vital for our island to preserve its nature and the species that choose Zakynthos to lay their eggs and spend their summers. From the beginning, we have been among the first businesses on the island to communicate facts and figures about Greece'ssea turtle protection by holding a weekly slide show for our guests in cooperation with the local non-profit.

In 2010 we began offering a free weekly presentation to our guests during the busiest weeks of the season. The program is very interesting and informs our guests of the marine park'sregulations along with the reasons why the Caretta caretta choose our island. So guests are informed and learn to respect the turtle as well as nature.

It is much easier to protect the species when more visitors know why it is so important. The importance of the marine park regulations are also shared, and thus guests are happier to abide by them. The rules are easier to accept when one understands that because you're at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, you need to follow the rules and leave by 10 p.m. As a result, the guests become very interested and want to learn more about the Caretta caretta.

The Archelon volunteers— presentation is usually in English and German. Hopefully, the Caretta caretta turtles will be —adopted— by the guests. The volunteers answer all the guests— questions, and the guests have an opportunity to buy souvenirs supporting the Caretta caretta.

Prior to this presentation, or before coming to our hotel, guests may not be informed at all. This environmental educational activity is something different for guests in their week'sschedule, and fits in very nicely with our green program. Guests are content to enjoy this presentation on the hotel veranda poolside. The non-profit undoubtedly has much more accurate information than we would have on our own. A donation box and marine park leaflets are always available in our lobby. The guests can enjoy a new and different experience, which is a huge benefit to us, great for the island'ssustainability and benefits the Caretta caretta along with Archelon.


Robert W. Lenz, Innkeeper, Asa Ransom House, Clarence, NY,, 8-year GHA member

NYSEG/RG&E recently offered a free energy audit to small businesses including Bob Lenz—s10-room western NY Asa Ransom House. The audit revealed that the three 4— and one 8— ballasted fluorescent tube fixtures in his kitchen are energy wasters. All the other fixtures in the house already were fitted with CFLs. The utility is not only replacing the outdated fixtures and tubes, they will install the new equipment, remove the old and pay 70% of the cost! The property'sshare of the cost is only $115, and the conversion is expected to save $310 each and every year going forward.

Be sure to contact your electric, gas and water utilities to ask if they're offering help or rebates to reduce usage of resources and lower your bills.


Neil Kellock, General Manager, Windermere Manor, London, ON CN,, 3-year GHA member

When we learned about bee hives on the roof of an urban hotel, we began to investigate. As a result, we installed eight hives at the manor during 2010. The Windermere bees enjoy the advantages of an urban environment: no pesticides, fewer insecticides, a wider variety of plants and slightly warmer temperatures that give them a longer season. We decided we wanted to share what we were learning, and chose to locate the hives on the ground where visitors can see them. The bees are taking an active educational role at the University of Western Ontario'shospitality services, of which we're a part. They're doing a lot of tours, and have had a number of school classes visit.

We—ve built two-meter square raised beds for herbs and vegetables to be cultivated by staff at the hotel, cafe, research park and graphic services. The food will be used in the cafe; any extra will go to the London Food Bank.

About one-third of the food in grocery stores is directly influenced by bees and another third indirectly. Honey production is one part of Windermere Manor'sshift to produce more food on site. I—m a firm believer in the locavore (local food) movement, and we are now using the manor'sproduce in our restaurant.

The flavor of honey depends in large part on the plants the bees pollinated. Watching them land with large globs of pollen, one can notice the colors depicting the source: almond from trees, black from plums and orange from dandelions—dandelions are like steak for bees. Visitors can sit on a bench and watch as the bees go in and out. It looks like sheer chaos, but each bee has a role, and you can begin to determine who does what as you observe them.

Each hive is named for a section of the university: Research Park, Great Hall, Windermere Hotel, etc. I am proud the Windermere Cafe hive has been the most productive so far. The university administration hive is the slowest—probably too many meetings!

The first Summer of having the bee hives proved to be a great success—we harvested approximately 400 lbs. of honey. We used the honey in our banquet and restaurant kitchens in place of sugar on certain menus. We sold 1 lb. jars of our honey to hotel guests, and we sold out immediately! We replaced VIP guest pillow chocolates with 1.5 oz. jars of honey. At the start of Summer 2011 we have grown from 8 hives to 22 hives. We—ve also added a special viewing hive, where one wall of the hive is see-through allowing all to see what'sgoing on in the hive.

We are now working with a local craft brewery to produce a draft honey ale—using our own honey of course! We expect to have the ale brewed and featured in our restaurant very soon. We are also experimenting with the bee'swax produced in our hives to use as furniture polish in the manor.


Jennifer Holderied, Owner, Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, Lake Placid, NY,, 5-year GHA member

A MAPLE SWEET PARTNERSHIP: Spring was arriving in Lake Placid, NY, and the 166-room Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort partnered with Adirondack Sugarhouse on a unique maple sugar program in conjunction with Cornell University. The maple sugar program brings maple sugar processing on site to the Golden Arrow and its restaurant, Generations. From maple trees that have been tapped throughout Lake Placid, sap is gathered, brought to the maple processing hut at the Golden Arrow and boiled down to syrup. It is one tasty experience, educational and fun for families and people of all ages.

—The on-premise maple syrup program is very unique. People in the community along with hotel guests can join in the process, and experience making maple syrup. —The learning opportunity by having the sugarhouse so accessible is immense. I was lucky enough to tap my first tree the other day. Most people know that maple syrup comes from maple trees, and they may have seen the buckets on trees, but few have tasted the maple water or have ever experienced the process,— said Jenn Holderied. —Today I got to sample some of the amazing menu items that Executive Chef David Hunt has put together at Generations featuring the Adirondack Sugarhouse maple syrup. This is tree-to-table fresh! Talk about reaping the rewards of your labor. This is a way for the Golden Arrow to bring nature and its products to our guests and the community in a sharing partnership,— Jenn said.

Buckets hold 3 gallons of sap each at more than 40 trees tapped around the Golden Arrow and throughout Lake Placid. Through the boiling process, it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup. Maple syrup is a totally natural product. From the time the sap is poured to the end result takes almost three hours. Once the syrup reaches 217°, the syrup is drawn off, filtered and then bottled. Several grades of syrup are produced from clear to dark amber. The darker the color of the syrup, the more intense the taste. The sap in the maple trees will continue to run through most of April. Following the run of the maple sap this year, the Golden Arrow will then tap Birch trees, making birch syrup.

To further promote the maple sugar and have the public sample maple in different forms, Chef David has designed a special maple menu with maple offerings throughout the day. On site people can taste the maple sap or maple water (tastes like sweetened water). Mike Farrell, Director of Cornell University'sMaple Syrup Research Station, said, —The maple water is delicious. I drink about a gallon of it a day.—

John Fremante, Director of Shipman Youth Center, and his team of volunteers help to gather the sap day and night bringing it to the on-site sugarhouse. Proceeds from the maple syrup produced benefits the Shipman Youth Center, which serves 300 children in the Lake Placid region.

LOCAL HARVEST DINING: Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort began a series of Adirondack Harvest Dinners in their Generations Restaurant, which feature only local growers and suppliers, who also attend. Chef David connected in a collaborative effort with local farmers to have them grow extra herbs, spinach and Asian greens such as tot soi to sell exclusively to the restaurant. He also started buying meat from local producers, and half-pound burgers featuring grass-raised beef have been added to the menu.

To make salad dressing, David simply goes to the property'sgreen roof to clip herbs. Creating a local-foods brunch proved to be an easy endeavor for Hunt. A maple chevre blintz featured goat cheese and blueberries from nearby Peru. Asian greens, farm-fresh eggs and chilled melon soup were all sourced locally. Cherries featured in a dessert were picked only hours before becoming part of the meal.

For the producers, local-food events are a great way to get the word out about what they offer. The diner benefits from eating high-quality food. What a winner!

SOLAR SAVES: The newest addition to the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort'sarsenal of green initiatives is the installation of solar thermal panels. Installed in July, these panels should produce enough heat to warm the indoor pool, conserving 31,600 kWh and saving $1,800 in fuel costs annually. Payback is expected in 8 years. Additional heat produced will be diverted to help heat the water for the north wing of the resort.

Since beginning their green initiative in 2005, The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort has been a leader with creating environmentally friendly green programs. The Golden Arrow is the only property in the US to have achieved Audubon International's5-Green Leaf rating.


Charles P. Kinsman,, 7-year GHA member

In December 2003 we installed a Central Boiler ( outdoor wood furnace at our Towanda, PA property to be used for heating our entire 10-room motel plus for all of our hot water usage. Wood replaces natural gas as our heating fuel. We have always used only dead or storm-damaged trees on our property that were already down. We do not cut down any good trees. A thermostat on the boiler controls the heat by moving a plate back and forth to release more or less air to the firebox. Wood is added to the firebox about once a day—at most twice a day. Hot water from the outdoor boiler is piped in an underground loop to a boiler inside the property to heat the water that is used every day.

I am happy to report that since 2003 we have used less than 1% of what the average commercial natural gas customer uses measured in ccf'seach month! The boiler cost $8,400, and paid for itself in about 3 years. For eight months of the year, our gas bill averaged about $375/mo, and we now pay only the minimum bill each month. The boiler is used all summer to heat water for the property. Guests are very curious about the boiler, and their comments are always very positive.

We have about 70 acres from which we pull maple, oak, ash, hemlock and pine downed wood. We're able to burn the soft woods such as pine and hemlock because the boiler burns so clean. We're proud and happy that we—ll continue to save about $3,000/yr for many years.


Jenn Salegna, Green Team Leader, Harbourview Inn, Charleston, NC,, 3-year GHA member

Harbourview Inn, Charleston, NC'sbiggest success story is our participation in collecting used bars of soap to donate to the Global Soap Project ( After learning about their project at a South Carolina Green Hospitality Alliance meeting, we started collecting but realized that because we are a small property, it would take quite a while to collect enough to make an impact. Our management company encouraged us to spread the idea throughout all of our properties. During the past year almost all of Charlestowne Hotels— properties have begun the collection process.

In addition to that success, we also started to work with the College of Charleston'sHospitality Club. Through them we had a large group of willing students volunteer to collect soap from hotels from the whole Charleston area. Working with them has greatly expanded the reach of this project and the quantity of soap collected. In April, the founder of the Global Soap Project came to speak at the College of Charleston, and he took about 2,000 pounds of soap back to Atlanta! The soap is processed, recycled and reformed into bars and will be shipped to refugee camps in Africa.

The only downside to the project is our lack of space. Most hotels in Charleston are quite small, and don'thave much space for storage. The biggest issue we have is just finding space to store what we collect until there is enough to be picked up.

Harbourview Inn was recently awarded One Palmetto from the South Carolina Green Hospitality Alliance.


. . . was Raakesh Patel, Owner and General Manager of Super 8 Ukiah'sgoal because he was determined to reduce his $1,700 monthly electric bill. However, solar'shigh cost and his not-so-appropriate roof space instead brought him to induction lighting for his entire parking lot. He learned online that induction self-ballasted 40-watt conversion units could replace his 175- and 250-watt metal halide wall-mounted —wall pack— type fixtures and provide sufficient parking lot lighting along with reducing the electricity bill by 12%. The bulbs have a 20-25 year life. When he learned of his electric utility'savailable rebate, it was a done deal. Apperson Energy Management'slabor and materials conversion proposal for $4,564 and the utility company's(about 60%) $2,500 rebate resulted in his out-of-pocket cost being $2,064 to replace 25 units. Energy savings is $142.50/mo or $1,710/yr and calculates to a 1.17/yr payback, reducing the electricity bill by 15,500 kWh monthly and saving $1,710 every year after that.

Raakesh says, —I did not want to do the installation myself, but it is very easy. The bulbs can be purchased at or many other sites for $49-80 each. Companies selling the induction lighting will guide you as to the type and size to purchase and how to install the equipment. To convert from metal halide, you—d simply open the casing, remove the bulb, capacitor, ballast, transformer, etc., screw in the self-ballasted induction bulb and hook up the one wire. It'svery simple.—

His continued solar investigation next brought him to installing an electric vehicle charging station along with two designated parking places for hybrid and low-emission vehicles. The AeroVironment ( station cost about $1,500 while other materials, installation and permit fees cost about $1,200.

There is no charge for using the station as long as the driver is a guest at his Super 8. It can take 4 to 8 hours to completely charge a car, and his cost per full charge is about $2.50. Of course, most cars still have a considerable charge when they arrive.

The best part, Raakesh reports, is the excitement about having the station. From the front desk, he can see other guests— excitement as they arrive and stop to look at the station, take photos with their phones, take the handle off and feel it, etc. Then there'slots of conversation when they come inside. The installation has brought lots of media and franchise attention as well. His is the first in the county, the first Super 8 installation and the first in the entire Wyndham Hotel Group of about 7,200 hotels in the portfolio worldwide bringing a —Wyndham Champion of Green— award. The frosting on this fine cake is a 30% tax credit and full depreciation the first year!

Raakesh is using to rate the energy use of his building, which is currently 77% efficient. The 1981 54-room exterior-corridor building'selectricity and natural gas usage is 135 kBtu per square foot per year. He had to metal-weather strip all the exterior doors to get to 77%. He'snow hired an engineer to verify his findings, and is working on applying for an Energy Star rating for the building.

One more hint Raakesh has is about timers. The long hours that the coffee brewer, as is in most hotel breakfast areas, is on bothered him, so he bought a $5 timer. Each day the timer turns on the brewer at 6 a.m. and off at 10 a.m. He also put a timer on the spa heater to start at 8:40 a.m., go off at noon, on again at 3:30 p.m. and off at 10 p.m., which very much satisfies the general usage of his guests.

Raakesh is very pleased and proud of his green accomplishments, as he well should be. Call him anytime in Ukiah, CA at 707/468-8181 or visit for more information.


Laura Rubio, Owner, Blue Pearl Suites, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,

Our family has always recycled, we're vegetarians of many years and we—ve always been involved in greening projects at school and in our community even though it'snot easy in Mexico. I used to carry my recyclables in the car trunk for days to find a place where I knew they would be recycled and not dumped as garbage. We finally found and supported a small women'scooperative, and we paid them to come weekly to our school where the participating families gathered stuff to be recycled. It was a good win-win solution.

Later we moved to Playa del Carmen and built a small and charming apart hotel, the Blue Pearl Suites. It was completely natural for us to offer recycling facilities to our guests, use biodegradable cleaning products and support communities when buying handicrafts like hammocks, baskets and little henequen dolls, as well as organic produce for our gift baskets. No other hotels were doing it, but we were convinced it was necessary.

Again, it was not easy to find a proper way to dispose of the recyclables. Our place is small and things started to pile up. The employees did not understand why they had to do the extra work of sorting, cleaning and keeping all the recyclables which seemed to them to be garbage. When I tried to explain, I realized that it was not a part of their reality. They did not like biodegradable products either. People here are used to cleaning with Clorox and muriatic acid on a daily basis along with liquids having strong smells and colors. It required a lot of supervision and was frustrating for all. It didn'thelp that guests weren'tinterested. A few used the recycling bins, especially if coming from countries where it is a normal practice, but most just disposed of things as always, kept the lights and TV on and sometimes even left a faucet open.

Then two great things happened: I found —Green— Hotels Association® on the web and started reading all I could on how to green a hotel and began to understand the importance of making it a team project. Instead of trying to push everybody to make changes they did not understand, we had to take time to talk about conservation, about what is happening in our area and how it is going to affect us, and to reconnect with our love for nature and beauty. We invited a biologist who came several times and talked about the precious species that live on our coasts and in our oceans, as well as the changes occurring around so much building and with little respect for the environment. We shared videos and stories, and our manager became the leader of the team. Together we wrote our —environmental policies— and mission statement. We decided on a list of short- and long-term actions, one of which was to choose organic amenities. We and our guests are very pleased with'sgreen products. Currently everything is running smoothly.

The other thing that happened is that the local government opened several collection centers that receive all recyclables, even electronics and used batteries! We still have to deliver them once a month, but it'sa start. From what I have learned, the most important step is creating a team, taking the time to listen, share and be inspired.

I was leaving the Blue Pearl the other day, and stopped for a moment because there was a guest standing at the reception area. I was just about to offer help when I realized she was reading our green policies which are posted on the wall. She took the time to read them carefully, and then headed to the beach. Times are changing!


Randy Goff, Manager, Honokaa, HI,, 3-year GHA member

Waianuhea Bed & Breakfast has been awarded's2011 Certificate of Excellence. This distinction represents a remarkable achievement, and recognizes Waianuhea as a leader in its field for service, quality and value. is the world'slargest travel site that assists customers in gathering travel information, posting reviews and opinions of travel related content and engaging in interactive travel forums. Trip awards this certificate to properties which consistently receive excellent ratings.

Waianuhea provides soothing, peaceful and luxurious accommodations with a sense of remote retreat and modern conveniences. Experience alternative energy in a whole new way. Our power is harnessed from the sun and our water is collected from pristine trade-wind showers. Nestled at 2,500— elevation on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii'sBig Island, they offer visitors a different perspective of life in Hawaii.


Rob LeVine, General Manager, Antlers at Vail, Vail, CO,, 4-year GHA member

Most communities are home to at least one organization whose mission is simply to champion the green cause. In Vail, CO, it is the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability (EVAS, EVAS provides resources and education to a network of hotels, as well as doing a myriad of other things. They promote green building processes, sponsor green seminars on a variety of topics, host recycling events and on and on.

In addition to participating in their hotel-specific efforts, we have struck an additional relationship particular to our property. As the —Official Hotel of EVAS— for the last five years, we—ve hosted all of their speakers or other notable guests at no charge on a space-available basis. We also offer our conference space to them at no charge for any of those events for which space is available.

Organizations like EVAS are notoriously underfunded, and for them to know that they almost always have free hotel rooms and free meeting space for any of their purposes makes their work much simpler.

The property, in turn, gets to promote Antlers at Vail Condominiums & Conference Center as the Official Hotel of EVAS, which brings Antlers some recognition. It also helps keep management and staff dedicated to the cause, which is a reward in itself.


Greg Ziccardi, Sustainability Coordinator, Antlers at Vail, Vail, CO,, 4-year GHA member

I was on the driving range the other day practicing new ideas in order to improve my golf game. —This works,— I thought to myself and I vowed to take it on the golf course. My game improved for the first few holes and then subtly I returned to the old habits. By the end of the day I was right back where I—ve always been. What does this golf analogy have to do with green hotel practices?

Old habits are hard to break, and new ideas, regardless of how fundamentally sound, are difficult to instill. I have found that this is especially true among employees who have been doing things the same way for as long as they have been employed here.

Since the early days, Antlers at Vail has been a leader in our community with regard to environmentally-friendly practices. Even before it was ordinary to recycle aluminum cans, we were doing it. We can all recall that even something as simple as that required a change in habit. Employees and guests considered it easier to just throw it in a trash can rather than put it in a separate plastic bag. The bag would get sticky and smelly. The bees would start hovering around, and then we had to travel to find someone that would take the mess off our hands.

Whether we are collecting recyclable material, turning off computers and monitors, shutting off lights or adjusting thermostats, there is and always will be some resistance from those that are expected to participate. I have realized, however, that with a little bit of determination and a lot of patience, new ideas ultimately become accepted practices. A good example is one of our more recent endeavors that has had better results than we anticipated.

Removing two-ounce amenity tubes that have always been placed in our guest condominiums with push-pump refillable containers meant a new responsibility for our housekeeping staff. We're now buying 5 amenities in 1-gallon containers from, and found that we spent $17,000 in 2009 and will spend only $10,000 this year. Better yet, in 2009 we purchased 9,000 ounces of product and this year will purchase only 3,500 ounces—thats huge for the environment!

We introduced the new procedure to staff by changing over only a dozen or so units at first. Refilling the containers with shampoo, hand soap, lotion, etc. when necessary ultimately became part of the routine. The new containers are now located in all of our 90 condominiums and common areas.

We had a bit of trepidation in the beginning with regard to our guests— impression of the new practice. But to our delight, the feedback has been celebrated. Requests to purchase these containers at check-out has caused us to inventory additional containers for resale at the front desk. As far as I know, we are the only property in the Vail Valley that has implemented this environmentally sound business practice. You're welcome to me anytime to discuss this further at 970/476-2471.

Now, if I could only remember to waggle more on the tee box, keep that elbow in, eyes down, back straight, hands soft . . .


Victoria Schomer, Owner,, Asheville, NC, 6-year GHA member

We—ve had an interesting dilemma in replacing our linens. The first 100% bamboo sheets we bought 5 years ago were such great sheets. We were able to pull them right out of the dryer, put them on the beds and they—d look great. They lasted years, and were the silkiest ones we—ve ever had. But we could never find them again at an affordable price. Replacement bamboo sheets from Bed Bath & Beyond were not good, and I returned them very quickly. We have needed to stay in the $60-70 range for our queen-sized sheets.

Then I found the cotton/bamboo blend at Target, and they have been great. They're sturdy, perfect right out of the dryer, feel great and are wearing really well. They have, however, gone up a bit in price since we bought them a few years back.

Organic cotton is the trickiest for us as they need extra work out of the dryer—some serious smoothing down when folding as the hems and headers get wrinkled and all out of shape, or ironing, which to me means more time and more electricity use. If you can deal with the extra work from some wrinkling, Coyuchi'sorganic cotton sheets are just wonderful . . . soft, wonderful feel. I also discovered that washed organic cotton sheets hold less water, and so dry faster than bamboo sheets, and that'san energy-saving thing!

We—ve used Coyuchi'sorganic cotton towels for our entire 5 years now—still using some of the originals. Without being overly dense, which to me means more time in the dryer, they feel luxurious and wick away moisture off our bodies really well. Coyuchi is a wonderful company . . . longest time in the organic cotton world, and delivering the best organic cotton products . . . and great, green committed people.

And, I love our home cleaning brew of 50% water, 50% vinegar and about 10 drops of tee-tree oil or grapefruit seed extract (also an antiseptic). It works well, leaves a fresh scent in the air and is usually well tolerated by our chemically-sensitive guests.


Kathy Reichenbach, Marketing Director, Madden'son Gull Lake,, 4-year GHA member

Madden'son Gull Lake, Brainerd, MN, is a 287-room golf resort and conference facility with one 9-hole and three 18-hole golf courses located on 1,000 acres and a mile of Gull Lake shoreline. Madden'shas turned back the clock on golf course management in an effort to promote better environmental practices. —Our goal is to mimic the conditions of the sandy Scottish links land where golf began and bent grasses naturally thrived where crops would not. Our turf maintenance is a collection of older ideas, newer techniques and basic scientific principles that produce a playing surface and not a crop,— says Golf & Grounds Superintendent Scott Hoffman.

The Pine Beach East Golf Course now includes more naturalized areas where we let the fescues grow naturally. This includes our grass bunker mounds, some tee banks and some out-of-play rough areas. The total acreage will be approximately 5-7 acres. These areas are not mowed or fertilized and will receive minimal irrigation. We will save approximately 4-5 man-hours/week and about 4-5 gallons of fuel/week as well as cut down our irrigation window. We think it will help add character and definition to the golf course as well. Savings to date (April-August) is approximately $5,000.

74 acres of land was donated to the City of East Gull Lake for the East Gull Lake Airport and easements for miles of bike trails.

Madden'swas awarded the Minnesota Office of Tourism'sSustainable Tourism Award for their development and implementation of their Green Program. To date Madden'sGreen Program has realized a 10% savings resort-wide in gas, electric and garbage fees.

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JUL/AUG 2011


It'sa fact that none of us can be really green without the green products and services offered by green vendors. GHA works hard to encourage and support our Ally Members, and to bring you news of their successes—new products, new ideas, new techniques, recent awards, new contracts, etc. So, each July/August issue of this newsletter brings you interesting stories about our Ally Members. So, let'sbegin . . .

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Design Honors Awarded to
Impact Enterprises, Inc.

ALLY MEMBER Impact Enterprises recently was awarded recognition from Design Journal Magazine for their Environmentally Responsible Presentation Products. The ADEX PLATINUM Award for Design Excellence was presented to Impact for its creative and uniquely designed Surfboard Menu Cover. This menu cover design is solid wood-cherry from a Verified Sustainable Forest, and has the unique shape of an authentic surfboard. This menu —board— comes with its own solid wood base which allows the board to stand vertically on a tabletop, and be removed and reinserted easily. A unique and flawlessly designed wood frame was created for the —interior— side of the surfboard that allows for easy insertion and removal of printed inserts. The decoration is laser engraved. All of Impact'swoods are harvested from Verified Sustainable Forests.

Impact Enterprises has produced environmentally responsible presentation products and accessories for Live Nation Entertainment, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Primland and GAIA (both internationally respected eco-resorts), Trump International, Banyan Tree Resorts, One & Only Resorts, Ferrari and others. For more information, visit, or call 866/370-0340.

EYEPOWER® Solution Helps Customer Win
Asia-Pacific's—Most-Sustainable Hotel— Title

The Crowne Plaza Alice Springs won unanimous recognition as Asia-Pacific'smost environmentally-sustainable hotel after installing an ALLY MEMBER Energy Eye guestroom energy management system. —It'sexciting to see our environmental sustainability initiatives validated and recognized,— said Investnorth principal and hotel owner Lloyd Berger. Berger accepted the award, along with Intercontinental Hotel Group'sChief Development Officer for Asia Pacific, Tony South.

—We are so pleased that the Crowne Plaza Alice Springs was recognized in such a prestigious way,— said Peter Cohen, Chief Operating Officer of Energy Eye, Inc. —While we are just one part of the property'soverall sustainability program, the EYEPOWER® Solution provides a critical leaping-off point for projects of this magnitude. The Energy Eye part—while representing a tiny fraction of the overall investment required—has generated compelling results. Savings of more than 264,475 kilowatt hours can be tied directly to the EYEPOWER® Solution in this project.

The EYEPOWER® solution, independently tested and certified to save 15-35% on HVAC energy usage, delivers its results via the application of occupancy, door and window sensors, plus thermostat control. And because the EYEPOWER® solution is thermostat-neutral, hotel owners can easily integrate the system into their existing HVAC systems. For more information, visit or call 866/463-3135.

Kimberly-Clark Eyes Bigger Sales
of Lower-Impact Products

ALLY MEMBER Kimberly-Clark ( has announced a new set of environmental and social goals, putting a deadline on when all of its fiber will be certified sustainable and emphasizing products and packaging with less impact. The company behind Kleenex, Scott, Huggies and other paper products aims to reduce water use by 25%, reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 5%, purchase only certified sustainable fiber and send no manufacturing waste to a landfill. The goals are all for 2015.

Concurrently, Kimberly-Clark is pushing to have 40% of the tissue fiber it uses in North America to be FSC certified or recycled by the end of this year. In addition to strictly environmental goals, Kimberly-Clark set other new targets. Kimberly-Clark plans to reduce the carbon footprint of its packaging by 20%.

The company also wants —environmentally innovative products— to account for 25% of net sales. Spokesperson Kay Jackson said that includes items like the Scott Naturals line of products, which are made with at least 40% recycled content; the tubeless Scott toilet paper rolls being tested in the northeast US; and products that are designed to use less resources. Kimberly-Clark also plans to establish social programs in all the communities it operates in; and have all contract manufacturers and top suppliers comply with its social standards.

Bardelline, Jonathan,, June 7, 2011


ALLY MEMBER INNCOM'sGlass Series Guest Interface Device Suite, an eco-friendly lighting and thermostat central control system won Hospitality Design (HD) magazine and ASID'sEarth-Minded Award for Hospitality. Made from recyclable glass and plastics, all models are capable of simultaneously controlling lighting, fans, drapes, privacy, notifications and thermostat settings. A standout feature, the —green button,— allows guests to opt into the hotel'sconservation program with the touch of a button. From a design standpoint, the glass touch surface offers a blank canvas for the designer wishing to customize a look with colors, fonts, images and functionality.

Judging criteria included 1) efforts to create a product or space that is environmentally innovative and aesthetically pleasing, 2) products that promote sustainability, including energy savings, lighting, flooring, fabric, wallcovering, seating, case goods, etc. and 3) resource efficiency and recycling and waste management within the development and manufacturing process. To learn more, call 860/739-4468 or visit TODAY!


National Allergy has been in business for more than 20 years providing doctors and individuals with eco-friendly allergy solutions for sufferers of severe asthma and allergy to make home and office environments as allergen-free as possible.

During its second season, —Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,— the hit TV show, contacted National Allergy to provide allergy products for a family whose daughter suffered from many breathing and heart issues. Without hesitation National Allergy provided Quality Protective Bedding for her mattress and box spring, an air purification system for her bedroom, and many of the environmental controls she needed to live in an allergen-free home. We believe that rewarding experiences such as this can translate to the hospitality industry, and we are excited to give hoteliers and guests the opportunity for healthier living on their journeys.

With 16 years of OEM experience designing and manufacturing encasings and our close relationships with top asthma programs, our encasings have been used in numerous clinical trials around the country. Recently, the US Army contacted National Allergy to supply various facilities with protective bedding in preparation of a potential bed bug attack. Learn more by calling 877/627-8775 or visiting


Ramada'sbusy London Gatwick hotel successfully uses award-winning Activeion technology following extensive trials of the Activeion Ionator EXP™ cleaning device. General Manager Tony Fletcher was enthusiastic. —We would recommend the Ionator for use in hotels. We have used the ionized water from the Ionator to clean washroom ceramic surfaces, to remove stains from carpets and upholstery and to clean work surfaces in the bar. Our experience suggests that the Ionator would also be good for cleaning in health clubs, particularly tile and floor surfaces,— states Fletcher.

For a hotel whose core values include environmental responsibility, the Ionator fits in perfectly. Conserving resources, preserving natural habitats and preventing pollution are key goals within the Wyndham Worldwide organization. Reducing energy consumption, water and energy usage, improving air quality, minimizing waste and implementing sustainable procurement practices are main areas of focus across the brand. With the Ionator, the Ramada London Gatwick is well on its way. See or call 866/950-4667 to learn more.

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MAY/JUN 2011


It isn'tfinancial incentives. It isn'tmore information. It'sguilt.

A real-life experiment in engineering green behavior unfolded last year in the nation'scapital. Washington, DC, imposed a five-cent tax on every disposable bag, paper or plastic, handed out at any retail outlet in the city that sells food, candy or liquor. But more important than the extra cost was something more subtle: No one got bags automatically anymore. Instead, shoppers had to ask for them—right in front of their fellow customers.

The result? Retail outlets that typically use 68 million disposable bags per quarter handed out 11 million bags in the first quarter of 2010 and fewer than 13 million bags in the second quarter, according to the district'sOffice of Tax and Revenue. That may help explain why volunteers for the city'sannual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup day in mid-April pulled 66% fewer plastic bags from the Anacostia River than they did in 2009.

District Councilman Tommy Wells doesn'tbelieve it is the nominal cost that'skeeping shoppers from using bags, but rather the expectation-made clear in a very public way in every transaction that they could make do without. —It'smore important,— he concludes, —to get in their heads than in their pocketbooks.— Studies dating back at least three decades clearly show the power of social norms. We tend to ascribe our actions to more high-minded motives, or to practical concerns about money. But at its core, our behavior often boils down to that old mantra: Monkey see, monkey do.

Researchers are now learning how to harness that instinct to nudge us to go green. It'snot easy. Though about two-thirds of Americans tell pollsters they are active in or sympathetic with the environmental movement, it has proved tough to get the average consumer to make even relatively simple changes, like using energy-efficient light bulbs or caulking drafty windows.

Government agencies, private utilities and nonprofit groups have tried changing behavior by giving people more information or by dangling financial incentives, such as rebates. And these approaches work for some households. But psychologists and behavioral economists are increasingly concluding that for the masses, a simpler, cheaper approach may be in order. It can include new laws and taxes, as in DC, but it doesn'thave to. The magic ingredient: Peer pressure.

Telltale Towels: Consider two papers published in peer-reviewed journals in 2008.

The first described a study involving those placards in hotel bathrooms that urge guests to reuse towels. Over a three-month period, researchers tested two different placards in a 190-room, midprice chain hotel.

One card was headlined —Help Save the Environment— and urged visitors to —show your respect for nature— by reusing towels. The second read, —Join Your Fellow Guests in Helping to Save the Environment— and noted that 75% of guests participated in the towel-reuse program. The guests who were exposed to the peer pressure—the fact that so many of their fellow travelers were doing it—were 25% more likely to reuse towels. A follow-up study found that tweaking the wording on the placard so it was specific to the guest'sroom (as in: nearly 75% of guests who stayed here in Room 331 reused their towels) yielded even better compliance.

The second paper described a study involving public-service messages hung on the doorknobs of several hundred middle-class homes. All urged residents to use fans instead of air conditioning, but they gave different reasons for doing so. Some residents learned they could save $54 a month on their utility bill. Others, that they could prevent the release of 262 pounds of greenhouse gases per month. A third group was told it was the socially responsible thing to do. And a fourth group was informed that 77% of their neighbors already used fans instead of air conditioning, a decision described as —your community'spopular choice!—

Meter readings found that those presented with the —everyone'sdoing it— argument reduced their energy consumption by 10% compared with a control group. No other group reduced energy use by more than 3% compared with the control group. All four of the non-control groups slipped in the long run, conserving less as time went on, but those exposed to peer pressure continued to record the lowest average daily energy use. —People don'trecognize how powerful the pull of the crowd is on them,— says Robert Cialdini, a psychologist at Arizona State University and co-author of both the hotel and doorknob studies. —It'sa fundamental cue as to what we should be doing.—

Influence Without Borders: Social scientists are just beginning to study whether this type of peer pressure works in Europe and Asia as well as in the US. The answer, so far, is yes.

For instance, researchers at Michigan State University found that paying Chinese farmers to adopt environmentally friendly techniques didn'twork as well as telling them that their neighbors were already farming that way. And a recent study in India found that publishing a ranked list of the worst-polluting paper factories prodded the biggest offenders to make dramatic improvements. Promoting a particular behavior as the social norm proves —equally influential across cultures.—

The problem, from a conservationist'sperspective, is that much of the environmentally friendly behavior we engage in doesn'thelp set social norms because it'sinvisible to others. We have no way of knowing that everyone else on the block has installed a programmable thermostat or insulated the attic or switched to compact fluorescent light bulbs. What we tend to see, and perhaps envy, is the more profligate behavior: the gleaming Hummer in the driveway, the huge flat-screen TV in the family room, the emerald lawn made lush by daily water ing. (One exception: the recycling bin at the curb, which is now ubiquitous in many neighborhoods.)

—I would bet that if you went into a residential neighborhood and put a red, green or yellow light on peoples— mailboxes to show who'san energy hog and who'snot, people would start to change their behavior,— says Paul Hamilton, a senior VP in Andover, MA, at Schneider Electric, a global energy consulting firm.

Subtle Cues: That system might not sit well with homeowners. But the private and public sectors are both experimenting with more subtle ways to achieve the same result.

Microsoft Corp. has calculated energy-efficiency ratings for 60 million homes in the US, using data including public records about housing stock, weather patterns and utility bills, as well as information provided by residents. The ratings can be viewed free of charge online, at Homeowners can input data about their utility bills, appliances and habits to refine their score—or they can simply snoop, comparing their score with those of their friends and neighbors. Visitors to the site can also exchange energy-saving tips.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District tries to leverage peer pressure with TV and radio ads that depict neighbors chatting about their conservation habits. One recent campaign talked up the virtue of watering only every other week in winter. The result: A 19% jump in homes practicing —skip a week— irrigation.

Smiley Faces: Perhaps the most familiar social-mobilization tactic is the Home Energy Report produced by OPower, a consulting firm based in Arlington, VA, that works with nearly three dozen utilities around the US. The report, packaged with utility bills, graphs a household'senergy use, compares it with prior months and years-and matches it against peers. Customers can see at a glance how they rank compared with both the average and the most efficient homes in their neighborhood. Those doing exceptionally well are rewarded with a smiley face on their bill.

Utilities say homes that get the report show a consistent, sustained reduction in energy use of about 2% on average, compared with similar homes that don'treceive the reports. Two percent doesn'tsound like much, but advocates say that when scaled to millions of homes, it'squite meaningful, especially since the savings are achieved without costly rebates, tax credits or mass-media ad campaigns.

The Competition Trap: Paul Stern, who studies climate change at the National Academy of Sciences, cautions that peer pressure so far has proved effective with —relatively low-impact behaviors— that don'trequire individuals to make big sacrifices. Mr. Stern argues that financial incentives and saturation marketing are often needed to inspire more significant change, as in last year's—cash for clunkers— program, which induced many people to purchase more fuel-efficient cars.

Efforts to exploit our keeping-up-with-the-Joneses instinct can also backfire if there'stoo much emphasis on competition. It has become popular on college campuses to stage energy-efficiency contests between dorms, prompting some students to take extreme measures like forgoing hot water. And the Environmental Protection Agency is now running a National Building Competition modeled on the TV show —The Biggest Loser,— with a school, a hotel and a dozen other buildings vying to notch the biggest reductions in energy use. The EPA says it hopes the contest will inspire other building owners.

Such competitions, however, present conservation measures not as the norm, undertaken by average people every day, but as an extreme sport, done by fanatics trying to win a contest. That doesn'ttrigger our instinct to conform, social scientists say, and thus has little impact on behavior.

Shower Power: It'sfar more effective, experts say, to model desirable habits as a matter of routine. Psychologist Doug McKenzie-Mohr describes one such study in his book —Fostering Sustainable Behavior.— A college gym'sshower room displayed a prominent sign urging students to conserve water by turning off the shower while they soaped up. Only 6% did so initially. But when researchers planted an accomplice who shut off his water mid-shower, 49% of students followed suit. When there were two accomplices, compliance jumped to 67%, even though the accomplices didn'tdiscuss their actions or make eye contact with other students.

Traditional conservation campaigns have been —based on the premise that if we simply provide people with information, they will make changes in their lives,— Mr. McKenzie-Mohr says. —We know pretty conclusively that'snot true.— The most powerful aspect of social mobilization, researchers say, is that it tends to work on a subconscious level. Americans routinely tell pollsters that they would conserve energy to save the environment or to save money. Ask them if they—d conserve because their neighbors are doing it, and they scoff. They have it backward. —We can move people to environmentally friendly behavior,— says Mr. Cialdini, the psychologist, —by simply telling them what those around them are doing.—

Simon, Stephanie, —The Secret to Turning Consumers Green,— The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2010
MAR/APR 2011


Gleaming by day and glittering by night, glazed buildings that make up modern city skylines and suburban settings present serious hazards for birds. Bird populations, already in decline from loss of habitat, are seriously threatened by the relatively recent incursion of man-made structures into avian air space. In the US, an estimated 100 million to one billion birds perish each year from encounters with buildings.

Bird injury or death is largely attributable to two factors: birds, it would appear, are unable to detect and avoid glass, either during the daytime or night. Moreover, buildings— artificial night lighting confounds night-migrating species. Today, preventive actions mindful of these hazards are emerging in building practice. With bird-safe measures at hand, we can avoid the adverse consequences that until recently seemed inevitable though unintended.

The Bird-Safe Buildings Guidelines examine the apparent causes of bird mortality in the built environment; convey the ecological, economic, ethical and legal justifications for bird conservation; advocate a series of preventative and rehabilitative strategies and describe precedents for regulatory initiatives. They strive to stimulate the development of new glazing technologies while creating a market for all bird-safe building systems.

THE FACTS: Birds do not understand that reflections are false. Birds do not understand that glass is a solid barrier. Birds are easily trapped in niches, courtyards and other recessed areas. Birds are attracted to light, and try to fly into lit spaces. Birds are attracted to vegetation indoors or reflected in buildings.


Retrofit problematic windows and glass facades to reduce bird collisions:

• Consider installing transparent or perforated patterned, non-reflective window films that make glass visible to birds such as Scotchprint or CollideEscape.

• Consider painting, etching or temporarily coating collision-prone windows to make them visible to birds

• Install louvers, awnings, sunshades, light shelves or other shading/shielding devices at large expanses of glass to reduce reflection and to signal the existence of a barrier.

• Install and operate reflective blinds, shades or curtains to reduce glazing reflectivity and indicate the presence of a barrier to flight. Close curtains or blinds during the evenings if the interior is illuminated.

• Consider re-glazing existing windows that experience high rates of bird collisions with low-reflectivity, etched, frosted or fritted glass. Also, consider replacing large existing windows with multiple smaller units, divided lights or opaque sections.

Undertake strategies to create a physical barrier to the glass:

• Install exterior coverings, nettings, insect screens, latticework, artwork, shading or shielding devices at notably hazardous windows to deter birds or otherwise reduce the momentum of their impact.

• Consider planting trees and shrubs close to the building within a maximum of three feet from a problematic facade or curtain wall. This planting strategy will block access to habitat reflections, and birds alighting in these trees will not have the distance to build momentum if they move towards the glass. This planting strategy also provides beneficial summertime shading and reduces cooling loads.

Remove or relocate features attractive to bird populations to reduce the frequency of collisions:

• Relocate interior plantings, water sources or other features that are causing birds to crash into glass windows.

• Consider relocating or altering landscapes to minimize reflection in glass facades.

Develop Lights-Out programs during peak migration periods:

• Encourage building owners and managers to extinguish all unnecessary exterior and interior lights from 11 pm to sunrise during the spring migration, from mid-March to early June, and the fall migration, from late August to late October.

• Utilize gradual, —staggered switching— to turn on building lights at sunrise rather than instant light-up of the entire building.

• Dim lights in lobbies, perimeter circulation areas and atria.

• Monitor the effectiveness of lights-out programs by tracking bird collisions.

• Contact local bird conservation organizations for support and to share the results of the Lights-Out program.

Reduce light trespass from interior sources:

• Turn off unnecessary interior lighting by 11 pm until sunrise, especially during the fall and spring migration seasons.

• Utilize automatic controls, including photo-sensors, infrared and motion detectors, to shut off lights automatically in the evening when no occupants are present.

• Encourage the use of localized task lighting to reduce the need for extensive overhead lighting.

• Schedule nightly maintenance activities to conclude before 11 pm.

• Educate building users about the dangers of light trespass for birds.

• Encourage voluntary light-closing in the evenings.

Reduce light trespass from exterior sources:

• Reduce perimeter lighting wherever possible.

• Attach cutoff shields to street lights and external lights to prevent unnecessary upward lighting.

• Install motion-sensor lighting wherever possible.

• Utilize minimum wattage fixtures to achieve required lighting levels.

• To comply with federal aviation and marine safety regulations in large buildings, install minimum intensity white strobe lighting with a three-second flash interval instead of continuous flood lighting, rotating lights or red lighting.

• Ensure that all exterior light fixtures are properly installed to prevent unintended light trespass.

Implement daily bird-collision monitoring:

• Encourage building management or maintenance crews to conduct a daily sweep of the building perimeter, setbacks and roof to inspect for injured or dead bird species.

• Encourage volunteer participation in bird-collision monitoring.

• Instruct workers and volunteers in methods of temporarily caring for injured birds before transporting them to certified wildlife rehabilitators.

• Document all bird deaths. Donate specimens to authorized local bird conservation organization or museum to aid in species identification and for use in scientific studies, as per the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

• Partner with other buildings in the area as well as local bird conservation groups to develop a district-wide monitoring program and corresponding Lights-Out strategies.

• Undertake retrofits and other strategies to reduce bird collisions.

Much more information is available online in the following .pdf. The Guidelines promote measures to protect bird life in the planning, design and operation stages of all types of buildings, in all settings. They are intended for use by architects, landscape architects, engineers, glass technicians, environmentalists, building owners and operators, construction industry stakeholders, city planners, civic officials, state and federal agencies and the general public.



American Bird Conservancy is continuing to lead the way in finding and promoting methods to keep migratory birds safe from deadly collisions with glass windows. In 2009, the Philadelphia Zoo contacted ABC for assistance in making the exhibits at the zoo more bird-friendly. ABC'sDr. Christine Sheppard toured the zoo with personnel and discussed different options for improving bird safety at its exhibits.

The Bear Country exhibit in particular was one of the worst at the zoo for bird strikes; over a two-year period where collisions were monitored, the windows around this exhibit accounted for almost half of all bird/glass collisions in the zoo. —When I walked up to the Bear Country exhibit, there was a dead Yellow-throated Warbler lying in front of one of the windows,— said Sheppard. —Obviously this exhibit was a prime target for bird safety modifications.— Dr. Sheppard set to work to find a window film that would deter birds and appeal to visitors. They settled on a custom-made clear film produced by SurfaceCareLLC, striped with thin, horizontal black lines. The film was installed on three large glass windows fronting the exhibit, and have proven an effective bird deterrent. No bird deaths were noted at these once-deadly windows throughout both the recent spring and fall migrations.
JAN/FEB 2011


20 innovative variations on the theme of sustainability, including business models watching the triple-bottom line and school districts working to transform our most valuable natural resource into well-informed stewards follow:

No. 1 Detoxifying Paper Junkies

Conventional Wisdom: Bank employees are addicted to wasting paper.

New Take: With the support of the CEO and key leadership personnel, the power of the “go green” suggestion goes a long way in the banking world. Setting guidelines to prevent waste can lead to employees coming up with their own initiatives to further decrease the bank‘s carbon footprint.

No. 2 Resolutionary Thinking

Conventional Wisdom: When discussing a topic with a colleague, it is best to speak over the phone or in person, allowing tone, expression and inflection to be a part of the conversation so that nothing is misunderstood. However, if that colleague is in another country, it is often most convenient to contact him/her via e-mail or another method of virtual communication. This method of communication is also more environmentally friendly than flying to meet that person or mailing them printed materials.

New Take: In the virtual world, the potential for conflict and strong emotional reaction is greatly increased. This is due to the absence of visual and vocal cues—making it much harder to get beyond a breakdown. For that reason, it is especially important that, when communicating through the virtual world, we carry an attitude that‘s more open, accepting, tolerant and collaborative in nature—it‘s called “resolutionary thinking.”

No. 3 Innovative Financing for Green Retrofits

Conventional Wisdom: Building owners and managers must be able to front large initial costs associated with the purchase and installation of new, energy-efficient equipment to retrofit their building.

New Take: Financiers nationwide are creating low-cost loans for the energy-efficiency improvements of buildings. One example is the GreenFinanceSF Program, described as the largest retrofit loan program of its kind in the US. In February 2010, GreenFinanceSF secured nearly $3 million in federal funding from the Recovery Act, supporting the low-cost loan program that eases the upfront costs of installing energy-efficient insulation, windows, heating, water fixtures and renewable-energy systems by attaching the financing to the property and enabling the owners to pay the debt through future taxes.

No. 4 The Farm System for Architecture

Conventional Wisdom: Businesses hire and train employees through the standard resume-review and interview process, then market their companies through advertisements and local event sponsorships.

New Take: Randall-Paulson Architects (RPA) and Hoefer Wysocki Architects (HWA) create brand recognition and implement their own version of major league baseball‘s farm system by running programs for young architects including: RPA‘s Essay Scholarship Competition for architecture students at Georgia Tech and the University of Tennessee. HWA is involved in and runs numerous events that give the firm‘s young architects real-life experience, i.e., working with carpenters and instructors.

No. 5 Living Laboratory Learning

Conventional Wisdom: Students gain knowledge through textbooks, minor experiments and projects and local field trips.

New Take: Hands-on learning is taken to a new level with RBUSD‘s new student-services center, featuring a vegetative roof as well as demonstration photovoltaic panels—all of which have been designed so that they are accessible to students eager to learn about sustainable design principles.

No. 6 Sustainability is More Than Green

Conventional Wisdom: Sustainable is a synonym for environmentally friendly.

New Take: With the Halifax Seaport Farmers‘ Market project, Archineers (together with Lydon Lynch Architects) integrated several sustainability ideas into one inspiring project. Not only is the farmers market a sustainable building project, it is also sustaining the community of Halifax by giving local business the opportunity to prosper and giving area residents the offerings of local crops, reducing their dependence on foods shipped in from other regions and reducing the community‘s carbon footprint. The impact of this project is much bigger than the building itself.

No. 7 Sustaining American Business

Conventional Wisdom: American-based manufacturing companies utilize overseas facilities and employees from foreign countries to cut costs, which is a factor in the high levels of unemployment in the US.

New Take: March Industries, Inc. is proud to attest that all of its products are made in the US and represented by select distributors who are local, community businessmen. In a time when the manufacturing industry is prone to doing business overseas, March conducts its entire business in the US, employing Americans.

No. 8 The Resurgence of Playgrounds

Conventional Wisdom: Greening urban environments are achieved though the planting of trees and other greenery along streets and sidewalks and on roofs, along with increasing the number of parks.

New Take: Healthful urban environments can also be part of the green movement through the development of new community playgrounds for schools and neighborhoods underserved by parks. Such is the mission of City Spaces, the NYC program Mark K. Morrison Landscape Architecture created with the Trust for Public Land.

No. 9 Store in a Box

Conventional Wisdom: Franchisees spend a great deal of time finding and customizing space for their business venture.

New Take: In January 2010, BrandPartners launched its new Store in a Box division, the company‘s second endeavor in less than a year to diversify revenue by leveraging core business strength. Serving the American franchise industry—an industry of more than 900,000 businesses providing 20 million jobs and $2.3 trillion in economic activity—Store in a Box offers turnkey retail-environment solutions, including initial store design, millwork, graphics, point-of-sale, merchandising, signage, carpeting, space planning, contract furniture and general-contracting services. The ability to open quickly and efficiently is undeniable. Costs are decreased significantly, implementation time can be driven from months to weeks and complete store installations are done in a day and a half.

No. 10 A Green Co-op

Conventional Wisdom: School districts work individually to provide the educational services each can afford.

New Take: Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) help school districts save money by pooling resources and sharing costs. Programs they undertake are those that individual school districts might not have a high need for, but collective school districts do. The Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES school has really become a jewel in the center of the community. Not only is it an educational institution by day; but, in the evening, community groups are using it.

No. 11 Increase a Building‘s IQ

Conventional Wisdom: The most eco-friendly and intelligent buildings are new structures.

New Take: For San Diego‘s Columbia Center, which was built in 1982, SENTRE Partners recently implemented water-use-reduction plumbing elements, waste-production-pattern analysis, indoor-air quality assessments, environmentally friendly pest-control measures and green-cleaning and -maintenance practices. As a result of the firm‘s efforts, the building received LEED Gold certification in March 2009. Additionally, it received an Energy Star rating of 95 and the designation of “California‘s Most Intelligent Building” by RealComm. The Building Owners and Managers Association also honored it as San Diego‘s “Office Building of the Year.”

No. 12 Inverted Truss Roof

Conventional Wisdom: Rainwater-collection systems utilize gutters and downspouts to direct water to cisterns.

New Take: For Hays+Ewing Design Studio‘s Stony Point House project, the firm utilized an innovative inverted-truss-roof design that serves not only as a unique architectural element complementing the tree canopy, but also as a functional design, collecting rainwater for irrigation. With primary views facing west, the roof also offers large overhangs to protect from unwanted afternoon solar penetration.

No.13 Recycling as a Design Customization

Conventional Wisdom: Décor made from recycled materials consists of various waste matter that has been broken down and molded into a new product.

New Take: Two LPAS projects illustrate the firm‘s creative abilities in recycling meaningful items to use as décor for new spaces: For its California Highway Patrol headquarters project, the firm took the organization‘s confiscated-weapons collection, melted it down and formed it into rebar used to reinforce the structural foundations in the new building. In its design of the California Lottery headquarters, LPAS shredded recycled Lottery Scratchers tickets and embedded them into Plexiglas as a design element for accent windows throughout the building.

No. 14 Office as Test Space

Conventional Wisdom: Building and architecture firms try new products and practices when the client is ready and willing.

New Take: Housing the Scarano Architect offices on three of its floors, the York Street Project serves as an instructional laboratory on structure and design for the firm‘s staff. As stated on the firm‘s website, “the entire staff is involved in the construction process, from procurements to crane placement and site safety. All materials and systems are presented to the staff prior to installation and then applied in the field. It is the ultimate, hands-on, learn-design-build experience.”

No. 15 Sustaining a Sustainable Business

Conventional Wisdom: Making a business green increases its popularity and viability

New Take: The first definition of sustainability is “to be upheld,” which Newton Vineyard interprets as “to stay in business.” Chris Millard, the winemaker at Newton Vineyard, explains, “If you go out of business—say, trying to maintain your organic certification—it doesn‘t do your employees any good, and it doesn‘t do the land any good to sit idle.”

No. 16 The Eco Chic Project

Conventional Wisdom: Vineyards go green by utilizing all-natural, organic, locally-sourced products and practices in developing and maintaining its land and in creating and packaging its wine.

New Take: Newton Vineyard is developing multi-faceted green-movement efforts. Aside from its vineyard‘s own products and practices, in 2009, the winery launched the Eco Chic project, commissioning artists to create products out of recycled materials for sale at the winery. This year‘s Eco Chic product is John Pomp‘s The Touch, a limited-edition, hand-blown glass wine decanter. 10% of he proceeds from sales of The Touch will go towards sponsorship of environmental-advocacy group Global Green USA.

No. 17: Turn Right

Conventional Wisdom: Driving the shortest routes with the least amount of stopping possible will maximize a vehicle‘s fuel efficiency.

New Take: In 2004, UPS deployed a new route-planning technology that automates the process for minimizing left-hand turns. Between 2004 and 2009, the technology not only eliminated millions of miles from delivery routes, it saved 10 million gallons of gas and reduced CO2 emissions by 100,000 metric tons, equivalent to taking 5,300 passenger cars off the road for an entire year.

No. 18: Revitalizing Manufacturing Plants

Conventional Wisdom: When the market for an industry is no longer booming, such as the automobile industry, manufacturing plants shut down, acting as a couch potato on the real-estate sofa for years.

New Take: Michigan effectively is drawing on the strengths of its legacy as a major player in the automobile sector—the state has excellent research universities, the most engineering graduates per capita and more research-and-development-technology centers than any other state—to become a player in the clean-energy revolution. A manufacturing infrastructure already exists that can be repurposed to produce clean energy products, and much of the workforce has related experience.

No. 19: Carbon-Free Biomass Utilization

Conventional Wisdom: In the thinning of biomass density to improve forest and rangeland health, the woody biomass waste is most often utilized for renewable-energy production.

New Take: Further decrease the carbon footprint by creating products out of woody biomass in its natural state. “Carbon emission and sequestration is important to us,” says Chris McCurry, cofounder of Bark House by Highland Craftsman, Inc. “We are an important part of the biomass-utilization mix because, whereas most biomass is burned for fuel, we harvest biomass waste and use it in its original form so there is no combustion-released carbon.”

No. 20: A Living Building

Conventional Wisdom: Sustainable and eco-friendly design, finishes and furnishings are utilized in the building of a structure in order to lessen that structure‘s impact on the environment.

New Take: A living building, formalized by the Cascadia Chapter of the USGBC, goes beyond LEED Platinum standards—the design will “move beyond doing less damage to doing something regenerative and positive,” says Bob Berkebile, principal of BNIM Architects. According to a new financial study by the Living Building Institute, the cost of achieving living-building status—in a realm beyond the LEED rating system—varies greatly by climate and building type. In some cases, however, constructing a living building can cost as little as 7% more than LEED Gold and pay for itself within five years or less.

Bad Green Ideas

With the good, comes the bad. Showing that behind every good idea is a number of failed attempts, the following are four of the most notable soiled endeavors to improve the Earth‘s environment in recent years.

BAD IDEA #1: Choosing the Color Green:

Conventional Wisdom: The color green evokes the Earth—despite the fact that the majority of it is blue and a good portion brown—and standard operating procedure for creating a global movement is to first create a brand: images, catchphrases and ideas. By infusing sustainability with the term “green,” the color was always sure to follow: on packaging, products and promotional materials. It did. And the revolution seems a mounting success.

Failed Attempt: Too bad, then, that materials dyed green almost always are forever contaminated. In a New York Times article, Alice Rawsthorn talked to Michael Braungart, co-author of renowned design book Cradle to Cradle, who comments on the irony of the situation we‘ve put ourselves in. “The color green can never be green because of the way it is made,” he says. “It‘s impossible to dye plastic green or to print green ink on paper without contaminating them.” The reason for this is that green is difficult to manufacture and often requires semi-toxic substances to stabilize it. Billions of dollars of marketing and manufacturing have been spent to convince the world that “green” is the way to go. How many more billions will be spent to change it to blue? Even if someone tried, they would probably find that it‘s too late. It can‘t be undone.

BAD IDEA #2: A Premature Reliance on Biodiesel

Conventional Wisdom: For years, biofuels were looked to as a method for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and alleviating our reliance on natural resources like oil. Investors and innovators alike raced—and continue to race—to develop alternative fuels. One of the earliest contenders has been biodiesel.

Failed Attempt: At least one type of biodiesel is a really bad idea: the biofuel made from soybeans actually can produce up to four times as many climate-warming emissions, states an EU document that remained hidden from the public until April. The higher carbon footprint is the result of indirect linkages, such as the destruction of rainforest land—often by burning—to access arable land. Like other infamous biofuel failures, such as ethanol, any biodiesel that relies on a potential food source and mass cultivation seems to run into a slew of unintended future consequences. The EU has taken a hit from this report, since its plan to use renewable-energy sources—mostly biodiesel—for 10% of its energy by the end of the year now faces an enormous speed bump.

BAD IDEA #3: Lackadaisical Energy Star Approval

Conventional Wisdom: A consumer culture needs a quick, easy way to differentiate between the tens, if not hundreds, of choices before them, and the government should provide some level of consumer protection. Hence, the Energy Star rating system caught on like wildfire and became an easily identifiable icon of an eco-friendly product. By all accounts, it was a success.

Failed Attempt: The bad part of the idea was how the approval system worked. Automated and with very little oversight, the system allowed fictional products to be certified and did nothing to prevent companies from slapping the blue Energy Star logo on unapproved products. After audits by the Government Accountability Office, the program—a joint effort through the EPA and the Department of Energy—was found to have serious failings in its labeling of refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters and room air-conditioners. In an effort to restore its credibility, the program promises that an individual employee now will review each product submission. In addition, energy testing will be performed by independent, third-party laboratories. It will take time before people trust the Energy Star label again, which only hurts the makers of the truly green products even more.

BAD IDEA #4: Peddling the Promise of Clean Coal

Conventional Wisdom: Coal-fired plants produce necessary electricity and unnecessary C02 products. So scientists developed a way to isolate carbon from the emitted gases and bury it in the ground. It was a near miracle: the world could burn coal and help the environment at the same time.

Failed Attempt: Though the theory was stable, the movement that had environmentalists, politicians and energy companies salivating at the possibilities hit a wall that was built from a number of failings: it hadn‘t fully been tested, the amount of carbon being saved was minimal, it hadn‘t proven economically feasible, the process required even more energy than it saved. The list goes on. Even now—despite US President Obama‘s belief in the potential of clean coal and numerous other countries‘ investments in the latest carbon-capture technology—the premise of carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a wobbly one, as activist author Tim Flannery tackles in one part of his environmental book, The Weather Makers. As a result of its early herald, there was an instant backlash against the notion of clean coal, irrevocably sifting renewable energies to the forefront of the worldwide environmental debate.

The Ideas Issue, Green Business Quarterly, Sept/Oct 2010, Vol. 4, no. 24, p. 3, 8, 20, 21 23, 28, 30, 34, 37, 39, 42, 46, 48, 53, 55, 58, 62, 64, 68, 76, 78, 80
NOV/DEC 2010


Nationally, roughly 4% of total electricity used in the United States is for pumping and treating potable water and wastewater. The figure is a lot higher if you include energy use for the things we do with water, such as heating it. For example, 19% of California electricity use is dedicated to water when water heating is included.

The farther we have to pump water, the greater the energy use—especially if we have to pump it over mountain ranges, as in California. For many cities and towns in the US, water pumping and sewage treatment use more electricity than anything else. On a per-capita basis, this energy use for water pumping and treatment varies from about 350 kWh/year in the South Atlantic states to over 750 kWh/year in the Mountain states, according to a 2002 Electric Power Research Institute report—about as much annual use as a refrigerator.

Just as it takes energy to provide water, it also takes water to provide energy. Roughly 89% of US electricity is produced in thermoelectric plants—plants that use a heat source such as coal or nuclear fission to produce steam, which spins a turbine that generates electricity. Water is used to create the steam, and then more water is used to cool that steam and condense it back into water. Averaged nationally, thermoelectric plants use 0.47 gallons of water for each kWh of electricity produced, according to a 2003 National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) paper (see —Save Energy to Save Water,— EBN Oct. 2002).

Hydropower, which accounts for 9% of US generation, consumes a lot more water because of evaporation from reservoirs. The same NREL study examined evaporation from 120 of our largest reservoirs and extrapolated that to all 2,300 of our power-generation reservoirs, calculating a national average water-intensity of 18 gallons/kWh for hydropower—with much higher consumption in some states: 65 gallons/kWh in Arizona and 137 gallons/kWh in Oklahoma, for example. By weighting the thermoelectric and hydropower values, NREL found a national average of 2.0 gallons of water per kWh.

Water intensity is highly variable for fossil fuels. According to a 2006 Department of Energy report to Congress, conventional onshore oil extraction consumes 0.12-0.31 gallons of water per gallon of oil, but some oil extraction techniques can dramatically increase that. Canadian tar sands require 140–360 gallons of water per gallon of oil, according to data from the Pacific Institute. Another 1.0-2.5 gallons of water are required to process and transport each gallon of oil. With natural gas, conventional onshore extraction uses negligible water but processing and transport averages 3 gallons of water per million Btu.

On the renewable fuel side, corn-based ethanol is highly water-intensive. A 2008 paper in Environmental Science and Technology reported that a light-duty vehicle driven on an E85 ethanol mix (85% ethanol) —consumes— 28 gallons of water per mile! By conserving water we save energy, and by conserving energy we save water. It'sa win-win!

—The Water-Energy Connection,— Environmental Building News, Vol. 19 No. 10, October 1, 2010
SEP/OCT 2010

Is Brown the New Green for Golf Courses?

When Jim Hyler was inaugurated as president of the U.S. Golf Association this year, he surprised many by speaking out more forcibly than USGA presidents are wont to do on a controversial subject—water usage and the misguided perception that golf courses need to be lush, green and perfect to be good. It is the issue, he said, —that is perhaps of greatest concern to golf'sfuture.—

With recent heavy flooding in Nashville and a pesky 17th green surrounded by water at the Players Championship in Florida all over TV, the shortage of water may not be at the top of every golfer'smind. But for many golf courses in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and the dry Southwest, it'san existential threat. For others, even when water is abundant, maintaining wall-to-wall greensward in impeccable shape is creating a heavy and unnecessary financial burden. Verdant courses require more mowing, more chemicals to prevent weeds and disease, more general tweaking and fluffing and more days of those dreaded words —cart path only.—

—In my opinion, many of the standards by which we construct and maintain our courses have become, quite simply, unsustainable,— Mr. Hyler said. —With the recent economic downturn, focus on these critical issues has sharpened. If we are not careful, high construction costs, soaring maintenance budgets and declining membership rosters will threaten the survival of many courses and clubs.— He called for a —reset— in the way golfers look at and think about courses, with —playability— replacing aesthetics as the primary consideration. Playability, he said, —should include concepts of firm, fast, and yes, even brown, and allow the running game to flourish. We need to understand how brown can become the new green.—

Brown isn'ta popular concept in most clubhouses, but fun certainly is. One of the main points Mr. Hyler made in an interview was that firm, fast courses are more fun to play than soft, overwatered ones. Drives roll out farther. Approach shots into greens can, at the player'soption, scoot along the ground and bank off contours designed by the architects.

Green looks great on television, Mr. Hyler acknowledged, but that'sa major cause of the problem?televised golf distorts expectations. —Most people don'trealize that the courses on TV are manicured to peak for that one week. Even they don'tlook that way all the time,— he said. —There'snothing wrong with a little brownish tint to the fairways or some less-than-pristine conditioning. The last 20% of the maintenance budget at most clubs goes for appearance only.—

Starting last summer, viewers saw a change at some of the tournaments the USGA sponsors. In preparing Pebble Beach for the US Open in June, crews carefully limited the amount of water the turf received to create firmer, faster fairways than in previous Opens there. The course appeared notably browner and less manicured.

Chambers Bay, a county-owned course on the shore of Puget Sound near Tacoma, is in many ways a poster child for sustainable golf. Routed through dunes on the site of a former sand and gravel mine, it encompasses 250 acres—but thanks to large buffer areas and forced carries, only 85 of those acres are maintained as turfgrass, compared to 110 acres to 150 acres at typical courses. Moreover, all the grass on both greens and fairways is fine fescue, a tough, drought-tolerant strain widely found on links courses in the British Isles (but different from the devilish taller fescue strains US golfers are familiar with in the rough at some courses). Its roots reach, and sip water, eight inches to 12 inches below ground. Traditional cool-weather golf-course grasses (the most common are rye and Kentucky bluegrass) dip only two inches to five inches deep and thus have to receive water almost daily.

—We—ve gone as long as 15 days without watering the fairways,— said David Wienecke, the course superintendent. He estimates that the water bill at Chambers Bay is one-third to one-half what the bill at a nearby course planted in traditional grasses would be.

Fine fescue has its drawbacks. It doesn'tgrow well in many places (the Bandon Dunes golf resort down the coast in Oregon may be the only other all-fescue facility in the US), and it loses density under lots of foot and cart traffic. But fescue also makes a terrific playing surface. —The ball sits up beautifully in the fairway and I can make the greens as fast as the USGA needs them,— Mr. Wienecke said.

The firm conditions at Chambers Bay allow golfers to engage their imagination. Roughly half the greens have possible hole locations that require players to land their approach shots off the putting surface, if they hope to get the ball close. —That'swhere the fun begins,— said Bruce Charlton, part of the Robert Trent Jones II team that designed the course. A front left pin on the downhill, par-three ninth, for example, is best reached by caroming the tee shot off a high kicker slope to the left.

But as a demonstration of what'spossible with limited water and a minimalist maintenance philosophy, Chambers Bay is a welcome counter-example to the fake-green alternate reality portrayed weekly on PGA Tour broadcasts and each year at the Masters. This model is particularly important for communities in the Southwest that will have to make many tough decisions about golf in the years ahead.

—Areas facing severe water pressure have to constantly ask themselves what'sthe best economic use of every gallon of water,— said Greg Lyman, head of the Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic arm of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Golf has a continuing role to play. It creates jobs and wealth. Increasingly it will have to compete for every ounce of water it uses, and avoid becoming a whipping boy for environmentalists.

—The more that non-golfers understand golf is environmentally responsible and is being managed for the long-term, the brighter its future will be,— Mr. Lyman said. That'strue in the Southwest, but also in areas where water isn'tsuch an urgent issue. Chambers Bay doesn‘t lack for rainfall. But using less of everything—water, fertilizers, fuel and man-hours for maintenance—plays well pretty much anywhere.

Newport, John Paul, Golf Journal, —Is Brown the New Green?,— The Wall Street Journal, May 8-9, 2010
JUL/AUG 2010


As we all well know, none of us can be green without the green products and services offered by green vendors. GHA does all it can to encourage and support our Ally Members, and to bring you news of their successes—new products, new ideas, new techniques, recent awards, new contracts, etc. So, each July/August issue of this newsletter brings you interesting stories about our Ally Members. So, let'sbegin again . . .

* * * * *


The votes have been cast, and the EYEPOWER Solution of ALLY MEMBER Energy Eye was selected the winner of the “Editors— Choice” Green Technology Award at the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show.

The EYEPOWER Solution, certified to save 15-35% on HVAC energy usage, delivers its results via the application of occupancy, door and window sensors, plus thermostat control. Because the EYEPOWER Solution is thermostat-neutral, hotel owners can easily integrate the system into their existing HVAC systems.

Founded in 2001, Energy Eye'sHVAC energy management systems have been successfully used to control all types heating and air conditioning systems?driving immediate, day-one cash-flow-positive investments to hoteliers worldwide. Energy Eye'smission is to help hospitality clients increase the value, performance and prestige of their properties by providing them with high-performance, economical energy management solutions that will universally integrate with their existing and new hotel systems. For more information, visit or call 866/463-3135.


Sunnier days are forecast for the energy bills of an Earth Friendly Products— (EFP) plant in Addison, IL, which has invested in a solar power collection system. The rooftop installation by GHA ALLY MEMBER SunHeat Solar Inc. includes 312 solar electric PV panels for supplying electricity to the building. Solar energy is expected to provide 60-70% of the plant'soverall electricity requirements. The plant operates four side-by-side packaging lines for the 150 environmentally-friendly cleaning products that EFP distributes globally.

Based on average sun hours daily in the Chicago area, the panels will generate 100,000 kW of power annually. Aided by rebates and tax credits through state and Federal incentives, the overall investment payback is calculated to be four years. —The move to solar power is the right thing to do,— says EFP vp Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks

The 104,000 sq.ft. headquarters plant is the second of five EFP plants that plan to use solar power?a total investment of $2 million. The use of sun power is a natural extension of the company'ssustainable focus in the products— formulations using plant-based, nontoxic ingredients, packaging and now production operations for the 43-year old company. EFP plans to market its sun-powered capability through packaging graphics in 2011, after all five facilities have made the upgrade to photovoltaic power. “The EFP solar installation is the largest rooftop solar array in Illinois,” say Shari Walsh of SunHeat Solar.

SunHeat Solar designs and installs solar energy systems. For more information on solar energy, go to

Continental-Girbau Saves
Tennessee Hotel $12K Annually

The first LEED-certified hotel in Tennessee is the 118-room Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg. Every system was examined in order to heighten hotel sustainability, especially the in-house laundry. ALLY MEMBER Continental-Girbau'sequipment came complete with an ozone system, soft-mount, high-speed washer extractors and high-efficiency dryers. In five years, the laundry is expected to save the hotel $60,196. The total cost of the laundry with the ozone system was $48,000, and the laundry will pay for itself in 48 months.

The hotel is located in the Smoky Mountain National Park. So, making this property a Silver LEED-certified hotel was the right thing to do.

Of top concern during the hotel'sdevelopment was maintaining the consistency of the Hilton Garden Inn brand, according to GM Kris Reagan. “The landscape uses less water and pesticides; the pavers in the parking lot are porous to improve drainage; and the hotel features recycled wallpaper, granite counter tops and a chemical-free saltwater pool and hot tub, as well as in-room recycling,” says Reagan. The property also boasts low-flow showerheads and faucets, dual toilet flushing, as well as the super efficient laundry.

The laundry is outfitted with two Continental 55-lb. capacity soft-mount washer-extractors, and three Continental 75-lb. capacity high-efficiency drying tumblers. The soft-mount washers were selected for a number of reasons, including efficiency, laundry productivity, ease-of-use and ease of installation. The free-standing design of the washers eliminates the requirement of bolting the machines onto a re-bar reinforced concrete foundation. The suspension systems are designed to absorb up to 95% of the vibration during extract. Because there'sless stress on machine components, soft-mount washers typically outlast hard-mount models and operate quietly.

By combining the high-efficiency washers with ozone technology, utility savings and productivity catapult further. Altogether, the ozone-equipped laundry will save an estimated 205,860 gallons of water and 3,886 ($6,413) therms of natural gas per year. In the wash, ozone breaks down organic materials using only cold water, dramatically reducing hot water usage along with the natural gas used to heat the water. It also reduces a laundry'soverall water and chemical needs. Because ozone effectively loosens material from linen fibers, it can eliminate the need for a pre-wash cycle. Therefore, the washers consume less water and complete cycles faster. Using a soft-mount washer in combination with ozone, a load of high-quality cotton towels will dry in about 26 minutes, while a hard-mount washer without ozone will dry in 40-45 minutes. By using ozone with a high speed washer, dryers run less often, productivity increases, labor decreases and bottlenecks at the dryer are eliminated.

To simplify things further, the washers at the Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg are programmed to automatically adjust water levels, cycle times, number of rinses, water temperature and chemical injection according to linen type. That way, towels, duvets, sheets, rags and shower liners, which each have separate programs, are washed properly and consistently every time. Attendants simply input a program number and press start. Linens also last longer, thanks to less dryer wear-and-tear, shorter wash cycles and the use of fewer chemicals.

Call 800/256-1073 or visit to learn more NOW!

INNCOM Debuts Wireless Bedside Controls

ALLY MEMBER INNCOM'snew, affordable, customizable radio-frequency touch-screen controller puts ALL guest services at arms— reach, from accessing the Internet to turning off lights, controlling room temperature, setting wake-up alarms and more.

INNCOM International'snew Radio Frequency (RF) Tabletop/Bedside Controller, as part of its Integrated Room Automation System (IRAS), is completely customizable. It is a multi-purpose device that provides the ultimate in convenience, and features customizable touch screen guest control of room temperature, lighting, drapes and alarm clock. The Internet-enabled TBL-80LCD can also display guest services information and online communications, automated CRM information delivery and easy staff reporting functions. INNCOM'sPrivacy/Make-up Room, its patented ecoMODE® and in room/outdoor temperature also are part of the branded and customized display.

Also available is the MODEVA™, INNCOM'snext generation of guestroom controls that takes its popular “Glass Series” to new levels. With an unprecedented MODular design, the guest-facing DEVice boasts heightened functionality and customization to accommodate new construction and retrofit hotel projects with equal ease.

“Our customers have pushed us to deliver products and systems that give guests memorable, positive experiences without confusing technology,” said Rick Quirino, INNCOM President and COO. “We—ve been inundated with requests from customers in the luxury segment to integrate even more controls into our IRAS family.

A light touch on any of the functions displayed on the screen will provide an instant response from the controlled device, as well as the feedback displayed on the TBL-80LCD. Because the system is wireless and uses low voltage, it is very energy- efficient and eco-friendly.

Also making its debut is a new, advanced room interface device called MODEVA. The guestroom control system provides endless control features and options that interoperate seamlessly with INNCOM'sIRAS. Inncom had already elevated the look, feel and customization of guest-facing room devices to blend with the décor. Now there'sa whole new way to think about light switches and thermostats.

MODEVA consists of customizable user interfaces, low- and line-voltage interfaces, wired and wireless communications, dimmers and wall box switches designed to operate within INNCOM'sIRAS. The guest-facing devices can be replaced during a renovation while the load assemblies stay intact in the wall, offering a fresh look to the room at a fraction of the cost of a total replacement.

INNCOM Assists in Bardessono—s
LEED Certification

ALLY MEMBER INNCOM International Inc.'swork as ambassador of eco-luxury to the worldwide hospitality industry is now attached to serious recognition?LEED Platinum certification awarded to PARTNER MEMBER Bardessono Hotel, Restaurant and Spa. The 62-room Yountville, CA, hotel is the third in the world to receive the Platinum certification.

John Tavares, vice president marketing and sales, said, “We're providing a superior guest experience using energy that is managed appropriately and not wastefully.” INNCOM provided three vital parts of guestroom energy management. It controls the lights and the thermostat in the room, and introduces automated solar shades?highly technical Venetian-like blinds placed on the exterior of guestroom windows to keep heat in or out.

Each guestroom has an entrance space, living area and bathroom. INNCOM'sautomated guestroom system features a magnetic switch at the guestroom door, which signals entrance and exit activity. In the entrance corridor is the thermostat, which senses motion and signals when a guest is in the room. There also are motion detectors in the living and bath areas. When occupied, the system sets the lights and thermostat to predetermined levels. At this juncture, the solar shades outside the windows automatically are lifted.

An occupied but empty room is detected when the door‘s magnetic switch detects door activity, but no motion in the room. The lights are then turned off, the temperature is set to conservation levels, and the solar shades are dropped to enhance energy management. Finally, the system recognizes check-in and check-out status.

Founded in 1986, INNCOM develops, manufactures, and markets advanced guestroom control systems for the global lodging industry. The company‘s product line ranges from programmable digital thermostats to fully integrated energy management, lighting control and communication systems. INNCOM systems are installed in more than 750,000 guestrooms in hotels in 42 countries. For more information, visit

Kimberly-Clark Professional'sHeadquarters Building
LEED Certified housekeeping eco-friendly

Kimberly-Clark Corporation achieved LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its ALLY MEMBER Kimberly-Clark Professional headquarters building in Roswell, GA, under the LEED for Existing Buildings designation. Green enhancements include:

¦ Improving the building'sEPA Energy Star rating from 72 to 79 after changes which reduced energy use by 548,084 kilowatt hours per year, resulting in an energy and maintenance cost savings of over $42,000.

¦ Changing one gallon-per-flush urinals to one pint-per-flush urinals helping reduce water use by 99,140 gallons per year.

¦ Ramping up the recycling of office materials to include aluminum, glass and plastic, thus diverting 5,300 pounds of waste from the landfill.

The education program the company developed to present the project‘s sustainable design practices to occupants and visitors to the facility gained special attention. Kimberly-Clark Professional is also committed to reducing environmental impact at every stage in a product‘s life cycle with its Reduce Today, Respect Tomorrow program.

Kimberly-Clark Professional
Gains FSC Certification

ALLY MEMBER Kimberly-Clark Professional has received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification for a broad range of its North American tissue and towel products, making it the first away-from-home tissue products provider in North America to receive this distinction. FSC standards are globally recognized as the highest social and environmental standards in forestry, and this certification enables KCP to support forest stewardship.

The certification applies to a variety of Kleenex and Scott brand products for the away-from-home market which will feature the FSC label on their packaging. FSC chain-of-custody procedures provide a link between the forest where the fiber originated and the product into which it is manufactured. Possession and transfer of wood fiber from the FSC-certified forest are tracked through every stage of manufacture.

In addition to its FSC-certified products, Kimberly-Clark Professional uses FSC-certified paper for its catalogs, brochures and other printed materials. All catalogs and many other printed materials are also available online, which helps reduce the number of paper copies. See

T2 Site Amenities Helps
InterContinental San Francisco Recycle

Opened in 2008, the InterContinental San Francisco, has embarked on a “green triple bottom line” program of Social Responsibility, Eco Responsibility and Fiscal Responsibility. According to Harry Hobbs, Director of Engineering, recycling was the first step. Mr. Hobbs said, “The light bulb really went off when I received a guest letter stating they couldn'tbelieve a new hotel in San Francisco in 2008 could open its doors without recycling bins in the guest rooms. Our housekeeping staff was picking up recyclables in the rooms, but that was invisible to guests. The guests needed to see what we were doing. So that was the turning point.—

Plans were first put in place to work with the waste hauler to bring in a compactor and blue cardboard recycling containers. The hotel originally budgeted $264,000 annually for waste removal based on zero recycling. Since the recycling program began, over $120,000 has been saved annually in waste removal fees because they:

1) Teamed up with the City of San Francisco to implement the city‘s recycling and composting programs.

2) Linked recycling efforts with the waste hauler.

3) Introduced 2- and 3-stream Metro recycling receptacles from ALLY MEMBER T2 Site Amenities in public spaces (trash, co-mingled recycling and compost streams).

4) Installed Treela Recycling containers from T2 Site Amenities in guestrooms.

Hobbs said he‘s amazed at the popularity of the Metro recyclers. “They are in very public areas and look terrific. We have 5 units that get constant use, and we even collect compost. The Metro Recyclers have also been a big part in winning green meetings. When meeting planners ask about recycling, we are totally ready to meet their needs.— For additional information, contact Lori Tilkin of T2 Site Amenities at 847/579-9003 or visit


ALLY MEMBER Activeion won AFIDAMP's(Italian Association of Manufacturers, Equipment, Machines and Products) Green Clean Award 2010 for Ecodesign and Innovation for environmental sustainability. Activeion (Europe) GmbH distributes and markets the ionator EXP throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Activeion'sionator EXP is a handheld, on-demand, cleaner that converts tap water into ionized water, a powerful dirt-removing and bacteria-killing agent.

The Clean Green Award is AFIDAMP'sannual prize recognizing cleaning industry companies for their innovative environmental products. Activeion took the winning award for the cleaning tool category. —We are proud to be recognized for our innovative approach to cleaning, our remarkable cost-savings benefits and our reduction of environmentally damaging measures,” says Andre— G. Krell, General Manager, Activeion (Europe) GmbH, located in Baden, Switzerland, and the European operation of Activeion Cleaning Solutions, LLC.


The National Restaurant Association awarded their prestigious Kitchen Innovations(KI) Award to the ionator EXP from ALLY MEMBER Activeion Cleaning Solutions. The awards program recognizes the most innovative and revolutionary commercial kitchen equipment from around the world.

—Products like the ionator EXP from Activeion make restaurants run faster, smoother and more efficiently, which results in better customer service and higher quality food,— says Ira Cohn, convention chair for NRA Show 2010 and president of ARAMARK Business and Industry Group. “The ionator EXP is great for restaurants and food service operations.— When applied to a surface, the ionized water cleans and kills harmful bacteria without chemicals, even H1N1, while leaving nothing behind—zero residue. Call 612/296-8786 or visit for further information.

Atlas Paper Mills Wins
2010 Sustainable Florida Award

ALLY MEMBER Atlas Paper Mills, Florida'sonly Green Seal-certified manufacturer of 100% recycled bathroom tissue and paper towel rolls, was awarded the 2010 Sustainable Florida Best Practice Award for the Large Business Category. The award honors businesses, organizations and individuals whose work demonstrates that a healthy environment and a healthy economy are mutually supportive.

In 2009, Miami-based Atlas Paper Mills received Green Seal certification, becoming the only Green Seal-certified manufacturer of tissue and paper products in the state. Atlas has never cut down a tree to create its paper, saving an estimated 18 million trees over its 28-year history. By using only recycled wastepaper, Atlas saves 19,000 gallons of oil and 150,000 cubic yards of landfill space each year. It removes 100 million pounds of paper from the waste stream annually by recycling the paper in its mill and saves 230 million gallons of water each year by recycling the water in its manufacturing operations.

Atlas Paper Mills recently planted 25,000 longleaf pine trees in three Florida State Forests as a gesture of community service.

Atlas Green Heritage bathroom tissue and kitchen roll towel are Green Seal-Certified and qualify for LEED Certification points. Atlas Green Seal-certified products are made from 100% recycled paper fiber, are 100% chlorine free, produced using eco-friendly manufacturing processes and made in the USA. For more information, call 800/562-2860 or visit

Eco Advertising planned Earth Day events

Earn more green with eco-friendly events planned by ALLY MEMBER Eco Advertising LLC. Advertising isn‘t the only way to attract folks to your business or hotel. Community and media relations as well as special event planning are important marketing tools for you to consider via Eco Advertising LLC.

Dallas-based Eco Advertising LLC planned a week'sworth of special events to celebrate Earth Day 2010. A panel of conservation specialists shared information on how their organizations work to protect the environment at a free event open to the public.

Shelley Franklin, Public Education Specialist for City of Garland Water Utilities gave water conservation tips. Molly Rooke, Air Issues Coordinator of Dallas‘ Sierra Club spoke about how the organization continues to safeguard nature. The event also included Staff Director Renee Vaughan of Texas Campaign for the Environment and Tierney Kaufman, Outreach Coordinator for The Trinity Trust.

Eco Advertising is a full-service marketing firm that specializes in green media and materials. Services include advertising, bilingual campaigns, promotional items, graphic design, image branding, marketing, media buying, media and public relations, photography, signage, special event planning, website design and videography with an Emmy award-winning team! Call 972/322-1095 or visit to learn more.

G.E.T. Enterprises, Inc. SUCCESSES

Audrey Copeland, Sustainable Products Manager of ALLY MEMBER G.E.T. Enterprises, Inc., reports events of an exciting year:

? The company gained an additional 300 Eco-Takeout customers including Campbell Soup, Vogue Magazine, Nintendo and Duke University.

? New products include a spill-proof model along with additional shapes and sizes.

? Aramark foodservice launched the Eco-Takeout program in 100 universities throughout North America.

G.E.T. has also launched a new product line called BambooMel™, made of a biobased plastic with 30% bamboo content. This innovative dinnerware is reusable and biobased?combining the best of two worlds. Unlike the typical biodegradable, single-use plate, BambooMel is constructed for multi-use commercial applications and is commercial-dishwasher safe and break-resistant. BambooMel is the perfect way to showcase your commitment to sustainable business solutions! Visit TODAY!

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MAY/JUN 2010

Hotels find innovative ways to make
housekeeping eco-friendly

When it comes to —going green,— hotels look at every department and area of the property, but housekeeping may be the most obvious one in which to make changes. There are washers and dryers that can be replaced with more efficient models, cleaning chemicals that can be traded for environmentally friendly products, and traditional practices such as washing sheets and towels daily that can be updated by giving guests more options.

While many hotels have taken those steps, some are going even further, getting creative and finding new green initiatives to add to their programs. The Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, CA, has a list of approximately 40 green initiatives it has implemented, many of which involve housekeeping.

—About two years ago we recognized that we needed to take a proactive step toward making sure we were doing all we can to preserve natural resources and improve the environment,— says hotel manager Paulette Fischer, —especially in our location with the beach right across the street from us.—

To do that the hotel formed a green committee, which includes 25 people representing every department of the property and meets monthly. At its inaugural meeting, the committee members brainstormed and thought of some simple things they could do to get greener, as well as some that take more work and investment.

Among those initiatives are some creative ways to reuse what many hotels would throw in the trash. —We donate all of our reject linen and terry to homeless shelters,— Fischer explains. —We also take our pillowcases and terry and use them for dust rags in the back of the house areas. Our housekeeping seamstress takes any rejected linens and turns them into aprons for our kitchen and stewarding staff. That— s been very well received and is a cost-saving measure for the hotel as well.—

The property replaced its odor control products with a nontoxic, biodegradable alternative, and replaced its paper towel dispensers with automatic ones. But perhaps the most unusual measure the Hilton Waterfront Beach takes is turning its rejected duvet covers into pet beds. This reduces waste and allows the hotel to offer beds for pets that match the ones their owners are sleeping in.

Another highlight of the program is the —Green Room,— a space where guests can do their own laundry in a completely green manner—literally and figuratively. It features an Energy Star-rated washer and dryer, efficient light bulbs, low VOC paint, flooring and countertops made from recycled materials—even a clock made from old boat boards and a mirror made from old CD covers. Detergent selection, of course, includes a nontoxic, biodegradable option. The decor fits the concept with green flooring and lighting just to get the point across. And a framed sign on the wall outlines the green committee'scommitment to its guests. —Guests think it'sgreat,— Fischer says. —They feel good about using it and about staying at the property knowing that we're taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint.—

About half of the measures the hotel has put in place were for cost-savings, while the others required an investment upfront. —Our owners were very supportive,— Fischer says. —We spent some substantial dollars on a new HVAC system and CFLs, which aren'tcheap. Ownership really supports our efforts, which is nice.—

Saving Time, Too: While the Hilton Waterfront Beach outsources some of its laundry (to a LEED-certified vendor), other properties are upgrading their onsite equipment to save money in the long run and be greener.

As part of Hampton Inn's—Take Care— program, its properties have started using environmentally-friendly products and following other guidelines to conserve resources. Alpesh Patel, general manager of the Hampton Inn in Mentor, OH, replaced the two washers and dryers in his 90-room property with Maytag models that are more environmentally friendly.

—I decided to upgrade our system because of the speed of the washer,— Patel says. —It uses less water, a little less chemicals, and when it comes out it'salmost dry, so it takes less time in the dryer too. It spins faster so there'sless water. It also rotates clockwise and counterclockwise, which means it comes out of the dryer with fewer wrinkles. The dryers also have a temperature sensor, so as soon as it'sdry it automatically adjusts the time.—

In addition to saving on water, power and chemicals, the machines also save time. —Earlier, I couldn'tput a whole load from the washer into the dryer,— he explains. —Now I can do that, so I don'thave to split it into 2 dryers, and that saves the time of the housekeeper who‘s doing the laundry. The drying time is also less. Maybe I‘m saving 35 to 40% of the drying time. That reduces a lot of overhead of the laundry person.—

Changing the Mindset: Eco-friendly housekeeping programs may look easy to implement on paper, but one of the hardest parts of the process is training staff members.

Debra Archibald, assistant executive housekeeper at The Peabody Orlando, says her property has added a linen reuse program, as well as an amenity reuse program partnering with the Clean the World Foundation. The hotel also recycles newspapers and plastics from guest rooms, and partners with vendors to get supplies shipped in bulk. The property is about to undergo a major expansion, which will include new laundry equipment and other green measures.

—The biggest problem we had was changing the mindset of people who had been working here for 20 years,— she says, —but they're getting there. You have to constantly motivate and train them, but it gets there eventually.— The Peabody Orlando uses a mentor system for training new staff members, and that, combined with daily reinforcement, got the staff up to speed.

Through the nonprofit Clean the World Foundation, the hotel recycles and distributes soap and shampoo products to impoverished countries, including Haiti. The foundation also delivered a presentation at the hotel to educate the staff. —A lot of our staff members are from Haiti,— Archibald explains, —so that really had an impact on them.— The foundation delivered 2,000 pounds of soap to Haiti in July, all of which came from 80 luxury hotels in Central Florida and Daytona Beach.

Do Guests Care?: Does all of this really matter to guests? Increasingly, the answer is yes. Most leisure guests may not make decisions about where to stay based on a hotel'sgreen practices, but they do appreciate it once they're there. Archibald says that a few years ago hotels weren'tcomfortable putting recycling bins in guestrooms and public spaces, but people are getting used to them and appreciate it.

For meeting planners and corporations, environmental practices can be a deciding factor in their choice of hotels, so properties can use green initiatives as a selling point as well. —The leisure guests aren'tseeking it,— says Fischer, —but when they're here they're happy to participate with recycling and other things we offer. They feel good about using it and about staying at the property knowing that we're taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint. But with meeting planners, we find that more and more it'ssomething they ask about upfront.—

Colchamiro, Jeff, —Clean & Green,— Lodging Magazine, January 2010
MAR/APR 2010


In the laundry room, Americans are prone to overkill. They pour too much detergent into their washing machines.

Generations of consumers have washed clothes with the idea that more soap means cleaner laundry. But the sudsy habits are creating messy problems from dingy clothing to worn machines.

Making matters worse, the latest generation of detergents are concentrated and so require users to use less product-per-washload than ever before. And more consumers are buying high-efficiency washers, which need far less water than older models. It'sa combination begging for more careful measuring—something Americans stubbornly resist. —Before it didn'tmatter as much,— says Mary Zeitler, consumer scientist for Whirlpool Corp.'sInstitute of Fabric Science. “But now you have to be much more precise in dosing.—

Packaging, in most cases, hasn'thelped. The molded lines and numbers inside detergent caps are hard to read, especially in a dimly lit laundry room. And even though concentrated detergents have been on the market since at least 2007, many caps still hold more than is needed for an average load.

Method Products Inc. recently launched an ad blitz for a new detergent with a pump dispenser, designed to help curb overdosing. Method found that 53% of people don'tuse the recommended amount of detergent per washload, preferring instead to guess or, worse, to simply fill the cap up to the top—a practice that wastes more than half the loads a detergent bottle could wash, Method executives say.

Through much of Europe, detergent premeasured in tablets and sachets has been popular for years. But in the US, pre-dosed products have been largely unsuccessful. Consumers usually pick up their laundry habits during adolescence from their mothers, and changing them is hard, says Bob Deutsch, founder of Brain Sells, a marketing consulting firm.

Thanks to modern washer technology, many overpourers will never have to come to grips with their habit. Ms. Zeitler, at Whirlpool, says some washers have software that corrects for too much suds by adding extra rinses. To clean the buildup from overpouring, Ms. Zeitler recommends cleaning washers monthly using an empty hot-water cycle. (GHA suggests adding vinegar.) Another tip: Use a marker to draw a line on the outside of the detergent cap to make it easier to see.

Executives at Henkel see an opening for pre-dosed detergent. January marked the start of a big ad push for Purex three-in-one laundry sheets, each containing detergent, fabric-softener and anti-static agents. Some people find ways to customize, even with a laundry sheet, Mr. Tipsord says. —If they think their load is especially dirty, they use two sheets.—

General Electric Co.'stop-of-the-line Profile frontload washer offers to take on all dosing decisions itself. The SmartDispense feature, adding $600 to the cost of the machine, holds up to six months— worth of detergent and allocates the right amount for each load, taking the detergent concentration level and the amount of clothes into account.

Proper dosing is the biggest laundry concern among callers to Seventh Generation Inc.'shelp line, says Sue Holden, head of the consumer-insights team at the Burlington, VT, household-product maker. Two years ago, the company started making its detergent bottle cap with translucent plastic partly to make it easier to read. —We're trying to train people to do something that doesn'tcome naturally,— says Ms. Holden. —Growing up, a lot of us just poured it in.— Seventh Generation'sco-founder, Jeffrey Hollender, wonders why more people haven'tstumbled upon laundry'sbig, dirty secret: —You don'teven need soap to wash most loads,— he says. The agitation of washing machines often does the job on its own.—

Byron, Ellen, —The Great American Soap Overdose,— The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2010

Note from GHA: Vinegar is a solvent, and will easily remove excess detergent residue from dingy clothing and stiff towels. You may want to choose 9% acidity vinegar marked —for canning— instead of the standard 5% version.

JAN/FEB 2010


The ENERGY STAR Building Manual is a strategic guide to help you plan and implement profitable energy saving building upgrades. You can maximize energy savings by sequentially following the five building upgrade stages. The manual can be viewed at ENERGY STAR is a voluntary government and industry partnership that makes it easy for businesses and consumers to save money and protect the environment.

The five stages recommended by the EPA are:

Retrocommissioning (Chapter 5). Retrocommissioning is the first stage because it provides an understanding of how a facility is operating and how closely it comes to operating as intended. Specifically, it helps to identify improper equipment performance, equipment or systems that need to be replaced and operational strategies for improving the performance of the various building systems.

Lighting (Chapter 6). Lighting upgrades, which may include new light sources, fixtures, and controls, come early in the process because the lighting system has a significant impact on other building systems. Lighting affects heating and cooling loads and power quality.

Supplemental Load Reductions (Chapter 7). Supplemental load sources, such as building occupants and electronic equipment, are secondary contributors to energy consumption in buildings. They can affect heating, cooling and electric loads. With careful analysis of these sources and their interactions with HVAC systems, equipment size and upgrade costs can be reduced.

Air Distribution Systems (Chapter 8). Air distribution systems bring conditioned air for heating or cooling to building occupants, and therefore directly affect both energy consumption and occupant comfort. Fan systems can be upgraded and adjusted to optimize the delivery of air in the most energy-efficient way.

Heating and Cooling Systems (Chapter 9). If the steps outlined in the first four stages have been followed, cooling and heating loads are likely to have been reduced. That reduction, coupled with the fact that many existing HVAC systems are oversized to begin with, means that it may be possible to justify replacing an existing system with one that is properly sized or retrofitting a system so that it operates more efficiently. In addition to saving energy, proper sizing will likely reduce noise, lower the first costs for equipment and optimize equipment operation, often leading to less required maintenance and longer equipment lifetimes.

The overall strategy described in the manual is appropriate for all types of facilities, and many of the specific measures described can be used no matter what type of building is under consideration. However, there are also many strategies, priorities and opportunities that are unique to, or most effective in, specific facility types. To address these unique challenges and opportunities, the manual includes a chapter on hotels and motels.

Hotels and Motels (Chapter 12). The major challenge in upgrading hotels and motels is to maintain guest comfort in a wide variety of spaces, including guest rooms, public lobbies, banquet facilities and restaurants, lounges, offices, retail outlets and swimming pools. The opportunities for improved guest comfort, longer equipment life, lower operating costs and an improved corporate image make the challenge worthwhile.

Following are some specific performance techniques from the manual:

Tune-up opportunities. There are a number of easy measures that can reduce energy use in various areas of the hotel:

Peripheral and back rooms. Make sure that HVAC settings in lobbies, offices and other such peripheral rooms are at minimum settings during hours of low use.

Laundry. Set laundry hot water to 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). This is a good temperature for all hot water uses outside of the kitchen, where codes are specific about water temperature.

Pools and hot tubs. Make sure that all pools and hot tubs are covered after hours to diminish heat loss.

Housekeeping procedures. Encourage housekeepers to turn off all lights and set temperatures to minimum levels after cleaning each room. Closing drapes when a room is unoccupied will reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter.

Front desk. Teach registration staff that they can help save energy costs by booking rooms in clusters, so that only occupied building areas or wings need to be heated or cooled to guest comfort levels. Rooms on top floors, at building corners, and facing west (in summer) or north (in winter) can be the most energy-intensive to heat or cool; therefore, consider renting them last.

CASE STUDY: Retrocommissioning a Marriott: The Los Angeles Airport Marriott, a 1,000-room facility, conducted a retrocommissioning program at a cost of about 22 cents per square foot, or roughly $125 per room. The project was conducted by a team of the company‘s own staff, including engineers and the regional vice president of engineering, with assistance as needed from an outside consultant. The project developed in-house expertise that will help maintain long-term benefits, which is a result that might not have been achieved if outside consultants had worked independently on the project. The project team developed 17 recommended measures for the hotel‘s air-handling units, chilled water plant and other back-of-the-house systems. The average implementation cost for each of the 17 steps was slightly more than $7,500, and the average payback period was less than one year. The hotel saved $153,000 annually, and 30% of those savings came from a single adjustment to airflow from one air-handling unit.

Electric Lighting: Many hotel public areas, including corridors and hallways, can use CFLs in wall sconces and in recessed downlights. A Michigan Marriott replaced its public-space incandescent lamps with CFLs and saved more than $40,000 in energy and maintenance costs. The historic Willard InterContinental in Washington, DC, installed CFLs in common areas and guest rooms. The investment resulted in fewer complaints about lighting quality, and a six-month payback based on energy savings.

A number of hotel chains have implemented widespread CFL campaigns. One of the measures that helped Marriott International win the ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence designation in 2007 was the installation of 450,000 CFLs. IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) announced that the Hotel Management Group, the company‘s American-operations division, will launch a new environmental initiative to replace more than 250,000 incandescent light bulbs with new energy-efficient CFLs in guest rooms at over 200 company-managed hotels across the Americas.

For parking lots and outdoor applications, high-intensity fluorescent (HIF) lighting is often the best choice rather than metal halide, mercury vapor or high-pressure sodium lights. HIF lamps should be enclosed when used outdoors in cold climates. In parking garages, which often use inefficient high-intensity discharge fixtures, high-efficacy fluorescent fixtures can provide more even illumination with fewer fixtures.

In restaurants and lounges, LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are frequently used to create specialized lighting effects. Another measure that helped Marriott International achieve the award noted above was the conversion of all outdoor signage to LED and fiber-optic lighting. LEDs can also provide an accent to exterior arch elements and facades and can serve as nightlights in guest rooms. LEDs now illuminate the exterior of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, providing more flexibility in creating lighting effects and cutting energy bills by $41,000 compared to the previous metal halide fixtures. Using LED exit signs is also a proven energy and labor-saving measure that can pay for itself in one year.

Controls. For hotels, lighting controls typically consist of occupancy sensors and scheduling systems. Occupancy sensors save energy and also help to reduce maintenance costs by lengthening the relamping interval. Turning fluorescents off for 12 hours each day can extend their expected calendar life by 75%, to nearly seven years. In large restrooms, ceiling-mounted ultrasonic occupancy sensors detect occupants around partitions and corners. For hallways, a recommended strategy is to use a combination of scheduled lighting and dimming plus occupancy-sensor controls after hours. Guests may not like a totally darkened hallway, but dimming lights in unoccupied hallways and stairwells and then turning them up to full brightness when someone enters is a sensible approach. Occupancy sensors are also appropriate for meeting rooms and back rooms.

Some modifications to controls can actually increase guest comfort. Saunders Hotels‘ Comfort Inn & Suites Boston/Airport has reduced the amount of overnight lighting used in the guest hallways by half. The results are not only energy savings but also the unforeseen benefit of fewer noise complaints from other guests. As guests step off of the elevators late at night, with the reduced lighting levels, they seem to instinctively understand that it is “after hours” and are quieter, therefore disturbing other guests much less frequently.

Load Reduction: Energy savings. Load-reduction measures that reduce the operational time or intensity of hotel HVAC equipment while still maintaining a comfortable work environment can offer substantial savings. Plug loads from equipment such as computers and copiers represent about 7% of electricity used in hotels and motels. In addition, cooking accounts for about 9% of natural gas; water heating uses 5% of electricity and 31% of natural gas. Equipment purchases and operational measures for these uses can be very cost-effective. When purchasing these types of items, look for products that are labeled as “ENERGY STAR qualified” (—they will use 25 to 50% less energy than conventional models without compromising quality or performance. Not only do they offer significant return on investment because of these savings, many also feature longer operating lifetimes and lower maintenance requirements.

Best practices. The quickest and easiest way to implement load reductions in a hotel or motel is to ensure that equipment is turned off when it is not needed. This can be accomplished by encouraging housekeepers to turn off all lights and set temperatures to minimum levels after cleaning each room. For hotel office spaces, a computer monitor can use two-thirds of the total energy of a desktop system, so it is important to power down monitors whenever they are not in use. The ENERGY STAR Power Management program provides free software that can automatically place active monitors and computers into a low-power sleep mode through a local area network ( Whole-computer power management can save $15 to $45 annually per desktop computer; managing only monitors can save $10 to $30 per monitor annually.

For hotel pools, simply using a cover on a heated pool can save 50 to 70% of the pool‘s energy use, 30 to 50% of its makeup water and 35 to 60% of its chemicals.

In the kitchen, food preparation equipment should not be turned on for preheating more than 15 minutes before it is needed; simply reducing the operating time of kitchen appliances can cut cooking-related energy consumption by up to 60%. Hot water waste should be reduced in kitchens, bathrooms and fitness rooms; some measures to consider include automatic faucet shutoff, single-temperature fittings and low-flow showerheads with pause control.

Equipment placement is also important. Do not install air-cooled refrigeration equipment in areas with poor air movement. For example, ice makers and cooled vending machines are often placed in rooms with little or no air for cooling, which reduces the operating efficiency of the units.

In its energy-efficiency efforts, the Saunders Hotel Group purchased ENERGY STAR–qualified products such as refrigerators, clock radios and televisions for guest rooms and computers and fax machines for offices. These purchases helped Saunders, which was an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in 2005, reduce energy use by 11%, even after a decade of other energy-savings successes.

In hotel kitchen areas, intelligent, variable-speed hood controller systems can also significantly reduce energy costs. In appropriate applications, this technology yields a one- to two-year simple payback. A photoelectric smoke or heat detector determines when and how much ventilation is needed and activates the exhaust fan at the proper speed.

Water heating. More than many other facility types, water heating is a major load for hotels and motels. It accounts for a third or more of a hotel facility‘s energy consumption, some 40% of which is attributable to laundry and kitchen operations. Commercial heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) are two to four times more efficient than conventional water heaters, while also providing space-cooling capacity. In fact, they can cut water-heating costs up to 50%. However, before deciding to use HPWHs, it is important to do a careful economic analysis. They are more expensive than conventional water-heating units, and their performance varies with climate. Direct-vent, sealed-combustion condensing water heaters and boilers with efficiencies higher than 90% are the next-most-efficient option. Condensing boilers operate very efficiently during periods of low water demand, unlike traditional hot water heaters, and they can also provide space heating. In general, installing multiple smaller water heaters provides better reliability, effectiveness and efficiency compared to using one large hot water heater.

Air Distribution Systems: Energy savings. On average, ventilation systems consume about 7% of the electricity used in hotels and motels. Savings can be found by installing efficient fan motors and sizing the system to match the load (which may now be lower due to retrocrommissioning, improved lighting, and load reductions). Even more savings are possible by using energy-recovery equipment and variable-speed drives.

Best practices. A hotel ventilation system must be designed, operated and maintained to provide adequate fresh-air intake and prevent mold growth from unwanted moisture accumulation. It is possible to inadvertently supply insufficient volumes of fresh air. This may occur with scheduled ventilation and variable air-volume systems or may be caused by wind, stack effects or unbalanced supply and return fans. Installing an outdoor-air measuring station that modulates the outdoor-air damper and the return damper is relatively simple and ensures sufficient fresh-air supply. Increasing ventilation to safe and comfortable levels will likely increase energy consumption and so should be combined with other energy-saving measures.

Controlling mold. Mold and mildew damage to wallpaper, carpet and other materials caused by high humidity levels is estimated to cost the lodging industry $68 million annually. Mold and mildew are caused by leaks in the building envelope in humid areas, oversized HVAC systems, poorly balanced air-handling systems, and insufficient moisture-removal capacity of vapor-compression HVAC systems. Desiccant HVAC and dehumidification systems excel at lowering humidity levels, improving indoor air quality and increasing building occupant comfort. Two rooftop desiccant units handle the make-up air requirements for the lobby and hallways of the Park Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC, eliminating the need for a 100-ton rooftop chiller. Desiccant systems have low maintenance costs and can use a variety of fuels (waste heat, natural gas, or solar thermal energy) to lower peak electric demand, yet they may still be more expensive to operate than traditional HVAC systems, depending on local utility rates.

Heating and Cooling Systems: Energy savings. Heating and cooling represent almost 40% of the electricity and more than half of the natural gas used by hotels and motels. Many hotels heat and cool rooms regardless of whether they are occupied. Hotels tolerate this waste because their preeminent concern is guest comfort, not energy use. However, used correctly, controls and efficient technologies offer the potential for as much as 50% energy savings without compromising guest comfort.

Best practices. Smaller hotels tend to use distributed systems that often run entirely on electricity, most commonly stand-alone package terminal air conditioners (PTACs). Efficiency criteria for PTACs are currently being developed through ENERGY STAR. They will appear on the ENERGY STAR New Product Specifications in Development web page ( Meanwhile, high-efficiency equipment can be ensured by purchasing equipment at the efficiency levels established by the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Standard 90.1-2004, “The Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.” This standard provides minimum PTAC efficiency requirements that are higher than those in the federal standards.

For larger hotels, new chillers can be 25 to 50% more efficient than equipment 10 or more years old. Auxiliary condensers used to preheat makeup water for centrifugal chillers can pay for themselves in less than one year. For central heating, installing two or more smaller boilers will meet space-heating demands more effectively and efficiently than one large boiler. Geothermal heating and cooling can be a good choice, especially if there is a nearby body of water for a heat source or heat sink.

Controls. The Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh installed a keycard energy management system. When a guest enters a room at the Westin, the keycard activates the entry light switch, the bathroom light, a pole light and the HVAC system. When the card is removed from the room, power in the room automatically turns off. The hotel invested $120,000 in the system and reportedly recovered its investment through energy savings in just 10 months. Energy consumption dropped more than 10% in the first year with the system, and engineers expect greater savings in the future as they improve communications with guests about the benefits of the system.

Financial Issues. For property-level hotel decision-makers, lack of financing is often cited as the main reason they are unable to take advantage of energy-efficiency opportunities. Hotels are more willing to take on capital improvement projects when third-party funds are available. The importance of financing is also evident in the very short paybacks demanded by the lodging industry. The typical payback period needed for hotel decision-makers to consider an efficiency measure is about two years. The ENERGY STAR Cash Flow Opportunity Calculator ( can help hotel and motel managers calculate how much they can afford to invest in retrofits from the anticipated savings and whether it would make sense to borrow funds to finance building upgrades.

There are cases where the hotel ownership structure can be helpful in pursuing energy efficiency upgrades. For example, many hotels and motels are franchise operations. On one hand, that structure can add layers of bureaucracy that make it harder to get approval for energy-efficiency measures that cost more than a certain amount. On the other hand, it enables projects to be designed centrally and rolled out to many locations, taking advantage of economies of scale. Franchisers may also have the ability to finance or arrange financing for the projects that they require franchisees to put in place. For example, Choice Hotels International has formed a strategic partnership with Panasonic to provide ENERGY STAR televisions designed specifically for the hotel market. Choice Hotels expects its franchisees to purchase tens of thousands of these Panasonic televisions. The ENERGY STAR televisions draw only three watts of power or less when switched off, which results in an energy savings of up to 75% over conventional models. The TVs also feature energy-management circuitry that places the unit into a standby mode that helps reduce the energy wasted when guests fall asleep or leave the room unoccupied.

Go to the following web address, and see what else you can learn from Energy Star about saving energy and reducing costs. business.bus_upgrade_manual
NOV/DEC 2009


The Empire State Building, once the world'stallest building and the skyscraper famously scaled by King Kong, is now set for a $100 million ’green renovation.‘ The great symbol of New York and America, which sits in the heart of midtown Manhattan (one of the most efficient cities in the nation with per capita emissions one third the US average), just underwent an eight-month modeling and analysis program and will receive a massive overhaul. The plan proposes to reduce the building‘s energy consumption by 38%, or $4.4 million, annually!

The 102-story building was built during the Great Depression; now, as we face new economic stumbles, it is poised to lead the way into a more efficient future. “We have a very deep commitment to sustainability,” Tony Malkin of the Empire State Building Company says. “Without applying sustainable practices in all aspects of our businesses and lives, we will greatly harm our future.”

Many of the buildings built during the 1930s and 40s (pre-air-conditioning years) included heavy-duty envelopes to keep work spaces more comfortable temperaturewise. So, these buildings are excellent candidates for retrofits.

The group managing the renovation has decided not to apply for LEED certification, opting instead to making the building as efficient and healthy as possible without such guidelines. This is an interesting approach in a time when many cities seem to be embracing the USGBC‘s guidelines, but it appears as though the numerous planned upgrades and technological additions will do great things for the building and its inhabitants without applying the LEED checklist.

The partners involved are fully aware that this project will be serving as a template for the massive efficiency upgrades in store for many of the nation‘s buildings in the not so distant future. 75% of the 4.5 million buildings in the US are more than 20 years old and need energy retrofits. Buildings alone account for over 40% of our energy use! The 38% predicted reduction in energy use is an incredibly ambitious undertaking. Some of the measures included in the Empire State Building‘s renovation agenda include a total overhaul of the HVAC system, improvements to the building envelope, triple-glazed windows, electronic readouts to make users aware of their personal energy consumption, maximized daylighting, tenant demand ventilation control and occupant sensor controls.

6,500 windows to be remanufactured

Work is about to start on 6,500 windows in the Empire State Building to insert a third pane of glass and add a layer of glazing to help the building save millions in energy costs. The window replacement work began in August and all windows are scheduled to be replaced by the end of 2013.

Jones Lang LaSalle is the program manager of a highly collaborative team to develop the first comprehensive approach to model steps for the reduction of energy consumption and to share details of the process for owners around the world to replicate. The building owner, the Empire State Building Company, wants to demonstrate how to cost-effectively retrofit a large multi-tenant office building to inspire others to embark on whole-building retrofits.

The window refurbishment alone will reduce energy usage at the building by about 5%. The analytical process showed a clear financial advantage to window refurbishment compared to doing nothing, and compared to replacing the windows entirely. For a 2.5 million square-foot office building to upgrade 6,500 windows solely for the energy benefit is extremely rare. For a project management team to refurbish the existing windows by adding extra panes and glazing, with all work done on-site, is unheard of.

Windows are a weak link for buildings when it comes to heat transfer. A US Department of Energy study concluded that as much as 30% of a commercial building‘s energy loss occurs through its windows. Doing the work on site will also reduce the time, cost and vehicle emissions associated with transporting the windows to an off-site location. Another environmental benefit to reusing the windows and frames is the reduction of building waste being sent to the landfill.

Details of the building‘s progress are posted on The purpose of the site is to provide a wide range of information about the analysis and implementation process, so that the Empire State Building might become a catalyst for hundreds or thousands of buildings worldwide to consider similar large-scale energy retrofits.

The eight major projects being implemented include the 6,500 window light retrofit, the introduction of radiator insulation, improved tenant lighting, daylighting and plug upgrades, air handler replacements, a chiller plant retrofit, a whole-building control system upgrade, ventilation control upgrades and new web-based tenant energy management systems.

Window Upgrade: This project involves upgrading the existing insulated glass (IG) within the Empire State Building‘s approximately 6,500 double-hung windows to include suspended coated film and gas fill. This “re-manufacturing” of the IG units will take place within the Empire State Building. IG units will be removed, delivered to a production area, and picked up for reinstallation. Alpenglass TC88 or SC75 will be used as the suspended film according to the orientation. A mix of krypton/argon gas will be used between the glass and suspended film. This project will improve the thermal resistance of the glass from R-2 to R-6 and cut the heat gain by more than half, in addition to allowing for the recycling of all existing glass.

Radiative Barrier: This project will involve the installation of more than six-thousand insulated reflective barriers behind radiator units located on the perimeter of the building. In addition, the radiators will be cleaned and the thermostats will be repositioned to the front side of the radiator.

Tenant Demand Control Ventilation: This project involves the installation of CO2 sensors for control of outside air introduction to Chiller Water Air Handling and DX Air Handling Units. One return air CO2 sensor will be installed per unit in addition to removing the existing outside air damper and replacing it with a new control damper.

Chiller Plant Retrofit: The chiller plant retrofit project will include the retrofit of four industrial electric chillers (one low zone unit, two mid zone units, and one high zone unit) in addition to upgrades to controls, variable speed drives and primary loop bypasses.

All existing pumps and steam chillers will remain. For the low zone chiller, the retrofit will involve the installation of a new chiller mounted variable speed drive, a new VSD-rated compressor motor, a new IEEE Filter in VFD to reduce harmonic distortion and a new Optiview Graphic Control Panel with the latest software revision. For all other chillers, the retrofit will involve the installation of new drivelines, new evaporator and condenser water tubes, new Optiview Graphic Control Panels with the latest software revision, chiller water bypasses with two-way disk type valves, new piping in place of backwash reversing valves, new automatic isolation valves on the CHW supplies to each electric chiller and temperature and pressure gauges on all supply and return lines. In addition, existing R-500 refrigerant will be removed (per EPA guidelines) and replaced with R134A refrigerant. The existing steam chillers will remain. All electric chillers, CW and CHW pumps, pump VFDs and zone by-pass valves will be controlled by the Metasys control system.

VAV Air Handling Units: The Empire State Building is currently replacing existing constant volume air handlers with identical units. The team is recommending a new air handling layout (two floor-mounted units per floor instead of four ceiling-hung units) as well as the use of variable air volume units instead of existing constant volume units.

This recommendation will result in little additional capital cost while reducing maintenance costs (as the quantity of air handlers will be reduced and they will be floor-, as opposed to, ceiling-mounted) and improving comfort conditions for tenants (reduced noise and increased thermal accuracy and control).

Tenant Energy Management: This project will allow for the independent metering of a greater number of tenants in the Empire State Building. Tenants will have access to online energy and benchmarking information as well as sustainability tips and updates.

A EnNET/AEM platform will be provided for collecting 15-minute meter data and creating a normalized database that can be used to support Time Series profiling, reporting to ISO, and integration in the future with property management software for creating a bill based on current meter read. In addition, the AEM application will be commissioned and web pages will be created to properly display metering data, Time Series Analysis, real-time metering information and to create notifications based on usage parameters.
SEP/OCT 2009


The cash-for-clunkers program was so successful in getting Americans to buy new cars that it ran out of money early. Now, a sequel, dollars-for-dishwashers, is coming to an appliance store near you.

The $300 million program, funded through the federal government'seconomic stimulus plan, is certain to lack the same pop. The program'sintent is to spur sales of energy-efficient appliances, but its small size will provide just a minor boost for struggling appliance makers. States will use their share of the $300 million to give out rebates to buyers of energy-efficient appliances like freezers, refrigerators, furnaces and central air conditioners.

The new program allows each state to pick qualifying models and tailor rebate amounts. Ohio might decide one washing machine qualifies for a $100 rebate, while California picks another for $125. The Department of Energy, which designed the program, wants states to focus on just 10 categories of appliances carrying the federal Energy Star seal of approval for efficiency.

Unlike the clunker program, you probably won'thave to drag your old stove into the store to get money for a new one.

States had to send letters saying they wanted to participate to the Department of Energy by August 15. During the first week of September, they—ll start to receive 10% of their funding allotments. Plans for the programs—including which products qualify and how much the rebates will be worth—are due back to the federal government by October 15. The Department of Energy estimates that the full $300 million will be awarded by the end of November. Consumers should start to see the rebate programs in stores later this year or early next year. The allocation to states and territories is based on population, working out to roughly $1 a person per state.

Details are still uncertain. States could ask to include up to 46 other types of products, ranging from light bulbs to computers. The program will provide consumers a unique opportunity to save money on energy-efficient appliances. Some states are considering standards that exceed Energy Star requirements, a move General Electric opposes. The stricter proposals underscore criticisms that the Energy Star program is not tough enough in raising energy efficiency. The EPA is looking at revising the program'sstandards. If it does so after the states set their rules, the rebates could end up subsidizing some appliances that are not as energy efficient as they could be.

Appel, Timothy and Paul Glader, ——Clunkers— Sequel Rattles Appliance Producers,— The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2009
Fredrix, Emily, Associated Press, —That clunker in your kitchen could pay,— Houston Chronicle, August 31, 2009
JUL/AUG 2009


It'sa fact that none of us can really be green without the green products and services offered by green businesses. GHA wants to do all we can to encourage and support our Ally Members, and to alert you and all hoteliers as well as the public of their exciting green products and services. So, each July/August issue of our newsletter brings you interesting articles about their successes—new products, new ideas, new techniques, recent awards, new contracts, etc.—whatever our Ally Members consider their successes. So, we begin . . .

4,000-Gallon Caribbean Solar Hot Water System!

ALLY MEMBER Zager Plumbing & Solar Inc. installed a 4,000 gallon solar hot water system for The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa in St. Maarten last January. The resort's317 guest rooms, restaurants, laundry facilities, spa and hotel restrooms are now provided with solar hot water previously provided via LP gas.

Dale Zager, Licensed Master Plumber and President of Zager Plumbing & Solar Inc., designed the entire solar hot water system including the surface on the top floor of the parking garage to which the system is secured.

This solar hot water system is made up of evacuated tubes (glass tubes that have the air drawn out of them) in panels which soak up the heat of the sun. Being able to retain heat absorption is a critical factor in the design and manufacture of the collectors. Once the tubes have absorbed the solar energy, the heat is transferred to copper coil heat exchangers. Then the water is moved via plumbing and electric pumps to be in contact with the heat. The heated water moves into the 4,000 gallon storage tank where it is ready for distribution through the hotel'splumbing. The water in the tank continues to circulate via intermittent pump cycling. Each time the water circulates through the header, the temperature is raised by 9-18°F. Throughout the day, the water in the storage tank is gradually heated. The original boilers that supplied the resort with heated water remain as backup.

The 45 collector panels are made up of 30 tubes each and cover about 2,000 sq.ft. of the resort'sparking garage top floor. The system can generate up to 2,160,000 Btus of heat a day, is expected to provide a very impressive 4.3-year ROI with a 23% yearly rate of return and have an expected life of 25 years. Of course, beside the money saved, and perhaps more importantly, air pollution is reduced drastically.

Zager comments, —Properties within the United States can do even better because they are able to capitalize on the rebates, credits and incentives being offered by our local, state and federal government. So a US property installing a solar hot water system should see a significantly better ROI when the incentives are factored into the equation.— Every facility will vary in cost depending on size and all the other variables involved.

The uniqueness of the 4,000-gallon storage tank is that it was crated, shipped and arrived at the hotel in a collapsible form. This collapsible storage tank is available in any size and can be duplicated in any building, whether new or existing. The storage tank is made of EPDM rubber (something like an above-ground swimming pool) with a sheet metal exterior. Dale Zager explains, —So long as you have a flat, level surface that can support the weight of the water in the tank, Zager Plumbing & Solar Inc. can design, crate, ship and roll a storage tank through a 19-inch doorway and have it set up in a matter of hours.—

Columbia Sussex Corporation, which owns 72 hotels representing 24,801 guestrooms and is the largest owner/operator/developer of hotels in the US, owns of The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa. For further information and photos along with a list of completed projects, see or call Dale at 800/870-6321.

Coast Hotels & Resorts Goes Tork®

The recent decision by Coast Hotels & Resorts to switch paper products at its 24 properties in Western Canada to Tork® can be attributed to environmental considerations and the Tork® Environmental Calculator.

—About a year and a half ago we started focusing on ways that we could really soften our carbon footprint,— said Peter Upton, purchasing manager for the chain, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Coast Hotels has 40 properties in Western North America including 24 in Western Canada. —Some of the areas we looked at were the plastic and paper we use in our hotels.—

The tissues and paper towels used in the hotels were made with virgin fiber. Tork® tissues and towels are made with 100% recycled fiber, are process and elemental chlorine-free and carry third party eco-certification. Colleen Hayes, SCA Tissue Senior Territory Manager, British Columbia, kept Peter up to date on what ALLY MEMBER SCA Tissue had to offer and on the environmental advantages of Tork®. When Coast Hotels was stepping up its search for ways to lighten its carbon footprint along with a way to measure the impact, the Tork® Environmental Calculator turned out to be the exact tool needed.

Hayes used the Tork® Environmental Calculator and actual usage figures from Coast Hotels to show Upton that switching to Tork® would save each year:

• 644 trees (enough oxygen for 1,288 people and filtration of 30,912 pounds of carbon dioxide);

• 265,050 gallons of water (enough to fill 2.65 Olympic-sized swimming pools);

•155,243 kilowatts of energy (enough power for 15 homes) and

•118.64 cubic yards of landfill (the equivalent of 19.7 commercial garbage container.

Coast Hotels executives decided on a 3-month trial during which Tork® tissues and towels were introduced into 3 hotels with no fanfare and no explanation to see whether hotel guests noticed and commented. The results were what were hoped for: Most people didn'teven notice.

As a result, the existing paper products at Coast'sCanadian properties are being replaced with Tork® hand towels, facial tissues and bath tissues. While the environmental impact was the impetus for the change, Upton said other considerations had to be addressed before recommending the switch to Tork®. Price was addressed at the front end. For example, sheet-to-sheet costs of tissues were compared. If Tork® products had been 15-20% more expensive, Upton would not have switched. —As far as any cost-in-use savings, that came third in the decision priority scale. First is cost neutrality, then the environment, then cost in use.—

To learn more, contact Mike Kapalko, Environmental & Tork® Services Manager, SCA Tissue North America, 920/720-4550 or visit

California Hoteliers Saving With Cypress Green Earth™ Towels

ALLY MEMBER Cypress Bath & Bed, the leading designer and manufacturer of luxurious bathrobes, towels, slippers and sheets for the hospitality and spa industry for over 25 years, is experiencing a steady and increased adoption of their recently introduced Green Earth™ towels by California hoteliers.

Janice Alpeche, general manager of Gaia Napa Valley Resort & Spa, the world's first and only LEED gold-certified hotel, stated, —I was a bit skeptical when Bill first showed me the potential savings, using Cypress— proprietary energy-savings calculator which factors in the number of rooms, towel prices, weight of the towels, number of towels used, and the frequency of towel washings per week. After thoroughly testing the product and monitoring our energy consumption, I can say that it has exceeded our expectations of 20% savings.—

Green Earth™ towels are made from super-fine, extra-long staple (ELS) cotton, which is known for contributing to the sustainable consumption of cotton. ELS cotton is also recognized worldwide for its superior softness, absorbency, durability, lack of lint accumulation and luxurious feel. Green Earth™ towels are 160% bulkier than traditional combed-cotton towels, while having much less mass than traditional combed towels. Due to the higher ratio of surface area to towel weight, they absorb more water. Due to their lower mass, Green Earth™ towels cost significantly less to launder, saving up to 30% in water consumption, using less detergent and taking 10-20% less drying time. This reduces hotel operational costs, while also reducing environmental impact.

Green Earth™ towels are manufactured in a state-of-the-art, agri-waste powered, zero-discharge facility that produces no emission of effluents into the local water tables. The process also incorporates Control Union-certified, sustainable, eco-friendly dyes and chemicals to reduce impact on the environment and are shipped in 100% natural and bio-degradable / recyclable packaging.

For more information, please contact Gene Faul at 413/229-3012, e-mail, or visit


—By the end of the day, our housekeepers— faces were red, many had tears streaming from their eyes and some had developed chronic respiratory problems. No wonder I had trouble keeping housekeepers,— says Dawn Van Lanen, manager of the Tropical Shores Beach Resort in Sarasota, FL. Van Lanen was referring to the allergic reactions her housekeepers had to the traditional cleaning chemicals used to clean the resort'sguest rooms. —And, the problem was made worse because many of the bathrooms do not have windows,— she says.

Realizing action was needed—and fast—Van Lanen investigated green cleaning products to see if they worked as well as the traditional ones, without the harmful reactions and were cost competitive. Experimenting with different manufacturers— brands, she finally found one that met her demanding criteria— from ALLY MEMBER Enviro-Solutions.

—Almost from the start, the allergic reactions my housekeepers were experiencing were gone,— she says. —And, the lingering fumes and odors, even in the windowless bathrooms, disappeared.— Van Lanen says her hotel guests also noticed a difference. —We have people come back year after year to stay with us,— she says. —Many mentioned that in the past they could also smell the chemical odors but were happy to say now they're gone.— Her guests also said the resort was cleaner than ever.

—The products from Enviro-Solutions meet all my needs,— she says. —Not only did they eliminate the reactions, but they clean better than the products we used before and don'tcost any more. And my housekeeper turnover is down considerably—a big savings for any employer.—

See further information at or call Mike Sawchuk at 705/745-3070.

Green Value. Green Seal. Green Heritage.

Nearly three decades ago a small paper company, ALLY MEMBER Atlas Paper Mills, was literally —Born Green—™. Atlas Paper Mills— mission has always been to produce 100% recycled tissue products. Atlas will launch a new green value line of Green Seal products called Green Heritage in July.

This brand will provide an array of truly green recycled towel and tissue products at the same affordable, non-green prices. Atlas understands the need for making green products affordable. The Green Heritage green value line will feature 1 and 2-ply bathroom tissue with a new embossed pattern for a softer feel, as well as jumbo roll bathroom tissue. Also included in the line will be a 2-ply double-embossed 85-sheet kitchen roll towel, center-pull towels and facial tissue.

The Atlas Green Heritage brand carries a full line of Green Seal-certified tissue products to help ensure customers that the products they are choosing are better for their health and for the environment. All Atlas Green Seal-certified products are made from 100% recycled paper, are 100% chlorine free, made in the USA and produced in a chlorine-free manufacturing environment.

To find out more about Atlas Paper Mills— Green Seal products, contact sales at 800/562-2860 or e-mail

Colgate University Chooses Activeion

Bob Pils, Director of Housekeeping and Maintenance at Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, says, —I—m always on the lookout for the newest cleaning technology and the latest innovations, so I was intrigued when I came across ALLY MEMBER Activeion Cleaning Solutions at the 2008 ISSA show. I—d heard about what ionized water can do in general, so I was excited to see it integrated into a sprayer for the cleaning industry.—

Eager to test the new technology, Pils gave a sprayer to each of his top 10 employees to test. His staff quickly reported back with positive reviews. —Overall, my staff was very impressed with the cleaning results on hard surfaces—including removing longtime, ingrained coffee stains on our sinks. The Activeion sprayer worked great. It took hand prints right off the stainless steel with no streaks. It removed all the ghosting from our classroom whiteboards,— Pils stated. —The most important aspect is not cleaning for appearance, but cleaning for health and safety. The more harmful chemicals we can remove from our campus, the safer we—ll be. Activeion will help us do just that.—

To learn more, visit or call 866/950-4667.

Seed Sucker'sSuccess

ALLY MEMBER Seed Sucker, Inc. specializes in spreading environmental awareness one T-shirt at a time?all of which are made of 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton. Our hang tags are embedded with wildflower seeds and will sprout if planted correctly. All the T-shirts have an environmental message on the back.

When we met with the GM and Spa Director of The Hilton Hotel on Marco Island, Florida, they very quickly agreed to purchase our eco friendly shirts for all the employees to wear and promote eco awareness during the largest event of the year! The Hilton'sGeneral Manager was so impressed with our apparel line that he personally arranged meetings with six other Hilton Hotels to sell and promote Seed Sucker apparel.

The spa and hotel gift shop will be selling all Seed Sucker apparel early in July. It'spossible that Seed Sucker, Inc. will be providing uniforms for all staff members.

Visit or call Debbie Wright at 469/487-6433 to learn more!

MAY/JUN 2009


Fear of swine flu is fading, but there are still plenty of reasons to wash your hands frequently. The list of infections that can spread via unwashed hands reads like the Biblical plagues, including staph, strep, salmonella, E. coli, hepatitis, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), colds, flu and norovirus—the infamous cruise-ship bug.

The importance of hand washing has been known since 1847, when a doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis suspected that maternity patients were dying in his Vienna hospital because med students treated them right after working on cadavers. When he instituted hand-cleaning, the deaths fell sharply.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hand washing is the most effective way to stay healthy. But many people don'tdo it often enough, or long enough, to be effective.

Here'sa guide:
  • When to do it: Wash your hands every time you use the bathroom. Every surface presents an opportunity for germs to hitchhike out. “Who thinks to clean the latch on the inside of the stall door? Try nobody,” says Jim Mann, executive director of the Handwashing for Life Institute (, which advises food service providers around the world on best hand-hygiene practices.
  • Also wash your hands whenever you change a diaper, pick up animal waste, sneeze, cough or blow your nose; when you take public transportation, insert or remove contact lenses, prepare food, handle garbage and before eating. Few people are as conscientious as they should be. Mr. Mann recalls being in meetings to discuss hand hygiene: “Everybody shakes hands. You finish the talk, and everybody runs for the food line. Nobody washes their hands.”
  • How to do it: Soap and water is the gold standard. In a recent study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers in Australia doused the hands of 20 health-care workers with human H1N1 flu virus. Soap and water removed slightly more virus than three alcohol-based hand rubs. When volunteers didn'tclean their hands, most of the virus was still present an hour after exposure.
  • It'sthe mechanical process of washing that'sso effective. Soap molecules surround and lift the germs, friction from rubbing your hands loosens them, and water rinses them down the drain.
  • Experts recommend using warm water—mainly for comfort, so you—ll wash longer. Use liquid soap if possible. Bar soaps can harbor germs.
  • Use enough soap to build a lather. Lace your fingers together to cover all the surfaces. Rub the fingertips of one hand into the palm of the other, then reverse. Keep rubbing for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. (Some experts prefer “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” But any tune will do as long as it lasts at least 15 seconds.)
  • Rinse thoroughly. Residual soap can make hands sore. Leave the water on while you grab a paper towel and use it to shut off the faucet. Take it with you to use on the door handle as well.
  • Drying lessons: Many hand-hygiene experts are down on hand dryers—chiefly because few people have the patience to dry completely, and end up wiping their hands on their clothes. Air dryers can also blow remaining germs as far as six feet away.
  • Actibacterial soap? In 2005, a Food and Drug Administration panel voted 11-to-1 that antibacterial soaps are no more effective at keeping people healthy than regular soap. There may be some downside too. Some antibacterial ingredients like triclosan leave a residue on the skin that continues killing some bacteria. Critics worry that the remaining bacteria could become resistant, not only to soap but also to antibiotics. “To our knowledge, it'snot happened, but it'stheoretically possible,” says Elaine Larson, a professor in the schools of nursing and public health at Columbia University.
  • Hand sanitizers: It'snot often that a personal-care product gets a presidential endorsement. Some drug stores sold out after Barack Obama echoed the CDC'srecommendation that people use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water aren'tavailable to help stop spreading the swine flu.
  • Experts say they must be at least 60% alcohol to kill germs. “Alcohol ruptures their cell membranes—it causes them to explode,” says Dr. Larson.
  • Curiously, the FDA does not allow over-the-counter hand sanitizers to claim they kill viruses. The CDC'srecommendations are based on information published since the FDA ruling, says Nicole Coffin, a CDC spokeswoman.
  • Can you overdo handwashing? Yes. “Try to strike a balance between being obsessive-compulsive and being reasonable,” says Dr. Larson. “And if there is some kind of outbreak like with the flu or SARS, then there is reason for more caution.”
Further to Hand Washing:
  • Is it possible to pick up diseases from an ATM or those pens that we're required to use with a credit-card machine? Germs can survive on plastic for weeks. Surfaces that are touched frequently and cleaned infrequently can pose a danger, particularly where finger pressure is required, aiding the germ transfer. You could carry your own stylus—or try a makeshift one, with a pencil eraser or the top of a pen. You also could put a tissue between your hand and the stylus or ATM keys.
  • Can we acquire bacteria on our hands by handling currency? Germs can live on money, both paper and coins. How long they survive, and how easily they can be transferred, varies considerably. Germs survive longer in humid conditions, but some adhere more strongly to a bill'ssurface than to hands, so you—d have to really squeeze the bill to pick up germs.
Beck, Melinda, “Put Up Your Dukes: Fighting Disease with Soap and Water,” Health Journal, The Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2009
Beck, Melinda, Health Mailbox, The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2009
MAR/APR 2009


Here are 10 smart ways to help the environment—and save money! It can be tough to be green when money is tight if fixes take years to make back their cost. The good news is that there are plenty of energy-saving changes to make that will recoup their cost fast. Some are cheap and simple while others are costlier and more complicated—but they're so effective they—ll pay for themselves quickly.

HIGH-TECH THERMOSTATS: Programmable thermostats make it easy to preset a week'sworth of temperatures—and give much greater control over energy bills. For instance, these gadgets can be programmed to lower the temperature while everyone'sasleep, something that might be forgotten if it had to be done nightly.

Cost: $50 to $150

Payback: About a year, assuming the thermostat controls both heating and cooling. The figure was arrived at by using a calculator on the US EPA'sEnergyStar website. The tool shows you how much these advanced thermostats will save, but the estimates assume you have natural-gas heat and electric central cooling.

Some utilities will install the thermostats free in exchange for letting them scale back your central air-conditioning use remotely on hot summer days. Many utilities also offer rebates on these devices.

SMARTER WATER HEATING: Drain-water heat-recovery systems warm up water for showers by capturing the heat from waste water as it travels down your drain. The systems can also work with your dishwashers and other appliances.

Cost: $500 to $700, plus $100 or so for installation.

Payback: Around 5 years, assuming water is heated with natural gas and at fairly high rates. If electricity heats your water, payback can be under 3 years. If your utility offers a rebate for installation, as many do, payment time can be less than a year.

According to an online calculator from National Resources Canada, a government agency, these systems can save 183 cubic meters of natural gas a year—assuming 4 showers a day that last 7 minutes each, and uses standard showerheads. Of course, rebates can cut down that time.

SEALING AIR LEAKS: Filling in the gaps around windows and doors, and sealing up ducts, can be a simple way to cut energy bills.

Cost: Weatherstripping that goes under and around external doors runs $20 a door. With windows, you insert caulk between the frame and siding, wherever the air is going through, at a cost of about $10 a window. Then there'san often-overlooked source of air leaks: the electrical outlets on exterior walls. These can be fixed with outlet sealers, which cost under $10 for a pack of 6.

Payback: About 2-3 years if you hire someone to do it, but there are a lot of variables. If all leaks are sealed—plus insulation added in some spots—the EPA estimates savings up to 20% of your heating and cooling or up to 10% on your total energy bill. Some utilities and states offer rebates and tax incentives for these fixes. Austin Energy, for instance, offers to cover 20% of the cost of weatherization, as well as energy-efficient appliances and other purchases.

SEALING HVAC SYSTEM: A trip into your attic space as well as a trip outside to your system condenser will help reduce energy bills. Be sure there are no bushes or other hindrances to air flow close to the outside condenser. With the fan in an “On” position, go up into your attic and run your hand along all the seams of the system and the air ducts. Any place you feel air escaping from the system in the attic must be sealed. There are a number of choices of products that will seal these openings.

We at GHA use Kingco'sThur-O-Seal, a gooey, mastic product that is smeared on with a spatula. We cover the mastic with wide aluminum tape. It'sa good idea to visit a local HVAC supply store to check out their supplies. Let them advise you on available products.

LOW-FLOW FIXTURES: Low-flow showerheads and faucets limit the volume of water you can get out of the fixtures, reducing the amount you spend on water—and on electricity or gas to heat the water. Although the technology is improving, you—ll feel a difference in water pressure.

Cost: Low-flow showerheads are available (from GHA) at $7-8, while faucet aerators are $1-2 each. Both are simple and easy to install.

Payback: For aerators, almost immediate. For showerheads, a few months

If utility rates are high, investing a few dollars in a new faucet would save about $50 a year on gas and water bills or about $65 with electric water heating. New showerheads would save about $115 total with gas heating or $160 with electric.

LEASING SOLAR PANELS: Buying and installing a set of solar panels can cost tens of thousands of dollars. But leasing the same system can be a cost-efficient alternative.

Several companies—mostly in California and a few other states—will install solar panels on your property, and then charge you for the power the panels generate. Essentially, the company owns the panels, and you “rent” them by paying the cost of the power. That rate is often lower than your regular utility rate. You—ll also have to pay your utility for power when the panels aren'tgenerating any electricity, such as nighttime. But you—ll be paying much less than you ordinarily would.

Cost: Sometimes nothing. Many companies don'tcharge an upfront fee for the panels, and their plans promise to reduce your total electric bill immediately by about 11%. Some companies do charge an upfront fee, often $2,000-$5,000. In some cases, that fee is considered a prepayment on the solar-power portion of your bills—so you end up paying less for that power every month. In other cases, the fee doesn'tlower your monthly bill; it'ssimply a down payment.

Payback: Immediate, if you pay no upfront fee. If you pay a fee that lowers your rates, payback can take a while. If your upfront fee is just a down payment, though, the payback time is much longer—because you don'tget any extra discount on your bill.

AIR FILTERS: When the air filter in your cooling system or air-conditioning units get dirty, the system has to work harder to push the air through, using up more energy. In warmer climates, the filter should be changed 3 times per year.

Cost: New filters cost about $10 each for central systems. Window-unit filters can simply be wiped clean.

Payback: Less than a year in warm climates for central units. Immediately in all climates for window units.

Keeping the air filter clean saves about 7% in electricity costs a year. In cooler climates, more frequent filter changing won'tsave enough money to make it worthwhile.

COMPACT FLUORSCENT LIGHTS: These advanced bulbs use up to 75% less energy than regular bulbs, and they last about 6 o 12 times longer. Experts say that replacing regular lights with CFLs can be the cheapest, most effective way to get big savings on energy bills.

Cost: About $3 a bulb.

Payback: 3 to 7.5 months. EnergyStar'sonline calculator will help figure savings for replacing an incandescent bulb with a fluorescent with a comparable wattage.

LIGHTING MOTION SENSORS: Although they're more common in commercial buildings, motion sensors that automatically turn off lights when a room isn'toccupied can offer big energy savings in a home. They're particularly useful when installed on outdoor lights, which are often left on all night.

Cost: Many porch lights have built-in sensors and cost about $50-60.

Payback: Under a year. Assuming the light would have been left on for 12 hours through the night and is now off all that time—except for brief moments when someone approached the door—a sensor will save about 1.8 kilowatt-hours over the 12-hour period and 54 kilowatt-hours in a month.

WINDOW TREATMENTS: Blinds, shades or curtains do more than decorate—they can also cut cooling bills in summer and heating bills in winter. If you have lots of windows that face south and west, even inexpensive curtains or shades can help block sunlight and reduce the need for air conditioning. Hanging somewhat more expensive shades on all windows can provide even more insulation against outside temperatures in both winter and summer.

Cost: Inexpensive pull-down blinds that provide summer shade run $5-$10; curtains that promise greater insulation typically sell for as little as $30 and can run as high as $150.

Payback: From just under a year to almost 4 years, depending on a host of variables. Insulated curtains curb losses from air conditioning and heating.

ATTIC INSULATION: It'swell known that insulating attics can reduce the amount of heat escaping through the roof. But many attics, especially in older homes, still have too little insulation—or none at all.

Cost: About $500 to nearly $700 for an average 2,000 sq. ft. house. That doesn'tinclude installation costs, which can vary widely.

Payback: A year and a half, but it can vary depending on the climate, cost of insulation and other factors. Installation costs can also boost the payback time.

Chernova, Yuliya and Sari Krieger, “How To Go Green In Hard Times,” The Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2009
JAN/FEB 2009


By Patty Griffin, President

Happy 2009! Each new year brings exciting changes in our lives. Many of us wonder what changes we can look for or hope for in the future. Naturally, I hope for and expect helpful and imaginative environmental changes and improvements.

We have all been blessed that the green movement has been so strong in recent years. Every aspect of greening seems to be addressed by the media. The media has been extremely helpful in spreading the good news of greening. The most important goal of greening is getting every single person on this planet involved and engaged in greening our lives and our planet. Of course, the media is the simplest and best conduit to provide information to the public. We at GHA are very grateful for the media'sattention to all green issues.

There are 3 very important green changes that I am wishing for and expecting in coming years:
  • First, I truly believe that food waste will become a commodity—a valuable commodity. Commercial decomposition (see GHA'sMay/June 2008 newsletter) will be the motivator. As you may recall, we wrote about BioX'sequipment at Seaport Hotel Boston. Their stainless steel equipment is about 5—Lx3—Dx5—H and handles up to 800 lbs a day. As food waste is produced, it is put into the machine where the combination of water, heat, agitation and micro-organisms dissolves the food waste into a watery slurry in 4 to 24 hours. As the food dissolves, it is released into the sanitary sewer line. Municipal sewer management is said to love the process because microbes are also released into the sewer where they help keep the sewer lines clean.

    This decomposing equipment was developed in Korea where the slurry is spread over farms and vineyards as organic fertilizer. The “food waste” is very valuable as organic fertilizer, but it could also become livestock feed, pet food as well as other products. I truly believe hotels and all restaurants will soon see the food-waste slurry sold to companies whose truckers will haul it to farms, vineyards and manufacturing plants. So, in the future I feel hotels will be selling their food waste. Companies now offering decomposition equipment include,, and

    Other pluses regarding commercial decomposition include the fact that it negates the need for large, smelly dumpsters at hotel docks. It also removes most of the reasons mice, rats, roaches and other vermin occupy those docks and dumpsters. It should also cancel the need for odor-control equipment as well as the use of pesticides in kitchens and at docks.

    So, watch for commercial decomposition equipment available in a size that is appropriate for your kitchen. You—ll want to know the approximate number of pounds of food waste produced each day in order to choose an appropriate model.

  • Secondly, I—m hoping that plumbing manufacturers will redesign kitchen and bath fixtures so that they have clicks just as vehicle windshield wipers do. The clicks would allow us to easily choose if we want a lot or a little water. We will be able to know, by touch, the volume of water we're choosing.

    Plumbing manufacturers have made faucets so easy to turn on full blast that it can actually be somewhat difficult to get a small stream of water.

    Aerators, which introduce air into a faucet'swater stream, are now available from manufacturers at 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 etc. gallons per minute. However, that choice is not currently available on new fixtures we purchase. Most new plumbing equipment generally includes a 2.5 gpm aerator.

    We need to let plumbing manufacturers know that we want these changes, and that they should make them available. We need faucets that allow us to precisely choose the volume of water provided, and we need a choice of aerators with lower flow rates on new fixtures.

    Fresh water is obviously one of our most valuable resources. Many parts of the United States as well as the world have recently discovered via serious droughts the importance of conserving water. Plumbing manufacturers, like all businesses, want to offer what their customers prefer. Let'shelp them help us conserve fresh water in very simple ways.

  • My third prediction or wish is the result of two speaking trips to Biloxi, Mississippi. The highway along that stretch of the Gulf coast has many casinos, hotels and large parking-garage buildings. The parking garages might be 6 or 8 stories high, and they are all lit from top to bottom all night long. We all know why they're lit all night long—management rightfully fears lawsuits. Those parking garages might be full of vehicles a couple of nights each week. The rest of the week, perhaps 2 or 3 stories of the parking buildings will be in use at most.

So, my prediction is that all the lighting in all parking buildings will be converted to lighting that is accompanied with motion sensors and/or heat sensors that will turn those lights on only when they detect motion or body heat. The lights will stay on for a predetermined period of time. Once the motion or body heat is no longer detected, the lights will turn off—perhaps after another 15 seconds. Yes, of course, one out of 10 or so lights can stay on as security lights. Billions of street lights and millions of office buildings that are lit all night long every night should also incorporate the sensors.

GHA has heard from one lighting company which is providing such street lighting, but instead of turning the lights off when motion or body heat is no longer detected, they are turned down 40%. That'sa fabulous first move, but I believe we can more fully reduce the need for all that energy when no one is around.

I feel sure you have conservation or green ideas you—d like to see at work. Do give us a call or write a note with your ideas. We look forward to learning your green wishes, dreams and predictions! GHA will combine all our ideas and work toward publicizing the information.

Note: (Please put “green hotels” in the subject line of any e-mail to GHA so that we know your e-mail will get past our spam filter.)

NOV/DEC 2008


Investing in renovations to make hotels more sustainable will increase their value, slash operating costs and attract customers who are trending toward more sustainable hospitality experiences. “For every dollar you can add to the bottom line of a San Francisco hotel, more than $11 is added in value,” PKF Capital Managing Partner Henry Bose explained at a conference on green hotels in San Francisco.

However, not enough hotels have yet earned the US Green Building Council'sLEED certification in order to accurately compare their financial performance against traditional hotels, Bose said. To date, only 7 have been given the official designation. PKF Capital, with its affiliate, PKF Consulting and Research, is planning to produce a study on the issue, according to Bose. Still, he added, USGBC has recorded dramatic savings in large green commercial buildings similar in size to hotels—with 30% energy savings, 35% less carbon output, 50% less water consumption and as much as 90% less waste. USGBC also reported a decrease in operating costs of as much as 9% for sustainable commercial buildings and an increase of 7.5% in value. It also reported that there is a 6.6% higher return on investment for these buildings. Those are numbers that should prove to be even stronger for hotels, Bose stated.

“It is important to note that hotels are extremely resource intensive, open 24 hours, seven days a week, whereas commercial buildings are used primarily only during business hours,” Bose said. “That means the financial benefits of operating a green hotel are likely to be much higher than what USGBC says about the commercial office sector. Hotels that are less costly to operate are simply more valuable to owners.

“Improving financial performance does not only come from savings on operating costs,” Bose continued. “Groups and individuals are increasingly choosing sustainable hotels in a trend that is being codified in many group contracts stipulating that hotel operators describe the degree to which their properties are sustainable.

“In contract negotiations with companies, consortia and government agencies for all of their travel and meetings business, hotel operators are being asked not only to confirm that they use sustainable business practices, but to prove it by naming the awards and certifications they have earned.”

“The Real Estate ROI on Sustainability,” Front Desk, Lodging Magazine, November, 2008, p. 8
“Green Hotels Have Greater Value, PKF Says,”
SEP/OCT 2008


Concerned about the cost of bottled water—and its environmental consequences—many people are turning back to tap water to quench their thirst. But as evidence mounts of contaminants in public systems, unease about the water supply is growing.

Engineers say that US water quality is among the world'sbest, and is regulated by some of the most stringent standards. But, as detection technology improves, utilities are finding more contaminants in water systems. Earlier this year, media reports of trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in water across the country drew attention from US senators and environmental groups, who are now pushing for regulation of these substances in water systems.

Of particular concern, experts say, are endocrine-disrupting compounds—found in birth-control pills, mood-stabilizers and other drugs—which are linked to birth defects in wildlife. Also alarming are antibiotics, which if present in water systems, even in small amounts, could contribute to the rise of drug-resistant strains of bacteria, or so-called super bugs.

Drugs are only one category of contaminants found in tap water. A 2005 study released by the non-profit Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based research group, found that tap water in 42 states is contaminated with more than 140 unregulated chemicals, including MTBE, perchlorate and industrial solvents.

Even chemicals used to clean and disinfect drinking water are causing worry. Citizens— groups in states such as California, New York and Vermont are protesting the increasing use of chloramines—a combination of chlorine and ammonia—to disinfect drinking water. Utilities are using chloramines because of EPA limits on chlorine byproducts.

In the absence of Federal regulation of certain chemicals in water systems, some states have stepped in. California has set standards for various compounds that are not regulated by the EPA, including perchlorate. Massachusetts has set standards for perchlorate and requires that water utilities in the state test for MTBE, a gasoline additive.

In fact, experts say tap water is held to more stringent standards by the EPA, and tested more often, than bottled water, which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Water filters aren'tfoolproof. Those that are certified by NSF International—a non-profit group that tests food and water products—can get rid of unwanted chemicals to EPA'sstandards, but consumers should be aware that trace amounts of chemicals may still be left in their water.

Carbon filters, which come in the form of a faucet mount or a pitcher, are the most commonly used and cost about $30. These can be fairly effective in removing many contaminants, but need to be replaced about every 2 months.

Other options—such as reverse-osmosis systems, which use a semi-permeable membrane to remove contaminants, or ultraviolet light treatment, which prevents micro-organisms from reproducing—can be more effective, but they cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Some consumers have found the cost is worth it, especially if there are health issues.

Some different types of water filters are:
  • Activated carbon filter:
  • Positively charged and highly absorbent carbon in the filter attracts and traps many impurities. It filters bad tastes and odors. Standard 53-certified filters also can substantially reduce many hazardous contaminants, including heavy metals, disinfection byproducts, parasites, pesticides, radon and volatile organic chemicals.

  • Cation-exchange softener:
  • “Softens” hard water by trading minerals with a strong positive charge for those with less of a charge. Filters calcium and magnesium, which form mineral deposits in plumbing and fixtures, as well as barium, fluoride, selenium and sodium.

  • Distiller:
  • Boils water and recondenses the purified steam. Filters heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, copper, lead and mercury, as well as arsenic, barium, fluoride, selenium and sodium.

  • Reverse osmosis:
  • A semi-permeable membrane separates impurities from water. Filters most contaminants, including certain parasites, heavy metals and other pollutants.

  • Ultraviolet disinfection:
  • Ultraviolet light kills bacteria and other micro-organisms. Filters bacteria and parasites. Class-A systems protect against harmful bacteria and viruses, while Class-B systems are designed to make non-disease-causing bacteria inactive.

Athavaley, Anjali, “What'sComing From Your Tap?,” The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2008
Source: The Natural Resources Defense Council
JUL/AUG 2008


None of us can really be green without the green products and services offered by green businesses. GHA wants to do all we can to encourage and support our Ally Members, and to alert you and all hotels as well as the public of their important green products and services. So, each July/ August issue of our newsletter brings you interesting articles about their successes—new products, new ideas, new techniques, recent awards, etc.—whatever our Ally Members consider their successes. So, we begin . . .


ALLY MEMBER Manatee Coffee's( association with PARTNER MEMBER The Inn at Wildwood in Crawfordville, Florida, is a long and beneficial one. The beautiful property is situated south of Tallahassee. It is surrounded by over a thousand square miles of national forest, coastal refuge and parks and is home to some of the most unique and beautiful wildlife in the southeast.

Jeff True, the Operations Supervisor says, “Shortly after we began using Manatee Coffee'sIsland Dark and Tropical Delight blends in our lobby brewers, there was a noticeable increase in traffic.” Some traffic was even from the locals who stopped in to pick up a cup on their way to work. Staff at the inn received numerous positive comments on the coffee from guests.


ALLY MEMBER Sony'snew flat-panel TV consumes less energy than comparable regular models without compromising image quality—the latest in Japanese manufacturers— efforts to woo buyers with green products.

The $1,400 Bravia KDL-32JE1 goes on sale in Japan on July 30, and later in overseas markets. In a demonstration at Sony'sheadquarters, a watt-counter attached to the new 32” Bravia revealed consumption of 82 watts of energy to show a Blu-ray disc image of a Spanish city on its liquid crystal display. A comparable regular model that costs about $90 less required 125 watts of energy to show the exact same image.

Sony achieved the energy savings by developing a brighter back light and better filtering that delivers light more efficiently. Both models have liquid crystal displays and high-definition digital broadcast features. Compared to an old-style TV with a cathode-ray tube monitor, the new TV consumes about 70% less energy a year. By consuming less energy, the new “green” TV reduces carbon dioxide emissions totaling 174 pounds a year, equivalent to the amount consumed by about six cedar trees.

Utility bills are also reduced. In Japan, the green TV delivers about $40 savings in electricity costs a year compared to an old-style CRT TV. Sony thinks ecology is going to become an important standard that consumers use in choosing products. See

Kageyama, Yuri, “Sony hopes to woo the green,” Associated Press, printed in the Houston Chronicle, July 1, 2008

Taylor Maid Farms ( was awarded the Green Entrepreneur Award for 2008 by the State of California Senate, in conjunction with SAFE-BIDCO. The Green Entrepreneur Award was created to support and recognize small businesses that have chosen to implement socially and environmentally-responsible business practices. Legislators from participating districts nominated local small businesses, and Taylor Maid was honored at the 6th Awards reception in March of 2008.


ALLY MEMBER WAUSAU PAPER recently launched their Authentically Green™ brand that distinguishes Wausau Paper'scomprehensive Green Seal™-certified offering as one with authentic environmental benefits. These products embrace Green Seal™ standards, which are the most stringent and comprehensive in the industry. Janitorial paper products certified by Green Seal™ are made with 100% recycled fiber and are manufactured and processed in a way that uses less water, energy, produces less air pollutants and also diverts the most waste from our landfills.

Wausau paper also recently announced the introduction of their Elegance Series, a new line of restroom dispensers, including high-capacity roll towel dispensers, 3-roll and 2-roll tissue dispensers, folded towel dispensers, soap dispenser and a seat-cover dispenser. All have an attractive stainless-look finish.

Wausau Paper'sAuthentically Green offering includes 45 Green Seal™-certified products in Dubl-Nature®, EcoSoft™ Green Seal™ and OptiSource® brands. The two new resource guides are available now for download by visiting

MAY/JUN 2008


By Patricia Griffin, President, “Green” Hotels Associationâ

Organic waste—anything that can be eaten—can be disposed of sanitarily, cleanly and quickly via BioX's( high-volume waste decomposition equipment. The revolutionary two-stage biological process breaks down organic waste via a patent-pending environmentally-responsible process resulting in all solid materials being converted into liquids.

PARTNER MEMBER Seaport Hotel, Boston, installed one of the approximately 5—Lx3—Dx5—H stainless steel units that can accommodate up to 800 pounds of organic material, and Matthew Moore, Director of Rooms & Environmental Programs (617/385-4511,, reports that in the 12 months the equipment has been in operation, over 50 tons of prep and food waste from their Aura Restaurant, Tamo Bar, Bakery Cafe, in-room dining and banquets has been decomposed and released into the sewer line. They began with a 400 lb. unit, but recently upgraded to the 800 lb. model. The 426-room property averaged about 275 lbs. of food waste per day during the last year. The only exceptions they—ve found are large bones and pineapple heads, both of which are simply too dense.

Food waste is generally added to the computer-controlled decomposter as it is gathered. The waste is automatically heated to 100-105°F, about 30-35 gallons of water are added as are microorganisms along with treated wood chips. The decomposter turns the waste continually until it becomes slurry, which could take 4 to 24 hours, depending of the density of the waste. As the slurry reaches the appropriate watery stage, it is released through a pinhole strainer into the sanitary sewer. The unit'scomputer is programmed to call for water or heat as it is needed as well as to release fluids when appropriate. The equipment uses 17 Kw/hr of electricity and an estimated 100 gallons of water per day. Three sizes are currently available (400lb, 800lb, 1200lb), but smaller sizes are being developed. The size is an indication of the approximate amount of waste the machine can accommodate in 24 hours.

Matt says, “The BioX is the perfect compliment to our recycling program in terms of waste diversion, as the two initiatives allowed us to decrease our trash pickups from 9 to 5 each month.” Between both activities, they—ve diverted almost 240 tons of materials from the landfill. Fewer pickups and reduced tonnage have meant savings of over $25,000 in a year with each tip costing $115 plus $84 per ton. The property was also able to eliminate an air-deodorizing system on the loading dock costing $145/mo or $1,740/yr. There is no longer a need to combat the smell of rotting garbage between pickups.

The BioX equipment the Seaport Hotel has chosen costs $40,000 to buy, but Matt says the hotel chose a lease-to-buy option at a cost of $1,000/mo for 5 years including a service agreement. Of course, the equipment has to be maintained, which means that every 3 months or as needed, microbes and glucose sugar are added to recharge the system. Once a year treated wood chips are added after a total cleaning. The annual maintenance fee of $2,500 includes quarterly recharges and a full preventative maintenance program by trained technicians at the end of the year. Because of the possibility of negatively affecting the microbes, the system now adds warmed rather than cold water to the system. A chlorine filter has been added to the incoming water line for the same reason. Absolutely no chemicals are added to the process. The Seaport Hotel has even chosen to add a grease trap to their system to be absolutely sure they are not releasing negatives into the sewer system.

The microorganisms at work are the same type of organisms that work in any composting pile or at any municipal sewage treatment plant. Because some microorganisms are released with each slurry release, the MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resource Authority), a state watchdog entity, is very happy with the process because the released microorganisms help keep the sewer lines clean. Matt also reports that the Boston Health Department loves the machine with its no-odor benefit and stainless steel construction.

The equipment was developed and is manufactured by a South Korean company for the same reason that it'sfound agreeable in the US—the country is running out of landfill space. However, a difference is that in Korea the watery waste is used to irrigate cropland because it is an all-natural organic product and an organic fertilizer. Hopefully, within a short time period, that food “waste” will be seen as a new product and offered for sale to farmers and others. There are undoubtedly millions of microorganisms on this planet, but the Koreans have developed and patented a strain of microorganisms (100% organic mold and fungus) that when blended together make this process work by eating the food and reducing it to a liquid. That is the science behind this product.

The upgraded system, recently installed at the Seaport Hotel, has a lighted digital panel with a built-in scale. The readout includes weight of the material being processed while red, yellow and green lights indicate advisability of adding material. The readout also informs when and how much water is being added along with the temperature of the material being processed.

Units can be installed in kitchens where the organic waste is generated, resulting in numerous benefits. Heavy, wet waste no longer needs to be removed from kitchen areas and transported by staff to waste stations, improving sanitation, safety and workflow conditions. With the messy waste out of the waste stream, trash and recycling containers remain cleaner and are subject to less wear and tear. Dock areas where trash and recycling are collected are kept drier and concerns about odor and pest elimination decrease. The Seaport Hotel'sequipment was recently moved from the kitchen to the dock area because the kitchen space was needed, but Matt finds the arrangement works well.

For a facility that produces high volumes of organic waste, it means:
  • Every pound of organic waste that was stored and removed through traditional trash removal has been eliminated.
  • Storage bins needed for traditional trash removal to a landfill or incinerator are considerably reduced.
  • Odor, insect and rodent problems associated with storing organic material are reduced or eliminated.
  • A cleaner and more organized work area.
  • Reduction of inadvertent disposal of cutlery and other tools or equipment.
  • Reduction of use of municipal landfill space.
  • Reduction of carbon emissions through less frequent trash pickups.

The Seaport Hotel is part of the Seaport Companies, and their campus includes the Seaport World Trade Center with a 115,000 sq. ft. hall or convention center plus 100,000 sq. ft. of other meeting space. The Seaport Hotel'stesting of the BioX equipment will determine whether the Seaport World Trade Center will also incorporate BioX equipment in their routine.

Though I—m a believer that everything we do has a downside, I—m finding little to dispute with this equipment and the powerful results.

Pat Griffin (no relation to Patricia Griffin), 508/667-5471,

MAR/APR 2008


By Patricia Griffin, President, “Green” Hotels Associationâ

Carbon credits, carbon offsets and carbon tags are terms that all have the same meaning. Today they're all names for what is basically a donation to a non-profit whose goal is reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions into our atmosphere. The non-profit may be involved in developing solar energy, wind energy, alternate energy, sustainable crops and/or other developing environmental activities. The non-profits or for-profit businesses that will benefit from selling the carbon credits are the ones pushing the idea of selling carbon credits to individuals. Many entities are selling carbon credits in a pyramid fashion. The top-rung non-profit may well be paying other entities a commission for selling their version of carbon credits.

We—ve all read a lot about the carbon footprint thing, and that whole issue is what really bothers me. As you may know, carbon credits or offsets or tags started because many years ago some large manufacturing plants did not want to upgrade their equipment to meet new Federal emissions regulations. So the government gave them a handout, and allowed them to pay for continuing to spew carbon waste into the air by buying credits to stay in operation. They might pay a super-efficient plant that was running its operation above required levels. The super-efficient plant was allowed to sell credits for the emissions not created.

As an aside, I recently read that many of those US inefficient, carbon-spewing manufacturing plants have been sold, dismantled and shipped to foreign countries where they are again in business. Of course, they are now spewing the US-prohibited level of carbon emissions in another part of the world!

Somehow the carbon credit methodology has gotten translated down to the individual traveler and being referred to as our “carbon footprint,” which I find kind of amazing—and disturbing.

One reason I find it disturbing is that we—ve had several groups come to us and want GHA to sell carbon credits, and they also want our member and customer hotels to sell carbon credits to individual travelers. They—d say, “We—ll give you 15%, and we—ll pay the hotel a percentage.” I—d say, “Oh, and what are you getting?” “Oh, 15%.” These organizations were clearly not the top-rung entity, and are working on a commission.

So, as you can see, if 3 or 4 or 5 entities each skim 15% of that money as commissions, there are only pennies left to plant a tree in Argentina!

In my view, a much more worthy take or value would be to reduce your energy usage, reduce your fuel usage, ramp up the landscaping on your property and its surroundings. Reduce mowing. Help with plantings in area parks and sanctuaries. Non-profits all need help. I—d say, “Do it here, rather than in Argentina.”

If your carbon footprint is important to you, do something about it at your own property FIRST. Once you—ve made changes to reduce your energy and fuel usage, look elsewhere.

There are, of course, worthy entities that are doing good things regarding clean energy and clean air. Should you choose to purchase credits, GHA suggests that you first find out where your money is stopping. Question the entity thoroughly to which you're considering making contributions. Ask how the entity is participating. Ask if they will keep a percentage of the funds, and what percentage they—ll keep. Know what percentage of your gift is being put to the use advertised and what percentage is administrative expense. Know that the use of the money is the purpose and direction you prefer. Choices can range from planting trees to developing wind and solar energy and many other worthy environmental activities.

In fact, hoteliers are well known for being very involved in doing good deeds. For me, the sweetest deed I—ve ever learned of hoteliers— good deeds is of a Hyatt in Australia that is near a national forest that had suffered a devastating fire. They planted five hundred native trees in one-gallon milk jugs on their roof to help reforest the area. Many hotels have a flat roof that can be put to good use. Perhaps your property can put your roof to good use growing plantings to share.

I—ve asked ALLY MEMBER NativeEnergy'sBilly Connelly (802/425-3418, to respond to this article to further clarify the issue. His response follows.

Further to Carbon Offsets
By Billy Connelly, NativeEnergy, Inc.

When it comes to what is good for business and the environment, there are new innovations on the scene every day. One highly touted solution, which is often misunderstood, is carbon offsets. While national standards are being developed, there are resources available to help you make the greening decision that is right for you. Two leading independent studies¾Clean Air-Cool Planet'sConsumers— Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers (, 12/06 44p), and the Tufts Climate Initiative'sVoluntary Offsets For Air-Travel Carbon Emissions (, 01/07, 47p) will help you quickly understand the difference between carbon offset providers.

You—ll want to make sure your carbon offsets— purchase makes a difference. A reputable carbon offset provider should provide details on their website explaining how the sale of offsets are a necessary financial component to the project'ssuccess. NativeEnergy, for example, provides details about its high quality carbon offsets, which come from new projects that also provide significant social and economic benefits to the communities where the projects are located. The company has supported more than 30 new projects in at-risk communities including Native American and Alaska Native communities, American family crop farms and family dairy farms. As a purchaser, you should choose the specific project you want to support, thereby creating a compelling marketing story aligned with your carbon reduction initiatives and business.

JAN/FEB 2008


That giant sucking sound from your electric meter may be caused by your new TVs. Prices on big-screen television sets are dropping, but the cost of televised entertainment may still be headed up. That is because the fancy screens consume far more electricity than their old-school predecessors. Hold your hand by the screens and you can feel the warmth they emit when they're on.

Flat-screen TVs broadly come in 2 versions: plasma (which go from about 42” to an almost cinematic 100”+), and LCD (which are smaller, but, crucially, getting bigger all the time).

A 42-inch plasma set can consume more electricity than a full-size refrigerator—even when that TV is used only a few hours a day. Powering a fancy TV and full-on entertainment system—with set-top boxes, game consoles, speakers, DVDs and digital video recorders—can add nearly $200 to an annual energy bill.

Most consumers aren'tmade aware of extra energy expenses when they are shopping for a TV. Energy Star tags, identifying the most energy-efficient models, won'tbegin flagging the greenest televisions when turned on, until late 2008. Currently, Energy Star judges energy consumption only in standby mode, rendering the measurement virtually meaningless.

While most new types of TV sets use far more electricity than the old-fashioned gadgets they replace, some upstarts are bigger energy hogs than others. In general, liquid crystal display, or LCD, screens use less power than plasma sets of comparable size. And in the largest screen sizes, projection televisions typically use less electricity than LCD or plasma models.

A 28-inch conventional television set containing a cathode-ray picture tube, or CRT, for example, often uses about 100 watts of electricity. A 42-inch LCD set, a typical upgrade item, requires about twice that amount of electricity. But the real beast is the plasma set. A 42-inch model often sucks up 200 to 500 watts, and a 60-plus-inch plasma screen can consume 500 to 600 watts, depending on the model and programming, according to the EPA.

In the biggest screen sizes, a projection television is a better option from an energy-use standpoint because it consumes about 150 to 200 watts, far less than a plasma or LCD screen.

Assuming each screen is on five hours a day, the annual energy bill for the conventional 28-inch television set would be about $30 a year, compared with about $130 for the 60-inch plasma model, assuming power costs 12 cents a kilowatt hour. By the time other devices are added—including game consoles, speakers and DVDs—the cost to power the whole works can top $200 annually.

Because prices for plasma sets are dropping so fast, some people are thinking “why get a 42-inch plasma set when you can get a 60-inch or 64-inch one,” but they have no idea how much electricity these things consume.

Set-top boxes, which deliver programs and movies through the Internet, cable or satellite dishes, also can be energy hogs. In fact, they typically consume about the same amount of power whether they are being used or standing by. An older-style box that functions as a standard receiver for cable-TV viewing usually draws fewer than 25 watts of power, but a more robust version that offers high-definition viewing and includes a built-in recorder may consume 3 times as many. According to a calculation by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a typical high-definition cable box with a built-in digital recorder consumes about 350 kilowatt hours of juice annually, more than a conventional TV set and clothes washer combined.

It can be tough for shoppers to know how much energy a TV set will consume. While the EPA'sEnergy Star program covers TV sets only in standby mode, the Federal Trade Commission's“Energy Guide” labeling, which tells how much electricity an appliance consumes and estimates the annual energy cost, isn'tused on TV sets. The FTC says “it has not made a determination it will label TVs.” In the past, the agency didn'tthink there was enough difference between television sets to warrant Energy Guide labeling. Now the FTC is in a holding pattern waiting for the EPA to finish work establishing the proper test methods for comparing sets when turned on. This isn'tas straightforward as it sounds, because energy use differs according to the complexity of programming content.

The EPA appears to have settled on a process that will allow consumers to compare sets of the same size, across technology types. The agency expects to have improved Energy Star labels on television screens by November 2008 and to get them on set-top boxes, also in active and standby modes, by December 2008.

Disposing of the unwanted CRT televisions will be another huge environmental challenge since it'santicipated that 70 million will be dumped by the end of the decade.

Smith, Rebecca, “That Giant Sucking Sound May Be Your New TV,” The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2007
Doughlan, Sean, “Do flat-screen TVs eat more energy?,” BBC News Magazine, December 7, 2006
NOV/DEC 2007


Surging demand and rising prices for the crops that supply half of the world'scalories are producing the biggest changes in global food markets in 30 years, altering the economic landscape for everyone from consumers and farmers to corporate giants and the world'spoor. “The days of cheap grain are gone,” reports a Chicago commodity executive, forecasting concern.

This year the prices of Illinois corn and soybeans are up 40% and 75% respectively. Kansas wheat is up at least 70%. A growing number of economists and agri-business executives think the run-ups could last as long as a decade, raising the cost of all kinds of food.

Such increases have been caused in the past by temporary supply disruptions. Following a poor harvest, farmers would rush to capitalize on higher crop prices by planting more of that crop the next season, sending prices back down. However, the current rally, which started a year ago, is different. Not only have prices remained high, but the rally has swept up other commodities such as barley, sorghum, eggs, cheese, oats, rice, peas, sunflowers and lentils. Georgia slaughterhouses are charging a record wholesale price for 3-pound chickens, up 15%.

Powerful new sources of demand are behind the change. In addition to US government incentives encouraging businesses to turn corn and soybeans into motor fuel, the growing economies of Asia and Latin America are enabling hundreds of millions of people to spend more on food. The growing middle class in these regions is eating more meat and drinking more milk, increasing the demand for grain to feed livestock. In the US, beef cattle have to eat 6 pounds of grain to gain one pound of weight, and a hog about 4 pounds.

The reversal of a long-term trend toward lower grain prices could have profound effects on the world'sability to feed the poor. Worldwide grain stockpiles are being drawn down to their tightest levels in 60 years, leaving the world vulnerable to shocks brought on by bad harvests. It'salso far from clear how much more land could be brought into production or to what extent advances in biotechnology might increase crop yields in the future.

Families in America, which spend almost 10% of their disposable income on food, are facing the fastest-rising food prices in 17 years. Consumers— cost of everything from yogurt and popcorn to breakfast cereal and fast-food French fries is climbing. The average retail price of a pound loaf of whole-wheat bread is up 24% from a year ago in US cities. Whole milk is up 26%.

Similar increases are showing up abroad. Italian protestors are complaining about pasta prices, while Mexican authorities have capped the price of corn tortillas. Pakistan is countering rising food-price inflation by curbing wheat exports, and Russia is considering a similar clampdown. Food companies are struggling to determine how to pass on higher costs to supermarkets and restaurant chains, which have gained clout since the last prolonged rise in food prices in the 70s. “We're in uncharted territory,” says a Sara Lee Corp. executive, which raised its bread prices 5%.

The biggest winner is the US Farm Belt, which is primed for an unusually long expansion, even as a nationwide housing slump damps the broader economy. The Agriculture Dept. expects US net farm income to skyrocket 48% this year. With prices so high, farmers are on a spending spree and purchasing new equipment. Related stocks are surging with John Deere up 76% and Monsanto up 79% from a year ago. Even though US corn farmers are expecting a record harvest, the grain rally shows few signs of slowing. Futures trades are betting that the price of corn, used for everything from sweetening soda to putting crunch in snack foods, will continue to climb.

2008 is shaping up to be the third in a row in which the world consumes more grain to make fuel, food and livestock feed than it harvests. The trend is helping reduce global grain stockpiles to their lowest point relative to consumption since the mid-70s, at which point Asia struggled with chronic food shortages and the Soviet Union suddenly emerged as a big grain exporter.

At least part of the reason for the drawdown is found in China'ssoaring demand for milk, which has increased the number of dairy cattle 3 times in this decade. Half of the world'shogs are in China, which is importing 13% of all of the US soybeans to fatten its livestock. The Chinese government, caught off guard by a nearly 50% rise in retail pork prices, is throwing cash at farmers willing to produce more of the nation'sfavorite meat.

The prospect for a long boom is riveting economists because the declining real price of grain has long been a hidden force behind the development of the global economy. Because of steadily improving seeds, synthetic fertilizer and more powerful farm equipment, farmers— productivity in the West and Asia has stayed so far ahead of population growth that prices of corn and wheat, adjusted for inflation, have dropped 75% and 69% respectively since 1974. Falling grain prices made food more affordable for the world'spoor, among other things. Now, the current grain drain is stirring a new set of worries in developing countries, which are concerned about how sharply higher grain prices will erode the buying power of the world'shungry. Humanitarian groups are cautioning that their funds for food aid won'tgo nearly as far as they once did. Roughly 200 million of the 850 million malnourished people in the world'spoorest nations receive some food assistance.

US farm exports are climbing, dousing fears of a few years ago that the US farm sector was on the verge of generating a trade deficit. The life of food-company executives is getting more complicated. “One year it'soil, the next it'sgrain,” says General Mills— CEO, “but it'sall underpinned by one thing: strong global demand for these commodities.” The food giant expects raw-material costs to jump $250 million this fiscal year, mostly in costlier farm commodities. As a result, General Mills is shrinking the size of its breakfast-cereal packages, effectively raising the price per ounce. At a Chicago supermarket, a 15.6-oz. box of Wheaties recently cost $5.16¾more per ounce than the round-steak London broil at the meat counter!

Kilman, Scott, “Historic Surge In Grain Prices Roils Markets,” The Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2007
SEP/OCT 2007

Food That Travels Well

James E. McWilliams, published in the New York Times, August 6, 2007

The term “food miles”—how far food has traveled before you buy it—has entered the enlightened lexicon. Environmental groups, especially in Europe, are pushing for labels that show how far food has traveled to get to the market, and books like Barbara Kingsolver's“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” contemplate the damage wrought by trucking, shipping and flying food from distant parts of the globe.

There are many good reasons for eating local—freshness, purity, taste, community cohesion and preserving open space—but none of these benefits compares to the much-touted claim that eating local reduces fossil fuel consumption. In this respect eating local joins recycling, biking to work and driving a hybrid as a realistic way that we can, as individuals, shrink our carbon footprint and be good stewards of the environment.

On its face, the connection between lowering food miles and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions is a no-brainer. In Iowa, the typical carrot has traveled 1,600 miles from California, a potato 1,200 miles from Idaho and a chuck roast 600 miles from Colorado. Seventy-five percent of the apples sold in New York City come from the West Coast or overseas, the writer Bill McKibben says, even though the state produces far more apples than city residents consume. These examples just scratch the surface of the problem. In light of this market redundancy, the only reasonable reaction, it seems, is to count food miles the way a dieter counts calories.

But is reducing food miles necessarily good for the environment? Researchers at Lincoln University in New Zealand, no doubt responding to Europe'spush for “food miles labeling,” recently published a study challenging the premise that more food miles automatically mean greater fossil fuel consumption. Other scientific studies have undertaken similar investigations. According to this peer-reviewed research, compelling evidence suggests that there is more—or less—to food miles than meets the eye.

It all depends on how you wield the carbon calculator. Instead of measuring a product'scarbon footprint through food miles alone, the Lincoln University scientists expanded their equations to include other energy-consuming aspects of production—what economists call “factor inputs and externalities”—like water use, harvesting techniques, fertilizer outlays, renewable energy applications, means of transportation (and the kind of fuel used), the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed during photosynthesis, disposal of packaging, storage procedures and dozens of other cultivation inputs. Incorporating these measurements into their assessments, scientists reached surprising conclusions. Most notably, they found that lamb raised on New Zealand'sclover-choked pastures and shipped 11,000 miles by boat to Britain produced 1,520 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per ton while British lamb produced 6,280 pounds of carbon dioxide per ton, in part because poorer British pastures force farmers to use feed. In other words, it is four times more energy-efficient for Londoners to buy lamb imported from the other side of the world than to buy it from a producer in their backyard. Similar figures were found for dairy products and fruit.

These life-cycle measurements are causing environmentalists worldwide to rethink the logic of food miles. New Zealand'smost prominent environmental research organization, Landcare Research-Manaaki Whenua, explains that localism “is not always the most environmentally sound solution if more emissions are generated at other stages of the product life cycle than during transport.” The British government's2006 Food Industry Sustainability Strategy similarly seeks to consider the environmental costs “across the life cycle of the produce,” not just in transportation.

“Eat local” advocates—a passionate cohort of which I am one—are bound to interpret these findings as a threat. We shouldn—t. Not only do life cycle analyses offer genuine opportunities for environmentally efficient food production, but they also address several problems inherent in the eat-local philosophy.

Consider the most conspicuous ones: it is impossible for most of the world to feed itself a diverse and healthy diet through exclusively local food production—food will always have to travel; asking people to move to more fertile regions is sensible but alienating and unrealistic; consumers living in developed nations will, for better or worse, always demand choices beyond what the season has to offer.

Given these problems, wouldn'tit make more sense to stop obsessing over food miles and work to strengthen comparative geographical advantages? And what if we did this while streamlining transportation services according to fuel-efficient standards? Shouldn'twe create development incentives for regional nodes of food production that can provide sustainable produce for the less sustainable parts of the nation and the world as a whole? Might it be more logical to conceptualize a hub-and-spoke system of food production and distribution, with the hubs in a food system'snaturally fertile hot spots and the spokes, which travel through the arid zones, connecting them while using hybrid engines and alternative sources of energy?

As concerned consumers and environmentalists, we must be prepared to seriously entertain these questions. We must also be prepared to accept that buying local is not necessarily beneficial for the environment. As much as this claim violates one of our most sacred assumptions, life cycle assessments offer far more valuable measurements to gauge the environmental impact of eating. While there will always be good reasons to encourage the growth of sustainable local food systems, we must also allow them to develop in tandem with what could be their equally sustainable global counterparts. We must accept the fact, in short, that distance is not the enemy of awareness.

James E. McWilliams is the author of “A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America” and a contributing writer for The Texas Observer.

JUL/AUG 2007


None of us can really be green without the green products and services offered by green businesses. GHA wants to do all we can to encourage and support our Ally Members, and to alert you and all hotels as well as the public of their important green products and services. So, each July/August issue of our newsletter brings you interesting articles about their successes—new products, new ideas, new techniques, new awards, etc.—whatever our Ally Members consider their successes. So, we begin . . .

Natural Dentist'sNew Toothpastes

ALLY MEMBER The Natural Dentist is proud to announce the release of 5 new toothpaste products. Each of these new toothpastes has its own unique and natural formula and fits perfectly into one'sdaily routine. Flavors of these five new products include Original Peppermint Twist, Whitening Peppermint Twist, Original Orange Zest, Sparkle Berry Blast Gel and Fluoride-free Peppermint Sage. In a contribution to the greening of oral care, The Natural Dentist reduced packaging waste by providing the toothpaste in 5-oz. stand-up tubes, eliminating the outer box used by many oral care companies. In addition, the toothpastes deliver natural ingredients without compromising on superior performance in cleaning, whitening and cavity prevention. Safe and gentle on teeth and gums, they have natural fluoride, Xylitol to fight bacteria, fresh natural flavors and no SLS (detergent).

The Natural Dentist also recently became PETA certified as a cruelty-free, vegan-friendly company. These new toothpastes are completely cruelty-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly. The Natural Dentist is committed to giving consumers a natural, effective, and environmentally-friendly oral care option. For more information, visit

Wausau Paper Announces New Product Series

ALLY MEMBER Wausau Paper announced introduction of a series of new products including two new folded towel products—the DublSoft® OptiFold™ and the EcoSoft™ Green Seal® OptiFold™. Both products are available in two unique sizes and are designed to dispense one towel at a time to reduce waste. DublSoft® products offer maximum softness, strength and absorbency.

The folded and roll towels as well as the bath tissue feature exclusive embossing patterns and stylish new packaging. Also introduced is the new Silhouette® coordinating folded towel dispensers which provide a sleek, elegant style in five translucent colors in both standard and compact sizes.

ALLY MEMBER Wausau Paper also announced achievement of Green Seal® certification for its 91300 OptiSource™ Pink Lotion Foam Soap. The OptiSource™ hand-care line features foam and liquid soaps as well as dispensing systems that offer controlled usage with reliable service. The foam lotion soap can be used for a variety of applications and is ideal for multipurpose general washroom use. It is designed to replace expensive bar soap and low-quality liquid and powder soaps. The 91300 is certified as environmentally preferable given that it is not a skin sensitizer or irritant, is formulated with only food-grade dyes, offers recyclable packaging and has been tested to ensure that it is not toxic to aquatic life.

More at 800/723-0001,

Sensor Switch Introduces nLIGHTä
Intellience to the nth Degree!

ALLY MEMBER Sensor Switch, the industry leader in the development of occupancy-sensor products and technology, recently introduced its nLight product line. nLight is the first lighting control system of its kind and consists of a network of intelligent-lighting control devices. nLight'srevolutionary architecture provides for system level control while still enabling zones of nLight devices to self-commission and function independently, eliminating the need for centrally- hardwired equipment.

By networking together state-of-the-art sensors, power packs, photocells and wall switches, the nLight system provides local control of a building'slighting system via attractive LCD Gateways, as well as remote, global control through SensorView web-based lighting management software. This proprietary system offers a broad range of settings and operational modes that may be combined to create an unlimited number of lighting control profiles designed to save energy, improve convenience, enhance safety and increase lighting choices.

The benefits of nLight include lower equipment and installation costs, deeper system control and no need for centrally-hardwired equipment. Additionally, the nLight system offers the option of a fully wire-line system or a backbone which utilizes wireless mesh networking technology that further simplifies system installation. Architects and contractors will appreciate the simple installation, flexible architecture, lower equipment cost and ease of maintenance. End users will benefit from maximum energy efficiency—eliminating the need for compromise between occupant convenience and energy savings, as well as the ability to easily change building lighting status.

President Brian Platner says, “The introduction of nLight reflects the company'scontinuing commitment to innovation in the lighting control industry. The nLight system enhances traditional lighting control strategies by eliminating redundant hardware, single points of failure and the need to layer different systems and devices to achieve both time-based and sensor-based lighting control. Instead, nLight distributes intelligence throughout a building via a network of sensors and powerpacks, incorporating time-based control with occupancy, daylighting and manual control. The result is a smarter, more cost-effective lighting solution that combines lower installation and equipment costs with much greater system control.”

All Sensor Switch products are engineered and manufactured in the USA at the company headquarters in Wallingford, CT. See


ALLY MEMBER Pure-Rest'sGinny Turner, President, is happy to announce that they have helped Mayacamas Ranch ( in Northern California go as green as can be. Fifty-five beds have been converted to completely organic with the many choices from Pure-Rest. From deluxe organic mattresses to everything used on a bed—pillows, pads, blankets and sheets. The ranch is now a chemical-free and completely environmental haven for their many guests as well as wedding party, retreat and convention attendees. The ranch also offers the same fine organics for their customers to purchase for their homes.

Other new hospitality clients include Tola Life Spa ( and Glen Oaks Inn (, both of which have moved to organic cotton sheets.

Learn more at and

Arthur Blank & Co. Receives “Boston Green Business Award”

Recognizing Arthur Blank & Co. as an innovator of environmentally-friendly plastic card products, Boston'sMayor Thomas Menino presented the company with the 2007 Boston Green Business Award. Arthur Blank & Co., a leader in plastic credit card marketing solutions, received the award for the introduction of the industry'sfirst non-PVC, corn-based card, CornCard USAä, and a new recycled PVC card, the AB RecycledCardä.

The Boston Green Product Award is given each year to a Boston-area company that “produces or distributes a green product.” During the award ceremony Mayor Thomas Menino said, “Arthur Blank & Co. and its 240 employees have been part of our business community for two generations, and they're to be congratulated for their Green Line, earth-friendly products that help to protect our environment.”

CornCard USAä gift cards use renewable corn-based polymers to make cards that do not rely on petroleum-based ingredients. The company'sAB RecyleCardä is made from recycled PVC, transforming potential landfill waste into consumer gift, loyalty or membership cards. Call 800/776-7333 or see

EO keeps your guests and the environment Clean

ALLY MEMBER EO is a certified-organic, family-owned and operated manufacturer of bath and body-care products. EO has been selling to hotels for almost 10 years, and offers a full line of amenities with eco-friendly ingredients and packaging.

Whole Foods Market has been an amazing supporter of EO, and recently asked EO to be their first vendor to create a co-branded product. EO formulated a high-quality, All-Purpose Soap in 3 scents which is sold exclusively at Whole Foods across the US and Canada. The soap is made with organic ingredients, smells fabulous, works well and is breaking sales records.

EO recently introduced the first organic hand sanitizer in America. Organic alcohol, made from 100% non-genetically- modified corn without the use of any harsh chemical denaturants, effectively kills germs and sanitizes on contact. Unlike mass-market sanitizers which use factory-formulated chemicals to simulate natural smells, EO'shand sanitizer features organic lavender essential oil, which is naturally soothing and calming to both the skin and the senses through its pleasant, natural aroma. Sanitizers are available in bottles and wipes. Wipes are made from wood-pulp and are, of course, 100% biodegradable.

See or call 800/570-3775. Love Life. Live Clean.

Here is a list of ingredients EO will NOT use in their products, and the health issues that surround them:
  • Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate - a harsh surfactant and known irritant
  • Diazolidinyl Urea - a preservative that is considered carcinogenic
  • Propylene Glycol - harsh solvent; synthetic petrochemical mix; allergen
  • Petrolatum-petroleum-derive - tends to interfere with the body'sown natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dry skin and chapping
  • Stearalkonium Chloride-toxic - carcinogenic chemical
  • Phthlates - known to cause birth defects
  • Triethanolamine - toxic chemical, skin irritant
MAY/JUN 2007

Want EPA Hotel and Convention Center Business? Be a Bit Greener

By Claudia H. Deutsch, The New York Times, April 18, 2007

The country'sofficial environmental champion is putting its money where its mouth is.

The Environmental Protection Agency has given its procurement staff a list of questions that, as of May 1, they must ask hotels and convention centers that are bidding for EPA business. The questions range from sweeping queries about recycling programs and energy efficiency to specific ones about paperless billing and reused towels. The agency said it would consider the answers when it evaluates bids.

——We can use our own purchasing power to influence behavior, and to strengthen the link to our mission of protecting health and the environment,—— said Thomas A. O—Connell, an EPA procurement director who led the Green Meetings Work Group that devised the new rule.

The EPA spends about $50 million on travel annually, much of it for meeting spaces. The General Services Administration, which sets policy for all government travel, is amending its own rules to suggest that meeting planners throughout the government consult the EPA checklist. That could affect a significant chunk of the $13.5 billion in annual federal spending for travel.

EPA will not check on the truthfulness of a hotel'sanswers, and travel bookers can still accept bids from hotels that do not pass environmental muster. ——But meeting planners usually follow our recommendations,—— said Peggy G. DeProspero, travel director for the GSA.

Many hotels may have little difficulty with the new scrutiny. The Hyatt Regency at Capitol Hill, a frequent meeting place for government agencies, is already certified by Green Seal, which designates companies with leading-edge environmental practices.

Marriott International, which has been applauded by EPA for its energy-efficiency programs, said it expected the new rule to drum up business for its 2,300 American hotels.

——We're already at a competitive advantage in getting business from environmental groups, and now we're at an advantage for government business, too,—— said John Wolf, a Marriott spokesman.

Environmentalists have mixed reactions to the new rule. ——It could have a huge impact in getting hotels to become more aggressively environmental,—— said Arthur B. Weissman, president of Green Seal.

Others worry that the rule is a distraction from the agency'smain business. ——The EPA still is not doing enough to cut auto and power plant emissions,—— said Daniel F. Becker, director of the Sierra Club'sglobal warming program. ——Being green involves more than putting towels back on the rack.——


Following are the questions for all hotel and meeting venues, which managers need to be prepared to answer.
  • Do you have a recycling program? If so, please describe.
  • Do you have a linen/towel reuse option that is communicated to guests?
  • Do guests have easy access to public transportation or shuttle services at your facility?
  • Are lights and air conditioning turned off when rooms are not in use? If so, how do you ensure this?
  • Do you provide bulk dispensers or reusable containers for beverages, food and condiments?
  • Do you provide reusable serving utensils, napkins and tablecloths when food and beverages are served?
  • Do you have an energy efficiency program? Please describe.
  • Do you have a water conservation program? Please describe.
  • Does your facility provide guests with paperless check-in and check-out?
  • Does your facility use recycled or recyclable products? Please describe.
  • Do you source food from local growers or take into account the growing practices of farmers that provide the food? Please describe.
  • Do you use biobased or biodegradable products, including biobased cafeteriaware? Please describe.
  • Do you provide training to your employees on these green initiatives? Please describe.
  • What other environmental initiatives have you undertaken, including any environment-related certifications you possess, EPA voluntary partnerships in which you participate, support of a green suppliers network, or other initiatives? Include ——Green Meeting—— information in your quotation so that we may consider environmental preferability in selection of our meeting venue.
MAR/APR 2007


The hippest restaurants are wearing the hippest of colors: green—the color of environmental responsibility. Green is definitely hitting the mainstream as food businesses from specialty coffee shops to burger chains seek out ways to become greener.

Restaurants produce mountains of waste, consume millions of gallons of water and millions of kilowatts of energy. Their purchasing practices impact food production throughout the supply chain. Some strategies can raise costs, but many can reduce costs. Many are simple, painless changes that can be made today.

San Diego'sKung Food has solar thermal panels on the roof to collect and store heat used to warm water used for pot and pan washing. The Mercury Cafe in Denver has two 12-foot wind turbines and six solar panels atop its roof which cost $20,000.

More than 100 cities across the US have already banned the use of polystyrene foam and petroleum-based plastic takeout packaging in foodservice. Though it is cheap and effective, it'sa blight on the industry because it is virtually indestructible and may have a life of 500 years in a landfill. Biodegradable products which are paper-based or plastic-like containers made from corn resin, potato starch or sugar cane products disintegrate completely and safely when composted. See,,,,,,, and Prices on biodegradable products are increasingly competitive as supplies grow and costs to produce petroleum-based plastics rise.

Keeping air-conditioning and refrigeration coils clean can reduce operating costs by 25% as well as extend the life of your equipment. New on the market are Beverage-Air's( coolers that provide easy, quick change-out access to the condenser and compressor. Structural Concepts— ( Clean Sweep is an electronically-controlled brush mechanism that automatically cleans condenser coils of dust and debris daily to ensure unrestricted air flow. Both products won 2007 Kitchen Innovations Awards (

Company vehicles are being converted to run on used fryer oil. Greasecar ( offers conversion kits for just $800. Two other companies offering conversion kits are Golden Fuel Systems ( and Veg Powered Systems ( A Wisconsin franchisee runs his hot water heater on used vegetable oil. He and INOV8 ( created the water-heater application which uses ¾-gallon of oil per running hour during its 6-hour daily use.

California'sFood Service Technology Center reports that 80% of the $10 billion annual energy bill for the commercial foodservice sector is spent on inefficient cooking, holding and storage equipment. US EPA'sEnergy Star makes it easy to choose products that are proven to be energy-efficient. Qualified products can save as much as 50% over their counterparts and include building materials, lighting, commercial foodservice equipment and much more.

CFLs or compact fluorescent lights use at least 2/3s less energy than incandescents and last up to 10 times longer. They also generate 70% less heat, making them safer, while cutting air conditioning costs. That choice can be taken a giant step further by choosing CFLs that have the longest life and contain the smallest quantity of mercury.

The focus on sustainable agriculture is spurring a rise in grass-based farming, which shuns crowded feedlots where animals eat a mostly grain-based diet. Though grass-based meats can be pricey and aren'tyet widely available, they are getting easier to source. provides a state-by-state supplier listing.

High-efficiency dishwashers can slash both water and energy use. Energy Star'scertified equipment meets rigid specifications. High-temperature, under-counter machines can use no more than one gallon of water per rack, for example, and high-temp, single-tank conveyor machines can use no more than 0.7 gallons per rack. The EPA estimates that, on average, these machines save 79 million Btu and $613 each year. Product specifications are now being developed for commercial dishwashers by the US EPA Energy Star program.

Two newer options of green building insulation are provided by Icynene ( and BioBased ( Both are sprayed on and will expand in seconds to 100 times their initial volume while getting into and sealing up nooks and crannies. They are free of ozone-destroying gases and formaldehyde and, according to their manufacturers, create a thermal envelope that results in up to 50% savings on energy bills. These options cost more in upfront costs than traditional insulation, but eliminate the need for additional caulking and sealants while resulting in significantly lower heating and air conditioning bills. Shade-grown coffee means it is grown in the traditional manner on farms shaded by ecologically diverse forests. Trees protect the coffee plants, provide wildlife habitat, help maintain soil quality, reduce the need for weeding and aid in pest control, according to the Audubon Society. Organic matter from the trees reduces erosion and provides natural mulch, contributing nutrients to the soil and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Newer industrial plantations grow coffee in direct sunlight where millions of acres of rainforest have been cleared.

The Green Restaurant Association ( is a treasure trove of information. Other helpful sites are, and

Most food travels 1,500 to 2,000 miles before landing on a plate. Buying locally means less diesel fuel used and fewer CO2 emissions. Many state Ag departments, restaurant associations and extension offices offer promotional assistance and education to link local growers to foodservice buyers.

Absolutely nothing happens without top-down commitment and investment in products, processes and training to make going green work. It'sbest to zero in on just a few initiatives that are doable and that will generate positive results first. Go for the low-hanging fruit and build confidence. Once you start, track your investments and savings and share that information with staff. They—ll be enthusiastic about changing their routines and/or products when they understand the impact.

Specifying non-toxic cleaning supplies and chemicals, can liners and hand soaps is very important. A number are available that are biodegradable, free of hazardous ingredients and are safe for people, animals and our environment. See

Buying sustainable seafood could help thwart dire predictions that the world'ssupply is drying up. A major study has reported that at this point 29% of fish and seafood species have collapsed (their catch has declined by 90%). The aquaculture community is establishing standards and operators are being encouraged to purchase only seafood certified as being sustainably managed. Species considered approved may be found at, and

Temperature management'sfirst concern in a restaurant is normally food safety, but energy savings is certainly part of the equation. Checking temperatures manually on a regular basis is good, but automated systems that monitor temperatures and send alerts by cell phone, PDA or laptop when out of compliance are much better. Just keeping refrigerators clean and well organized as well as installing strip curtains inside walk-in refrigerators go a long way toward conserving energy and ensuring safety.

Whenever there'sa choice, choose brown paper products over white, but, in any case, check specifications to make sure you're choosing the greenest product. The term Process Chlorine-Free (PCF) identifies recycled paper that'sunbleached or bleached without the use of chlorine compounds. The term Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF) identifies virgin paper that is unbleached or bleached without the use of chlorine compounds. Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) identifies paper that'sfree of elemental chlorine, but may use chlorine compounds. The best choice for white paper is PCF. While the paper may be white from previous bleaching, no new trees were harvested to produce it because it'smade from post-consumer recycled waste, and no new bleach is added.

Many kitchen hood fans work at full speed all day whether or not cooking is going on, and it means about $2 billion in energy is wasted each year. Intelli-Hood Controls ( uses a microprocessor and sensors that reduce fan speed during idle periods. Savings up to $5,000 per hood can be expected.

A 1.6 gpm low-flow nozzle on the kitchen sprayer can save 38,000 gallons of water and $1,050 per year in water costs. See Of course, dishwasher racks should be fully loaded. Water should be served on request only, and water glasses should be refilled only as necessary.

Eliminate paper waste by installing Xlerator ( hand dryers because the cost to operate is 90 to 95% less than the cost of paper towels, including energy used and the elimination of labor costs. The Xlerator uses 80% less energy than conventional hand dryers.

Staffers who are educated, trained and excited about going green are a must. If they don'tput the recyclables in the correct containers, if they leave the lights on all night, if they refuse to clean the filters as necessary, if they don'tminimize waste and embrace eco-friendly products and business practices, you can'tbe successful. Start with your staff, get them involved and listen to their advice. Improve the greening of your restaurant TODAY.

Tanyeri, Dana, “Going Green From A-Z,” Restaurant Business; Street Smarts for the Entrepreneur, p. 1-6, 9Feb07
JAN/FEB 2007

Alternative Energy Environmental Worries Heat Up

There'san upside and a downside to everything, and the alternative energy boom is revealing some of the unintended environmental and economic downsides that are developing regarding ethanol, biodiesel and solar power.

Palm oil is a key ingredient in biodiesel, a clean-burning diesel fuel alternative. A thick haze often encloses a city of a half million on the island of Borneo because forest fires have blazed across the island. Many of the fires are set to clear land to produce palm oil. Sometimes the bluish smoke is so dense that the city is dark and gloomy, even at noon. Sometimes the haze is so thick that the airport must close and it has even prompted the distribution of face masks on city streets. Health officials there reported almost 29,000 cases of respiratory illness from last July through mid-October. Seasonal rains helped quell the fires during November.

The annual phenomenon of the blanket of smoke created in Borneo and Sumatra that covers large parts of Southeast Asia in smog reveals a troubling dark side of the world'salternative energy boom. The fires in Indonesia spew out millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, experts say, exacerbating the very global-warming concerns that biofuels are meant to alleviate.

These side effects are not an isolated issue. Indonesia—s, Malaysia—s, Canada'sand other forests are being slashed for new energy-yielding crops or other alternative fuels. India'swater tables are dropping as farmers try to boost production of ethanol-yielding sugar. An equities analyst and expert on alternative energy companies at Nomura International in Hong Kong is most worried about the strain on water resources caused by accelerated crop production. Water, he says, is “just as precious” as oil. Some experts are also concerned that crops for biofuels will compete with other farmland, and could possibly drive up global costs of basic food production.

It'sagreed that the alternative energy field is moving at a very fast pace and it'spossible that new technology could help resolve some concerns over collateral damage. Cellulosic ethanol, which uses different kinds of waste, including municipal garbage, to create fuel is a hot example of new technology that may relieve some concerns.

Questions about corn-based ethanol are swirling in US academic and agricultural circles. An environmental policy professor at Cornell University has long had doubts about the fuel'svalue. His concern is that expanding corn production for biofuels would deplete water resources and pollute soils with added fertilizer and chemicals. Corn production would also require huge volumes of traditional energy for farming equipment and ethanol-conversion facilities—a cost that could nullify gains from the less-polluting fuel produced. Other studies have reached more optimistic conclusions.

In 2005, investors around the world poured $49 billion into energies such as solar power, ethanol and biodiesel, which was a 60% increase over 2004. Commercializing many alternative fuels relies on political support in the form of government subsidies or tax incentives. Local resistance could jeopardize any new fuel'seconomic viability.

A European Parliament committee recently recommended a ban on all biofuels made from palm oil because of fears that deforestation is being encouraged in tropical countries. Activists in Indonesia helped block an $8 billion Chinese-backed plan that would have created one of the world'slargest palm-oil plantations. RWE npower, one of Britain'slargest power companies, chose to abandon a project that would have used several hundred thousand tons of palm oil a year. Friends of the Earth said the project would contribute to unsustainable global demand for palm oil, contributing to rainforest destruction.

There are, of course, lots of upsides to biodiesel. Palm oil and other renewable crops reduce the need for fossil fuels such as petroleum, whose supplies are finite. It also burns more cleanly than carbon-based liquid fuel, releasing fewer of the gases thought to cause global warming.

Borneo, among the world'smost fabled islands, has one of the last great tropical wildernesses. It'shome to rare and unusual species, including the wild orangutan, the clouded leopard and the Sumatran rhinoceros. It'salso home to some of the world'slast headhunters. The indigenous Dayaks still live in villages that can only be reached by river, and sleep in wooden “longhouse” buildings on stilts.

The 1800s saw the Dutch and British traders carving up parts of the island to produce rubber and other commodities. Then, timber barons devastated millions of acres of forest logging tropical hardwoods. As a result, today only about half of Borneo'sonce-ubiquitous forest cover remains. Now comes the palm-oil boom, which threatens what'sleft. The palms cover about a million acres or more in West Kalimantan, way up from 37,000 acres in 1984.

The plantations have meant jobs and opportunities for many Dayak families, some of whom have taken ownership stakes in the operations. As locals are discovering, the spreading plantations have deleterious effects. They can alter water-catchment areas, destroy animal habitats and contribute to the months-long bouts of haze that encompass hundreds of kilometers of Southeast Asia. As the fires burn deep into the dry peat soil beneath Indonesia'sforests, centuries of carbon trapped in the biomass are released into the atmosphere.

In the meantime, palm-oil companies have joined environmental organizations, energy companies and others to set up a group called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which plans to certify plantation companies that follow guidelines to minimize ecological damage. The head of a local plantation association in West Kalimantan says he still believes biodiesel derived from palm oil will play a big role in solving the world'senergy problems. After all, “it'sa renewable energy,” he says. “It'sour future.”

Barta, Patrick and Jane Spencer; “As Alternative Energy Heats Up, Environmental Concerns Grow,”
The Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2006
NOV/DEC 2006


Global warming certainly seems worry enough, but global dimming has now been proven equally worrisome and in need of attention. Global dimming is the gradual reduction in the amount of global hemispherical irradiance (or total solar irradiance) at the Earth'ssurface, which means we are seeing less of the Sun. The change has been observed since the beginning of systematic measurements in the 1950s, meaning the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth'ssurface has been gradually falling. The effect varies by location, but worldwide it is of the order of a 4% reduction over the three decades from 1960-1990. This trend has reversed during the past decade. Global dimming creates a cooling effect that may have partially masked the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming. The decline in sunlight may mean that global warming is a far greater threat to society than previously thought.

Gerry Stanhill, an English scientist working in Israel, was one of those who spotted the effect. Comparing Israeli sunlight records from the 1950s with then current ones, Stanhill was astonished to find a staggering 22% drop in the sunlight. He found the same story all around the world, with sunlight falling 10% over the US, nearly 30% over the former Soviet Union and by 16% in parts of the British Isles.

Dimming appears to be caused by air pollution. Burning coal, oil and wood produces not only invisible carbon dioxide (the principal greenhouse gas responsible for global warming), but also tiny airborne particles of soot, ash, sulphur compounds and other pollutants. The visible air pollution reflects sunlight back into space, preventing it from reaching the surface. The pollution also changes the optical properties of clouds. Clouds are formed when water droplets are seeded by air-borne particles, such as pollen. Because the particles seed the formation of water droplets, polluted clouds contain a larger number of droplets than unpolluted clouds. This makes the clouds more reflective than otherwise, reflecting more of the Sun'srays back into space.

Dimming, by shielding the oceans from the full power of the Sun, may be disrupting the pattern of the world'srainfall because there is less evaporation. There are suggestions that dimming was behind the droughts in sub-Saharan Africa, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the 1970s and 1980s. The same thing may be happening today in Asia, where half the world'spopulation lives—billions of people. Global dimming may be having a detrimental impact on the Asian monsoon.

Contrails, the vapor from airplanes flying high in the sky, are also seen as another significant cause of heat reflection. During the aftermath of 9/11, when all commercial flights were grounded for 3 days, scientists found the temperature rose by some 1 degree Centigrade during that period of no contrails and no reflectance. Aircraft contrails may have been raising nighttime temperatures and/or lowering daytime temperatures by much more than previously thought.

The phenomenon underlying global dimming may also have regional effects. While most of the Earth has warmed, the regions that are downwind from major sources of air pollution (specifically sulfur dioxide emissions) have generally cooled. This may explain the cooling of the eastern US relative to the warming western part.

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of global dimming is that it may have led scientists to underestimate the true power of the greenhouse effect. Scientists know how much extra energy is being trapped in the Earth'satmosphere by the extra carbon dioxide (CO2) we have placed there. What is surprising if that this extra energy has so far resulted in a temperature rise of just 0.6°C. It now appears the warming from greenhouse gases has been offset by a strong cooling effect from dimming—in effect two of our pollutant problems have been canceling the effects of each other out. So, the climate may in fact be more sensitive to the greenhouse effect than thought. Even the most pessimistic forecasts of global warming may now have to be drastically revised upwards.

Climatologists are stressing that the roots of both global-dimming-causing pollutants and global-warming-causing greenhouse gases have to be dealt with together and soon.

“BBC - Horizon: Report on another consequence of global warming: the dimming effects of clouds, BBC, 15Jan2005
“Climate Change and Global Warming,”
Wikipedia, “Global dimming,”
Sington, David, Horizon producer, “Global Dimming,”
SEP/OCT 2006


The latest bid to trim energy bills for some consumers is via harnessing wind power . . . if neighbors are agreeable. Though wind energy is generally associated with huge turbines churning in desolate, windy places, a new generation of smaller systems made for areas of moderate wind is coming to market.

The latest small turbines resemble a ship propeller on a post, have 3 blades up to 24— in diameter and are usually on stand-alone towers from 35 to 140 feet high. The potential is there is save between 30 to 90% of electric bills, manufacturers say. Vendors also say the turbines make no more noise than an air conditioner.

High-tech, small-wind turbines can be costly, and owners may have to battle zoning officials as well as neighbors, who find them unsightly.

The American Wind Energy Association (, an industry trade group in Washington, DC, estimated that sales of small-wind systems in the US were $17 million in 2005—a 62% increase over 2004—a significant jump. Assisting in the surge is the fact that these smaller systems are being supported by a growing group of state incentives which help offset the cost. Some small-wind vendors follow:
  • Abundant Renewable Energy, Newberg, OR (, is now offering 2 new small-wind turbines that are designed to be quieter and create more energy in low-wind areas.
  • Bergey Windpower Co., Norman, OK (, has employed new airfoil technology in its BWC Excel, making it more efficient in wind speeds as low as 9 mph.
  • Southwest Windpower, Flagstaff, AZ (, offers their Skystream 3.7, which is more efficient in light wind, less costly and quieter than previous models.

Wind turbines collect energy from the wind and convert it into electrical energy. Generally, the business or home is still connected to the power grid, and the wind power is supplementing that power. All energy produced by the wind turbine is deducted from the owner'smeter. Most utilities offer “net metering,” which means credit is given for extra energy created which is put back on the grid. Pricing of most systems is determined by the peak capacity, which is measured in the number of kilowatts produced under optimal conditions. For instance, the Skystream has a 1.8 kw capacity and costs about $8,500 fully installed. Abundant Renewable Energy's10 kw ARE442 installed on the tallest tower can cost $80,000+. So, the higher the kilowatt capacity, the more they cost and the most electricity they produce.

Local zoning rules are causing some problems for small wind system installations. Gated communities and neighborhood associations often prohibit structures like wind turbines. Most municipal governments restrict building heights and may be unwilling to grant variances for wind towers. Even if local municipalities and governing organizations agree, neighbors can protest. They may be concerned about property values and whether birds will be harmed. (Manufacturers claim collisions with birds are rare.)

“Small wind” systems are generally described as noncommercial systems with a capacity of 100 kilowatts, but systems for small businesses and residences are usually 10 kw or less. The smallest systems are not for city locales or tightly-packed suburbs. Minimum criteria for the smaller installations are at least a half-acre of land, wind speeds of at least 10 mph and electric bills of at least $60/mo. Those who live in states with programs that help offset the cost will have the most incentive to install a system. New York State rebates up to 50% cash back on the cost of residential wind systems. So, a $50,000 10 kw system could be eligible for a $22,500 rebate in NY. They also offer low-interest loans.

Munoz, Sara Schaefer, “A Novel Way to Reduce Home Energy Bills,” The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2006
JUL/AUG 2006


Chips—LED chips—are the future of lighting. Light-emitting diodes—tiny, chip-based lights serving as power indicators on our coffee-makers and TVs—are making big waves in the global lighting industry. The traditional light bulb uses electrified wire filaments in a vacuum tube, but an LED uses a semiconductor chip zapped with electricity to emit light. All of which means the technology is moving from the lighting industry to the electronics industry.

The color emitted by an LED chip is determined by the material at its base. The tiny LEDs can be programmed to light up a stadium scoreboard. That flexibility first pushed LEDs into applications where traditional bulbs wouldn'twork. High-power LEDS, taking the place of bulbs, are appearing in cellphones, cars, televisions and elsewhere.

LEDS consume less energy than many other types of lights and last longer than most—to ten years or so. Like most chips, their cost is falling and performance is improving as advances are made in materials and factory processes. LEDs will revolutionize the way we use and think about lighting.

LEDs are spreading into a wider array of products, with cellphones leading the way by lighting up keypads and liquid crystal displays. Among new applications are:
  • Ford Mustang drivers can change the color of their dashboard'slighting with the “MyColor” feature
  • Boeing'snew 787 Dreamliner jet will have interior lighting that can create environments that are supposed to help international travelers adjust to time-zone changes
  • A Louisville, KY, restaurant has removed dangling light bulbs and replaced them with LED lighting that changes from amber in the morning to violet late at night
  • Some traffic signals already are using LED fixtures that switch between red, yellow and green, instead of separate colored lights
  • Flameless candles with LEDs providing the flickering light source are available from Phillips
  • LED bulbs in the traditional-lightbulb shape are being experimented with to allow squeezing or tapping to turn them on or off or change the color
  • A remote-controlled LED room-lighting system is also being developed
  • LEDs married with solar panels are marine buoys
  • Easy-installation runway lights have been provided to the US military in Afghanistan and elsewhere

Nick Holonyak, Jr., a GE engineer, built the first LED in 1962, and the company patented the discovery. Hewlett-Packard eventually bought GE'spatent. Technology remained on the fringes of industry for decades, but the 1990s brought a broadening of the LED color palette. The breakthrough came when blue was conquered, which filled out the color spectrum.

Watch for LED-based lighting in your future!

Ramstad, Evan and Kathryn Kranhold, “Changing the Light Bulb,” The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2006
MAY/JUN 2006

EARTH DAY: Year 36

In 1976, Americans drank about two gallons of bottled water each. In 2005, they drank 26 gallons.

In 1970, Americans produced about 3.3 pounds of trash every day and recycled about 8% of their waste. In 2003, they produced about five pounds of trash and recycled more than 30%.

During the 1960s, bicycle and automobile production were almost equal. Today there are more than 100 million bicycles produced worldwide—more than double the number of cars produced each year.

Businesses are trying to gain an edge on Earth Day. Canadian Starbucks shops offered free coffee on Earth Day for those who brought their own mug. LiveOffice offered a month of free Web conferencing to anyone willing to telecommute to work at least once during April. General Motors had a special ad campaign promoting ethanol and its hybrid cars. MemberSource Credit Union invited area residents to their “Shred Day” on April 22, when they shredded and recycled, free of charge, all personal papers and files.

Nationwide, lots of progress has been made since the first Earth Day—when Cleveland'sheavily polluted Cuyahoga River was on fire and only a few cars had catalytic converters. The US EPA was created in 1970. The benchmark Clean Water Act was passed in 1972.

Environmental conditions have gotten worse internationally. Population worldwide has rocketed to more than 6 billion from 3.7 billion in 1970. China and India account for 2 billion people, and continue to rely on coal-burning plants, which leave a haze over much of Asia.

The EPA found that in 1974 about 40% of the largest US rivers were safe for fishing and swimming. Now about 70% are safe for swimming and 60% for fishing as a result of reduced industrial pollution and better sewage treatment. Unfortunately, about 3,500 bodies of water are still impaired because of bacteria and pollution from urban and agricultural runoff. The Great Lakes shoreline is about 78% impaired. Parts of Chesapeake Bay have been determined a “dead zone” where nothing lives. Total emissions from the most common air pollutants have dropped by about 50%, even though our gross domestic product has jumped 195%, vehicle miles traveled have increased 178% and energy consumption has risen 48%. Air and water quality have not made equal improvements as in the US and Western Europe, partly because clean-burning technology is not in use in many developing countries. China'senergy supply is 2/3s coal, almost double the coal used in the US. Average temperatures have risen by almost one degree Fahrenheit around the world since 1970. The warming trend is generally attributed to the accumulation of “greenhouse” emissions, such as carbon dioxide and methane, in the atmosphere. Human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, are linked to the trend. 21% of all greenhouse gases are emitted by the US, while China produces about 15%.

Though about 12% of birds, 25% of mammals and nearly a third of amphibians worldwide are threatened with extinction over the coming century, there are some success stories. In 1963, there were only 417 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states—now, there are more than 7,000. The mountain Gorilla is Rwanda also is recovering.

Etter, Lauren, Compiler; “Earth Day: 36 Years on, Plenty of Concerns Remain,” Hot Topic, The Wall Street Journal, April 22-23, 2006
MAR/APR 2006


This spring issue of GHA'snewsletter focuses on landscaping and gardening. The major contributor to this issue is the all-wise-organic-gardener, Trisha Shirey. For the last 21 years, CHARTER MEMBER Lake Austin Spa has been extremely fortunate to benefit from and enjoy her services as Director of Flora and Fauna. Organic herb and vegetable gardens, an organic orchard and a wealth of flowers to enhance the grounds and brighten the delicious low-fat dishes served in the dining room are the result. Plantings she'schosen are designed to be Texas tough, but beautiful. Despite the foraging deer, flowers are in vivid bloom year round. Many of her gardens are designed to delight butterflies and hummingbirds, which are seen in abundance. Perhaps the most important aspect of her gardening is gardening organically. Only the safest natural products for pest control and fertilizing are used.

The Organic Arsenal
Trisha Shirey, Director of Flora and Fauna, Lake Austin Spa Resort CHARTER MEMBER,
1705 South Quinlan Park Road, Austin, TX 78732, 512/372-7266,

Organic gardeners know that healthy soil yields healthy plants, which will have a balance of both good and bad insects. Plants that are stressed or unhealthy will usually be more attractive to insects. Insects are a form of natural selection to eliminate the weakest of the species. When insects are noticed, we should ask, “What am I doing wrong so that my plants are unhealthy?,” instead of “What do I spray to kill these bugs?” Plants may be too wet, too dry, in need of fertilizer, a poor variety choice or planted at the wrong time. When harlequin bugs are swarming on my radishes, greens and broccoli in the spring, they are telling me that it is too hot for these cool-season plants and that they should go to the compost bin. Aphids on plants may indicate a need for more nitrogen, while spider mites are attracted to plants that are stressed by lack of moisture.

A regular application of seaweed to plants will prevent many insect infestations. The broad array of nutrients and trace elements in seaweed provides a well-balanced diet for healthy plants. Applying seaweed to the leaves of plants results in a salt residue being left on the leaf surface that most insects find distasteful.

There are times when treatment of pests is necessary, and there are many products available to gardeners that are safe and effective. Remember to read the label to make sure that the product you are using will target the pest you are trying to control. Use any personal protective equipment recommended on the label. Even organic products, such as dusts, can be harmful to your health.

Pesticides are classified by the EPA with signal words according to the level of toxicity of the product with “Caution” being the least toxic, “Warning” and “Danger” signifying the most dangerous products. I don'tuse or recommend the use of products which have the “Warning” and “Danger” signal words. Some products are certified by OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute), and products with this seal will generally be the best choices for least-toxic pest control.

These are some of the products that every gardener should have on hand:
  • Plant Soap: Safer is a brand that is readily available and is very effective for controlling spider mites, whiteflies, aphids and many other insects.
  • Bt: Products which contain Bacillus thuringiensis will control any worm that will become a moth or butterfly. It will not affect beneficial insects, but should be used with caution in butterfly gardens. It is sprayed on the foliage. When the worm ingests the Bt, its digestive system shuts down.
  • Orange Oil: An effective control for fire ants. Fire Ant Killer by Safer is one brand available.
  • Garlic GP Products: These contain garlic extracts that are effective for controlling black spot on roses, brown patch on lawns and many other diseases in vegetable and ornamental gardens. (
  • Neem Oil: A tree-derived oil that is very effective in controlling hard-to-kill insects like scale, thrips and leafminers.
  • Spinosad: One of the newest products in the organic realm. It is available as an active ingredient in fire ant bait and also in a liquid concentrate that can be used to treat beetles, worms and other insects.
  • Essential Oils: Oils of clove, mint, thyme and others have been found to be effective in killing and repelling insects. Victor Poison-Free Ant and Roach Killer contains 4% mint oil ( Green Light Organic Insect Control contains thyme, clove, sesame oil, wintergreen and soybean oil. Raid has come out with a line of products called Earth Options that contain essential oils. Not only do these oils kill pests effectively, they smell great.
  • Sluggo: A snail and slug bait made from iron phosphate. It kills them and provides iron and phosphate, which are essential plant nutrients. It does not harm earthworms as typical snail and slug baits do. (

With just a few products, most plant insects can be managed effectively. You will be free to spend your gardening time improving the soil, feeding the plants with safe, organic fertilizers and enjoying your garden.

EDIBLE LANDSCAPING: Growing and Using Culinary Herbs
Trisha Shirey, Director of Flora and Fauna, Lake Austin Spa Resort

Many gardeners restrict herbs to separate herb gardens, but herbs combine well with many flowers, perennials and native plants. They offer a variety of textures and colors in both foliage and flowers which can enhance any landscape. At Lake Austin Spa Resort, we have used curled and Italian parsley, thyme, chives and garlic chives as bed edging plants. Many of the herbs will help to repel insects from ornamental plants with their strong scents. Leeks grow along with our roses, keeping insects at bay. The leeks are dormant during the summer when the roses are lush, and the leeks flourish while the roses are dormant in winter.

This winter we used the beautiful red and yellow forms of Swiss chard “Bright Lights” varieties in containers with pansies and violas. They also provide a colorful backdrop to a bed of violas. The dramatic deep purple of Opal basil is interesting combined with bright orange cosmos or pink zinnias or vinca. Lemon grass can be used as a hedge or background planting. Rosemary is an ideal drought-tolerant evergreen shrub in temperate zones. Bay laurel trees tower to 20—, and make an effective screen to shield unattractive views.

Our herb gardens at Lake Austin Spa Resort not only provide us with flavorful additions to our low-fat cuisine, but also are used in spa treatments and in craft classes. Guests are invited to smell freshly cut herbs to select those that they would like to have added to their body scrub blends. We provide bowls of freshly harvested mint sprigs for guests to add to their favorite beverage.

Our guests enjoy strolling through the organically-grown gardens, smelling and tasting the plants and watching the dancing butterflies and toads, lizards and birds that inhabit our gardens. Guests tell me that they have never seen so many butterflies in one place in their lives! We grow lots of common fennel to provide food for the larvae of swallowtail butterflies, and we move the worms from our parsley and dill to the fennel to continue feeding there. Herbs like cilantro, dill, parsley and fennel provide abundant food for butterflies, ladybugs and other nectar-feeding beneficial insects.

To grow herbs successfully, group plants according to their water and drainage needs. For example, drought-tolerant rosemary, sage and lavenders are ideal to plant with natives and xeriscape plants. Group plants which appreciate a rich, moist soil like chives, mints and basils with roses or similar perennials.

Herbs have few insect problems and need little fertilizer. We manage all of our gardens with organic fertilizer and insect control. Many herbs are perennial in our mild Central Texas climate. Try a few herbs to enhance both your landscape and your cooking!

Here are some of my favorite herbs:
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Many varieties. My favorites are Lemon, Lettuce Leaf and Opal or “Purple Ruffles” Basil. Treat like tomatoes; don'ttransplant outside until evenings are above 45°F. Sizes from the 6” Spicy Globe to 3-4— Sweet Basil. Great for pesto sauce, Italian food and anything with tomatoes.
  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum or Allium tuberosum, Garlic Chives): Good border plants. Flowers are attractive and edible in both varieties. Grow well in pots and in semi-shade. Used in dressings, and as a garnish. Mix with sour cream for a baked-potato topping.
  • Cilantro or Coriander (Coriandrum sativum): Grown for leaf and seed. Plant in October in Texas. Will bloom and die back when weather warms, but reseeds freely. Used in pico de Gallo and other Mexican foods. The seeds are faintly sweet and are used in breads, desserts and coffee.
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare, Common Fennel): Closely related to dill. It will cross-pollinate with dill, but the resulting plant tastes terrible, so separate these two! Has a strong licorice flavor. Good butterfly plant, for both larval and adult stages. Used on baked or broiled fish, tomato sauces. Try grilling the young fennel shoots. Florence fennel is grown for the fleshy bulbs at the base of the plant and grows only in winter months in the South.
  • Hoja Santa (Piper auritum): Grows to 4— tall in summer months, and dies to the ground in winter. Similar to bamboo in growth habit¾it can be very invasive! Growing it in containers provides a tall attractive plant and keeps it in control. Leaves are used to wrap foods for cooking or for decorating plates and buffets. The flavor is somewhat like licorice and root beer.
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus): Looks like a small pampas grass. 2-1/2— tall. Used for tea and in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. The leaves are used to make delicious tea, and the bulbous stem is used for flavoring soups and sauces. Remove the stems before serving. It is sometimes sold as a finely-ground dried herb. Hardy to Zone 8, it may be grown in containers and taken indoors for the winter.
  • Marjoram (Origanum spp.): Sometimes freezes in winter. Good to flavor chicken dishes and breads. Looks similar to Oregano, but has a sweet fragrance.
  • Mint (Mentha spp.): There are so many varieties that choosing one is difficult. My favorites are Double Mint, Chocolate Mint and Kentucky Colonel Spearmint. Mints need more water than most herbs, but can tolerate shade. This has a well-deserved reputation for being very invasive. Contain it with deep edging or grow it in large pots. Mint adds dramatic flavor to teas, smoothies and juices, fruit salads, as well as carrots, corn and squash.
  • Italian Parsley (Petroselinum neopolitanum): Easier to grow than the curly type and has a stronger, more robust flavor. Parsley is high in Vitamins A, B and C, and is a good source of iron. Use in salads, sauces, dressings, stocks and soups and as a garnish.
  • Poliomintha (Poliomintha longiflora, Mexican Oregano): This attractive drought-tolerant shrub blooms almost year round in the South. It has a strong oregano flavor. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The flavor is a welcome addition in Mexican dishes and spicy foods.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen shrub, hardy to 10°F. There are many varieties and colors of bloom. The low-growing prostrate form is not as cold hardy, but better suited to containers. Use to perfume the home, as a kebob skewer and a basting brush for barbecuing. Excellent with meat and poultry. Grind with sea salt and combine with olive oil for a refreshing exfoliating body scrub.
  • Sage (Salvia spp.): There are many colors and types of sage. All of them require a dry location and very well drained soil. Avoid wetting leaves when watering to decrease disease problems. Sage adds bold flavor in cornbread dressing and sausage. Bake a few sprigs in a chicken or turkey.
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): Good border and container plant. There are many varieties, but my favorites are lemon, English and French thyme. The creeping varieties are nice ground covers and for walkways and rock walls, but not great for culinary uses. Use in dressings, stocks, vegetables, sauces and meat dishes.

Trisha Shirey, Director of Flora and Fauna, Lake Austin Spa Resort

Outdoor Pest Control: It is important to remember that of the millions of insect species known to man, less than 2% of them are harmful to humans and their crops. Organic gardeners know that healthy soil will lead to healthy plants that will have a balance of good and bad insects. When I observe an outbreak of insects, I don'timmediately think about what to spray. Instead, I look at the overall health of the plants. Are they too wet? too dry? in need of fertilizer? over fertilized? Insects typically invade in cycles. One year will be a bad one with grasshoppers, the next year may be stink bugs.

Careful observation of your plants to identify pest problems before they get out of hand is important. Many insects are easier to kill in their larval stage than as adults, so it becomes important to identify all of the various stages of insects.

Indoor Pest Control: Monthly spraying for insects is a thing of the past. New baits have been developed for almost every problem insect species, and they eliminate the need for toxic sprays. Pheromone traps can attract and kill insects quickly in areas that are difficult to treat with toxic chemicals such as clothes closets and food pantries. A new generation of pest control products that utilize essential oils and extracts of herbs like mint, eucalyptus, clove and wintergreen are available to kill problem insects. Pest control operators have many new herb-oil-based products available also.

Pest control should not start with a spray or bait! First, identify the pest. Then try to find out how and why it is inside. If sanitation measures or caulking and sealing are inadequate, no amount of chemicals will be satisfactory.

Tips and Techniques for Landscaping with Deer
Trisha Shirey, Director of Flora and Fauna, Lake Austin Spa Resort

Fences and Netting: Deer don'ttend to jump where they can'tsee, so a 6— wood, privacy fence will keep them out.

For wire or chain link fences to work they need to be at least 7-1/2— high, but 8— is better. Wire strands can be run along the top of the fence to extend the height. A pregnant doe can jump a 6— fence from a standing position.

Deer jump high, but not wide. Two shorter fences spaced 4— apart are expensive, but can work if local codes don'tallow a higher fence. A shrub line inside the fence or vines to obscure the view inside the fence can make a single, lower fence effective.

Electric fences can be difficult to manage, dangerous for children and pets and easily jumped. A baited electric fence can be effective. Spread peanut butter at intervals on a 30” high wire. Deer taste the peanut butter and get a shock. They will avoid an area after being shocked.

Black polypropylene fences are less expensive to install and barely visible from a distance. They should be secured to the ground at intervals to prevent deer from digging under them. Stakes can be placed 12— apart.

Deer will often be deterred by a 1”x4” board placed along the top of a shorter fence. This acts as a visual barrier and they are concerned about hurting their legs if they don'tclear the top board.

Deer netting can be placed over plants that are very attractive to deer, such as vegetables. The netting comes in many sizes: 7— wide x 100— long, 14— x 14—, 4— x 50—, etc. The netting should be held up over the plant material by pvc pipe, stakes or rebar. Deer will push it down and eat the plants through the netting if it is laid on top of the plants. We fashion rebar hoops from 3/8” rebar and pin the netting down on each side with U-shaped soil staples. The netting can also be used to fashion fences around tomatoes or peppers or larger vegetables.

Deer will go under fences if there is a large enough opening. Netting should be installed fairly taut so that deer cannot become entangled in it and break their legs. If handled with some care, the netting should last for several planting seasons.

Repellants and Deterrents: Deer rely heavily on their keen sense of smell, excellent hearing and 270° visual field. They especially rely on their sense of smell to determine what to eat. Repellants typically use rotten eggs, garlic, hot peppers or urine to mask the flavor of normally desirable plants to essentially train the deer not to feed in an area. The sprays vary in the amount of time they stay on the plants, and usually need to be reapplied after heavy rains. Some repellants are not safe on edible crops, so be sure to read the labels.

Liquid Fence has worked well for us at Lake Austin Spa Resort. We buy the concentrate in quarts and spray at least every two weeks. It is available at the Natural Gardener, Home Depot and (888/92FENCE). Keep the new growth treated to prevent browsing.

Recipe for deer repellant spray: Mix 2 tablespoons of hot pepper sauce, 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap, 1 teaspoon garlic powder with one gallon of water. Beware that it may burn tender plants.

Motion-controlled lights or sprinklers can act as deterrents if moved around frequently. I have not had much success with soap or hair as repellants.

Some have success with white plastic bags tied to posts or other garden structures. It is thought to mimic the white flash of the deer'stail when in distress. Move the bags around periodically to keep this working. Aluminum pie tins that clang may also frighten the deer. Water sprays or floodlights that operate with motion detectors will work if they are moved around with some frequency.

Dogs may be one of the best deterrents you can have. Not all breeds work equally well. Dogs with a strong herding or guarding instinct will probably be more successful.

JAN/FEB 2006


Recent tragedies—weather-related and otherwise—have made us all aware that we need to plan for emergency situations as best we can. We need to be prepared for any disastrous event: fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, rain storms, etc.—even picketers and terrorists!

Fire Policy / Protection

A fireproof policy would be a very smart start. Open flames and guests are a bad combination. Any guest who gets burned will probably find a way to burn the property back—probably with a lawsuit. Begin with a clearly published and posted policy for any food-and-beverage service involving flames. Some hotels strictly prohibit any such service, while others allow flaming dishes and drinks. It is very important to train and supervise staff to offer and monitor such service safely. If flaming of any sort is allowed, be sure to check the property'sliability insurance policy to make sure appropriate coverage is in place and not excluded.

Hotels are required by the common law to exercise “reasonable care” for safety of their guests. This rule, however, does not fit all. What might be reasonable for an adult, could be unreasonable for a baby. For instance, if a candle is burning near a baby, who might be fascinated by the light, staff should ask if the candle should be removed for the child'ssafety. Staff should always use common sense first, but they should also be trained to always err on the side of guest safety.

Candles that relight themselves, or “Magic Candles,” have a printed warning on the box which states, “Limit use to 10 candles per cake.” If the candle company established 10 as a “reasonable” safety limit, hotel management should logically follow suit and never exceed it. “Magic Candles” are only amusing until a lawsuit is filed. Ban them.

The simplest policy is banning any use of candles. Battery-powered fake candles are a safe option. Of course, they're not romantic, but a skin graft for a third-degree burn isn'teither. One or two numbered candles would solve most demands for candles.

Flaming desserts such as Bananas Foster which includes use of a chafing pan with Sterno portable heat can be problematic. Rum is poured over the tasty dessert and lit. Restaurant management will need to determine whether the revenue from such dangerous dishes is worth the chances taken and the cost of the insurance coverage. Should the decision be in the affirmative, service staff must be well trained and supervised for guest safety in the preparation and service. A fire extinguisher on the service cart is a must. All bottles of flammable products should be separate and not on the service cart. The alcoholic ingredient should be poured from a small 1- or 2-ounce container, and not from the bottle.

Management must decide whether the risk is worth the thrill of exotic drinks and dishes. Burn cases can be catastrophic.

For fire protection, sprinkler systems for properties of more than 2 floors and for properties with guestrooms which open on interior hallways are important. Restaurants, public areas and back-of-house should also have sprinklers. There has to be a big savings in insurance costs as well as possibly saving lives in case of fire. Whether mandated by law or not, installing sprinkler systems is the wise thing to do.

Marshall, Anthony, “Set a fireproof policy on birthday
candles, flaming desserts,” H&MM, April 4, 2005
NOV/DEC 2005


Marketing is as important to the success of any business as any aspect of business can be. In the hospitality business, no matter how wonderful your rooms, your food, your service; they will rarely alone keep you in business. You must let prospective guests know of your existence, your offerings, your rates, and, in this instance, your greenness. The whole process of marketing greenness is to, first of all, BE green. Once your property truly is green, it'stime to market that aspect, that niche area, to potential guests and clients.

For hotels, marketing should be accomplished both internally—to current guests, clients, vendors and staff—and externally—to prospective guests and clients.

Internal marketing of greenness can be as simple as displaying a stack of newspapers in the lobby or employee area with a sign stating that the stack shows how many newspapers the property recycles each day, each week or whatever. It'simportant to also state how many tons of newspapers have been recycled from your property since a particular date. Now, that'sa no-cost visual style of marketing. Internal marketing of greenness could continue to all organic-cotton bed and bath linens. Should you choose to add such a special comfort to guestrooms, be sure to let current and future guests know that they can expect to enjoy those luxurious sheets and towels.

External marketing could be a press release on your green accomplishments—an award won for environmental effectiveness, a new decision regarding an addition to guestrooms such as choosing to use non-toxic, all-natural cleaning products, or an important eco addition to your restaurant'smenu such as a free-range chicken dish. External marketing also can be advertisements, giveaways, speaking engagements, seeking awards, community activities, networking, etc.

We—ve received some wonderful, exciting ideas from our members which you will soon be reading. GHA plans to make “marketing greenness” a subject that we will address each year in our November/December newsletter issue. So, we ask that each of you make notes or send us information on areas of “marketing your greenness” that you find to be successful as you find them.

Now, we begin with the wise words of Tedd Saunders, President, EcoLogical Solutions Inc. and Co Owner and Executive VP, The Saunders Hotel Group. Often credited with pioneering luxury, urban ecotourism worldwide, Tedd is recognized for creating some of the most acclaimed environmental models in the hospitality industry. He first implemented this innovative business approach in 1989 at his family'shistoric Boston properties: The four-diamond Lenox Hotel, the charming Copley Square Hotel as well as the Park Plaza (until 1996) and, most recently, The Comfort Inn & Suites Airport/Boston. The Copley Square, The Lenox Hotel and the Comfort Inn & Suites Airport are all PARTNER MEMBERS of GHA.

In 1992 he founded EcoLogical Solutions, which has since advised His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales— Business Leaders Forum, Harvard University, Choice Hotels International, Taj Hotels of India and The White House Conference on Tourism, to name a few. Author of The Bottom Line of Green is Black, Tedd speaks internationally to business and political leaders and sits on numerous boards, including Harvard'sSchool of Public Health, The New England Aquarium, The Woods Hole Research Center and The Union of Concerned Scientists— National Advisory Board.

How you—ll benefit, once your customers know about your environmental efforts
By Tedd Saunders, President, EcoLogical Solutions Inc. and Co Owner, Executive VP,
The Saunders Hotel Group,

Environmentally and socially responsible business is one of the hottest trends in both the corporate and consumer worlds—and for good reason.

Companies like Ben & Jerry—s, 3M, The Body Shop, Stonyfield Farm, Sunoco and The Saunders Hotel Group have known for years the multi-faceted benefits of good corporate stewardship. Aveda, BP, Nike, Starbucks and even General Electric have seen the wisdom in undertaking major environmental commitments.

Some might assume that these top companies are taking visible, efficiency measures simply to reduce operating costs—and they would be right—but only partially. If these and many other companies wanted “just” to cut costs, they would quietly go about their business instead of spending considerable time actively promoting their efforts to the public.

The plain truth is that beyond bottom-line savings, genuine environmental initiatives have proven to build customer loyalty and employee team spirit—which are both invaluable and hard to replicate.

At The Saunders Hotel Group, when we pioneered mainstream, urban ecotourism in the late 80s, we also changed our corporate motto to “Preserving The Past And Protecting The Future.” Ever since, we have not only worked to incorporate environmental elements into every aspect of our operation—but also in our communications to guests, team members and our community.

In essence, we want to make sure our customers, employees, neighbors and peers know that in addition to running a sound business, we care about issues that affect them and their families. Ask any top marketing person, and they will tell you that building consumer loyalty is one of the most valuable things a business can do. Simply put, connecting your business to issues consumers care about is a win-win strategy.

Before I review some details, let me give you a very helpful word of caution. To avoid the appearance of “greenwashing,” don'tannounce your program until it is substantial. A good test is when you can tell your friends and family the program'sdetails—with real pride.

In 1989, I had waited a year-and-a-half into our implementation before announcing the program. That strategic delay enabled us to put enough substantial efforts in place that we won over even the most skeptical press writers and producers.

This patience, combined with innovative measures, helped The Saunders Hotel Group get featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Good Housekeeping and National Geographic Explorer and on CNN, NPR (National Public Radio) and NBC Nightly News, to name a few—and 16 years later, the positive stories continue to this day.

The Eco brochure we created for every guestroom is the most visible element of the program for guests. The cover of the brochure asks customers the question “Don'tYou And You Family Deserve A Safer, Healthier World?” Inside, we share our Environmental Commitment, key eco-initiatives and annual resources saved, as well as international press quotes and awards SHG has won. It'sa wonderful piece because it summarizes the most important parts of our effort and presents the program in an upbeat, easily understandable way.

Here are some of the other communications steps we—ve taken, roughly in the order that guests see them:
  • Website eco page—soon to have a link to our Ceres Sustainability Report
  • Signage on vans about air pollution benefits of our CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) airport shuttles
  • Signage on building exterior regarding engine idling to encourage guests and delivery trucks to turn off their engines
  • “Eco Chic” and “Tread Lightly” weekend packages with lobby displays
  • Pool sign at CI&S (Comfort Inn & Suites Boston/Airport) about the benefits of eliminating swimming pool chlorine via an ionization system
  • Towel and sheet cards—the first in the United States
  • UCS— (Union of Concerned Scientists—) book, The Consumer'sGuide To Effective Environmental Choices, in every Lenox and Copley Square room on the coffee table
  • Eco plaques in guestrooms (near light switch, bathroom sink and recycling basket) to encourage people to think about impacts of US consumption
  • In-house Eco TV channel shows environmental videos
  • Sticker on 2-chamber amenity dispensers tells people that we buy quality bath products for them while eliminating the disposal of 490,000 tiny, plastic bottles each year
  • Handsome wood recycling bins in halls with signage
  • Complimentary housekeeping-cart collection bags for recyclables
  • Composting signage in CI&S breakfast area
  • Eco guest suggestion box at CI&S
  • Eco logos created to bring our environmental mission to life
  • Regular eco column in hotel newsletter
  • Eco bulletin boards in employee cafeterias with information on saving money and resources
  • EcoTour of hotels for area business people, school groups and even competing hotel managers
  • Environmental awards received (Presidential Gold Medal from former President Bush, 3 AH&LA Environmental Hotel of the Year Awards, Choice International, EnergyStar, National Wildlife Federation, British Airways) in lobby displays right next to service/excellence awards
  • Weekend package and meeting rooms donated to environmental and other non-profit organizations
  • Frequent speeches at conferences and articles written for the trade and business press
  • Active participation on numerous environmental boards and innumerable efforts in Boston, nationally and internationally
  • Reprints of major stories extend exposure and impact
  • Sponsoring NPR's(National Public Radio—s) “Living On Earth” program
Other points to note:
  • Some naysayers have tried to push the groundless idea that well-executed environmental measures lower quality. We therefore actively promote the fact that we value and consistently balance quality and service with our environmental commitment. Another slogan we use widely to make that point is “Serving You And The Environment.”

When creating materials for guests, employees or your community, recognize the “what'sin it for me?” phenomenon, and take into account what your audience cares about. That'swhy we use such headlines as “Don'tYou And You Family Deserve A Safer, Healthier World? on our Eco brochures.

Getting customers involved in your program is a wonderful idea; but, first, set an example. Before asking your guests to do anything themselves, implement a number of initiatives they can see or read about.

Now, I know this is an article on marketing and communications, but I want to stress the importance of measuring your accomplishments, which has several key benefits, including strengthening communications. Tracking reductions in your energy and water consumption for instance, will help you “make your case” to the outside world—providing plenty of “meat” for your printed materials, sales team, press stories and award applications.

Perhaps even more importantly, tracking consumption figures will also make it possible to know how you're doing and reward and motivate your people.

My final tip—you can show pride in your accomplishments, but avoid sounding like you think you—ve done it all. People don'tlike smugness or arrogance—and the truth is, as new products come out and consumer attitudes change, there are always more initiatives to put in place.

Good luck with your improvements, and thank you for making the future brighter for us all.

SEP/OCT 2005


California is pushing toward another ambitious energy program that may set an example, and will certainly give a warning, for those of us in other states. Three big CA utilities (Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co.) plan to eventually replace millions of conventional electricity and gas meters with as many as 15 million high-tech “time-of-use” gas and electric meters at a cost of $3.6 billion! Today'smeters can'treport a consumer'senergy usage for a particular day, much less an hour.

The program is being pursued because of CA'scontinual need to curb growing energy use along with a wish to improve utilities— efficiency. The new equipment will give utilities immediate information on how and when homes and businesses are using energy. With that data in hand, the utilities could raise prices during peak periods to drive down energy use.

The utilities are now in the process of selecting equipment manufacturers for pilot programs. The utilities plan to pay for the new meters through cost savings and, possibly, higher rates. The time-of-use meters will solve the problem with what'scalled “dynamic pricing.” With the backing of the data from the meters, rates may be adjusted according to several variables, including demand, supply, wholesale prices and individual use.

The state and utilities have conducted a test to gauge consumer response to variable pricing. One plan charged consumers 13 cents a kilowatt hour for most hours except 2 pm to 7 pm weekdays, when the price rose to 25 cents. A few occasions required the price to be raised to 66 cents per kilowatt hour. Researchers found that the program reduced peak demand by approximately 13%.

Advanced meters with 2-way communications could allow utilities to remotely control energy-sapping appliances like air conditioners and pool pumps.

The utilities believe $700 million could be saved over a 16-year period by cutting the expense of meter readers as well as by improving outage detection and repair systems. The purpose is to reduce power demand swings with rate plans that motivate people to change their habits, but are not so extreme as to spark a revolt.

Variable rates for residential customers are new, but large commercial and industrial customers have been offered such programs for years. What'snew is the likely imposition of peak pricing during critical-use periods.

It'sbelieved that a properly-designed variable-pricing program could produce huge public benefits and give utilities impetus to think more innovatively. It is also believed that once the public understands the potential of meters to foster efficiency, consumers will embrace the meters.

Smith, Rebecca, “California Taps Updated Meters To Save Energy,” The Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2005
JUL/AUG 2005


GHA plans to honor its Ally Members once a year by publishing success stores that relate to hotels and will be of interest to you, our members. This issue is our first to focus partially on Ally Member successes.

OnyxPak® Wins Sustainable Design Award

Onyx Environmental Services— (OES) OnyxPak® product line has been awarded the Sustainable Design Award, as part of Lightfair'sNew Product Showcase. The new award recognizes a design that considers the impact on the environment, economy, health and productivity.

OnyxPak® is a simple, yet comprehensive program that provides everything a customer needs to recycle lighting and electronic waste in compliance with environmental regulations. Under the OnyxPak® program, one price includes the container to store and transport the waste, shipping to and from the customer, processing and certificates of recycling.

“The award represents Onyx'scommitment to developing recycling programs designed to help clients recycle lighting and electronic waste properly, protect them from future financial liability and ultimately protect the environment,” said John McShane, branch manager at OES— Electronics Recycling Division. “To have OnyxPak® recognized by the lighting industry is a positive step in educating society about the potentially hazardous and harmful substances contained within lighting and electronics products,” continued McShane. This year'sNew Product Showcase had over 220 entries, with 34 awards presented.

Onyx Environmental Services offers the most comprehensive hazardous waste services in the industry. With over 40 service centers, treatment, recovery and disposal facilities, Onyx offers a broad range of hazardous waste services to customers located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The Onyx Electronics Recycling Division, an ALLY MEMBER, is the largest recycler of fluorescent lamps in the world, processing nearly one-third of all the lamps recycled in the US. For more information on Onyx Environmental Services, visit

Deirdre Imus Center's“GREENING THE CLEANING”

What do the best hotels and motels have in common with medical centers? They both have the highest regard for the cleanliness of their facilities and the health of their patrons. That is one reason why hotel/motel operators will welcome the award-winning Greening the Cleaning® program from the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology® at Hackensack University Medical Center.

The Environmental Center represents the first hospital-based program whose specific mission is to identify, control, and ultimately prevent environmental factors that may cause adult and especially pediatric cancers.

Greening the Cleaning® means eliminating, to the greatest extent possible, all cleaning agents containing hazardous ingredients and replacing them with environmentally-friendly, non-toxic products that utilize natural or naturally-derived ingredients. In the case of disinfectants and sanitizers, effective natural substitutes that have been EPA approved do not yet exist, so the Center uses least-toxic alternatives.

While the Center strives to use only all-natural, or all-naturally-derived ingredients wherever possible, effective all-natural replacements are not available for every type of cleaning product at this time. For this reason, the Center currently offers its customers two lines of products: the DIN line, which contains predominantly natural or naturally-derived ingredients, and the DIC line, which contains some synthetic ingredients for which effective natural substitutes have yet to be developed. The disinfectants and sanitizers are in the DIC line, since the effectiveness of such products at killing germs is paramount and, to our knowledge, synthetic microbiocides are simply more effective than potential replacements of natural origin.

More than 50 facilities have implemented the program since 2001 with direct savings in cleaning costs ranging from 3 to 75%. Clients include The New York Health & Racquet Club, Modern Facilities Services (Newark Airport), more than a dozen healthcare facilities, a state housing authority, restaurants, schools and businesses.

“There are six main reasons customers switch to Greening the Cleaning®, beginning with efficacy,” says Jim Ronchi, project manager at the Environmental Center. “Customers tell us the products work as well or better than the cleaning products they were using. The Greening the Cleaning® program reduces toxicity, waste, storage space and cleaning costs. These products won'tharm your skin or irritate your eyes. To help ensure success, we train your personnel, which is really essential to avoid overuse because these are concentrates, and to get the expected cost savings.”

The Environmental Center discloses all product ingredients on the label, and its green standards are more stringent than other better-known green standards. Among other things, Greening the Cleaning® products must contain no known or probable human carcinogens, mutagens or teratogens; and no ozone depleting compounds, greenhouse gases or substances that contribute to smog. There are also no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), combustibles or aerosols, and all products are readily biodegradable.

The line of institutional cleaning products spans virtually everything a hotel/motel might need¾all-purpose cleaner, window wash, rug and upholstery shampoo, spot removers, toilet bowl cleaner, air fresheners and hand soap. For more information, visit or call the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center at 201/336-8071.


Nestled along the banks of the Colorado River in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, London Bridge Resort and Conference Center boasts some of the most striking views of the world-famous London Bridge, which was purchased from the City of London in 1962 and reconstructed on the site in 1971.

Similar to its namesake, this English-inspired resort with its winding walkways, manicured grounds, hidden gardens, and exotic foliage, is reminiscent of an era gone by. Located on 110 acres of waterfront property, the resort offers 122 suites.

“All of our facilities are designed and maintained to meet the needs of discriminating guests from around the world,” says Finn Hauchrog, Maintenance Director, London Bridge Resort. “But, we also feel that it'simportant to be environmentally savvy.”

Hauchrog recently began working to adopt additional environmentally-friendly policies. In an effort to cut back on paper waste, Hauchrog installed four XLERATOR hand dryers to service Kokomo, the resort's10,000-square foot, four-level nightclub. “In addition to cutting paper waste, the dryers also helped decrease restroom maintenance,” adds Hauchrog. “Response from customers has been great.”

“XLERATOR hand dryers are designed to meet the needs of both customers and facility managers,” says Denis Gagnon, president, Excel Dryer, Inc. “The running joke with hand dryers is that after you use them, you still have to wipe your hands on your pants. Not so with XLERATOR! Its ability to dry hands so quickly is changing the way people think about hand dryers.”

According to an independent study, XLERATOR works in one-third the time and uses 80% less energy than traditional hand dryers. It also delivers a 95% cost savings when compared to paper towels. For more information about XLERATOR, visit the company'sweb site at


ALLY MEMBER Waterealm, importer and distributor of Dileka, a revolutionary water conditioner, purifier and softener that transforms ordinary city water into highly ionized, pH balanced and negative-ion-rich water, tells of a hotel at the top of the mountain. We know that any water that is at the top of any mountain will impact many and all on its path to the sea as well as the sea itself.

Hotel Bellevue in Penang, Malaysia, is a hotel at the top of Penang Hill, which is a major conservation area with water catchment forest reserves well protected by the Malaysian state government. The hotel is located at 800 meters (2,600—+) above sea level, with a spectacular panoramic view of the rest of Penang Island and its sea. The hotel also happens to be the setting of a book, “The Critical Path” by Buckminster Fuller, a famous architect, who was a regular guest at the hotel.

The hotel had the Dileka water conditioner installed in November, 2004, because of its long standing commitment to promote the use of detergent-free wastewater. Because of Dileka'ssuccess in purifying, conditioning and softening the water and because of management'sdetermination not to impact others or its sea, the hotel uses no soap, shampoo or conditioner and almost no detergents for washing or cleaning.

Hotel guests shower only with Dileka water and are often surprised at its softness. Many guests also respect management'sintent of not releasing wastewater downstream that is polluted with chemicals.

Hotel Bellevue intends to repipe its plumbing system so that it can install another Dileka, thereby fully extending Dileka water'sbenefits to its kitchen and laundry facilities, and completely eliminate detergent usage at the hotel.

At the moment, towels and sheets are washed with water only or occasionally with a minimal amount of detergent. They are dried in natural sunlight. At the hotel kitchen, almost no detergents are used, and disinfection is successful with sunlight and salt only.

The hotel also maintains a room reserved for healing using Dileka water and special salt. To learn more, visit or call Anna Jung-Ah Park at 888/870-4791.

Wausau Paper'sNew Dispensers and Tissues

Wausau Paper has introduced new bath tissues and dispensing systems in their Bay West product line. OptiCore™ bath tissue dispensing systems are available for either 2 or 3 rolls of tissue. The new OptiCore™ tissue is provided in either premium DublSoft™ or 100% recycled EcoSoft™ (single or double rolls), which is Green Seal® certified. The OptiCore™ program provides facility and property managers with innovative, environmentally-preferable products.

Wausau Paper offers a complete line of Bay West® brand towel, tissue, wiper, soap and dispensing systems for the away-from-home washroom market.

This new technology reduces product waste, maintenance time and costs. For more information on Bay West® products, call customer service at 800/723-0001 or see


Four-year ALLY MEMBER Dibb AB brokers raw organic cotton and produces organic cotton yarn, fabrics and finished products, including bed and bath products and tampons.

Dibb AB is excited to announce that they have entered into a contract with the largest chain store in Finland, SOK/ Prisma, to sell its Krav and SWAN-certified organic cotton towels and sheets in 46 of the stores!

According to SOK, the organic cotton products made from cotton grown by the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, have a much higher quality and last longer than similar products made from conventionally-grown cotton.

The deal represents the first time that such products have been made available to consumers on such a large scale in Finland. Dibb already sells its organic towels and sheets to COOP Sweden, retailers in northern Europe and many hotel chains in Scandinavia and resorts near the Mediterranean Sea and in the Canary Islands.

For further information contact Per Holmberg, Managing Director, see or e-mail

MAY/JUN 2005


Airider Vacuum Cleaner

The new wheel-less Airider vacuum cleaner hovers just 1/8” off the floor, so is suspended almost weightlessly as it sucks up dirt and dust. The result is much less wear and tear on carpet because there are no brushes continually revolving at high speed in direct contact with the carpet. (Wool carpet requires such brush-less vacuuming.) Another benefit is that wheels will not leave behind scratches on wood or other flooring.

In development for almost ten years, this Scottish vacuum will retail at about $400. The vacuum canister is bagless, and can be emptied via a front-release clip. According to the company, air is directed from an inlet on the vacuum'supper casing on an angle, passing through an electrified conduit, where the air is then delivered to the exhaust port. The air chambers receive pressurized air from the exhaust port and stabilize the underside surface to maintain a horizontal relationship with a floor surface, creating air flotation lift.

The 1,400-watt motor moves air through the system at more than 200 mph. A thermal cut-off protects the motor from overheating. The vacuum weighs 10.5 lbs., and, of course, must be carried when not vacuuming. HEPA-standard filtration and washable filters, as well as a button-release extendable hose are other features.

Check it out at

Swisher, Kara, “Clean Sweep: New Vacuums Purr and Hover,” Home Economics,
The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2005

Bosch Formula Vacuum

The Bosch Formula vacuum is elegant, powerful, pricey and as lithe a vacuum as there is on the market. Its cost is $500-600 depending on the model. Its compact teardrop shape is very appealing, as are the colors (sahara orange, samoa blue and cherry red). The 12-pound unit moves well, and its 12 amps and 1400 watts of power allow it to suck up everything in its path. It has 3 swivel wheels, multiple filters and curved handle that works the on/off switch, which come together to make this the high-end bagged vac to beat this year.

But, best of all is this vac'slack of noise: only 65 decibels¾perfect for hotels, where noise is always an issue.

Learn more at

Swisher, Kara, “Clean Sweep: New Vacuums Purr and Hover,” Home Economics,
The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2005

Salton'sSweepEze Vacuuming Dustbin

This bagless vacuuming device is for cleaning hardfloor surfaces. It sits on the floor next to a wall, and as one sweeps dust and dirt to its base, it is said to detect debris and automatically begin a timed vacuuming cycle. A button can also be tapped with the toe. It features a 600-watt motor and can be used for tile, wood, vinyl, concrete or any non-carpeted floor. It is marketed under the Westinghouse brand.

The big advantage of the $50 SweepEze is eliminating the need for stooping, bending or inhaling dust as when using a dustpan. The collection container is easy to empty. A larger version is also available.


Swisher, Kara, “Clean Sweep: New Vacuums Purr and Hover,” Home Economics,
The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2005


If there'sa problem with refrigerator odors, you may want to check out the Ozonator by Ozone King LLC. The small appliance sits in the refrigerator blinking away and releasing ozone once each hour. The goal is to oxidize, and thereby destroy, harmful germs and bacteria, molds and yeast that may cause infection or incidents of disease and illnesses than can be transmitted by contact with foods, food containers and other hard surfaces inside the refrigerator.

An independent study proved the Ozonator is very effective in eliminating strong food odors and protecting storage life of strawberries and other produce. The shelf life of cut cantaloupe was more than doubled by storage with the $50 Ozonator. Learn more at

GHA has no idea how much better the Ozonator would be than an open box of baking soda.

Swisher, Kara, “Home Show to Feature High-Tech Cleaning; Ozone for the Fridge,” Home Economics,
The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2005

Shark Steam Bottle

Steam cleaning and its wonderful benefits have been discussed before in this newsletter. Cleaning without toxic or any other chemicals is now available via this hand-held piece of equipment. The Shark Steam Bottle is lightweight and compact for convenient use, and its 14— power cord allows mobility.

The system heats in just 30 seconds for quick clean-ups. Because the system does not work on pressure, you can refill the bottle and use it quickly to steam-clean everything from countertops to a vehicle'shubcaps. Clean, deodorize and sanitize with steam. Give any surface a few squirts of steam, and wipe away the dirt.

Included with the $60 Shark Steam Bottle are a window squeegee, angle adaptor/steam concentrator, 3 nylon detail brushes, a microfiber cloth, filling flask and filling cup. Read more or purchase at or several other web sites.

Swisher, Kara, “Home Show to Feature High-Tech Cleaning; Ozone for the Fridge,”
The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2005

Hoover SteamVac™ Dual V™ Widepath™ With Auto Rinse™

This new floor-cleaning appliance works at having it all: heated cleaning, 6 removable, rotating scrubbing brushes, wide path, automatic detergent mixing system and hand tool with brushes for upholstery. A barefloor tool is available for use on hard floors. It washes carpet on the forward motion, and rinses carpet with clear water on reverse motion.

Further information on this Hoover cleaner and many others is available at


GreenSpec is Building Green'spremiere product information service. It contains detailed listings for more than 1,800 environmentally preferable building products with descriptions, manufacturers— information and links to additional resources. All listings are screened and written exclusively by their staff. Unlike other directories, there is no charge for listings and ads are not sold.

The listings may be browsed by CSI designation, LEED credit, homebuilder category, green attribute, products that meet US EPA CPG recycled content recommendations or by listings added within the last 30 or 90 days.

The information may be purchased in printed form or by subscribing to the BuildingGreen Suite to access product listings and guideline specifications online.

QuietRock™ and QuietWood™: Innovative Sound-Control Products

The most common strategies for noise control include adding layers of drywall, installing a sound-control layer such as Homasote® 440, staggering wall studs on wider sill and top plates to minimize acoustical bridging, providing double-stud walls with an airspace between, adding resilient channel (steel “hat-track” furring channel) over studs or joists, and installing resilient sound-isolation clips. One downside of most of these solutions is that they increase wall thickness to varying degrees, which corresponds to reduced floor area.

A relatively new solution is to use specialized sound-control drywall, QuietRock™, or plywood, QuietWood™, which rely on two distinct principles in reducing sound transmission. First, a thin layer of steel provides “constrained layer damping.” Second, two layers of a special viscoelastic polymer convert the energy waves from kinetic energy (heat). The physics of sound transmission are complex, but this solution is elegantly simple—and remarkably space-efficient.

QuietRock™ is available in several thicknesses. It is made by laminating the above-mentioned steel and viscoelastic layers between two sheets of paper-faced drywall. QuietRock™ and QuietWood™ are about ten times as expensive as conventional drywall and plywood—about $80 per 4— x 8— sheet for the QuietRock™ 530. While very expensive on a per-sheet basis, these products are often less expensive than conventional practices for achieving high-STC wall and floor systems—especially if the value of floor area gained from thinner walls is included.

Quiet Solution, Inc., 800/797-8159,

noraplan Commercial Flooring

This resilient floorcovering is made from natural and synthetic rubber, mineral fillers and color pigments. Unlike alternative products such as VCT (vinyl composition tile) and sheet vinyl, this durable, low-maintenance floorcovering requires no maintenance coatings. noraplan contains no PVC, plasticizers or halogens. noraplan was the first rubber flooring to be awarded Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certification in June, 2004 from the Greenguard Environmental Institute ( Available in rolls or tiles in a wide range of solid and muticolors, noraplan can be inlaid and combined in mixed installations of different styles and colors. Seams can be either hot- or cold-welded. The product comes with a 5-year wear warranty. The manufacturer, Freudenberg Building Systems, is ISO 9002 and ISO 14001 certified.

noraplan Commercial Flooring is green because it is an alternative to PVC flooring, is a durable or low-maintenance product and is made from a rapidly renewable product, rubber. 800/332-6672,

Ethos Carpet-Cushion Backing

The non-PVC Ethos™ carpet-cushion backing from C&A Floorcovering, Inc., is made from non-chlorinated polyvinyl butyral (PVB) safety-glass film collected when auto windows or other safety-glass panes are recycled. Ground recycled glass is added as filler, along with a small amount of aluminum trihydrate as a flame retardant. This backing is available for all of C&A'scarpet products at no added cost, but it must be specificed.

Reasons this product is green are because it is made from post-consumer recycled materials, it releases minimal pollutants and is an alternative to PVC. C&A Floorcoverings, 800/248-2878,

EP Henry ECO Pavers

EP Henry manufactures ECO Pavers, solid concrete pavers available in blended colors that measure 9-1/2” x 6-3/4” x 3-1/8”. It is an interlocking product that creates an aesthetic and durable pavement which allows water to infiltrate to the subsoil. EP Henry'sMonoslabs measure 23-1/2” x 15-5/8” x 4-9/16” and have a grid-like configuration with a multilevel surface. Monoslabs are primarily used as a permeable erosion control product. They are a way of paving an area without paving it over, allowing grass growth and allowing rainwater to percolate back into the ground. EP Henry'sTurf Paver is a lattice-like product that measures 23-5/8” x 15-3/4” x 3-1/8” and is commonly used for emergency access lanes. The grid-paving systems are typically seeded with grasses. The ECO Paver weighs 32 lbs. per square foot, the Monoslab 38 lbs. and the Turf Paver 23 lbs.

These products are green because they reduce pollution or waste from operations. EP Henry Corporation, 800/444-3679,

microwatt™ and personna™ Systems

Lutron Electronics is a leading manufacturer of lighting control systems including the microwatt™ and perSONNA™ product lines. microwatt™ is an automated control system that computes proper light levels based upon daylight intensity, occupant sensors and timed schedules. microwatt™ is available in a digital web-based format that offers power consumption monitoring, server-based options, etc. personna™ is a wireless infrared control system for dimming of electronically-ballasted fluorescent fixtures.

Dimming ballasts are beneficial because a rich visual experience can be created which adds flexibility to any room. Staff can set preferred light levels for specific tasks or events. Dimming saves electricity and reduces the demand on HVAC systems, and also helps maintain lamp life. The use of occupancy sensors, daylight sensors and time clocks with fluorescent dimming can help manage the lighting in an entire building and further reduce electric demand.

Energy efficiency makes these products green. Lutron Electronics, Inc., 888/588-7661,

Garden Roof® Assembly

American Hydrotech'sGarden Roof® Assembly combines the MM 6125®-EV waterproofing membrane (minimum 25% recycled content), a root barrier (water drainage/retention devices engineered specifically for landscaped roofs) and optional rigid foam insulation. The assembly is lightweight and able to accommodate a wide variety of vegetation and soil depths.

The Garden Roof® allows the design professional to transform virtually any flat or gently sloped roof into a landscaped environment. Designed as a lightweight, low-profile system, the Garden Roof® assembly can be safely installed on roof or plaza decks not engineered to handle the heavy load requirements of a traditional green roof. And, because the assembly incorporated Hydrotech'sMonolithic Membrane 6125®, a proven roofing-waterproofing membrane, the building owner can be assured of a water-tight structure.

Advantages of the Garden Roof® assembly include:
  • Enhances building'sappearance
  • Adds space for client and guest use and recreation
  • An answer to the “Urban Heat Island” problem
  • Stormwater management because 50-90% of a typical rainfall will be retained
  • Improves building'senergy efficiency
  • Processes airborne toxins and re-oxygenates the air
  • Creates therapeutic and peaceful environments

This product is green because it reduces energy loads, is manufactured with both post-consumer and post-industrial recycled material and reduces pollution or waste from operations. American Hydrotech, 800/877-6125,

High-Performance Fiberglass Windows

Inline Fiberglass is a world leader in pultrusion, a patented technology used to manufacture fiberglass windows and doors. A number of units meet or exceed the 0.30 U-value threshhold for GreenSpec with some quadruple-glazed, krypton-filled units rating as low as 0.18. The windows are designed for strength, minimum thermal transfer and optimum viewing area. These fiberglass windows have built-in strength that lends features and advantages not possible with other materials.

Green value is found in these windows because they reduce energy loads on buildings and because they are a durable or low-maintenance product. Inline Fiberglass Ltd., 416/679-1171,

Sun Control with 1600 PowerWall® and 1600 PowerShade®

This pre-engineered sunshade system effectively reduces solar heat gain, is silent and pollution free. The 1600 Powerwall® and 1600 PowerShade® are integrated photovoltaic curtain wall systems with photovoltaic cells. These polycrystalline or amorphous silicon solar electric modules convert light energy from the sun into electricity without using fossil fuels. Fully tested, they can be incorporated into vertical and slope glazed applications. These products conserve valuable natural resources.

This product'sgreenness is based on its renewable energy and fuel cells. Kawneer Company, Inc., 770/449-5555,

FSC-Certified Lumber, Plywood Products

Potlatch Corporation has a strong commitment to the environment and a reputation as the leader in forest conservation efforts. The corporation became the first publicly-traded US timber company to certify timberland in 2004, according to Forest Stewardship (FSC) standards. Potlatch is producing chain-of-custody FSC-certified Hem-Fir and Douglas Fir-Larch framing lumber, inland red cedar decking and siding, and Douglas fir and white fir plywood from three chain-of-custody-certified mills on their 668,000 acres in Idaho. These products are stamped with the FSC logo when required for specific sales. FSC-certified product sells at a premium price, with the primary market being the West Coast. Few suppliers stock Potlatch FSC-certified wood to date. Most sales are by special order for specific jobs.

This product is green because it is certified wood. Potlatch Corporation, 509/328-0930,

CavClear® Masonry Mat

CavClear® Masonry Mat is an airspace maintenance and drainage material designed to be installed full-height behind brick or stone. The matting prevents obstruction of the cavity drainage airspace and also prevents formation of energy-conducting mortar bridges. A properly functioning drainage system free of all mortar obstructions is a prerequisite for a masonry design to achieve maximum thermal efficiencies and reduced maintenance and repair costs. CavClear® is a nonwoven plastic mesh made from 100% recycled plastic (25% minimum post-consumer content) and is available in thicknesses of ½”, ¾”, 1”, 1-1/4” and 1-3/4”. It is also available bonded to EPS insulation.

Reduction of energy loads and manufacture using post-consumer recycled material makes this product green. Archovations, Inc., 888/436-2620,

Green Leaf Series Cabinets

Cabinet King'sGreen Leaf series uses PrimeBoard® ag-fiber particleboard (made from agricultural residue fibers and a formaldehyde-free binder) for sides, tops, bottoms, backs, shelving and drawer bottoms, and FSC-certified wood for frames and drawers (sides and backs). Finishes are either Safecoat® Acrylacq or PrimeBoard'sall-paper-based melamine. Forbo Marmoleum® will also soon be available as a countertop option. Adhesives are water-based. Cabinet King is also a dealer for cabinets made by other companies, as well as a line of green building products including PrimeBoard, Marmoleum, Safecoat finishes, Titebond® solvent-free construction adhesive and Bonded Logic recycled-cotton insulation.

Because these cabinets are made of certified wood, release only minimal pollutants and are made of rapidly renewable products, they are green. Cabinet King, Inc., 877/422-2463,

Solar Mulching Mower

This sun-powered mulching mower makes mowing a pleasant, quiet task without the use of oil, gasoline, pull-cords or choking exhaust. A dependable Black & Decker electric engine uses sun for power. The 19” mulching blade sends nutrient-rich clippings back to the lawn. Quick-set height allows you to customize your cut. A rear-bag can be used when mulching leaves. 3—Hx2—Wx5—L, 60 lbs., $795. See, or other sites.

EcoVeil™ PVC-Free Interior Shade Screening

EcoVeil™ is an interior shade-screen product line for commercial buildings made from a thermoplastic olefin (TPO) yarn called Earth Tex™, developed by the Twitchell™ Corporation. EarthTex is an infinitely recyclable “technical nutrient,” and MechoShade encourages customers to return EcoVeil screens to the company when they are no longer wanted. This is the first solar-shade screen to earn an approval rating from McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC (MBDC). These shades are washable and antimicrobial, resist UV degradation, and are about a third lighter than conventional shade cloth. The fabric currently comes in 8 colors, with an openness factor of 5%. Weaves ranging from 1 to 12% are expected to be introduced this year. MechoShade offers several manual and automated systems for raising and lowering the shades.

This product is green because it reduces energy loads and is made with an alternative to PVC. MechoShade System, Inc., 718/729-2020,

Ultra Flush™ Pressure-Assist Toilet

The 1.6-gallon pressure-assisted Ultra Flush™ elongated-rim toilet from Gerber evacuated 665 grams of solids with a 6.1-liter flush volume in MaP (Maximum Performance) testing protocol, giving it a grams-per-liter rating of 109. In the same tests, the floor-mounted, rear-discharge model evacuated 575 grams with a 5.3-liter flush to achieve the same grams-per-liter rating of 109. These toilets have a minimum water surface area of 12”x10” and glazed 2-1/8” trapways. The Ultra flush line uses Sloan'sFlushmate® flushing system and have a 5-year warranty. These toilets are on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power'sSPS-Certified Pressure Assist Ultra-Low-Flush Toilet list.

This product is green because it conserves water. Gerber Plumbing Fixtures LLC, 847/675-6570,

TimberSIL Nontoxic Pressure-Treated Wood

TimberSIL is a sodium-silicate-based pressure-treatment system for wood that relies on a mineralization process rather than toxins to prevent infestations and decay. The patented chemistry and heat-treatment process result in the infusion of microscopic glass “crystals” throughout the wood, providing a permanent, insoluble treatment with no dusting or leaching. The treated wood is odorless and nonvolatile, is not corrosive to fasteners, does not cause excessive wear on tools, and typically has a brown color to distinguish it from other treated-wood products. Standard TimberSIL treated wood carries a 40-year warranty for interior use and up to one year of outdoor exposure; TimberSIL Plus carries a 40-year warranty for outdoor applications, including ground contact. As of October 2004, this new product is not yet listed with the International Code Council; approval for use is granted by local jurisdictions.

This product is green because it is an alternative to CCA-treated wood, releases minimal pollutants, reduces the need for pesticides and is a durable or low-maintenance product. Timber Treatment Technologies, 866/318-9432,

Paper Holder

Save a minute hundreds of times each year as housekeepers replace bathroom tissue rolls in guestrooms with a hooked paper holder. Available in several brands at varied prices on several sites.

Sloan Solar Faucet

The first solar powered electronic faucet'sintegrated power plant transforms light into electrical energy. Optimal performance any place, any time, in sunlight or even artificial light. The unique “Solar Energy Module” utilizes any light source efficiently. Sloan'snew EAF-275 Series electronic hand washing faucets operate by means of a dual infrared sensor and microprocessor-based logic. The modular design incorporates all of the operating components of the faucet, including the sensor, solenoid, circuitry and solar energy module above the sink within a die-cast metal spout. 0.5 gpm aerator regulates water flow. Electronic sensor automatically turns water on/off. Integral temperature control.

Sloan Valve Company, 800/982-5839,

FlushMate IV

The FlushMate IV pressure-assisted toilet flushing mechanism is a water-conserving (only 1.0 gpf) flush mechanism produced by the Sloan Valve Company. The FlushMate IV uses an airtight flushometer vessel inside the toilet tank. The inner tank is pressurized by the incoming clean water after the toilet is flushed—as it refills, air becomes compressed at the top of the tank. The next time the toilet is used, this pressure provides a high-velocity flush that very effectively evacuates wastes and prevents clogging. The mechanism is available in some models manufactured by Mansfield, Capizzi, Mancesa, St. Thomas Creations (Vitromex), Vortens and perhaps others.

These 1.0 gpf toilets are known as High Efficiency Toilets (HETs) because they use at least 33% less water than standard 1.6 gpf toilets.

Water conservation makes this product green. FlushMate (800/875-9116,, A Division of Sloan Valve Company, 800/982-5839,

MAR/APR 2005


PARTNER MEMBER Forever Resorts— Lake Amistad Resort & Marina ( is thinking “green” and working hard to keep it blue in one of the prettiest lakes in southwest Texas, Lake Amistad. A National Recreation Area, this clear-water lake was created when Amistad Dam was completed in 1969 on the border of Texas and Mexico. This 58,000+ acre man-made lake is fed by 3 rivers—the Rio Grande, Devils and Pecos rivers and has over 900 miles of shoreline¾a longer shoreline than the whole of Texas— Gulf Coast.

Lake Amistad Resort & Marina is a concession operation in the park providing a full service marina, slips, store and a fleet of luxury rental houseboats, deck boats, powerboats and fishing boats to visitors to this national park. Having an operation in a national park brings along a responsibility to the public to not only offer quality services, but provide them by setting the example as environmental stewards in the park.

Forever Resorts gives top priority to the preservation and conservation of our natural resources. In 2003, Forever Resorts was certified to ISO 14001, becoming the first US multi-site marina, hospitality and lodging operator to have the distinguished endorsement / certification for all its domestic operations. The international standard for environmental management systems (EMS) is a formal set of policies and procedures defining how organizations manage potential impacts of its products or services on the environment and the health and welfare of the people who use them.

During 2003 Lake Amistad Marina also became a Clean Texas Marina¾one of the first national park marinas in the state to do so.

Recent renovations at Lake Amistad Resort resulted in keeping their environmental initiatives; a priority which included the demolition of a 30-year old all-wood dock and its replacement by a half-million-dollar 80-slip floating dock. The walking surface chosen for the new dock is comprised of Weyerhauser'sChoiceDek ( boards—made of recycled cedar and plastic fibers. ChoiceDek boards are manufactured in Junction, TX by Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, Inc. (325/446-3430, The wood fiber used in ChoiceDek is heartwood aromatic red cedar chips, amassed after the fragrant oil was extracted for perfumes. The chips have been piling up since the 1940s, and now form a 400-acre mountain that should meet AERT'sproduction needs for 40 years.

A 1— high galvanized metal structure connects encapsulated Styrofoam floats to the walking surface of the new, state-of-the-art dock which is anticipated to have an indefinite life. Wooden docks usually have a life of 20-25 years. The new dock features a 3-phase electrical system which will accommodate electrical use by boats in all 80 slips as well as provide new lighting and a new fire suppression system for the marina.

Of course, marinas must provide lighting for safe walking on the dock at night. Larry Lively, General Manager, chose Marina Power & Lighting's(800/723-8009, Hatteras 30”- tall Lexan-housed light fixtures whose 13 watts of amber fluorescent bulbs provide 360° of light and shine downward. The purpose of this particular lighting system is to provide adequate lighting for safety of guests and allow for low lights to not detract from the beautiful star-filled sky in this remote area. These lights would be perfect for any garden or courtyard area at any hotel.

A state-of-the-art fire suppression system was another important feature of the new dock. A 15-hp. central pump provides lake water in case of fire, and can be turned on via a start switch in hose cabinets placed at 100— intervals along the dock walkway.

The other half of the Lively team, Susan, Office Manager, says, “General cleaning around the boats and store is accomplished with EnvirOx'sH2Orange2's117 Concentrate solution, (800/281-9604, which is used in and on refrigerators aboard the houseboats. “We love to use the H2Orange2 Mineral Shock on the copper-bottom pans provided in the houseboat kitchens because it shines them right up, and they look fabulous with no scrubbing. In fact, we—ve replaced all our pots and pans with copper-bottom ones because they look so good when they're shiny. For cleaning windows, mirrors and all glass, we dilute Windex one to 10. Vinegar is used when cleaning our drinking fountain in the store because it removes water spots easily. A mixture of vinegar and baking soda is used in bathrooms, especially those that might have odors. Our —green— steering committee is constantly looking for new —green— products.”

The lake has risen 56— during the last ten months, and is now at its highest level in the last 11 years. Because the water is steadily rising, it means that the shoreline has to be cleaned up every day—new trash is constantly floating to the marina'sshores.

The resort'sstore offers a number of environmental products for sale including T-shirts made from recycled soda bottles, drinking glasses and decorative accessories made from recycled glass bottles, bathroom paper and tissue made from recycled paper and recyclable trash bags.

The resort has an ongoing recycling program and collects and recycles cardboard, aluminum and plastic. One of the most unique recycling efforts at the marina has been provided by Berkley Fishing Company. A collection box is provided for collecting and recycling used fishing line and reels. The line is sent back to the manufacturer where it is melted down and made into fish habitat. Discarded fishing reels are also collected and returned to the manufacturer for recycling. (Call Berkley at 800/237-5539+4+3 to order FREE line and reel collection boxes.)

Recently, Lake Amistad Marina was notified by the Environmental Protection Agency that they will be receiving a National Environmental Performance Track Award this spring. To date a total of fourteen Forever Resorts— properties have achieved this outstanding recognition from the EPA.

See Forever Resorts— Environmental Commitments page at Larry and Susan welcome your praise, comments or questions at 830/774-4157 or

JAN/FEB 2005


10-year CHARTER MEMBER Habitat Suites Hotel in Austin, Texas, is one of our greenest member properties. The 20-year old, smoke-free property has 72 1-bedroom suites and 24 2-bedroom suites on 2 floors. It is located across the street from Highland Mall's150 retail shops and 16 theaters, and is 8 miles from downtown. The spacious suites (570 sq. ft. 1-bedroom and 780 sq. ft. 2-bedroom) satisfy travelers with full kitchens, real fireplaces, windows that open, dual-line data phones with voice mail and free local calls. Amenities include an outdoor pool and heated whirlpool spa with an ionized water system. Also available is a coin-op laundry and a hospitality hour during the week with beer, wine and light snacks. The hotel was not designed or built with ecological considerations in mind.

The managing partners of Habitat Suites Hotel, Eduardo Longoria and John McCready, had a vision and commitment to a sustainable future. So, this award-winning hotel is a model of environmental consciousness for other hotels to follow. Programs in air quality, land use, energy efficiency, waste reduction and management, recycling, resource conservation, water quality and conservation, human health and public education make Habitat Suites a pleasant place to stay for their guests and a more profitable business for owners.

STAFF: One of the most significant results of their very thorough environmental program is that employee turnover is virtually non-existent. A core group of 18 of their 23 employees have worked at Habitat Suites from 3 to 14 years. Five employees are part-time seasonal workers. Management actually has a waiting list of people who want to work there. Employees have their own community on the property¾a support system, a “family” and they take care of each other as well as hotel guests and clients. Guests see the same faces visit after visit. Housekeepers are not “on the clock.” They are paid $3.75 per room cleaned each day. Stayover rooms take about 20 minutes to clean while checkouts take approximately 30 minutes to clean. So, these very efficient housekeepers earn about $8.50 to $8.75 per hour and generally work from 9 am till 1:30 pm. They are paid as though they—ve worked a full 8-hour day at the $8.50+ rate. Housekeepers then have more time with their children and families or may choose to earn more money by cleaning homes or offices. Common areas are cleaned twice a day. In the morning before work at about 5 or 5:30 am, kitchen staff clean common areas which inspectors clean at about 2 pm each afternoon.

OCCUPANCY: Habitat Suites— average occupancy rate for all of 2004 was 71%, but it was 76% for the first nine months of the year. These numbers are well above the area average of 55% occupancy. Average stay is 4.3 nights per visit.

GUESTS: Another astounding fact is that 85% of Habitat Suites— guests are repeat customers. Natalie Marquis, General Manager, says, “If guests know you have an interest in them, it affects them in a very positive way.” The property is an independent and does almost NO advertising and has no branding. All business is via word-of-mouth. Natalie believes that 75 to 80% of their guests are state or Federal employees.

Habitat Suites does have a reward program for recommending a new guest. The person recommending receives a $20 gift certificate to any restaurant or chain in the Austin area. Because a room discount would not reward an individual who is on an expense account, it'sfelt that the restaurant or other gift card is a better way to reward the person recommending.

GUEST ROOMS: Guestroom baths are provided with Aloe Vera-based biodegradable, 100% natural, vegetable-oil based personal care products with no dyes or artificial scents from 2-cartridge dispensers. No little plastic bottles are discarded. Biodegradable, unbleached 100% recycled-content Preference facial tissue and Gulf Coast coreless bathroom tissue are available in suite bathrooms.

All units have either a porch or a deck with a bench or chair for outdoor enjoyment. 72 of the 96 suites have fireplaces. Pine Logs, a composite, are provided because they burn cleaner than real wood and burn completely. High-efficiency HVAC systems are central rather than window units. Filters are washed monthly and reused. The ducts are cleaned monthly as far as can be accessed with vacuum tools and hoses. Live plants are provided in each suite to help clean the air. All suites have windows that open for natural ventilation.

CLEANING SOLUTIONS: Maintenance and housekeeping staff are exposed to virtually zero chemical offgassing. Only nontoxic, phosphate-free natural cleaners are used. When Natalie realized that the property was trucking in and recycling 220 1-gallon containers of Melaluca'scleaners each month, she determined that a change had to be made. She now deals with a local vendor, Ecowise, who purchases Bi-O-Kleen'sorange oil in 55-gallon drums. He transfers the product to 5-gallon containers which are delivered to Habitat Suites. At delivery, he picks up the empty 5-gallon containers for reuse. So, there is no waste and the property is buying locally.

The orange oil is a concentrate which is diluted in a standard 32-oz. spray bottle, 2 ounces to 30 ounces of water for cleaning bathrooms. The concentration for cleaning and degreasing in the kitchen is bumped up to 2-1/2 to 3 ounces in a 32-ounce bottle. The product is odorless on drying, and there is no offgassing and no residue. Laundry detergent is Bio-Kleen'sECOS which is citric-oil based. When necessary, which is very seldom, a non-chlorine bleach (Earth Friendly brand) is used for whites. Vinegar and water is used to clean mirrors and glass. Baking soda is used for cleaning refrigerators. The furniture polish recipe is 1 part linseed oil to 3 parts lemon oil on a damp cloth.

LAUNDRY: The property has one large 60-gallon Unimac washer used for most of the laundry, and it has a 20-gallon water-recycle tank on top. The final rinse water from one wash is stored in the top tank and then used for the first wash cycle of the following wash. This recycle tank saves about 350,000 gallons of water annually. One smaller washer is used for duvet covers or lighter jobs. Guests are given the option of reusing towels and not having sheets changed every day to save on water, detergent, energy and labor.

FABRICS: All-cotton sheets are provided on all guest beds along with down-alternate pillows. Bedspreads are being replaced with washable microsuede duvet covers which are washed at checkout if soiled. If the covers are not soiled, they are simply rinsed and fluff dried. All upholstered furniture in guestrooms is covered with chenille fabric. As draperies are replaced, new styles with thermal reflective liners are being hung in the suites to keep rooms naturally cooler. Sheers are also being installed on all guest windows, so there is privacy and the benefit of natural sunlight simultaneously.

WATER: 1.5 gpm showerheads and 1.5 gpm sink aerators conserve thousands of gallons of water. The aerators alone have reduced the amount of water used by 20-25%. These and other water-saving efforts save 6,410 gallons of water per day—almost 2,400,000 gallons per year! The single Waterless No-FlushÔ Urinal recently installed in the common area restroom will save an estimated 50,000 gallons of water annually.

GHA'sFAVORITE: The hotel observes stress-reducing “quiet hours” from 9 pm to 9 am. Signs throughout the property remind guests to protect each others— quiet during these hours. Anyone who violates this rule is asked to leave the premises, pay for their suite as well as for the suite of the guest/s they disturbed and are placed on a “Do Not Register” list. What a grand idea!

SWIMMING POOL: Their outdoor pool and heated whirlpool spa use an ionized water system. An Aquarite Salt Generator was just installed a few months ago. This eliminates the use of chlorine in the pool, eliminating the use of about 250 lbs. of chlorine tablets a year! Now, they simply add 50 lb. bags of solar salt crystals (Lowe—s) about once a month. The salt water is circulated continuously over an electrode, producing sodium chloride which is stable and has no odor. The salt is barely detectable to the taste, but almost matches eye salinity, making swimming with your eyes open a delight. Also, the salt increases buoyancy, making the water feel more like a dip in the ocean than your standard chlorinated pool experience. Management is especially proud of eliminating all that chlorine use.

LANDSCAPING: Native plants and flowers have been planted on the grounds because they require less water. Ewing water-saving sprinklers with variable-head nozzles are used as needed in the evenings. Grounds are maintained with the use of natural, nontoxic fertilizers such as Medina, seaweed, “manure teas” and colloidal rock phosphates. Pests are controlled with natural pyrethrins and beneficial nematodes. Trees have been planted to shade suites from the summer sun while lowering air conditioning costs. Vines on plant trellises and on brick work reduce energy use. Organic landscape trimmings are composted and returned to the gardens. Plans are afoot to build a pond in front of the guesthouse that will capture air conditioner condensate that now flows out into the parking lot. The pond will be inhabited by fish, snails and perhaps a turtle or two to keep the algae cleaned up. This will add to the already abundant wildlife on the property such as lizards, birds, butterflies, frogs and insects. Ladybugs populate the grounds as well. Fruits, berries, nuts, herbs and medicinal plants are maintained for use in the kitchen and to help feed wildlife.

RESTAURANT: A full, complimentary breakfast is the only meal served. Everything from Organic Whole Oat Groats, soy milk, brown rice syrup and Kukicha (Twig) tea, free-range scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, biscuits and gravy are served daily. Habitat Suites— goal is to make healthy choices available while choosing the highest quality, locally-grown products possible. Guests are also invited to try something new—like twig tea instead of coffee. One vegan and one macrobiotic entree are offered at breakfast. Nothing is deep fried, which eliminates the need to recycle grease.

RECYCLING: Individual recycling bins are provided in each suite and throughout the hotel. Paper, newspaper, cardboard, aluminum, metal, glass and plastics are recycled. The property now recycles 2.5 times the volume of trash that is put in the dumpster. Because the size of their dumpster could be reduced, waste-hauling costs have been lowered by $80/mo, saving almost $1,000/yr. Waste Management handles both trash and recyclables, and charges only $23/mo. to haul recyclables. There is no income from the recyclables. Quarterly trash audits are conducted by volume rather than by weight. All recycling data sheets are in English and Spanish, so staff knows what is recycled and to reuse the plastic that can'tbe recycled for mixing cleaners, etc.

Buying recycled-content products and minimizing consumables is a big part of their recycling program. Natalie says, “We must be totally aware of exactly what is going into the landfills, and we must do everything we can to reduce that volume.” All hotel promotional and sales materials are printed on recycled paper and printed with soy-based ink.

ENERGY USE: Programmable thermostats, which can be cycled off by the city during peak demand times, were installed 2 years ago and have reduced electric consumption by 11%. The reduction was offset by a 3% increase in their energy demand due to some remodeling projects. So, overall energy cost was down by 4%. Their energy costs might have actually gone up if they hadn'tenrolled in Austin'sGreen Choice Program, which resulted in a 24% reduction in their fuel charge. Five years ago Habitat Suites signed a 20-year contract that locked in their energy rates. The contract has been a fabulous money-saver, and also made their solar energy rebate (see following) possible.

Last December motion- and heat-activated “people sensing” programmable SmartSystems Thermostats using a radio frequency were installed in all guestrooms. It is estimated that energy use will be reduced by an additional 32,000 kW annually with these new thermostats. The guestroom temps float between 66° and 76°F when guests are out of the room, but can return to the preferred setting within 17 minutes when the guest returns. Energy savings have resulted in removing an estimated 156 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—the equivalent of planting over 5,300 trees or removing 34 cars from the streets.

As a result of Habitat Suites— environmental and conservation efforts, their overall utility bill is in the 23-27% range of their total expenses—refuting the perception that it is prohibitively expensive to operate in an environmentally sound manner. Window tinting on windows that receive direct sun, radiant barriers under roofs, proper ceiling insulation, weather stripping and duty cycling timers on circuit breakers all reduce energy use. All guestroom light fixtures have compact fluorescent bulbs. Water heaters are lowered to an efficient temperature—125°F in summer and 130°F in cold winter months.

SOLAR ENERGY: Primarily because of a very generous (almost 80% of the total cost!) City of Austin rebate program, Habitat Suites will have 108 solar panels installed beginning January 11. This will be the largest on-site solar generation program of any hotel in the country and one of the largest commercial applications in the state. The rebate has made it possible for Habitat Suites to install the maximum number of PV cells the property can host, with a rating of 97% efficiency! Meridian Solar (512/448-0055, is in charge of this project.

METAL DOORS: The property had 20 metal in-service entrance doors that were about to be replaced because the bottom 5” of the doors were rusty. Instead of replacing them at $600 per door (totaling $12,000), staff reworked the bottom of the doors by placing wood in the bottom of the doors, using Bondo as filler, sanding and painting. A low-VOC exterior paint recommended by Austin Energy'sGreen Building Program was used to paint the doors. A huge saving was the result and nothing went to the landfill!

FLOORING: Habitat Suites has taken a unusual tack in updating 3 kitchen floors. A slurry of magnesium oxide only 1/8” thick was poured on top of the vinyl flooring that was already in place to create beautiful new flooring. Magnesium oxide is a very old, very strong form of concrete that is being used again. It can be colored, and swirls and patterns can be applied. Nothing was spent to remove the old flooring and nothing was sent to the landfill. Cost is about $4.50 per sq. ft. Magnesium oxide can also be used to make repairs in grout and mortar. (GHA will cover this subject more extensively in a future newsletter.)

VENDORS: Because Habitat Suites— goal is to not pass on problems to others and to not send anything unnecessary to the landfill, vendors are encouraged to recycle whatever is being replaced. For instance, Lowe'sagreed to recycle all appliances replaced. Amtech saw that all replaced bulbs were recycled when the property changed over to fluorescent. Sales people understand the environmental goals of management, and notify Natalie with products that fit. Their Sysco salesman notified her of Sterno cans that can be refilled and of organic granola'savailability. We all make decisions with our dollars, and vendors must also believe in and work toward the property'sgoals.

  • Only metal, refillable fire extinguishers with non-ozone-depleting chemicals are used.
  • VendingMisers have been installed on their drink vending machines. They turn off the vending machines— compressors and lights when no one is present. The beverages stay cold, and the miser saves about $100 per machine per year in energy dollars.
  • Motion sensors turn lights on and off in the guest laundry and guesthouse lobby restrooms.
  • Directional fixtures outside prevent the overlap of exterior lighting, reducing “light waste.” The lights are staggered and have different lens so that coverage is complete without having 3 lights shining on the same area. Compact fluorescent bulbs in the outdoor fixtures save an estimated 88 kilowatts each day or 32,120 kW each year.
  • Space for a community garden for employees has been cleared in the rear of the parking lot, next to the compost and mulch area, to grow fruit and vegetables organically. Seeds, plants, water and compost are provided by management. Employees will harvest as they like. It'sbelieved that giving staff this garden area will create better health and value for all of their environmental efforts.
  • Paycheck envelopes are returned to the office for reuse.
  • Curb stops in the parking lot are recycled plastic.
  • Their dry cleaning service uses no toxic chemicals.
  • BEST (Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow) “Success” Award, 1997
  • BEST “Innovation in Waste Management” Award, 1997
  • Texas Environmental Excellence Award for Small Business, 1999
  • City of Austin, ICI Water Conservation Award, 2001
  • ACRC-Environmental Vision Award, Landscaping and Composting, 2001
  • TCRC-Environmental Vision Award, Comprehensive Program, 2001

Employees are encouraged to participate and implement new “green” programs, and are rewarded for taking initiative. An EcoBrochure detailing their programs is provided to guests, potential corporate clients, other hotels and environmental organizations desiring “green” hotels in their communities. The EcoBrochure is available to teachers, homeowners and others on request. Everyone at Habitat Suites works together in a commitment to ecological consciousness.

Natalie says, “There is a threefold motivation to sustaining an environmentally-friendly goal—the emotional component, the health component and the financial component. We know we are doing the right thing environmentally. Our employees rarely get sick because they are not exposed to harmful chemicals or other health hazards at work. Our guests enjoy our low rates ($79-$179) because we don'twant them paying more so that we can do the right thing. We are also helping to support small businesses, many of them local, which provide the environmentally-friendly products that we use. Habitat Suites Hotel also solicits ideas from guests as to what they would like to see implemented, and tries to accomplish what is possible.”

To learn more about Habitat Suites— environmentally-responsible management practices, see their Online Environmental Practices Brochure at Natalie welcomes your kudos, congratulations, suggestions and questions. Call her at 800/535-4663 or e-mail her at

NOV/DEC 2006


The hospitality industry is in the business of selling sleep, yet hotels have been notorious for cutting corners on beds. Hoteliers have been guilty of a multitude of sins, from inexpensive foam mattresses to very cheap pillows and polyester bedspreads in shades of autumn that many guests toss into the closet shortly after check-in. Finally, bedding in hotels is improving, and guests are very happy because they're more comfortable and sleeping better while away from home.

Hotels have discovered through market research and customer satisfaction surveys that guests are saying, “Give me a good night'srest in a comfortably appointed room that is clean and comfortable.”

Starwood'sWestin Hotels introduced its Heavenly Bed five years ago. The Heavenly Bed is a custom-designed pillow-top mattress with 900 individual coils, three sheets ranging in thread-count from 180 to 250, a down blanket and five goose-down/feather pillows—all “cloud-white.” The bed has been so successful that it'sbecome the base of a retail business through which Westin has sold over 30,000 of the beds, sheets, duvets and pillows. The complete king-size ensemble sells online for about $3,000 at

Starwood'sFour Points by Sheraton'sFour Comfort Bed is now following in the footsteps of Sheraton'spopular Sweet Sleeper Bed. The Four Comfort Bed's“white marshmallow” experience will include an 11.5” thick Sealy Posturepedic mattress, four large pillows including two feather/down and two Euro Square lounging pillows, a 9” “Shock Abzzorber” foundation along with a duvet and cotton-blend sheets.

Marriott'sbedding revamp will begin in early 2005 with their top-rated hotels getting a 7” custom-designed Marriott Bed mattress along with three “Euro shams” (large throw pillows covered with decorative upholstery), triple sheeting with 300-threadcount sheets, and upgraded duvet-style down blankets, oversize comforters and feather pillows. Marriott introduced their bed package four years ago. Radisson'sguests will enjoy Select Comfort'sSleep Number mattresses, which can be adjusted for firmness. The mattress— air-chambered technology can adjust the firmness on a scale from 1 to 100. Custom linen sets include white 250-count sheets, feather and down pillows, a duvet and coordinated bed skirt. The majority of Radisson's90,000 beds will be upgraded in 2005 and 2006.

Hilton'sEmbassy Suites, Hilton and DoubleTree brands will have 12.5”-thick Serta mattresses to make guests comfy. Hilton dubs its creamy bedding version Suite Dreams by Hilton bedding. Even Hampton Inns are getting 200-threadcount sheets.

Hyatt'snew Grand Bed has been added to the list. Their new design incorporates a Sealy Posturepedic 720 Series mattress on a bed base as well as a box spring with a custom-designed fitted cover. Bedspreads are out at Hyatt and 21-ounce down blankets are in along with 250-threadcount triple sheeting. Ritz Carlton'ssignature featherbed is legendary.

Calls poured into the Omaha Bedding Company, Omaha, NE, last year after Julia Roberts gushed on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” that the luxurious beds at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago were one of her great pleasures in life. Four Seasons has already shipped over 4,000 of the beds to pleased guests.

Crowne Plaza'sSleep Advantage program covers all the bases going above and beyond all the rest. Implemented in all 100 hotels, the program includes luxe bedding—natural-colored duvet covers, pillow-top mattresses and cotton blankets plus seven pillows. There are also designated Quiet Zones on certain floors, drape clips, soft nightlights, sleep CDs and a sleep kit including ear plugs, an eye mask and lavender spray, topped off with the Guaranteed Wake Up Call. Wow! The program was developed with the help of Michael Breus of He narrates physical and emotional relaxation exercises on the CD provided to guests (also available on his website).

Mattresses: All innerspring mattresses consist of coiled springs sandwiched between padding. The higher the coil count, the more it costs. And, the more it costs, the thicker the padding, the more natural and more luxurious the materials and detailing. High-end mattresses often have a “pillowtop”—extra layers of softness sewn on both sides of the mattress. These extra layers can make the premium mattress up to 15” thick, which means new “high contour” or “deep pocketed” sheets are necessary.

The director of the Better Sleep Council says, “There are two aspects to consider concerning a mattress—comfort and support. In the comfort category, you—ve got plush and firm mattresses. In the support category, it's—appropriate— or —not appropriate.—” A Bassett Mattress Contract Division rep reports, “Mature guests prefer an extra-firm bed, middle-aged guests prefer medium firmness and younger persons have no preference.” Support is provided by the inner core of the mattress—springs, foam, air or water. A bed that gives appropriate support will conform to the spine'snatural curves and keep everything in alignment as if one were standing. If one wakes up stiff and sore, it'sbecause the spine is realigning itself.

Premium bedding may feature natural materials such as cashmere and silk beneath the quilting. A Stearns & Foster mattress is covered with imported Belgian damasks and sports brass air vents and brass corner guards. A handcrafted Heirloom mattress has pure silk on the top and pure wool on the bottom so it can be turned with the change of seasons.

High-end latex foam mattress manufacturers insist that their all-natural—and very expensive—material is more comfortable than innerspring mattresses because of what Latex International refers to as “conformability” to the sleeper'sbody. The organization cites studies showing that those sleeping on a latex foam mattress toss and turn 10 to 12 times a night rather than the standard 100 to 200 times.

The bedding industry recommends replacing mattresses every ten years or so, but luxury models are said to last three times as long. It is important to look at annual cost. If a mattress costs $260 and lasts 7 years, the annual cost is $37 per year. If a $600 mattress lasts 18 years, the cost per year is $33. Mattress size is another issue. Queen size seems to have taken the place of full size in most homes and many hotels. The extra sleeping space is very important, especially since Americans are growing taller and heavier every year.

There are over 800 companies producing mattresses. Each is devising an endless number of variations—different foams, different fibers, different configurations of springs and all different kinds of coverings. Each is trying to develop something a little bit different in a very competitive market, but the basic ingredients are all the same.

How long a mattress lasts depends on its care. A basic rule is to turn a mattress four times a year by flipping it over, and also turning it end to end. A fairly simple recommendation re turning/flipping mattresses is: Use a permanent marker to write “summer” at the head of the bed, “spring” at the foot. Flip the mattress over and write “fall” at the head and “winter” at the foot. Now if the current season is kept at the head of the bed, the mattress will wear evenly. A luxury mattress will give extra comfort and support for years, and also last longer offsetting the extra cost while providing guests more comfort.

Mattress companies have realized that the public is willing to invest in higher-end mattresses. Consumers understand the importance of a comfortable mattress and the results good sleep provides to one'sworkday. Consumers who spend $125 on a pair of running shoes that they wear only a couple of hours a week are not going to be satisfied with a $300-500 mattress that they sleep on for 8 hours every night for years. Also, when you consider that more than 16 million American adults under age 65 suffer with back problems, it'sno surprise that a good mattress is a high priority at home or when traveling.

GHA has generally felt that triple sheeting is an unnecessary waste, and perhaps something out of the past to protect guests from the old scratchy wool blankets. However, because triple sheeting assures guests of not having to touch or come in contact with blankets that are cleaned on a not-so-often basis, we feel triple sheeting is appropriate in many settings and situations. Anything that brings guests to your doors or makes them more comfortable, certainly regarding cleanliness, is a very important factor in retaining business.

If hotels would do one thing regarding bedding that is never done at home, it would be NOT tucking in all the sheets from head to foot. This issue has even been addressed on Seinfeld. Most hotels probably still use all flat sheets, and for ease of bed making and for appearance, housekeepers tuck all sheets under the mattress at the same time. When the guest wants to get into the bed, and tries to pull the top sheet out from under the mattress, both (or all three) sheets are pulled out. The guest must then partially remake the bed by tucking the bottom sheet back under the mattress. Such a small thing can be SO very aggravating. Hotels would do well to either use fitted bottom sheets or tuck only the bottom sheet under the mattress from head to foot as is done in most homes.

The platform bed has become more popular in homes¾making box springs unnecessary. Some like the spare look, the firmer and less resilient feel and the lower cost as well as the fact that platforms lend themselves to small living spaces. A platform that is larger than the mattress can even work as an instant nightstand and extra seating.

All the changes in hotel bedding reflect the shift to a residential feel in hotel guestrooms—helping guests feel like they're at home so that they rest better when traveling.

Mattresses made with all-natural products can be obtained from: Some other mattress companies are:
Large, Elizabeth, “Slumber numbers: Are high-end mattresses worth cost?,”
Baltimore Sun reprinted in the Houston Chronicle, November 16, 1997

Meade, Vicki, “Once Upon a Mattress,” Lodging, May, 1998, p. 81-84

Elliott, Christopher, “Sleep Tight,” Entrepreneur, February 2002

Four Points by Sheraton Turns up the Heat in Hotel Bed Wars, White Plains, NY,, October 14, 2004

Thrasher, Paula Crouch, “Hotels bring out big fluff in bed wars,” Cox News Service, Detroit Free Press, August 18, 2004

Johnson, Avery and Li Yuan, Travel Watch, “Bedding War In Hotel Industry,” Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2004

Cho, Jenna, “A platform for sleep,” Hartford Courant reprinted in

the Houston Chronicle, October 30, 2004
SEP/OCT 2005

CARBON NEUTRAL? Offset carbon dioxide emissions?

Every day we are each responsible for the production of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere—by using electricity for cooling, heating, watching TV, drying our hair, etc. When energy is created at most of our utility plants (certainly where coal or diesel is burned to create electricity), harmful, invisible CO2 emissions are released into the air. When we drive our vehicles, fuel is burned and CO2 is released into the air. When we take a long driving or flying trip, we're responsible for a lot more of the atmosphere-impacting emissions. When a hotel'slaundry uses huge quantities of energy to wash and dry linens and when a hotel'sHVAC system uses energy to heat or cool, that energy usage creates emissions and the property is responsible for those emissions.

Atmospheric CO2 is critical to life on Earth. Without its insulating blanket, Earth'ssurface would be too cold to support life. But the scientists agree¾too much is not a good thing. Since the industrial revolution, atmospheric CO2 has risen to a level the Earth hasn'tseen in 450,000 years, and we're already seeing the early impacts of what are predicted to be seriously disruptive, even catastrophic, climate changes.

Carbon builds up quickly in the atmosphere and warms the globe as it does so. The world output of CO2 is estimated to be about 22 billion tons per year. One estimate concludes that by 2050 the Earth'seconomy may have to be nearly carbon neutral if severe climate change is to be avoided.

When gasoline burns, the resulting carbon atoms bind with oxygen to form CO2. Burning one gallon of gasoline, which is about 80% carbon by weight, puts 19.5 pounds of CO2 into the air. Driving a SUV for a year can create about five tons of the gas.

Being carbon neutral means a person or a business has offset their non-renewable energy usage.

The first and best way to offset energy usage and reach toward being carbon neutral is simply to be energy efficient. Hotels and we can make many choices—resetting thermostats, installing fluorescent bulbs, offering a towel and sheet program, using energy management systems, line drying laundry, driving less, etc.¾that will reduce CO2 impact. However, we—ll still be responsible for carbon emissions.

Certainly there are practical limits to how energy efficient we can be, so we need to look seriously at ways to offset the global warming impacts of the energy we must use.

The most straight-forward way of offsetting the emissions for which we are responsible is to plant trees because trees take in CO2 and release oxygen. So, trees remove CO2 and store it as timber in a process called sequestration. We can plant trees on our own or we can contribute to organizations that plant trees for us. However, even environmentalists argue whether planting trees to offset CO2 is a wise choice. Measurement of how much gas a tree takes in is difficult, and it is many years before a tree reaches maturity. Trees can burn down.

Another way to offset CO2 is to choose to purchase Renewal Energy Credits (RECs, also called green tags). We can purchase RECs by contributing to organizations sponsoring renewable energy and energy efficiency projects such as solar, wind or hydroelectric power because they reduce other people'sor businesses— harmful emissions.

Purchasing RECs is a way to support the production of clean, renewable electricity, which reduces CO2 pollution from fossil fuel electricity plants. Because of the way the electricity grid works, every kilowatt-hour of electricity from grid-connected wind farms and other renewable sources displaces a kilowatt-hour of electricity from fossil fuels. The resulting reductions in CO2 pollution can be estimated fairly precisely, and some non-profit organizations certify the CO2 results of REC purchases, such as the Climate Neutral Network ( Just as you—d need to plant a certain number of trees to offset your CO2 emissions, you need to purchase a certain number of RECs, and in both cases it depends on where the trees are planted, and where the renewable energy is generated. From the Earth'sviewpoint, only the amount matters; where CO2 is produced or reduced is irrelevant.

Many REC providers offer calculators that people and businesses can use to estimate their CO2 emissions, simply by entering in the data (kilowatt-hours of electricity, gallons of fuel oil, therms of natural gas, vehicle and flight miles, etc.) and pushing a button. For more complicated business CO2 footprints, the World Resources Institute has excellent tools to help you evaluate your impact at, or your REC provider can help.

The US EPA recently launched an online carbon calculator at

To calculate the CO2 emissions from energy usage at your property or your home:
  • Multiply the number of electricity kilowatts used in a year by 0.00016. If the energy source uses hydroelectric, solar or wind power, emissions generated will be lower.
  • Multiply the number of gas kilowatts consumed in a year by 0.00005.
  • Add the two items above to learn the total kilowatts used in a year to find the number of tons of carbon created for your property'sor your behalf.
  • Multiply the number by five for an approximate number of trees to be planted each year. The variety of tree and the location of the planting program will vary.

Avis Europe offers an option of paying to plant trees to offset gas emissions of their rental cars. Some hotels are involved.

To learn more about being carbon neutral or to go low-carb (not carbohydrates, in this case), see,,, or GHA Ally Member

“Offsetting carbon dioxide emission,” Green Hotelier,
November, 2001, p. 10-11
Regalado, Antonio, “New Lifestyle Option for the Eco-Minded: —Carbon-Neutral—”, The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2004,
DiPaola, Mike, “Neutralize Yourself,” Conde Nast
Traveler, September, 2004, p. 114
JUL/AUG 2004


When choosing janitorial cleaning products, it is very important to obtain the material safety data sheet (MSDS) along with any other technical information. Use the information in determining which cleaning products to use. Here are three approaches to finding safer products:
  • Evaluate the risks of alternative products yourself.
  • Find cleaning products that have been certified as environmentally preferable by Green Seal or a similar organization.
  • Find cleaning products that have been identified as environmentally preferable by major government agencies.

This article covers technical issues that need to be considered in determining if a product can be a risk to users, building occupants and the environment.

VOC Content

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contribute to indoor air pollution and photo-chemical smog. Though cleaning chemicals are not the most significant source of indoor VOCs, Green Seal, a “green” product certification organization, states “they are a significant source of VOCs to the workers who use them.” Inhalation toxicity of any cleaning product is, therefore, an important factor in purchasing decisions.

MSDSheets usually list the VOC level of the product. If not, contact the manufacturer for a technical data sheet or other information that includes the VOC level. Massachusetts has found products in many categories with a zero level of VOC, and Federal regulations limit the amount of VOCs permitted in particular categories of cleaning products (see following table).

To Find Products with Reduced VOC Content:
  • Avoid aerosol products because they almost always contain more VOCs than non-aerosol equivalents.
  • Be sure the product is within the Federal legal limit for VOC content (see following table).
  • Compare comparable products and choose the one with the lowest VOC level.

Skin and Eye Irritants

Many janitorial cleaning products contain chemicals that are either mildly or strongly irritating to the skin and/or eyes. These substances are typically either highly alkaline (with a very high pH of 11 or above) or highly acidic (with a very low pH of 2 or below). The pH level is usually listed on the MSDS under “Physical Data.” Products with either a very high or a very low pH level should be avoided whenever possible. A pH of 7 is neutral, so products with a pH closer to 7 are usually less irritating.

The Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project has published an extensive list of toxic chemicals potentially found in cleaning supplies that are irritating to the skin and/or eyes. The list indicates the severity of the effects of each chemical, ranging from temporary irritation to burns and blindness. For fact sheets on specific chemicals that the project recommends should not be used, that it recommends should be used only with extreme care (and avoided if possible), or that it recommends should be used with routine care, see

Green Seal has also looked at a variety of chemicals used in cleaning products and produced a matrix indicating which of these chemicals are highly or mildly irritating. This information can be found in Appendix A of Green Seal's“Survey of General-Purpose Cleaners, Bathroom Cleaners, and Glass Cleaners,” published 5/02 as part of their efforts to produce a standard for institutional cleaners. It is available at

Toxic Chemicals

A wide variety of toxic chemicals are found in janitorial cleaning supplies, some of which are associated with human health effects and ecological impacts, including death, cancer, damage to major organs, and interference with normal reproduction and development, among other things. Toxic chemicals contained in cleaning products can be identified by reviewing product labels, MSDSs and web sites, although these can be limited. However, even if the only information available on the product is its MSDS, this can often provide sufficient information to enable potential users to make a decision about its use.

Allowable VOC Content of Cleaning Products*

Product Category Federal Limit for VOC Dilution** Green Seal Standard Limit Lowest VOCLevel of Products Listed
Air fresheners, single-phase 70% - -
Air fresheners, double-phase 30% - -
Air fresheners, liquids/pumpsprays 18% - -
Air fresheners, solids/gels 3% - -
Bathroom and tile cleaners,aerosols 7% - -
Bathroom and tile cleaners,all other forms 5% 1% 0%
Dusting aids, aerosols 35% - -
Dusting aids, all other forms 7% - -
Engine degreasers 75% - -
Fabric protectants 75% - -
Floor polishes/waxes forflexible flooring materials 7% - -
Floor polishes/waxes fornonresilient flooring 10% - -
Wood floor wax 90% - -
Furniture maintenanceproducts, aerosols 25% - -
General-purpose cleaners 10% 1% 0%
Glass cleaners, aerosols 12% - -
Glass cleaners, all otherforms 8% 3% 0%
Laundry prewash, aerosols/solids 22% - -
Laundry prewash, all otherforms 5% - -
Laundry starch products 5% - -
Oven cleaners, aerosols/pump 8% - -
Oven cleaners, liquids 5% - -

*Note that states or localities may have more stringent limits. This table refers to the VOC level allowed in the ready-to-use product. To calculate the VOC level from a MSDS for a concentrate, divide the VOC level on the MSDS by the recommended dilution factor.

**Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, Chapter I, Part 59, “National Volatile Organic Compound Emission Standards for Consumer and Commercial Products.”

- Signifies that no standard has been set or that no information is available on this type of product.

For example, para-dichlorobenzene (para) is a persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemical (PBT) frequently found in deodorizing urinal blocks. Para can be harmful to workers who breathe large amounts of the deodorant vapors and can also contaminate surface water or water supplies when flushed into the sewer system. According to the Agency for Toxic substances and Disease Registry, para has been found in 13% of surface drinking water samples in the US and in trout from the Great Lakes. It was also found in over 20% of the streams surveyed by the US Geological Survey in 1999 and 2000. Alternatives are available, such as sulfonated or enzyme-based urinal blocks. Another option is experimenting with cleaning practices that eliminate the need for the blocks. A county in New York tested several alternative deodorant blocks and then specified non-para-containing urinal blocks. Their new choice prevented approximately one ton of para blocks from entering the sewer system.

Because most jurisdictions limit the phosphate content of cleaners, most products on the market do not contain high levels of phosphates, which can promote algae blooms in bodies of water. Be aware that not all cleaners are affected under these laws including specialty cleaners such as trisodium phosphate (TSP). Other chemicals to avoid include ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) and nitrolotriacetic acid (NTA). These chemicals are not normally biodegradable and can cause problems in water treatment plants by preventing the removal of metals from the wastewater.

Web Sites with Additional Information on Toxic Chemicals

To learn more about the potential human health and ecological impacts of particular chemicals and products, see the following:
  • offers easy-to-understand information on the hazards associated with thousands of toxic chemicals and links to many other sources.
  • provides fact sheets on janitorial pollution prevention and worker safety, information on particular chemicals used by janitors, and reports on the Santa Clara County and Richmond, CA, Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Projects.
  • is a searchable database of basic information and toxicology links for almost any chemical.
  • is a material safety data sheet archive, providing links to hundreds of MSDSs for products and individual chemicals.
  • offers a database of occupational health guidelines for chemicals considered hazardous by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  • offers a database of easy-to-read fact sheets on the hazards of a number of chemicals.
  • offers a database of information on many toxic chemicals selected by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), as well as the NTP's“Ninth Report on Carcinogens” (released in 2000), with results of studies updated every two years.
  • offers fact sheets covering workers health and safety information on many hazardous chemicals.
  •, the US EPA'sMaster Chemical Integrator, is a single-location master list integrating the databases of chemicals monitored in all its major programs: Air, Water, Hazardous Waste, Superfund and Toxic Release Inventory. Invaluable in negotiating the maze of EPA resources on the web.

Some of these databases, and many of the certification organizations and government-sponsored pilot projects studying the toxic effects of janitorial cleaning chemicals, may also cite universally accepted sources of information such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer ( and the National Library of Medicine'sToxNet database ( However, the nonscientist may find the information contained at these sites difficult to understand.


Product dyes is another important issue. Some manufacturers are willing to supply their products with or without colorants. Factors to consider on both sides of the issue are: Undyed products are free of chemical dyes, which are often environmental toxicants and sometimes are carcinogens. Yet many cleaning companies prefer dyed products because they reduce the risk that janitors will mix up products, with dangerous results. One alternative is using colored bottles, or some other clear visual distinction between different products or different concentrations of the same product.


In addition to differences in janitorial cleaning products themselves, amounts and types of packaging may differ among brands. To reduce packaging waste, many environmentally preferable cleaning products can be purchased in bulk or in concentrate form, and many come in containers that are reusable, refillable, recyclable or made with recycled content. In addition, a growing number of products come in containers designed to minimize occupational exposure when their contents are transferred to another container before or during use.

To Locate Products with Environmentally Preferable Packaging:
  • Ask if the vendor will take back empty containers for reuse.
  • Ask what kind of plastic (or other material) the containers are made of, and speak with the facility'srecycling vendor or an appropriate local official to find out if these containers are recyclable in your area.
  • Ask the vendor if the packaging incorporates recycled content.
  • Avoid polyvinyl chloride (PVC) packaging, which is not recyclable and may contain metals and/or phthalates (these are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals and possible reproductive toxins).
  • Ask if the product comes in concentrate form.
  • Ask if automatic dispensing equipment is available to reduce waste and minimize worker exposure to the concentrate.
  • Product Literature and Training Materials
  • Product literature should provide adequate information to enable potential consumers to make decisions about when and how to use the product. If the information needed to make these decisions is not available, the manufacturer may not be committed to providing a safe product.
At a minimum, product literature should contain information on:
  • How to store, mix and use the product.
  • Any chemicals with which the product is incompatible.
  • How to access the supplier'scustomer service department for answers to health, safety or environmental questions.
  • How to properly dispose of unused products, wastes and containers.
Chapter 5, Selecting Safe Janitorial Cleaning Products: What to Avoid and What to Look For, Cleaning for Health, INFORM,
MAY/JUN 2004


Probably the most important part of any structure is its roof. When compared with other portions of a building envelope, the roof has a shorter life, is much less durable and less energy-efficient. Over the normal lifetime of a building, the average roof needs to be replaced four times. Over 75% of roofing work in the US is re-roofing, and it is the second largest contributor to solid waste generation in the US.

The goal is to keep rain, sleet and snow out and to shield the interior as much as possible from the sun'sheat. There are many choices of roofing materials, but probably true that the more costly the roof, the longer its expected life. Choice of roofing materials depends mostly on location, i.e., how hot or how cold temperatures can be. Geographically, roof system choices should be determined with regard for that area'sweather conditions.

The simple fact is that white reflects heat while black absorbs it, so dark roofs in hot areas are unwise. Light-colored roofs can have a reflectance value as high as 85% while a dark roof may have a reflectance value of 10% or less. Cool roof membranes reduce air conditioning energy required to maintain comfort and substantially reduce the peak roof temperatures. Reduced roof temperatures improve the durability and extend the life of the system. One study by the Florida Solar Energy Center found that AC energy use was reduced by an average of 23% via increased roof reflectance. Significant differences were also found in attic temperatures. A minimum energy savings of 10-20% is expected from an energy-efficient roof that incorporates a radiant barrier and light-colored roofing material.

In areas where hot weather is predominant, white reflective, lightweight roofing membrane is a common choice as well as single-ply or aluminum cap sheet roofs. Where wet winter weather is predominant, EPDM membrane or built-up roofing are the systems of choice. In cold, dry areas, insulated PVC membranes work well. Very wet areas require roofing that can tolerate standing water for long periods.

Moisture tolerance and wind resistance are the two major factors that improve the energy efficiency and durability of low-slope roofing systems. Moisture is the precursor to premature failure of roofing systems because the insulation is degraded, metal components such as fasteners and metal decks corrode and excessive weight is added to the roofing system. A study found that if low-slope roofing could be kept dry, over three-fourths of a quadrillion Btus of energy could be saved each year in the US.

Wind is the second largest contributor to premature roofing failure. About ten billion dollars is paid out in insurance claims each year to compensate for natural disaster losses, most of which are caused by wind. Approximately 50% of that money goes to replace roofs that have been damaged or lost because of wind.

Currently, the roof of a typical commercial building has an average life of 12 years and a 12 R-value. The goal of Oak Ridge National Laboratory'sR30/30 roofing program is to demonstrate the marketability of new roof systems that have an average service life of 30 years and a 30 R-value. For further information on the study, see

Roofing Terms:
  • Asphalt Shingles: Composition, Fiberglas or organic. White shingles are available with 40% reflectance. Crushed granite granules are pressed into the shingles while hot and soft. Usually contain an additive to inhibit biological growth to avoid roof discoloration. ISP Minerals of Hagerstown, MD, has developed a whiter white roofing granule which can be fabricated into shingles with reflectance exceeding 50%.
  • Bitumin: Various mixtures of hydrocarbon products which can be natural or created through the distillation of petroleum or coal.
  • Built-Up Roof: Also referred to as “tar and gravel” or “hot mopped” roofing, multiple layers create a flat or low-sloped roof. Layers alternate between felt and hot tar with a top layer of fine gravel.
  • Cementitious Roofing: Tiles are made of steam-cured cellulose fiber-reinforced portland cement or concrete and are very durable, resisting weathering, insects, fire and fungus. Wind uplift is resisted by their weight.
  • Clay Tile Roofing: Made of kiln-fired clay, it is one of the oldest and most durable of roofing materials. Extremely weather-resistant, fire-proof and insect-proof. Usually requires strong structural roof decks. Fastened with clips and fasteners. Cools quickly when temperatures drop.
  • Coal Tar Pitch: A water-proofing material made of bituminous material used with tar and gravel built-up roofing.
  • Coatings: Range from white paint to elastomeric, ceramic and aluminized coatings. Choose a reflective product that maximizes reflectance. Not all white or light-colored products are highly reflective. Choose long lasting products because they're good for the environment, are suitable for your application and have lower VOC levels.
  • Fire Rating: Fire resistance ratings for roofs range from A (highest) to C (lowest). Some materials do not carry a rating. Choose a B rating, at a minimum. Products should be rated by an independent, third party organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories.
  • Flashing: Whenever roofing is stopped and started again, or stopped, this seal prevents the entrance of water or wind.
  • Longevity: Products with long lives are environmentally more efficient since they create little or no additional manufacturing, shipping, installation, disposal or environmental impacts. The value of the property can also be increased. GHA suggests products with a life of 20+ years be chosen.
  • Membrane Roofing, Plastic: Also known as burnt-on roofing because it is flame sealed, this system is like a large, shrinkwrap sheet covering the roof frame and underlayment. The membrane may be made of a variety of materials, from rubber to thermoplastic. Common types are EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), CPE (chloro-polythylene) and CSPE (chloro-sulfonated-polyethylene).
  • Metal Roofing: Available in aluminum, copper and steel, it can be purchased painted or coated. It is very durable and insect and mold resistant. Though it can be reflective, metal can get very hot.
  • Recycled/Recyclable Products: These materials can reduce manufacturing energy consumption and pressure on landfills. Examples are aluminum panels made of recycled drink cans or tile that incorporates fly-ash (by-product of coal combustion) as fillers.
  • Reflectance: Roofing material'sability to reflect the heat of the sun. A totally reflectant surface has a reflectance rating of 1 (or 100%).
  • Standing Seam: A joint or connection which can be used on metal roofing
  • Wind Resistance: In areas that receive high winds, look for products that have been rated for wind resistance or tested by an independent lab under simulated high-wind conditions.

For low-slope Florida roofs, roofing systems with one, two or three layers of conventional Fiberglas felt underneath work well. Also, coal tar pitch, either cold or hot applied, tolerates standing water and is probably the most durable. Metal standing seam systems fully enclosing the rooftop or installed as facades on the outer edges of the roof with a flat area inside the metal are appropriate.

Foot traffic on a roof is a critical issue when choosing a roofing system. When HVAC or mechanical systems are on the roof and must be maintained, foot traffic shortens the life of the roofing system. Tools and equipment can be dropped, damaging roofing. Any equipment on a roof should be sitting on mechanical curbs rather than directly on the roofing. The best choice by far is to have any equipment enclosed in a separate structure with a roof over it and raised off the roofing system. Built-up roofing is most common where foot traffic is an issue.

The height of the building is also important criteria when choosing roofing. If a building is more than two stories high, hot asphalt-applied systems are not advisable. The hot asphalt must be pumped up from the ground which means the temperature drops during application. Because of the danger of having a kettle of tar with an open flame on a roof, it is illegal in many municipalities because of the fire hazard.

Preventative maintenance is key to keep roofing doing what it'ssupposed to do—keeping water and wind at bay. Some maintenance suggestions of the Hostmark Hospitality Group are:
  • Weekly: Walk the roof. Check to be sure all drains are open and functional. Remove any debris. Inspect for tears in the roofing system or damaged flashing.
  • Every Six Months: Inspect rain caps. Caulk as necessary. Check all rooms under roof for staining from roof leaks. Repair as necessary. White roofs must be washed down about twice a year to maintain reflectance. Weather-degraded or dirty roofs are less reflectant.
  • Yearly: Have the entire roof infrared scanned. Evaluate water concentration in images. If under warranty, a manufacturer'sor installer'srep should inspect the roof.

Many companies are now offering a truly green roof for flat roof spaces—a roof covered with grasses or sedums. These aesthetically-pleasing landscaped roofs provide the environmental benefits of clean air, reduced water run-off and energy conservation. The system replaces the conventional exposed roof surface of asphalt, concrete or stone ballast with an engineered system of plants, soil and drainage over a highly-reliable waterproofing membrane. The low-maintenance system also provides ecological benefits and contributes to municipal goals of decreasing roof areas while increasing green spaces.

Simon, Elaine Yetzer, “Roofing needs to be covered throughout a hotel'slife,” Hotel Operations, H&MM, July 1, 2003, p. 38, 40.
Building Envelopes Program (BEP),
Roofing: Keeping Cool Topside, Choose Green Special
Report, Green Seal, 1997, 10p
Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing, 800/527-7092,
MAR/APR 2004


The US Environmental Protection Agency'sOffice of Pesticide Programs describes antimicrobial products as those “used to destroy or suppress the growth of harmful microorganisms” which are bacteria, viruses or fungi on inanimate surfaces, but not in humans or animals. Because many terms are used to describe antimicrobials, it is important to distinguish them by their properties.

Please note that antimicrobials should not also be used as cleaning products. The surface should be cleaned first with a true cleaning product, and then an antimicrobial product should be applied to rid the surface of harmful microorganisms remaining.

The most common antimicrobial products used to control microorganisms infectious to humans are:
  • DISINFECTANTS are used “on hard inanimate surfaces and objects to destroy or irreversibly inactivate all forms of microbial life but not necessarily their spores” which are the developmental reproductive form of a microbe. All disinfectants do not kill all types of microbes and viruses, but the label of each product should reveal the microorganisms against which the product is effective.
  • The EPA says a product may be labeled a “general” or “broad-spectrum” disinfectant “if (it) is effective against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.” A disinfectant product may be labeled hospital- or medical-grade only if it meets the requirements of a general disinfectant and is also effective against the nosocomial bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Tuberculosis or HIV microbes are not necessarily killed by hospital-grade disinfectants.
  • SANITIZERS are “used to reduce, but not necessarily eliminate microorganisms . . . to levels considered safe as determined by public health codes or regulations . . .. Non-food contact surface sanitizers include carpet sanitizers, air sanitizers, laundry additives and in-tank toilet bowl sanitizers,” according to the US EPA.
  • STERILIZERS are products “used to destroy or eliminate all forms of microbial life, including . . . their spores.” Sterilizers are primarily used on medical instruments that enter the body in health care settings.
  • ANTISEPTICS are products used to destroy a variety of microbes, but because they are used in or on people or animals, they are not generally referred to as antimicrobial. Instead, they are considered drugs and are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not used by housekeeping staff in their work.

All antimicrobials (except those intended to treat animals or humans) are considered pesticides by the US EPA, and they are registered and regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Manufacturers must also provide detailed information on the product'schemical composition and documentation of its effectiveness against specific microorganisms and any hazards associated with its use. Despite these regulations, remember that “unreasonable adverse effect” is open to interpretation—many registered pesticides will have some adverse effects on human health and the environment.

The status of a registered pesticide along with information on its efficacy can be found at California Environmental Protection Agency USEPA/OPP Pesticide Related Database Queries page at

It is important to use antimicrobials where they are needed, but their use should always be evaluated carefully. The use of antimicrobials is a hotly debated issue among public health professionals, some of whom are concerned that widespread use of these agents in consumer products is contributing to the growth of strains of bacteria that are resistant to standard antibiotics. Also, some environmentalists are concerned that antimicrobial chemicals can be toxic to users and to the environment in general, and that they are overused in some settings.

Common Active Ingredients and Their Health Effects
The most common antimicrobials used in disinfectants, sanitizers and sterilizers, their uses and their health effects are:
  • QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUNDS, collectively known as “quats” include the commonly-used benzalkonium chloride (alkyl dimethylzylammonium chloride). Effective as disinfectants or sanitizers on many types of bacteria and some viruses, they are at times combined with other chemicals such as alcohols to form disinfectants that kill a wider range of microorganisms. Because the presence of blood, soil or other materials reduces the effectiveness of quats, surfaces should be cleaned before the quat is used. Be aware that quats may stain floor tile.

    Occupational asthma, allergies or skin sensitization can be caused by repeated exposure to quats. Though very concentrated solutions are corrosive, most off-the-shelf preparations are not concentrated enough to corrode the skin. Benzalkonium chloride is listed as a suspected gastrointestinal and liver toxicant on the Environmental Defense'sScorecard ( Other quat products may have the same attributes. Goggles and gloves should be worn by the users of quat products.

  • PHENOLS are often effective on a wider range of organisms than quats, and many are effective against tuberculosis (always check the label). Usual phenolic compounds used in products are ortho-phenylphenol, o-benzyl-p-chlorophenol, and p-tert-amylphenol. These products may discolor and corrode plastic and painted surfaces or cause rubber to deteriorate. Phenols are usually more expensive than quats or chlorine bleach.

    The environmental impact of phenols is considered to be “high” by the Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project. All of these products can be very irritating to the eyes and skin. The State of California lists ortho-phenylphenol as a carcinogen, and p-tert-amylphenol can be absorbed through the skin. MSDSs and product literature should be consulted and proper precautions should be followed when using any product containing phenol or phenolic compounds.

  • CHLORINE BLEACH, usually a 5.25% solution of sodium hypochlorite is, unfortunately, a commonly used disinfectant in medical, commercial and household settings. Different dilutions are appropriate for different applications. A clean surface requires no more than a 1:10 dilution to be effective against many viruses, molds, mildews and bacteria, including many spores and tuberculosis. Manufacturers often recommend higher concentrations, usually 1:5, but they are selling chlorine! Surfaces must be cleaned before chlorine bleach is used because chlorine is not a cleaner, and becomes less effective in the presence of organic matter, dirt, etc. Bleach deteriorates rapidly, even in a closed container, and loses half its potency after one month. Bleach is highly toxic when mixed with ammonia or quats, forming chloramine gas. Bleach can also produce chlorine gas when mixed with or used in conjunction with strong acids, such as toilet bowl cleaners. Bleach can also discolor fabrics and is corrosive to most metals.

    Concentrated hypochlorite contact can cause corrosive damage to the eyes, skin, nails and mucous membranes. Household bleach at a concentration of 5.25%, however, is not corrosive unless exposure occurs over a long period. Breathing in the fumes of cleaners containing a high concentration of chlorine can cause irritation of the lungs which is particularly dangerous for those with heart conditions or chronic respiratory problems. Safety goggles, masks, gloves, aprons or other protective clothing should be worn by those handling concentrated solutions of chlorine bleach. A plentiful supply of fresh air is necessary.

    A further concern re chlorine bleach is when the manufacturer uses a mercury cell process which leaves contaminant mercury in the product. Though the concentration of mercury may not be high enough to cause health risks, it may be sufficient to trip the mercury limit allowed in water discharged down the drain to a water treatment plant. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin responsible for many environmental and health problems, which have resulted in government agencies issuing advisories against the consumption of many types of fish.

  • ALCOHOLS commonly found in disinfectants are ethyl alcohol (ethanol) and isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) which are usually combined with phenolic compounds or ammonium quats in commercial products. Alcohols alone are effective against some bacterial and fungal species—combined with other ingredients, their efficacy range may be expanded.

    Ethyl and isopropyl alcohol in very concentrated solutions can have significant safety and health effects. They are very volatile, flammable liquids in concentration and produce poisonous gases in a fire. Alcohol products should be stored in a cool area, away from heat and sparking equipment. Alcohol is 100% VOC.

    Ethyl and isopropyl alcohol are absorbed through the skin and can irritate the skin, eyes, upper respiratory tract and throat. Prolonged exposure in an enclosed or poorly ventilated area to products that are 10%+ alcohol can also cause dizziness, headache, decreased pulse and blood pressure, vomiting and collapse. Staff who handle concentrated alcohol solutions must be provided with ventilation and protective equipment and with solvent-resistant clothes and gloves, splash-proof goggles and face shields.

  • ALDEHYDES (glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde) are most often used as sterilizers, but they may also be found in some disinfectants—particularly those used in medical, agricultural or manufacturing settings.

    These substances are very toxic, and should only be used with protective equipment, and can cause severe skin, eye and respiratory irritation, headache, nausea and vomiting. Products containing these ingredients should be avoided.

  • IODINE in iodine products can be effective against some bacteria, viruses and tuberculosis. However, it'snecessary to check the label to determine on what types of organisms the product is effective. Iodine products are not cleaners, so surfaces must be cleaned first.

    The Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project classifies iodine as having a “high environmental impact.” Concentrated solutions can cause severe skin irritation, burns and allergic reactions. Iodine vapor can irritate the eyes, nose and throat. Breathing iodine can cause coughing, shortness of breath and pulmonary edema or fluid on the lungs. Because this chemical has limited effectiveness and several unhealthy and unpleasant effects, it should be avoided.

  • OXIDIZERS such as hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid (also known as peroxyacetic acid) are less common disinfecting ingredients. They are considered “environmentally preferable” by some because of fewer toxic by-products than quats or chlorine. Peracetic acid is almost never used in janitorial cleaners, and is much more toxic than hydrogen peroxide. It can be corrosive to the skin at concentrations below 10% and can cause irreversible eye damage at concentrations as low as 0.2%. Exposure to high levels of peracetic acid can cause liver and kidney damage and pulmonary edema.

    Though hydrogen peroxide is corrosive to the skin at concentrations higher than 50% and will cause irreversible eye damage at concentrations over 10%, few commercial janitorial cleaners contain over 10% hydrogen peroxide. Dilutions that are ready-to-use normally contain less than 2% hydrogen peroxide, which should not be irritating to the skin. At high concentrations, hydrogen peroxide can be irritating to the nose, throat and lungs.

    Concentrated solutions of hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid are highly reactive and have a low flash point. Considered explosion hazards, they must be stored with care to avoid contact with combustible materials, with each other and with other chemicals. Check the MSDS of each product to determine if the concentration is high enough to warrant special storage conditions. Like bleach, concentrates are best stored separately from other cleaning products.

Minimizing Use of and Exposure to Disinfectants

Disinfectants can be the most toxic chemicals used by housekeeping staff. Proper use and protection techniques will reduce environmental and health impacts, making choices about which disinfectants are necessary under which circumstances and substitution of nontoxic or less toxic alternatives when possible extremely important.

Using Disinfectants Correctly
Use the following suggestions to help make informed choices about disinfectant use.
  • Select the correct product by determining the targeted organisms, and choosing products that contain the specific US EPA-registered ingredients needed to kill.
  • Determine how often to disinfect by evaluating the amount of traffic, by identifying the surfaces that are touched most often and by checking US EPA disinfection guidelines, as well as the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other agencies info.
  • Properly dilute products according to the manufacturer'sinstructions. Using disinfectants at full strength is seldom necessary, is wasteful and is dangerous to the users.
  • Always clean before disinfecting. Almost all disinfectants require that the surface be clean (free of dirt, grease, oil and organic substances such as blood) in order for the disinfectant to be effective. Once the surface is clean, the disinfectant may be applied and left in place for the time period recommended. It may be appropriate for the housekeeper to apply the disinfectant and then perform other tasks for the recommended time period before rinsing the disinfected surface.

Though combination products are available, the two steps are still required. Because a disinfectant is not required on the cleaning step, using two different products reduces the amount of disinfectant used.

Diluting and Storing Disinfectants
To reduce workers use of and exposure to disinfectants, dilute products correctly by:
  • Determining the equipment needed to ensure proper dilution and easy use.
  • Calibrate dispensing equipment carefully and often—at least every time a new container of disinfectant is opened.
  • Calibrate equipment using water instead of the chemical product.
  • When calibrating, check the equipment for leaks and malfunctions.
  • Measure the concentrate before putting it in the dilution tank.
  • Use pumps and spigots to decrease the likelihood of spills and contact with skin.
  • Use the lowest concentration recommended to achieve the necessary level of antimicrobial activity. Using higher concentrations than are recommended will not increase the effectiveness, but may increase the likelihood of injury, equipment damage and environmental pollution.
  • Use the least amount of the solution to obtain the desired level of microbial control which will minimize waste and reduce the potential for microorganisms to increase resistance to specific chemicals.
  • Mix only the amount necessary. Do not mix a gallon when only a quart is needed.
  • Always label diluted disinfectants by dilution, name and date of dilution.

Manufacturer'sinstructions should provide information on determining an expiration date of diluted disinfectants preventing inappropriate use and disposal.

Products must be stored and handled correctly:
  • Keep containers tightly closed when not in use.
  • Store disinfectants on lower shelves in their original container, and be sure labels are tightly affixed.
  • Disinfectants must be stored in compatible containers, e.g., corrosives must not be stored in metal containers.
  • Transfer of disinfectants from one container to another must be minimized.
  • Spills must be cleaned up immediately. Refer to the MSDS to be sure the residue of spills is properly managed.
  • Drip pans under spouts are necessary to catch and contain drips.
  • Written procedures for disinfectant use based on current needs and equipment must be established. Post disinfectant use procedures and train all staff. If products or conditions change, be sure procedures are revised and staff is updated.
  • Containers should be checked regularly for leaks, breaks, rust or other corrosion. If a leak or break occurs, transfer the product into another properly-labeled container.

Experts Disagree on When to Use Disinfectants

Disinfectant use is growing in the US for several reasons. Bacteria contamination of food, a cultural aversion to germs, lack of understanding regarding the power to remove microbes of non-disinfectant cleaners as well as regulatory mandates in health care settings are all involved. Because disinfection can result in the substitution of a chemical hazard for a biological one, disinfection should only be done when the biohazard outweighs the chemical hazard.

There is some disagreement regarding the need for routine disinfection of public spaces. The CDC suggests that thoroughly cleaning all hard surfaces that people touch frequently is the most important step in preventing the spread of disease. However, some experts suggest that staff also use a disinfectant to kill any bacteria and viruses that may remain. The Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project suggests an institutional-grade disinfectant for daily use on hard surfaces in high-traffic restrooms and food preparation areas. In addition, milder antimicrobials (sanitizers) “May be used on carpets or in toilet tanks where the goal is to reduce germs to a safe level (typically 0.1%) rather than completely eliminate them.

Other experts disagree, suggesting that the use of a disinfectant be carefully evaluated and note that disinfectants poison the organism but do not clean hard surfaces. In contrast, a thorough cleaning not only kills most microbes but also removes the food and water they need to survive. Undoubtedly, the best approach is to ask whether disinfection is really necessary. Unless a surface or equipment is likely to come into contact with broken skin or mucous membranes, general surface cleaning can be accomplished by washing with a detergent, rinsing and thoroughly drying.

The guiding principle is to prevent the accumulation of germs on surfaces we touch. Cleaning products can often accomplish this goal by themselves. It is not absolutely essential to actually kill these organisms before removing them.

Dishwashing detergents and hand soaps intended for general restroom use often contain antimicrobial ingredients such as triclosan. In most cases, there is no need for these antimicrobials, as concern is growing that their widespread use is producing resistant strains of bacteria. Instead, thorough hand-washing provides the best everyday protection.

Chapter 4, Antimicrobial Cleaning Products, Cleaning for Health, INFORM,
JAN/FEB 2004


by Patricia Griffin, President
Recent attendance at two “green” building shows (Austin, TX and Pittsburgh) resulted in finding many interesting “green” products that can be used in renovation or new build situations. We think this is one issue you—ll look back at from time to time as you find you need these products. So, “green” building products make up the majority of this issue. These products can be difficult to find, and we want you to be sure to find them, purchase them and support the companies, so here goes:
  • Earthblock, Encore! Building Solutions, Inc., 4201 Geraldine Street (Rear), St. Louis, MO 63115, 314/389-4157,, 8”x8”x16” green building block made with 99% recycled materials (waste wood and fly ash). Termite proof, fire proof and will not decay. Accepts wood nails and screws. Employs thinnest mastic instead of mortar. Can be sawn and drilled. Horizontal and vertical raceways for electrical wiring and rebar. No Portland cement used.
  • Durisol Concrete Wall Forming System, 67 Frid Street, Hamilton, ON CN L8P 4M3, 905/521-0999, Durisol, a proprietary material using only natural ingredients, is composed of specially graded raw wood shavings and chips, which are neutralized and mineralized, then bonded together with Portland cement. It can be molded to suit any desired shape, texture and thickness. Hardened Durisol is lightweight, porous and very durable. It does not rot or decay, is vermin, termite and insect proof and does not support fungus growth. Durisol is totally environmentally safe, does not contain or emit any toxic elements, and is fully recyclable. Durisol is a modular, insulated, stay-in-place, concrete forming system. The wall forms are simply dry-stacked and filled with concrete and reinforcing steel. The forms incorporate mineral-fiber (rockwool) insulation that is non-combustible, moisture resistant and positioned towards the exterior of the wall, resulting in additional energy efficiency. The lightweight, thermally insulating Durisol Wall Form, first manufactured in 1946, has expanded to include roof panels, floor forms, noise barriers, retaining walls and bridge panels.
  • Concrete Block, SealTECH™, 800/634-9185, Architectural concrete masonry units. Non-porous surface means less permeability and water resistance. Stronger, yet 10% lighter reduces shipping and labor costs. Available in 16 colors, painting unnecessary. 10% recycled content.
  • Borate Pressure-Treated Wood, Advance Guard, Pressure treated with an EPA registered borate wood preservative for protection against termites, carpenter ants and fungal decay including dry rot. For use in above-ground weather-protected structural framing not exposed to wetting conditions. Lumber, plywood and wood composites such as OSB.
  • Commerical Roof Insulation, HCFC-free “Green” Polyiso rigid board-type roof insulation for thermal protection. Reduced maintenance/replacement costs over the life of the building. Energy conservation. Improved occupant health and productivity. Lower costs associated with changing space configurations. Greater design flexibility.
  • Blown-In Insulation, air krete®, P. O. Box 380, Weedsport, NY 13166-0380, 315/834-6609, A blown-in cementitious insulation made of foamed minerals: magnesium oxychloride cement (derived from sea water) and a particular variety of ceramic talc mined in NY. These minerals are mixed with a proprietary foaming agent (“glorified soap suds”) and sprayed with pressurized air through a foaming gun. Most effective at filling cavities, especially odd-shaped or hard-to-reach spaces. Not flexible after it cures, nor does it bond to surfaces. Most notable as a firestop material, and will not create smoke or contribute to flame spread. Especially effective as a retrofit insulation for uninsulated walls. Recommended around bathtubs and Jacuzzis because it holds in the heat and dampens vibrations, creating a more solid feel for Fiberglas tubs.
  • Erosion control, subsurface drainage, building and construction, waste containment and soil improvement, Enkadrain Drainage and Waterproofing Systems, Colbond, Sand Hill Road, P. O. Box 1057, Enka, NC 28728, 800/365-7391, 828/665-5050, A family of 95% open space, three-dimensional, multilayer drainage products consisting of a core of fused, entangled filaments and one or two nonwoven geotextiles attached. Designed to relieve hydrostatic pressure from soils abutting below grade structures, this “fabric” provides a lightweight alternative to sand and gravel drains. The geotextile filter allows water to pass through to the polymeric core as it retains the surrounding soil. Ground water is then channeled through the Enkadrain to a perforated pipe, weep hole or other discharge system before it ever reaches subsurface walls—keeping the structure dry.
  • Earth Surface Protection, Invisible Structures, Inc., 1597 Cole Blvd., Suite 310, Golden, CO 80401, 800/233-1510, 303/233-8383, Surfacing and stormwater solutions. Grasspave allows driving or parking on grassed areas. Gravelpave holds gravel in place for high-traffic porous parking lots. Rainstore provides underground “tank” storage for stormwater. Slopetame'sthree-dimensional “blankets” contain slope soil. Draincore is a heavy-duty subsurface void for water drainage/air filtration. Beachrings2 is a portable beach boardwalk.
  • Polyguard Underseal XT Waterproofing Membrane, Polyguard Products, Inc., Ennis, TX 75120-0755, 972/875-8421, Provides protection against subterranean termites and as a waterproofing membrane for floors and walls. Stops Formosan termites. Stops moisture. Stops residual pesticides. Stops radon.
  • Thin-film ultravoltaic solar energy panels, Uni-Solar panels, United Solar Ovonic LLC, 3800 Lapeer Road, Auburn Hills, MI 48326, 800/843-3892, 248/475-0100, This roofing technology incorporates thin, flexible solar collectors weighing less than one pound per square foot providing everything for complete electricity generating solar roofs. Glass-free. Water-tight quick connect system. Convert steel roofs and shade structures into an energy source. Systems for membrane roofs require no roof penetrations and employ a bonding laminate.
  • Flexible, lightweight solar panels, Spheral Solar Power, 250 Royal Oak Road, P. O. Box 32100, Cambridge, ON N3H 5M2 CN, 519/650-6513, Produce electricity at considerably lower cost than conventional solar technology, and on a cost-par with fossil-fuel based electricity in many regions of the world. Spheral Solar cells are flexible, durable, bendable and virtually unbreakable. No glass, no aluminum frame, not fragile. Cells are ultrasonically welded together to form modules, without the need for soldered straps. Made of silicon and aluminum and can be applied to virtually any surface.
  • Fiberglass Window Frames, Thermotech Windows, Ltd., 42 Antares Drive, Ottawa ON CN K2E 7Y4, 613/225-1101, Unique ability to manage heat gain and heat loss. Energy savings can be as high as 18%. Help address indoor air quality by being chemically stable and using an ultra low VOC paint. Insulated frames and spacers offer maximum resistance against mold growth caused by condensation.
  • Pentaglas® and Quadwall® Glazing Systems for Standard Translucent Skylights, CPI International, 28662 North Ballard Drive, Lake Dorect, IL 60045, 847/816-1060, Skylights, canopies and walkway covers, retrofit, wall lights, pool enclosures—all incorporating daylighting. Stunning lighting quality—inherent prismatic diffusion broadcasts a greater quantity of pleasing light over a broader area, with no glare or hot spots. Achieves a rich, non-industrial visual appearance and delivers high durability, insulation and UV protection. ControLite® controls the amount of daylight via rotating transparent half cylindrical louvers with opaque flat surface built into translucent polycarbonate panels. Available in full range from simple manual operators to motorized operators to technically-advanced, fully-automated systems.
  • MechoShade Solar Window Shading, MechoShade, 42-03 35th Street, Long Island City, NY 11101, 718/729-2020, Visually transparent roller shading systems promotes energy efficiency through manual, motorized and automated solar shading systems. Maximizes daylight opportunities. Computerized solar tracking for maximum performance and energy efficiency.
  • ***Roof Penetration Seals, ChemCurb System, ChemLink Advanced Architectural Products, P. O. Box 51511, Kalamazoo, MI 49005-1511, 269/344-3330, These polyester composite curbs surround through-the-roof pipes, exhausts, etc. on flat or low-slope roofs and protect against water damage after filled with 1-part or 2-part pourable sealer. No solvents. No VOC. If your property has a flat or low-slope roof, be sure to check this one out! Other products, including standup caulk gun, KnuckleHead mechanical supports, and SnowShoes, are worth checking out as well.
  • UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation, Bonded Logic Inc., 411 East Ray Road, Chandler, AZ 85225, 480/812-9114, Batts made of natural fibers. No formaldehyde. Environmentally safe. LEED eligible. No itch or skin irritation. Class-A fire rated. Treated with an EPA registered anti-microbial agent to resist mold, mildew, fungi and pests. Superior acoustics. Maximum thermal performance. Sustainable building product.
  • ComfortTherm Building Insulation, Johns Manville, Denver, CO, JM is the first and only fiber glass insulation manufacturer to offer a full line of naturally-white formaldehyde-free products, using instead a technologically advanced acrylic resin. The products maintain the highest quality energy-efficient thermal and acoustical properties. A minimum of 25% of the product is recycled glass. ComfortTherm'sunique poly-wrapped batts significantly reduce dust and itch for a cleaner, more comfortable installation. Designed to fit any framing cavity, perforated EasyFit delivers a faster and easier installation process thanks to vertical perforations in the fiber glass batts that eliminate the task of cutting. Yellow insulation means formaldehyde has been added. All bonded, pink, fiber glass insulation products also contain added formaldehyde.
  • Self-Cleaning Glass, Activ™ Pilkington Building Products, P. O. Box 799, Toledo, OH 43697-0799, 866/882-2848, The world'sfirst solar-powered glass uses the sun to clean itself. A special PhotoActiv™ surface uses the energy from the sun to actually break down, loosen and destroy dirt and other organic matter. The coating reacts with ultra-violet (UV) rays from natural daylight to break down and disintegrate organic dirt which is defined as having come from living plants and animals (e.g. bird droppings or tree sap). Rain water runs down the glass to wash the loosened dirt (both organic and inorganic) away so windows dry without spots or streaks. Inorganic dirt will only be removed by water. The pyrolytic surface is an integral part of the glass, not just a coating.
  • Interior Sheetrock Panels, Fiberock® Brand AquaTough, United States Gypsum Company, 125 South Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60606, A new era in substrate performance, designed for wall assemblies in high-traffic areas where moisture, mold and fire resistance are especially important. The 5/8— panels are UL Classified for fire resistance (FRX-G). Made from 100% recaptured gypsum and 100% recycled cellulose fibers from scraps from cardboard box manufacturing. Fiberock Brand Sheathing uses the same technology.
  • SoftWalls™ Inc., 7620-D Rickenbacker Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20879, 301/212-9880, Sustainable acoustical and tackable stretch fabric systems for walls and ceilings offers a solution for all acoustical situations including meeting and conference rooms, restaurants, lobbies and theaters. SoftWalls uses a wide range of edge profiles, core materials and finish fabrics to effectively resolve an acoustical problem.
  • Dual Flush Toilets, Caroma USA, Inc., Pioneer of the two-button dual flush cistern contributing to worldwide water conservation. Half flush uses 0.8 gallons while full uses 1.6 gallons. 4” trap throughway assures unsurpassed flushing efficiency. Ten to 12-inch adjustable rough-in range. Potentially can reduce water usage by up to 67%.
  • Waste and Water Vacuum Systems, Evac Environmental Solutions, 1702 Hutchins Road, Rockford, IL 61115, 888/438-3822 (GET EVAC), 815/654-8300, Evac vaccum toilet systems mean savings through low water usage and low sewage volume. Easy to install and maintain. Uses only 3 pints (1.2 liters) water per flush. Smaller diameter vacuum piping means lower material costs and substantial design, installation and operational costs. Can minimize costly structural modifications in historic buildings. Vacuum drainage systems for kitchens, galleys, pools, Jacuzzis eliminate need for trenching for traditional water and wastewater lines.
  • Hot Water on Demand, Metlund D—Mand Systems, 3176 Pullman Street, Suite 119, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714/668-1200, Hot water in 15-30 seconds without wasting a single drop and by using only a fraction of a penny'sworth of electricity. Circulates the ambient temperature water in the hot water pipes (water that is normally lost down the drain) back to the water heater.
  • Rigid Fiber Glass Air Duct Systems, NAIMA (North American Insulation Manufacturers Association), 44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 310, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703/684-0084, Prevent air duct leakage, achieve superior thermal performance and acoustical insulating properties with rigid fiber glass duct board.
  • Fabric Air Duct Dispersion Products, DuctSox 4343 Chavenelle Road, Dubuque, IA 52002-2654, 866/382-8769 (DUCTSOX), Written about years ago in this newsletter, fabric duct air dispersion is a simple, inexpensive alternative to metal ductwork for HVAC systems. Refined over the last five years, the product is almost a fashion statement in open-architecture areas such as indoor swimming pools, workout rooms, meeting, conference and ball rooms. Perhaps the greatest advantage over metal is its air dispersion characteristics which typically employ a factory-installed linear pattern of orifices and/or vents diffusing a gentle, non-drafty air flow along the entire length of the duct. Fabric duct is a lighter, quieter, faster-to-install air movement system boasting reduced maintenance. When required, sections may be unzippered and laundered to eliminate excessive mold, dust and particulate build-up on inside and outside surfaces helping maintain high indoor air quality.
  • Ventilation Monitoring,, 781/862-4739. A continuous, multi-point, multi-parameter monitoring system specifically designed to diagnose and document ventilation effectiveness in any large building. Know a new or renovated ventilation system is working as intended, satisfying local demand for outside air as occupancy varies. Also know when and where energy is being wasted through over-ventilation. The AIRxpert 7000 provides a data-driven solution by continually monitoring CO2. Free CD.
  • EXIT Signs +, LUNAplast™, Noesis, Inc., 4100 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22203-1663, 703/741-0300, Non-electric photoluminescent safety solutions including EXIT signs that exceed NFPA and UL brightness requirements for 75 foot EXIT signs. Investment break-even in about 3 years. Other luminous products such as path markings.
  • ***All-Natural Carpet and Padding, Bio-Floor, Earth Weave, Carpet Mills, Inc., P. O. Box 6120, Dalton, GA 30722, 706/278-8200, The only 100% natural, non-toxic, soft floor-covering padding we—ve found is the wool padding this company offers. Carpet is made of pure wool. No dyes, moth-proofing pesticides or stain protections are applied. The wool yarns are locked into place with a natural adhesive derived from the rubber tree and is VOC free. The primary backing of the carpet is a combination of hemp and cotton. Hemp fiber is durable, strong and resistant to mold and mildew.
  • Linoleum Flooring, Marmoleum Flooring, Forbo Linoleum, P. O. Box 667, Hazleton, PA 18201, 866/MARMOLEUM, 570/459-0771, Marmoleum linoleum flooring is made of natural ingredients—linseed oil from flax, wood flour, rosins, limestone, pigments and jute—all natural, biodegradable, non-hazardous and renewable raw materials. Adhesives used to install the flooring are totally free of solvents and meet all low VOC requirements. No lead, no formaldehyde, no chlorine. Benefits include durability, positive acoustic properties and thermal insulation. Over 100 colors available.
  • Eco-Tile, Quarry Tile Company, 6238 East Utah Avenue, Spokane, WA 99212, 800/423-2608, 509/536-2812, A commercial grade, glazed ceramic tile made from recycled solid waste which is 70-75% post-consumer recycled glass, post-industrial grinding paste from the computer industry and post-industrial mining waste from the sand and gravel industry. 50+ colors and five field tile sizes are available by special order.
  • Glazed Porcelain Stone Tile Flooring, Geostone EcoCycle, Crossville Porcelain Stone/USA, P. O. Box 1168, Crossville, TN 38557, 931/484-2110, 12”x12” tiles made 50-100% from unfired raw materials, reclaimed from the manufacturing process. Made of naturally-occurring clays and minerals mined in Tennessee and neighboring states.
  • ***Art+ Recycled Glass, TriVitro Corporation, 18420 68th Avenue South, Suite 101, Kent, WA 98032, 425/251-8340, Since 1996 this company has recycled 25,000 tons of glass into a variety of art, architectural and industrial products. Their four product lines are: Glass Aggregates (Specially sized and colored glass for use in terrazzo flooring, tiles, counter tops, panels and craft purposes.) Tumbled Glass (Frosted, translucent glass pieces that provide a unique, colorful material for many art, craft, interior and landscape design applications.) Abrasive Blasting Media (Crushed glass for abrasive cleaning, surface preparation, and blasting.) Water Filtration Media (Finely crushed glass for pool, industrial, and environmental filtration-a direct replacement for silica sand.) Perfect for cigarette ash stands?
  • Natural Cork Flooring, Natural CORK, 1710 North Leg Court, Augusta, GA 30909, 800/404-2675, 706/733-6120, Pre-finished natural cork parquet tile and floating flooring is protected with 5 coats of durable UV cured acrylic finish. Regular maintenance requires only routine sweeping and vacuuming. Wet maintenance is forbidden. Cork provides a comfortable cushion underfoot that is gentle on feet, back and joints. Cork does not spread flames nor does combustion produce toxic gases. The air-filled cells allow cork to provide excellent thermal and acoustic insulation.
  • Recycled Rubber Flooring, ECOsurfaces Commercial Flooring, Dodge-Regupol, Inc., 715 Fountain Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17601, 877/326-7873, Meets stringent LEED criteria. Attributes include outstanding slip resistance, unbelievable durability, cushioned resilience, stain resistance, low VOC emissions, consistent color wear, easy installation and maintenance. E-Grip II is a low VOC, one component urethane adhesive. It is a moisture-cured, non-sag permanently elastic adhesive that has excellent adhesion to elastomers, concrete and wood and is engineered for indoor and outdoor applications. Rolls and tiles can be cut, shaped and tweaked to any length. Molded as interlocking pavers or rectangular tiles. (Check odor levels. pg)
  • Flooring Adhesives, Henry GreenLine products, The W. W. Henry Company, Ardex Engineered Cements, Inc., 400 Ardex Park Drive, Aliquippa, PA 15001, 724/203-5000, High performance adhesives with ultra low emissions and odor. GL23 is a multipurpose adhesive for the installation of commercial carpets and felt-back sheet flooring. GL33 is a VCT adhesive for the installation of vinyl composition tile with the lowest available emissions. GL62 is a carpet adhesive for commercial carpets in heavy traffic areas. GL83 is an adhesive for commercial linoleum sheet flooring.
  • EcoSpec Coatings, Benjamin Moore & Co., 800/622-0550x400, A premium system of low odor, low VOC, 100% acrylic latex flat that provides high hiding, excellent touch up and a uniform flat finish. Painting can be done at any time of the day, with minimal disruption because of fumes or odor. Downtime reduced. Light colors only.
  • 100% Acrylic Regal Matte Finish Paint, Benjamin Moore Paints, 800/622-0550x500, A premium quality acrylic blended latex coating with a spatter-resistant formulation. Regal® Wall Satin® produces a high hiding flat finish that is washable and scrubbable. It features easy application with no unpleasant paint odor, fast dry and soap and water cleanup. Very low VOC paint featuring excellent stain resistance. No deep colors.
  • Schreuder Dutch Paints, Fine Paints of Europe, P. O. Box 419, Route 4 West, Woodstock, VT 05091, 800/332-1556, High performance paints are produced to be the best paints they can be rather than meeting a pricing level. “Super-conditioning” and the use of the finest ingredients are the keys to Schreuder'sperfection of their distinctive high-solids formulations. Free sample pot. Martha'sFine Paints are three premium color collections produced in collaboration with Martha Stewart Living and can be purchased at or
  • 100% Natural Earth Plaster Wall Surface, American Clay Enterprises, LLC, 2786 Agua Fria, Suite B1, Santa Fe, NM 87507, 866/404-1634, Clayote is a 100% natural earth plaster, providing a wholesome environment. A unique combination of clays, aggregates and natural pigments are used to create the colors and textures that make it a natural choice for warmth and beauty. Clay naturally controls climate by regulating arid and humid air, absorbing and releasing moisture in response to environmental changes.
  • 100% Natural Textured Wall Surface, Terramed, Med Imports, 1710 North Leg Court, Augusta, GA 30909, 866/363-6334, 706/364-6334, Terramed is a natural ochre plaster made of clays from the Mediterranean basin combined with sand and cellulose. Cellulose slows the drying process and binds the clay and sand. No addition of chemicals. Only natural pigments are added to enhance some of the naturally colored clays.
  • Natural Hydraulic Lime Mortars and Plasters, TransMineral USA, Inc., 201 Purrington Road, Petaluma, CA 94952, 707/769-0661, Limestone plaster is a 100% natural product and does not contain any additives. In production for over 150 years. No need for blending. Free lime content responsible for workability and self-healing. Elasticity minimizes shrinkage and cracking. Free of any chemicals such as acrylics, resins, etc.
  • Paste-the-Wall Strippable Wallcoverings, Paperez™, Eisenhart Wallcoverings Co., 40 Pine Street, Hanover, PA 17331-0464, 800/931-9255, Paperez goes onto the wall dry. The recommended adhesive is applied to the wall, and a dry piece of Paperez is placed directly onto the pasted wall. The paper is thicker and has a beautiful fabric-like feel. When you want to take it off, Paperez is completely strippable—in full sheets! It can be cleaned with a sponge and a mild solution of soap and water. Printed with environmentally-friendly, water-based inks, Paperez “breathes” so that the potential for mold and mildew are reduced. A primer sealer must be applied to the walls first to assure strippability.
  • Moment Environmental Contract Wallcoverings, Roos International Ltd., 1020 North West Sixth Street, Suite H, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442, 800/888-2776, An extra strong wallcovering based on a cellulose/polyester mix, especially formulated for contract use. A protective finish makes it scrubbable and resistant to grease, coffee, etc. An extensive range of 40 choices. Non-vinyl, breathable, durable, washable, Earth friendly, no PVCs, no chlorine, water-based inks, Class A fire rated.
  • ***Translucent resin panels, Varia Collection, 3form, 2300 South 2300 West, Suite B, Salt Lake City, Utah 84119, 800/726-0126, Absolutely beautiful light-weight (approximately 50% weight of glass). Extremely impact resistant (will not crack or shatter). Non-off gassing. Resistant to most chemicals. Environmentally friendly (40% recycled content). Heat-formable. Easy to cut, drill, polish or sand. UV-stable exterior grades. Fire resistant. Use as frameless doors, transaction tops, work surfaces, tables, backsplashes and balustrades, ceiling tiles, light diffusers, 3D ceilings, lighting, wall cladding and partitions and furniture.
  • Tackboard Panels, PINnacle, Homasote Company, 932 Lower Ferry Road, West Trenton, NJ 08628, 800/257-9491, Install lightweight, durable, clean and flexible PINnacle tackboard or pinboard, with 98% post-consumer content, to protect walls from pin, tack and nail holes. Does not contain toxic additives such as formaldehyde or asbestos and is moisture resistant and integrally protected against termites, rot and fungi.
  • Online Fuel Cell Information, Fuel Cell Technology Update, Free monthly e-mail newsletter to keep you in the industry loop. See full issue or subscribe at
  • Fuel Cell Association, Fuel Cell Connection, U. S. Fuel Cell Council, National Energy Technology Laboratory and National Fuel Cell Research Center, Dedicated to fostering the commercialization of fuel cells in the US. News and information. Monthly e-mail publication.
  • Recycling Containers, Fibrex Products, 3734 Cook Boulevard, Chesapeake, VA 23323, 800/346-4458, Sustainable designs built to last, manufactured with maximum recycled content and require almost no maintenance. Benches, picnic tables, dumpsters, etc.
  • Electronic Ballasts, Universal Lighting Technologies, 26 Century Blvd., Suite 500, Nashville, TX 37214-3683, 615/316-5100, ULTim8™ High Efficiency ballasts deliver up to 8% additional energy savings over standard electronic ballast and even more when used with the new F32T8/ES (30 Watt) or F28T8 (28 Watt) lamps. The new Triad T5 and T5HO ballast family incorporate the latest in circuit design and manufacturing technology. These ballasts offer the industry'ssmallest cross section for maximum fixture design flexibility. Universal voltage circuitry reduces inventory and ensures you have the right voltage ballast every time.
  • is a free web database and easily accessible design tool providing current product information for the environmentally and socially responsible designer, builder and client. Selection criteria includes LEED credit categories, recycled content, toxic chemical off-gassing, testing, certifications, company social and environmental profiles, transportation, manufacturing processes and resource consumption. 2,500 “green” products in 38 categories. Company information is transparent, publicly accessible and updated regularly.
  • Building America, U. S. Department of Energy, Working with American builders for energy-efficient, green and sustainable buildings. Goal is buildings that are more energy efficient, comfortable and affordable as well as to accelerate the development and wide application of energy efficient measures. See web site for workshops and instruction manuals. Links to top 25 web sites of energy-efficient buildings.

*** Patricia Griffin'sfavorites

NOV/DEC 2003


Management must be aware that physical hazards, chemical hazards and infectious agents all can impact the health and safety of cleaning and maintenance staff. Washington State'sworkers— compensation data indicates that six out of 100 janitors suffer chemical injuries each year; 20% of which are serious burns to the eyes or skin. Risks of carcinogenic or chronic health problems to the endocrine, neurological, respiratory, reproductive or other systems of the body are not included in the figures.

It must be management'sand staff'sgoal to institute a strategy that reduces risk for biological, physical and chemical hazards.

Staff at risk for these hazards must be trained to avoid illness and injury. The main areas for training needs are:
  • Chemical Hazard Communication - OSHA
  • Bloodborne Pathogen Standard - OSHA
  • Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Interpretation - Local occupational health agency or various guides
  • Infection Control Precautions - Riskiness of setting may determine needs for training
  • Proper Lifting and Ergonomic Precautions
Preventing hazards in work and preventative precautions that should be taken to avoid them are:
  • PHYSICAL HAZARDS - Training can prevent many injuries from physical hazards:
    • Slips and Falls - Proper footwear with traction required. Movable, readily visible signs and blockades should limit access to wet or slippery floors.
    • Ergonomic Injuries - Training to instill proper lifting techniques and proper posture for handling vacuums, buffers, buckets or any heavy item required. Repetitive motion injuries can be prevented by varying tasks or using ergonomically-designed equipment.
    • Accidents with Machines - All workers must be trained in using any machinery.
    • Falls While Climbing - Climbing should be on sturdy ladders only. Chairs, boxes, shaky ladders, etc. must not be used. Chairs or desks on wheels must never, ever be used for climbing.
  • INFECTIOUS HAZARDS - General information about infectious hazards should be part of staff training. Thorough hand washing is the simplest and most basic protection. Staff must be instructed to wash their hands before eating, drinking, smoking, using the bathroom, rubbing their eyes or applying makeup.
    • Tuberculosis - Staff training on prevention of tuberculosis may be necessary.
    • Puncture Wounds - Being alert to improperly discarded needles and other sharps which could be between mattress and box springs, in bedding, on the floor, in waste baskets, on counters, etc. is extremely important. In the event of a needle stick or sharps injury, the individual must report to their supervisor immediately to seek post-exposure medical care to minimize the risk of infection from bloodborne pathogens. Staff should never pick up broken glass with their hands, even when wearing gloves. A brush or tongs are the only acceptable methods to remove broken glass.
  • RESPIRATORY HAZARDS - Fumes from on-the-job chemicals, including cleaning chemicals, can cause irritation of the respiratory tract. The American Lung Association confirms that occupational asthma “may account for as many as 15% of all newly diagnosed US cases of asthma in adults, and it is the most prevalent occupational lung disease in developed countries.” Exposure to on-the-job substances may also cause inflammation of the lungs, and continuing exposure could lead to irreversible pulmonary fibrosis, making breathing more and more difficult. The ALA says cleaning and building-service jobs “entail exposures to an array of noxious chemicals, as well as to maintenance systems that are often the source of biological contaminants associated with critical allergic reactions.”
  • CHEMICAL HAZARDS - Using less toxic products than traditional ones will reduce chemical hazards. Staff should wear gloves and goggles as well as ensure that fresh air is available in work areas.
    • Eye and Skin Injuries - When using or diluting cleaning chemicals, staff should wear protective equipment such as splash goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, full-coverage clothing and sturdy shoes covering the whole foot. Whenever possible, less toxic, corrosive or concentrated products should be substituted for more toxic or hazardous ones. Products containing ingredients absorbed through the skin (see MSDSheets) should be avoided. To learn more about types of gloves needed to prevent contact with a specific ingredient, see the Chemical Resistant Gloves Guide (
    • Respiratory Irritation and Injury - Inhalation risks are posed by products emitting large quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in enclosed areas (such as ozone machines). Alcohol is 100% VOC. Choose the product with the lowest VOC that will accomplish the job (see MSDSheet). Products other than those that contain VOCs can also be irritating to the respiratory tract. Wearing respirators or using other precautionary equipment, as indicated on the MSDSheet for each chemical, will reduce the hazards.
    • Latex Allergy - Latex is found in many types of gloves and other medical products, and more people are becoming allergic to latex every day. Severe latex allergy can result in respiratory arrest and death. Most vendors supply latex-free gloves and accessories.
    • Chemical Spill - Prevent spills by training staff in the proper handling of chemicals. All chemicals must be stored properly. Purchase products that are as safe as possible and concentrated to reduce the risk of injury from spills. Automatic dilution equipment reduces the risk of spills and splashes. (GHA recommends that automatic dilution equipment be set at rates preferred by hotel management rather than the vendor.) Staff must not be allowed to clean up significant chemical spills without professional help. Call your city'senvironmental health and safety office to be sure the clean-up is conducted properly by trained workers. Be sure all laws regarding reporting and disposal are obeyed.
    • Chemical Safety - Staff should understand chemical safety, know how to get information about the products they work with and feel free to speak with supervisors if risk is suspected.
      • How to Get Product Information:
        • MSDSheets - All suppliers must provide material safety data sheets on the products sold. These sheets should be kept in a location available to all staff as well as to emergency workers in case of a fire or chemical emergency.
        • Manufacturer'sCustomer Service - The phone number of the manufacturer must be readily available to obtain answers to any chemical safety questions not available on the MSDS or the label. Telephone assistance should be available 24 hours a day to accommodate all shifts.
      • Training available from the manufacturer or vendor regarding safe and effective use of the product should be required for appropriate staff.
      • How to read MSDSs:
        • MSDSs can contain inaccurate or incomplete information necessary to make a decision about a product. They can be written by a secretary or a scientist. However, they are generally the most easily available source of product safety information. Areas covered are:
          • Product Identification: Product brand name and the manufacturer'sname, address and telephone number
          • Ingredients: Ingredients are listed by chemical and common name and by Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) number (which uniquely identifies every chemical). All ingredients are not required to be listed. Chemicals subject to reporting requirements under Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986, also called the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), are required to be listed if they are present in quantities over 1% of the total product. Any carcinogen present in quantities over 0.1% of the product must also be listed and labeled as a carcinogen. OSHA also requires manufacturers to list any other ingredients known to be hazardous, but that determination is made by the manufacturer.
          • How to use this information: Since many chemicals have a number of different names, the CAS number indicates whether a particular chemical is actually present. Avoid products with carcinogens and ingredients subject to the reporting requirements of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Ingredients in these categories will be labeled as such.
          • Health Hazards: Health hazards associated with handling the product
          • How to use this information: Most cleaning products are irritating to the skin and eyes, but products that carry a risk of severe illness or injury should be avoided. Avoid products that can cause blindness, cancer or harm to the reproductive system, and products that are highly corrosive to the skin. Compare the health hazards of one product with those of other products in the same category.
          • Special Protection: Any protective gear, such as gloves or masks, that workers should wear when using the product.
          • How to use this information: Make sure staff uses the protection specified. Choose products that require the least amount of protection.
        • Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project and City of Phoenix training materials
    • Working Safely with Cleaning Chemicals
      • Chemical injury can be prevented simply by using products that are less toxic. The highest risk janitorial or cleaning products are generally those that are flammable or emit toxic fumes which are absorbed through the skin or are corrosive to the eyes or skin. A survey examined 250 janitorial products and found that:
        • 7% of the products should not be used because they contain ingredients that can cause cancer or can harm the environment by depleting the ozone layer or contributing to global warming.
        • 56% of the products require extreme care because they contain ingredients that can cause blindness or severe skin damage, interfere with the endocrine system or be absorbed through the skin or inhaled and subsequently cause damage to the blood, liver, kidneys, nervous system or a developing fetus.
        • 37% of the products require routine care because they contain ingredients that may temporarily irritate the eyes and skin, can evaporate and affect indoor air quality or may exceed a building'sallowable sewer discharge limits for zinc or hydrocarbons.
    • Information on some of these hazards is available on a product'sMSDS. A phone call to the chemical supplier'scustomer service desk may be required to learn about all hazards.
    • Precautions to Prevent Chemical Injury
      • Simple precautions taken by management will help staff work safely with chemicals being used.
      • Safety training programs should be implemented and made an integral part of all cleaning and maintenance staff training.
      • A safety manual must be available on-site and written in a language staff can understand. Information included should help if staff has a question or in the event of a hazardous situation such as a spill.
      • All MSDSs must be readily available to staff on-site, and should be read by any staff member before using a product.
      • Staff must not be allowed to mix products with incompatible ingredients, use them on the same surface or pour them down the sink one after the other. The most common example of dangerous reactivity is between ammonia-containing and bleach-containing products, which combine to form deadly chloramine gas. Products containing incompatible ingredients should be stored separately or at least on different shelves and not one above the other. Information about incompatibility is available on the product'sMSDS.
      • Staff must be instructed on the safe handling of concentrates since they are usually the most dangerous form of a chemical.
      • Buy the safest possible products
      • Be sure staff wears appropriate protective clothing and gear, such as goggles, aprons and respirators as indicated on the product'sMSDS.
      • Allow only trained staff members to mix products.
      • Be sure eyewash stations are available where corrosive chemicals are used.
      • Train staff in safe lifting methods to reduce the risk of dropping or spilling heavy containers of cleaning products or equipment.
      • A dispensing system should be considered because it will automatically dispense the correct amount of a concentrate without splashes or spills. Again, GHA suggests the dilution rate should be determined by hotel management rather than by the vendor.
    • Reducing Chemical Use
    • Hazardous chemical use could be reduced if staff uses any or all of the following pollution prevention methods:
      • Substituting less toxic chemicals
      • Using fewer chemicals, only when necessary or in a diluted form
      • Add 10% water to ready-to-use products if the product will still get the job done
      • Clean only when necessary
      • Use 2 cleaning products instead of one; mildest for general use and the more toxic for occasional stubborn problems
    • Minimize use of floor strippers:
      • Use a high-quality, durable floor finish.
      • Coat the floor with 6 to 12 coats of finish and never let the finish wear down to the floor. Instead, deep scrub with a floor cleaner and re-coat as necessary.
      • Wet mop regularly to preserve the finish.
      • Install doormats at entries to minimize dirt and grit.
      • Schedule floor renewal work for specific areas of wear.
      • When required, thoroughly rinse the stripped floor to neutralize the surface before new finish is applied. With many products, neutralization is not necessary; check with the vendor.
      • Using improved management techniques such as avoiding aerosol products.
      • Use frequent strong-suction vacuuming to maintain doormats at entries.
      • Practice good inventory control, rotate stock and use up products that expire.
      • Store acids and other corrosive products in secondary plastic containers to contain potential leaks.
      • Eliminate aerosols because they usually contain large amounts of propane or other hazardous chemicals. Aerosols also contribute to respiratory irritation. Any aerosol or spray product used should be sprayed into a cloth held over the nozzle.

Chapter 3, Health and Safety Concerns of Janitorial Workers, Cleaning for Health, INFORM,

A significant contribution to Cleaning for Health was a result of the Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project.
For more information, see or contact Thomas S. Barron,
lead consultant at
SEP/OCT 2003

Improving Indoor Air Quality Through Better Cleaning Methods

Cleaning will always be an important part of improving the quality of indoor air. Even buildings without an air pollution problem can benefit from an environmentally-designed cleaning program. The cleaning program will improve air quality through reducing total suspended dust particles, total VOCs as well as bacteria and fungi.

A “sick building” cannot be cured through cleaning practices. Improving indoor air quality may require changes in maintenance, construction and cleaning approaches. However, any building will continue to have poor air quality no matter what changes are made in maintenance, construction and cleaning practices if:
  • The HVAC system is undersized, contaminated or dirty.
  • The relative humidity is continuously under 30% or over 60%.
  • Emissions from another part of the building or area are allowed to enter.
  • VOC (volatile organic compounds) offgassing from furnishings and building materials is significant.
As related to routine cleaning, improved cleaning techniques can improve indoor air quality significantly. A recent study found the following reductions in biopollutants resulted from improved cleaning techniques:
  • Total airborne bacteria - 37%
  • Total airborne fungi - 62%
  • Total non-floor surface bacteria - 29%
  • Total non-floor surface fungi - 25%
  • Total carpet-dust bacteria - 84%
  • Total carpet-dust fungi - 93%
  • Carpet-dust endotoxins - 72%

Cleaning for Health
General principles of cleaning to manage the indoor environment for better health of occupants include:
  • Cleaning being focused on specific objectives, such as:
    • Protecting health
    • Maintaining or restoring valuable property
  • Cleaning being coordinated with other basic environmental management plans such as:
    • Controlling pollution at the source
    • Limiting polluting activities
    • Ventilating buildings to dilute indoor contaminants
    • Designing buildings and their ventilation systems to optimize indoor air quality
  • Cleaning following basic environmental protection guidelines, such as:
    • Maintaining the safety of all staff and guests
    • Cleaning with health in mind first and appearance second
    • Maximizing removal of pollutants (particles, gas and biopollutants)
    • Minimizing pollutant exposure of all humans
    • Cleaning to improve the whole environment
    • Properly disposing of cleaning waste

Even though these principles may seem obvious, they are actually radically different from the traditional idea of “whiter than white”, “sparkling clean,” etc. that is ingrained in the thinking of many regarding cleanliness. Alternative cleaning product manufacturers have reported that some who use unscented products occasionally have problems when guests or customers who fail to smell a sharp odor such as chlorine or the synthetically-sweet smell of air fresheners need reassurance that bathrooms are really clean. In fact, cleaning is really the science of controlling those contaminants.

Reducing Dust and Dirt
Biopollutants such as pollen are generally in direct relation to the airborne dust mass in a building. So, minimizing dust and dirt will reduce pollens and not exacerbate allergies. The less dust and dirt in a building means fewer cleaning chemicals used and less time needed to remove dust, dirt, etc. The study found that total airborne dust was reduced by 52% through simple but critical methods such as:
  • Placing entryway mats measuring at least five steps long at every exterior door. Vacuuming the mats often, preferably in both directions. Using vacuums with brushes, beater bars and strong suction.
  • Placing mats around sandboxes and cat litter boxes and such.
  • Vacuum or damp mop instead of sweeping.
  • Being sure all vacuums have high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, and be sure that all vacuum cleaners are designed to be used with HEPA filters.
  • Being sure all vacuum cleaner bags are high-efficiency microfiltration bags, which are able to contain dust particles in the 3 micron range or smaller. Though these bags are more expensive, they definitely reduce cleaning costs. Changing the bags before they are completely full.

    Of course, microfiltration filters on all HVACs or PTACs are critical in limiting the dust and dirt brought into the property. The filters must be changed on a timely basis.

    Be aware also that bathroom tissue can be a huge source of paper dust. Choosing a brand that does not release a huge amount of paper dust is an important choice.
  • Dusting using a damp, folded cloth or a cloth-covered feather duster. Using a wiping motion rather than a flicking or sweeping motion to be sure the dust stays on the cloth or duster. Changing cloths often. Cleaning the feather duster outdoors often. Microfiber dust or cleaning cloths are an excellent new way to control dust and dirt without cleaning chemicals.
  • Treated dust mops are not recommended, but if they are used, order them from a laundry service or spray the mop heads outdoors. The petroleum products used on treated mop heads can be unhealthy for staff and guests.
  • Using buffing machines at medium speed to reduce dust and chemical particles rather than at high speed. A vacuum attachment on a buffing machine will also mean a huge improvement in air quality.

Reducing Microbial Growth
The need for antimicrobial products— can be reduced through basic steps such as:
  • Using a two-step process for microbials. Clean first, then apply disinfectant. Wait the period (usually at least 10 minutes) recommended before rinsing. Other tasks can be performed while the antimicrobial is taking effect. Disinfectants are not cleaners, and are only effective on clean surfaces.
  • Disinfectants should only be used when and where necessary. Ordinary detergents should remove more microbes than bleach alone.
  • Mop heads, sponges and cleaning cloths should be changed at least daily. Cleaning water should be changed often.
  • Pans where water collects and condenses, such as refrigerator and AC pans and humidifiers, should be cleaned carefully to minimize mold and mildew growth.
  • Flushing toilets and running sink and shower water at least once a week will keep drains clean and P traps full of water, limiting the entrance of foul odors. If clogs or drain odors are a problem, add an enzyme-type drain maintainer.
  • Dehumidifiers should be used in humid areas to collect moisture and maintain comfortable indoor relative humidity levels.

Managing Carpet Pollutants
Carpets can be a problem as a source of biopollutants, dirt, dust and VOCs. VOCs emit from almost all new carpet and the adhesives or pads installed with them. Later, pesticide and cleaning product residues (such as stain removers) will slowly volatilize and rise up into the air. Recommendations to control air pollutants from carpet are:
  • Choosing a wool carpet or alternative to carpet such as scored concrete flooring or hardwood floors would be an excellent choice.
  • Prevent stains so that the use of stain removers is not necessary. Clean up spills as soon as possible using clear, cold water and blotting cloths. Having spill kits ready and available for housekeeping staff is very important. Most carpet spot cleaners contain a high level of VOCs as well as carcinogens such as tetrachloroethylene.
  • When carpet becomes saturated with water, clean and thoroughly dry it promptly. Preventing carpet loss or growth of mold and mildew can be prevented with quick action. Discard moldy carpet carefully. Dealing with water-soaked carpet may require special training. Carpet restorative products may contain tributyl tin and must be avoided.
  • Minimize use of carpet shampoos and bonnet-cleaning products. Overuse of these chemicals may require extraction cleaning more frequently.
  • Deep clean carpet as necessary. Periodically, dirt, biopollutants, moisture and cleaning agent residues may need to be removed from carpet. Dry vacuum first, then use a wet-vacuum, water-extraction machine. Rapid drying of the carpet is recommended. Pre-sprays applied carefully and left for an appropriate time may reduce chemicals required. Extraction products may contain hazardous ingredients such as acid rinses (hydroxyacetic acid) and solvents (butoxyethanol), and should be avoided or very heavily diluted.

Particularly toxic products must be avoided. Carpet restorative products containing tributyl tin, formaldehyde and other toxic antimicrobials must be avoided.

For more information on air duct cleaning, see and

For more information on reducing moisture, mold and mildew, see and

For more information on reducing fungi, see

For more information on carpet cleaning, see

Chapter 2, Cleaning Methods for Improved Air Quality, Cleaning for Health, INFORM,
JUL/AUG 2003


By Patty Griffin, GHA President

Last fall GHA had a call from a staff member of the City of Rio Rancho, an Albuquerque suburb, stating that a proposal was before their city council to make towel and sheet cards mandatory at area hotels¾a revelation! The proposal is still under consideration at this point. However, we—ve learned that other cities already have provisions in place mandating the hospitality industry'sprotection of our environment.

In December, 2000, Albuquerque, New Mexico'scity council passed their “Water Conservation Water By Request Ordinance” to:
  • Educate water system customers and hospitality industry clientele about and eliminate the unnecessary use of water by reducing the frequency of washing of sheets, towels and other linens. The ordinance says “all lodging establishments shall offer customers the option of not changing sheets and towels in private rooms for stays of less than five days.”
  • Eliminate unnecessary use of water in restaurants by serving water to customers only when requested, thereby reducing water served and water used to wash glasses. The measure states “all restaurants shall provide drinking water only as specifically requested by the customer.”

Assessment of Fees: Any responsible party who violates Albuquerque'sprovisions of this ordinance shall be subject to progressively higher fees until the violation ceases. The schedule for assessment of fees is as follows:

First violation $20
Second violation $50
Third and additional violations $100

Albuquerque establishments are welcome to display their own conservation signs, or the City will provide hospitality signs by request. The hospitality cards state, “Our water. Our future. Protect it. Conserve it. Replenish it. Albuquerque'scitizens have been practicing water-saving habits for years. We hope you—ll do the same during your stay. This hotel participates in Albuquerque's“Water Watch” program. To reuse your towels, simply hang them on the towel rack. Otherwise, we will change your towels daily. If you leave this card on the pillow, we will make your bed but not replace your bed linens. Otherwise we will change your linens daily.”

Ten years ago, at the 1993 NYC Hotel & Motel Conference, only one meeting was scheduled regarding environmental issues and it was very sparsely attended. The main message of that meeting was “if hotels do not make these (environmental) changes, they will be mandated.” So, it was a “do it now, or do it later, but you will do it” message. As you know, the environmental movement within the hospitality industry has been a slow one. Now, environmental issues have become more urgent. Water shortage issues are everywhere in the news and a severely critical issue in many areas.

It is time to encourage mandating environmental protection within the hospitality industry. Now that cities in most urgent need of protecting water resources are creating a knowledge baseline, all cities should pick up the gauntlet and protect resources before the need becomes desperate. GHA encourages green hoteliers— urging local governments to enact these mild ordinances requiring conservation in the hospitality industry.

Even though Denver had a record-setting snowfall in May, the mountain snowpack was below average for the winter. So, reservoirs were not filled sufficiently. In addition to all the usual lawn watering restrictions, hotel and golf courses are being pinched by new restrictions. Hotels have been barred from changing bedding more often than every four days for longer-term guests. Denver golf courses are limited to 50% of the water they used in 2001.

Hotels in Barbados will be urged to practice a more environmentally proactive approach through a 150% tax write-off that is in the works. Hotels and all local businesses will be warned that if environmental improvements are not seen, they will be forced to live up to their social responsibility. Their government intends to continue to fund and encourage implementation of environmental projects.

GHA would be most interested in learning of other local ordinances related to the hospitality industry and the environment. GHA would like to serve as a clearinghouse for the verbage of such ordinances.
“Tax reward for environmental action,” Barbados, greenhotelier, July, 2003, p. 6
MAY/JUN 2003

Installed at The Golden Hotel

By Derek Wood, General Manager

Management of The Golden Hotel, Golden, CO, made a $20,000 investment in energy conservation recently that is expected to go a long way in reducing electric bills. Their electric bills have averaged $3,800/mo over the last 12 months. Rocky Mountain Energy Reduction Inc. installed Ener-Tech Manufacturing'sRedi-Volt II System IV Power Management System which is guaranteed to reduce electrical consumption a minimum of 20%.

Ener-Tech also promises the system will:
  • Extend the life of all electrical components including light bulbs, motors, compressors, etc. by removing most of the surge activity so equipment will operate cooler and more efficiently.
  • Protect ALL electrical equipment from both interior and exterior surges. The manufacturer guarantees a $100k connected equipment warranty per unit should their power suppression device fail, and they include a full lifetime warranty with NO maintenance charges as well.

This power management system suppresses and grounds electrical power surges. Suppressing power surges means grounding all spikes in electricity before they can enter a facility through the electrical wires. Surges occur on electrical lines regularly, especially during thunder and lightning storms. Surges are known to damage, burn up and shorten the life of telephones, televisions and any and all electrical equipment that is plugged into a wall outlet. Power surges also, of course, run up electrical bills.

The 62-room Golden Hotel has 4000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space and a full service restaurant. The property is equipped with about 50% fluorescent lighting. Management has chosen to pay for the power management system with a lease option at about $500/month for 60 months. 20% savings on their $3,800 monthly bill will provide savings of $760/mo. So a positive cash flow of about $260/mo should be seen until the lease is paid in full, at which point the real savings kick in.

Average payback for most commercial installations is under 2.5 years (when interest is not included). Payback for The Golden Hotel should be 40 months (because of the interest added to the $20,000 cost) based on the guaranteed savings of 20%.

Once a site inspection determining requirements of the property was completed, a proposal was prepared and presented to The Golden Hotel'smanagement.

Installation was accomplished by a licensed electrician contracted by Rocky Mountain Energy Reduction, and took less than one day. A suppression unit, as shown below, was attached to each of 22 electrical panels and unprotected disconnects in the building. The units are approximately 5x5x2 inches, and mount on the side of the box or disconnect. Each has three LED lights, the illumination of which indicates proper function.

Although 20% is the guaranteed electric consumption savings, many facilities experience substantially more savings. Red Rocks Community College, Arvada, CO, experienced a 51% reduction in their electric consumption and a 35% reduction in their electric bill in December, 2002, solely because of installation of the Redi/Volt II System IV power management system.

Ener-Tech Manufacturing has been producing the Redi-Volt suppression units for more than 15 years and is experiencing rapid growth in the US as power issues and electric expenses continue to escalate.

The Golden Hotel'smanagement felt the investment made excellent sense in long-term utility savings, but even more important was the intangible reduction in cost of light bulbs, repairs on electrical equipment, computers, HVAC equipment, etc. when damaged by power spikes. Reduction in energy usage saves our resources and reduces bills, but it also reduces smog and dirty air because less coal (or other resource) is burned or consumed to generate the electricity.

Greg Riska of Rocky Mountain Energy Reduction will be pleased to answer any questions. Also, feel free to contact Derek Wood (, 303/279-0100) at The Golden Hotel for more information on their new energy efficient power surge suppression system.

Ener-Tech Manufacturing, 800/242-9360,
Rocky Mountain Energy Reduction, 303/947-4327,

Energy Management Advances

A speakerphone'stouchscreen is Inncom'swireless bedside control device allowing guests to operate lights, lamps, heating, air conditioning, drapes, shades, television sets, videocassette recorders, stereos and digital video disc players. They need simply touch the phone'sscreen to change the room temperature, dim the lighting or open window treatments. At night the guest can turn off the lights, turn on the phone and a bathroom light can be dimmed to 10% to provide a nightlight. Electronic guestroom locks are an integral part of the system.

Currently, this product is generally installed in high-end or five-star properties because it provides a special convenience and luxury factor to a guestroom and because of the cost.

The speakerphone displays all the services in several languages, and incorporates an alarm clock and times in cities around the world. The communication mode is infrared, so any item or device with an infrared receiver can be controlled through the device. This patented two-way communications protocol does not need line-of-sight to communicate. Each item to be controlled must have a receiver, so each item added increases the cost.

BTX Window Automation ( offers motorized window treatments, and works with the property and/or Inncom ( to motorize any type of window treatment. The motors for drapery range from $300 to $1,000, remote controls cost $300-400 and each switch costs about $30. Because of the wide variety of window treatments, most motorizing projects are custom jobs.

For reporting purposes, the system can interface with PBX, housekeeping, mini-bar, security, in-room safe and other systems.

The wireless energy management technology is offered with control devices other than a speakerphone. A tabletop control panel, handheld remote controller or a lamp control module might be used separately or in conjunction with a speakerphone in a suite.

This wireless control product provides a unique, dramatic commitment to guest satisfaction, and certainly adds sizzle to the stay.

Adams, Bruce; “Energy management lies at the heart of wireless bedside controls,” H&MM, July 15, 2002, p. 32, 34

Bathroom Energy Savings for the Hospitality Industry

Energy savings opportunities were identified as unnecessary extended operation of hotel guestroom bath lighting in a DOE-funded study several years ago. The goal of a more-recent partnership of Berkeley Lab, SMUD, DoubleTree Hotel Sacramento and the California Energy Commission is to develop a product based on that fact which will provide energy savings while maintaining guestroom lighting quality.

“More than 75% of the energy used by these fixtures occurs when they are left on for more than two hours at a time,” says Berkeley Lab lighting researcher Michael Siminovitch. The study revealed that bathroom lights are on for the longest periods of time in occupied hotel rooms—an average of 8 hours, compared with less than 5 hours for bedroom lights and 2 hours for desk lights.

The common solution to lights being left on is the occupancy sensor, automatically turning lights off when guests leave the room. Hotel managers, however, want to be careful not to irritate guests by turning lights on and off when guests are in the bathroom for longer periods. The partnership researchers determined that occupancy sensors installed in the bathroom with set times of one hour or more would still provide significant energy savings. The largest energy savings occurs when guests leave lights on when out of the room for more than 2 hours or when the bathroom light is left on all night to serve as a night light.

An occupancy sensor for the bath will be combined with automatic nightlighting in the form of an energy-efficient LED night light which will provide sufficient illumination for nighttime use of the bathroom. The Watt Stopper, Inc. is the chosen manufacturer of this hospitality-special energy-saving fixture which will first be installed in all 400 DoubleTree Hotel Sacramento guest bathrooms. Bob Hughes, regional director of DoubleTree says, “We are very excited about the potential of this device to save energy in a manner that will not impact guest comfort.”

GHA will follow this study, and provide updates as we learn more.

MAR/APR 2003

Grass Thrives With Salt Watering

A trendy, new accompaniment to expensive meals is salicornia, a bright, green grass also known as sea asparagus, samphire, pickle weed and sea beans. The condiment costs $10 a pound at Whole Foods. Grown on Mexico'sBaja Peninsula, the grass is the center of a huge experiment the purpose of which is to reduce demands on the world'sfresh water. Acres and acres of green rows of salicornia are reclaiming land long considered dead for farming purposes.

It is the first commercially grown food product irrigated completely with seawater. It is being used as a base for establishing other crops or grasses that can be grown with salt rather than fresh water. “Every plant on earth has ancestors that once lived only on seawater,” says Dan Murphy, the man behind the mission. He continues, “The trick is to figure out which ones we can grow commercially.” In 1999, the American founded Saline Seed Mexico SA. Mr. Murphy'splan is to select species of plants that can be “trained” to thrive on seawater over many generations.

Factors that make the project viable are cheap Mexican labor along with the increased demand for organic specialties in the US. Industrial farming has depleted underground water on the Baja, leaving the dirt barren. The aquifer'sfresh water depletion has allowed sea water to contaminate the fresh water that remains.

The taste of the legume is an acquired one—said to be so intense that diners— eyes bug out. Salicornia is often used as a salt substitute—with chopped bits in a salad or a rice dish. One chef likes to offer it with fish.

The long range hope is not to thrill the palates of organic diners, but rather to encourage coastal cites and counties to conserve fresh water on which they currently spend billions of dollars a year by watering their public lands, parks and golf courses with seawater. Mexico'sbiggest problem in developing resort areas is water resources that would keep golf courses green.

In another location, research is ongoing to grow landscape grasses and plantings that can tolerate sea water. Forage crops such as alfalfa are also on the radar screen, the success of which would be a major coup. Experimental forage crops have been found to be pleasing both to the cattle and the cattlemen.

What a fabulous plan this is. It'sso amazing to learn what clever, creative, innovative minds can do!

Millman, Joel; Trendy Sprout Thrives on Water From Sea, The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2003, p. D1
JAN/FEB 2003

What'sin your cup of coffee?

Do you know that up to 30% of your cup of coffee can legally be “defects?” US law allows a maximum of 495 defects in about ¾ of a pound of coffee. A “small” stick is one defect; a “medium” stone is two. Other defects are unripe, musty or rotten beans, insects, twigs, gravel, etc. Pre-ground and instant coffee are most likely to contain the defects because the defects can'treadily be seen. So, how pure is your coffee? How bad or good does it taste?

The past two years have seen the quality of coffee deteriorate dramatically. In fact, the quality has gotten so bad that the International Coffee Organization (ICO) has ruled that coffee-exporting countries must improve their product—or stop bringing it to market. The ruling is good news for coffee drinkers because the new ICO standards are much higher than US government regulations.

Globally, wholesale coffee prices are very low and have been for a couple of years, which should mean good coffee drinking. However, that'snot the case. One of the biggest changes is the fact that Viet Nam was an almost non-player 5 years ago until their government chose to stimulate production. Viet Nam is now flooding the market with some of the cheapest and lowest quality beans in the world, and currently owns 12% of the world market. Viet Nam has no minimum export grades, produces low-quality beans and exports some of the most impure coffee in the world. Coffee processors apparently find themselves unable to avoid buying the cheap Vietnamese coffee simply because it'sso cheap. So, they buy it, blend it and sell it without any pricing discounts, assuming coffee drinkers are too dumb to know better.

A professional coffee taster and industry consultant says, “There are two kinds of off tastes in coffee. One is a —compost— taste, and the other is —old shoes in the back of the closet.— Vietnamese robusta combines both.” Yuck . . .

Viet Nam is now the No. 3 coffee supplier, after Brazil and Colombia. High quality producers are Colombia and Guatemala, and they are being badly hurt. Their output is down about 25% because of the flood of beans from Viet Nam.

The US House of Representatives— concern is revealed in a resolution to “adopt a global strategy to respond to the coffee crisis.” They recognize a need for quality standards, and the fact that low prices are creating a humanitarian crisis among the world'ssubsistence coffee farmers. There is also concern that Central and South American coffee farmers unable to make a living growing coffee will turn to farming illegal drugs such as coca and opium.

There are only two main coffee bean types:
  • Arabica: Usually the best tasting bean. Most of it comes from Latin America. The bean of which most specialty coffee is made. Has almost 40% less caffeine than Robusta.
  • Robusta: Cheaper to grow, a hardier plant, but less taste. When not used in a blend, is bland or worse. Viet Nam is flooding the market with this cheap bean.

Coffee is best when the beans have been roasted in the last 2 days. Specialty coffee shops should post “roasted on” dates, but rarely do so. The roasted color of the best tasting coffee beans is a rich color between caramel and chocolate. Beans roasted to a very dark color can lose their flavor because the beans have actually been burned.

The only way to be assured of good coffee is to grind the beans yourself. At least you can see the whole beans and know that sticks, gravel or musty beans are not there. The wonderful, aromatic smell of the grinding is an added benefit.

The origin of most packaged, ground coffee is unspecified unless the company is proud of it. For instance, Yuban coffee says it's“100% Colombian.”

Meanings: Fair Trade coffee means growers received a higher price through fewer middle men. Shade Grown coffee means the beans were grown in the shade for tastier beans. There is also the implication that birds are protected in this way. Single Origin coffee means the beans are all from one country, and lesser quality beans have not been added.

Quality coffee beans are becoming more difficult to find because low prices are forcing coffee farmers to cut back on careful cultivation, such as hiring extra picking hands when beans are at peak maturity. Consumers of quality coffee may find prices considerably higher next year because quality beans will be in shorter supply.

Are you wondering what'sin your cup of coffee?

McLaughlin, Katy; Coffee That'sGood to the Last Twig, The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2002, p. D1, D3
NOV/DEC 2002


Wouldn'tit be nice to have a robot vacuum carpets and floors while housekeepers clean bathrooms and make beds? A new small, flat battery-powered (no cords) vacuum is now available for about $200 to do just that.

The Roomba vacuum is 3.625” high, has a diameter of 13.4” and weighs less than 6 pounds. On a battery charge of 10 to 12 hours, the vacuum can run 1 to 1.5 hours depending on the flooring surface. A fast recharger (2 hours) is available for $60. It has the usual complement of parts for a vacuum such as a brush and wheels, but also has computer chips and sensors that allow it to follow walls and not fall down stairs.

The diminuative disk-shaped vacuum is considered a limited, light-duty vacuum and would not be a replacement for a standard vacuum cleaner. Things would need to be picked up off the floor, as is usual before vacuuming. A pile of papers, a too-low couch, fringe on a carpet, etc. will stop the Roomba. Should it become hopelessly stuck, it will shut itself off. Preparation such as folding rug fringe underneath the rug or raising a too-low couch or chair by placing the legs on casters or blocks will allow the Roomba to do its job with greater ease. The Roomba is designed to work without human contact, though watching it in operation is said to be almost hypnotic.

When ready to vacuum, a button should be pushed that tells the machine the size of the room—small, medium or large. It is then placed in the center of the room. As the machine takes off, it toots a couple of notes enthusiastically. It will work in a spiral, moving one foot per second, until it reaches an obstacle such as a chair leg. It will then work back and forth in straight lines zipping under chairs, tables and couches. Though it may vacuum the same area many times, it does do the job.

Two small containers hold the vacuumed dust. They need to be emptied on a regular basis—especially, before the vacuum is picked up or turned over. A filter needs to be replaced if punctured or if there is a decline in the cleaning performance. Replacement filters are priced at 3/$10.

Four sensors are used to control navigation of the spiffy little vacuumer. A Wall Following Sensor allows the machine to move along a wall while cleaning up. A Cliff Avoidance Sensor keeps Roomba from bouncing down the staircase. To control the space in which the Roomba works, a Virtual Wall Sensor delineates the area. Roomba'sbumper uses a contact sensor while the other 3 sensors control movement by recognizing the reflection of an invisible light being projected by the vacuum. Accessories include extra Virtual Walls at $40 each.

The Roomba, by iRobot, is available at as well as at Brookstone, Sharper Image and Hammacher Schlemmer web sites.

Amazingly, a little web crawling finds that many other companies are at least testing, if not bringing to market, their version of a vacuuming robot. However, prices on other robot vacuums range from $1,500 to $3,800 so far.

Interestingly, the Atlanta Hobby Robot Club is holding an annual household vacuum robot competition with the goal of creating a task-oriented robot to autonomously vacuum a typical household room. The contest rules, awards, etc. can be found at

How exciting to learn the time may be near when a robot will do a lot of our vacuuming for us!

Mossberg, Walter S.; The Mossberg Solution, A Vacuum That Even A Couch-Potato Could Love,
The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2002
SEP/OCT 2002


When chlorine reacts with other substances that contain carbon, organochlorines or chlorinated organics are created. These organochlorines are considered to be persistent, toxic, damaging to the ozone layer and possibly carcinogenic by environmentalists. DDT and dioxin are examples of organochlorines.

The International Joint Commission (IJC) is an advisory agency founded in 1909 to assess problems and progress in the Great Lakes region by the US and Canadian governments. Both countries have been advised by IJC since 1992 that a time frame to “sunset” or phase out the use of chlorine, especially in industrial usage, should be determined. IJC'sstudy of the effects of organochlorines includes a chart summarizing endocrine damage in wildlife, including bird, fish and turtle eggs failing to hatch.

In a 2,000 page report, the US EPA assessed research gathered by 100 independent scientists who concluded that even low levels of dioxin may suppress the human immune system and adversely affect the reproductive system.

The Chlorine Institute and the Chlorine Chemistry Council reviewed these studies and refute the connection between chlorinated chemicals and human health as unsubstantiated. Of the refutation, a senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund says, “The Chlorine Chemistry Council has as much credibility as a cockroach around here.”

Making and transporting chlorine can be dangerous. Water and sewage treatment plants often use chlorine gas. Swimming pools, floor or wall cleaning, laundry and sterilization of dishes and utensils use hypochlorite solutions that can react with other chemicals to release chlorine.

Health problems from chlorine gas exposure include respiratory effects such as burning and/or congestion of the nose, throat and chest as well as tearing of the eyes, headache and central nervous system problems including impaired recall, difficulty concentrating, difficulty following directions and balance.

Minimizing the use of chlorine bleach for cleaning and laundry is an important determination by executive housekeepers in order to protect the health of staff. Linens bleached unnecessarily will have a much shorter life and a worn appearance because bleach will break down fabric fibers by a process called oxidation.

Never, ever mix bleach with any other chemical because of the possibility of creating a deadly gas.

Regarding disinfection, remember that one tablespoon (yes, one tablespoon) of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water is a hospital-grade disinfectant. It should never be necessary to mix a stronger solution than that for disinfecting.

Non-Chlorine Bleach Products for Whitening Fabrics:
  • Hydrogen Peroxide - Purchased at any drug store, hydrogen peroxide applied to a stain with a cotton swab will diminish or remove spots and stains. Apply hydrogen peroxide and allow to dry. Launder as soon as possible. Hydrogen peroxide is especially good to use on delicate or sensitive fabrics. However, always test.

    The main ingredient in most commercial bleach alternatives is hydrogen peroxide.
  • Vinegar - Vinegar is a solvent and also a mild bleach. It is safe to use as a laundry rinse, fabric softener and presoak. To brighten whites, add one or more cups to the machine during the presoak cycle if desired. Because it is a solvent, however, it can make cheap dyes and fabric colors run and fade. Always test on non-white fabrics. Add 1/4 cup to wash cycle for greying fabrics. Vinegar is available in 5%, 9% (for canning) and 20% (for landscape use) acidities.

    About 25 drops of apple fragrance or a few orange or lemon rinds can be added to a gallon jug of vinegar for an improved smell.
  • Sodium Perborate - Use 1 to 3 T. of this natural bleach made of borax and hydrogen peroxide on white fabrics. About $50 for 10 lb. See or
  • Sodium Percarbonate - Washing soda and hydrogen peroxide make up this bleach alternative. Dissolve in hot water. Cool solution. Add only stained area of fabric to solution. Allow to soak.
  • Washing Soda - 1/4 C. can be added to the wash cycle to whiten. Sodium carbonate, is also known as soda ash or sal soda.
  • Borax - Add 1/4 cup to the wash cycle to brighten whites and colors. Sodium tetraborate decahydrate. 20 Mule Team brand borax can be purchased in most grocery stores.
  • Zeolite Powder - Add 2 to 3 T. to the rinse cycle. Also absorbs odors. 100% nontoxic, natural mineral resulting from volcanic activity. It is the only negatively-charged mineral in its natural state, which means it naturally absorbs pollutants from the air. See, as well as other sites. 25 lb. for about $45.
  • Lemon Juice - Daub on stains (fresh from used or unused lemons in the kitchen or from extract). Diminishment of stains will be boosted if the fabric is placed in direct sunshine. Wash. 1/4 cup can be added to the wash cycle.
  • Sunshine - With or without a citric juice (lemon, grapefruit, orange, etc.), the sun will whiten fabrics.
  • Bleach Substitute Recipe - 1 cup hydrogen peroxide + 1/4 cup lemon or grapefruit juice + 12 cups water. Store in labeled plastic jug. Add 2 cups per load.

    The Dirt Doctor'sDirt
Commercially available chlorine-free bleach products:
  • Ecover Natural Non-Chlorine Bleach, Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide, water; 64 liquid oz., Mfg: Ecover, Commerce, CA, $3.99 at Whole Foods, biodegradable in 3-5 days,
  • Bi-O-Kleen Color-Safe Chlorine-Free Oxygen Bleach Plus, with natural boosters, water conditioners and mildew stain and odor inhibiters, Ingredients: Natural clays, percarbonate oxygen bleach, vegetable fiber chelators and natural anti-corrosive compounds; 32 oz. granules, $5.99 at Whole Foods, Mfg: Bi-O-Kleen Industries Inc., 503/557-0216,
  • Natural Non-Chlorine Bleach; Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide, oxygen bleach stabilizer, dionized water; 48 fluid oz. (16 loads), $3.49 at Whole Foods, Mfg: Seventh Generation, Burlington, VT, Free & clear of perfumes & dyes, non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, biodegradable, 802/658-3773,

Any of these products or recipes should be tested on a small hidden area of the fabric before using extensively. Absolutely, positively do not combine any of these products with chlorine bleach.

Alternative to Chlorine Bleach Alternatives: An even better way to get chlorine bleach out of your laundry room and out of your life would be to switch to non-white linens. Off-white linens or colored linens (preferably dyed with natural dyes) do not need to be whitened.

Kilburn, Kaye H., Chlorine-Induced Damage
Documented by Neurophysiological, Neuropsychological, and Pulmonary Testing, Environmental Health, January, 2000.

Reilly, Lee, The dirt on bleach, Vegetarian Times, December, 1995.

Berthold-Bond, Annie, Clean & Green, Ceres Press, Woodstock, NY, 1990.


Clotheslines! They're back! If you—ve ever crawled between sheets that have been freshly dried in the sunshine, you—ve not forgotten the sweet, fragrant smell and the comforting feeling of the crisp, clean sheets. It'sa very special pleasure. Perhaps some of your guests would appreciate unheard-of sunshine-and-fresh-air-dried sheets.

Of course, few hotels have a yard or acreage where a clothesline can be accommodated, but every hotel has a roof, and most of them are flat. Consider whether your special guests and the protection of valuable linens might be worth the trouble of drying linens outdoors. Bed sheets made of fabulous linen, cotton and silk fabrics with up to 500 thread counts are on the market today, and these beautiful, expensive linens will last longer and feel better to the touch if they are given special care and do not suffer extreme temperatures while being dried in a dryer.

There are a number of choices of retractable, collapsible line dryers available.

Butts Manufacturing makes a variety of air-drying devices, but does not sell direct except in bulk. Their array of line dryers is available online and by stores such as Lowe—s, Wal-Mart, etc. Stacksandstacks (, 800/761-5222, 510/215-5995, Fax 510/215-5993) and (800/973-6664) offer a number of line dryers online.

A few line-drying choices are:
  • Rotary lightweight “umbrella” drying rack, 73” high, 154 linear feet of continuous plastic clothes line, $100
  • Outdoor 6—x5— rectangular drying rack, 30 parallel lines, 182— linear feet, $46
  • 5-line retractable 15” wide, 12.25— long, 61-3/4— of line, $11

Interestingly, one of the features of a winning design in the recent Eco-Lodge Design Competition is “reduced need for mechanical dryers by drying clothes in the —drying yard.—”

Another advantage in addition to extending the life of linens is reduced energy cost. Your property'sutility bills can be reduced through air drying bed linens indoors or out. Should your property decide to line dry some linens, special guests should be thrilled beyond measure.

JUL/AUG 2002


Saline Pool Technology, discussed here, is all about creating chlorine gas from salt tablets to provide sanitation for swimming pools or spas. It is not about creating a salt-water swimming pool. The purpose of this method of chlorinating a swimming pool is to NOT use chlorine bleach for disinfecting because of the problems encountered when handling, using and storing chlorine bleach as well as the negative aspects of having guests swim or soak in diluted chlorine bleach.

Problems with using liquid chlorine bleach include:
  • For Staff:
    • Spillage resulting in bleached spots on carpet or elsewhere
    • Detrimental health aspects of touching, tasting and breathing chlorine fumes
  • For Swimmers:
    • Stinging eyes
    • Green-tinted hair
    • Smell of chlorine
    • The suggestion that chlorine bleach could be the cause of some cancers

Technology: Saline pool technology is a process of creating chlorine gas though electrolysis. Salt tablets are simply table salt compressed into puck-sized tablets. The tablets are added to water in the anode cell of the system where chlorine gas and oxygen are generated. Pool water passing trough the system absorbs the gas and returns to the pool as chlorinated water. A safety system warns when the salt and water in the system are used up or when the system vacuum is lost. The exact operation of the system can best be explained by the manufacturer. It is our understanding that the only provider is Purichlor, R&M Collier Mfg. Ltd., BC, Canada (Richard Collier, 604/271-0851, cell 604/230-5375,

The Fairmont Hotels (formerly Canadian Pacific) have used saline technology for their pools and swear by it because of the safety of getting chlorine into the water. Jack Harding (, Regional Director of Engineering, located out of Hotel Vancouver, says, “We—ve had the Purichlor Chlorine

Gas Generator system at four out of five hotels since 1983-84. Our Purichlor system has been upgraded over the years, but remains basically the same. At Hotel Vancouver, our 40—x20—x4— deep lap pool, 8-person Jacuzzi and 12—x12”x1” deep kiddie pool are all treated with this technology.”

Mr. Harding continues, “Saline pool chlorination is a very efficient technology, very inexpensive, there are no moving parts to deal with, no pumps, very little maintenance and it'scontrolled with a computer. The absolute only problem that ever occurs is when the system loses vacuum, and when that happens, an alarm goes off and shuts down the system. The system is, appropriately, checked on a regular basis.”

The chlorine gas is dissolved into the water and cannot evaporate into the air. Smell poolside is said to be akin to freshly-washed clothing.

Cost of the Purichlor saline technology system for a 20,000-gallon commercial pool is approximately $2,300. For larger pools, systems are used in tandem. Cost to operate the system is about six cents a day.

Positives of Purichlor'schlorine generator saline pool technology:
  • Saves labor
  • Saves chemicals
  • Running costs are lower
  • Water feels softer and smoother
  • No widely fluctuating chlorine levels
  • No widely fluctuating pH levels
  • Water does not need to be shocked

Mr. Collier reports that the company is now responding to requests for chlorination systems for drinking water purification.

A “Green” Pool is a Good Thing

Jack Robertson, owner of GHA PARTNER MEMBER Grand Strand Inn & Suites (843/448-1461), Myrtle Beach, SC, purchased a Pool Weasel Vacuum System in April, 2000. When Jack was introduced to the Pool Weasel he agreed to a demonstration basically to be cordial to a fellow GHA member. He was, however, also curious because a new hotel was being built next door to his hotel. In the bottom of the new hotel's80,000-gallon pool was at least 1/4— of sand, palm fronds, etc. Forty minutes into the demo, the pool was free of all debris and no water had been wasted. Mr. Robertson vowed laughing, “I would never have believed it if I hadn'tseen it happen first hand.”

With the Pool Weasel in place at The (soon-to-be Best Western) Grand Strand, 65% of the water it took previously to operate the pool and lazy river water feature is being conserved and the sewage load has been reduced by the same amount. Remember too that all pool water is chemically treated and often heated.

How can one machine conserve so much? The Pool Weasel Vacuum System, GHA ALLY MEMBER, works independently from your pool'sfiltration system. The water is filtered manually poolside with a 22” or 29” steerable vacuum head, and water is returned to the pool. There is no backwashing of filters; therefore, water is saved, sewage water is lessened and chemicals are conserved. Chemical savings are usually 25-30%. All of this creates a good thing—a “green” pool.

The Pool Weasel is so efficient and easy to set up that labor cost of vacuuming can be reduced by 60%-75%. The Pool Weasel easily picks up hair, sand, coins, glass, hairpins, Band-Aids, etc.

Save water, energy and chemicals. Systems are designed to best fit the customer'spool, spa and/or water features. Pricing starts at $2,930, and leasing is available. A $150 discount awaits those who call within 30 days. Learn more about ALLY MEMBER Pool Weasel'svacuuming system at or call “T.” McLeod at 704/906-1376 today.

MAY/JUN 2002


Many years ago hotels began introducing non-smoking rooms for their guests—maybe a few rooms, then adding 10 more, then a section of one floor, then a whole floor, etc. Today, almost certainly, the majority of guestrooms at most US hotels are designated as non-smoking.

As the years have passed, we have all come to understand that tobacco causes cancer. Second-hand smoke has also been proven to be detrimental to our health and possibly cause cancer. Legislation and lawsuits regarding tobacco use have impacted our society so profoundly that tobacco use and its effects have been hugely reduced. As a result, there are fewer smokers today than ever before. Smoking and non-smoking sections are mandated in most restaurants, and many buildings are designated “non-smoking” facilities.

Hotels have progressed with the times and the downturn of tobacco usage in classifying more and more guestrooms as non-smoking rooms. Many hotels have reduced smoking rooms to only 10-15% of their inventory.

The cost of cleaning smoking rooms compared to the cost of cleaning non-smoking rooms is significant. In fact, one owner told us, “It is impossible to clean a smoking room correctly in the 30 to 45 minutes that housekeepers often have to clean a room before it is turned.”

So, more managers are making their hotels completely non-smoking facilities. Any hotel that has reduced smoking rooms to 10% or less should be able to become a non-smoking facility rather easily.

Vinjay Danfani, owner of an 80-room Comfort Inn in Manhattan'stheater district, reports that his motivation to make the change to a non-smoking property was a strong business reason. He said, “Demand is high for non-smoking rooms. Since the smoking rooms were already reduced to only 10%, the change was easy.” He also sees the change as fulfilling a health need—he'sa non-smoker, as is most of his staff.

When reservations are made, guests are clearly and explicitly informed that the property is totally a non-smoking facility. Signs at the front desk stress that smoking is not allowed in any of the guest rooms, should a smoker arrive for check-in and be unaware. The reservation section for this hotel at the company'sweb site clearly states, “This is a non-smoking hotel.” Though the company web site does not brag about the benefits of being a delight for non-smokers, GHA believes management would do well to use that marketing tactic to bring in even more of those of us who would really appreciate the clean air and refreshing smell of a non-smoking property.

When smokers do choose to stay at the property even though they say they were unaware of the policy at check-in, “there is very little complaining—they almost always go ahead and take the room and then they simply step outside the front door to smoke.” says a front desk clerk. “After all, this is New York City!” Should a smoker prefer not to take the room reserved, the front desk staff is pleased to arrange a room for the guest at another company-owned property nearby where smokers have not been banished.

Mr. Danfani says when, on the rare occasion, housekeepers do find that a guest has smoked in the room, the guest is politely but firmly asked to leave if they were to stay further nights. No fine is charged for the extra cleaning required by the indiscretion of the cheating guest, mainly because the incidents have been minimal.

The NYC Comfort Inn'srevenues are down as a result of 9/11, but they are down less than other comparable properties. Vinjay does not attribute the reduced downturn to the non-smoking policy because he has no way of making that determination. However, he feels sure there are money savings resulting from being a smokeless inn. “Money is saved because it takes housekeepers less time to clean a non-smoking room, and the need for cleaning products is certainly reduced,” Vinjay says.

How do the housekeepers like the change? Vinjay laughs as he replies, “They're thrilled with the change! They're no longer breathing second-hand smoke!” A reduced workload because of dealing only with non-smoking guests is also a big plus for housekeepers.

The 100-room Howard Johnson Hotel in Williamsburg, Virginia is in a far different setting, and so can make different decisions concerning its non-smoking program. “First of all, we're in Virginia—in the tobacco belt. So, making the change was a tough call from that aspect of business,” says Shelley Miller, General Manager of this Howard Johnson. Prior to making the change, the property had 20-25% of its rooms designated as “smoking rooms.”

Shelley continues, “There are several different areas where smokers may lounge outdoors while they smoke. We—ve gone to great lengths to make sure smokers are comfortable outdoors. Smoking is allowed outside the front doors where benches and ashtrays are provided, around the swimming pool area on lounge chairs there, in a covered underground parking area where benches are provided or at a sitting area outside their video game room.” So, the few guests who arrive and wish to smoke certainly have choices.

“Amazingly enough,” Shelley says, “even smokers love the fact that the property is a non-smoking facility. Smokers say they love it because —the rooms are cleaner, the air fresher.— Families arriving at this historic tourist destination really appreciate the smokeless policy—it'shealthier for their children as well as for themselves.”

“As for revenues, this Howard Johnson Hotel was a small percentage up in 2001 over the year 2000, but we're very proud that we—ve held our own when other properties are really struggling,” reports Ms. Miller. “We're unsure how much credit we can give to our non-smoking policy for the uptick, but we know it sets us apart. We're very happy we—ve made the change,” she says.

Can your property become a non-smoking facility? What percentage of your guestrooms are now non-smoking? Can you determine the extra cost in time, equipment and cleaning products for cleaning a smoking room? Can you accommodate those smokers who do decide to stay at your property with an appropriate area outdoors where they can smoke? Consider polling your staff, especially the housekeepers since they breathe more of the second-hand smoke than other staff members, as to their thoughts on working in a non-smoking environment.

If your property includes a restaurant or bar, considerations would need to be made so that smoke cannot drift into the lobby or other public areas.

Management should see measurable differences in the life of guestroom softgoods when a property does not allow smoking. Bedspreads, drapes and carpeting will need cleaning less often, so will have a longer life. Pillows will last longer because they have not absorbed smoke. Windows will need to be cleaned (inside) less often. Painted walls will remain fresh longer. Management of a non-smoking facility should see huge economic benefits.

Marketing your property as a smoke-free facility is an important next step. Be sure to brag about the benefits of the fresh, clean air, the healthy aspects of a non-carcinogenic environment, etc. Guests and clients will really appreciate the “fresh and clean” atmosphere of your smokeless property

MAR/APR 2002


By Patty Griffin, President, GHA

Let'sall make some resolutions to celebrate Earth Day! We—ve all made resolutions for so many New Years, and the majority of them were all about dieting and exercise. Uhhh. Let'stake a new tack—and go for new and exciting resolutions that will MAKE A DIFFERENCE in our world. Here are some ideas for starters.

Begin with to get an overview and some history on Earth Day as well as news and volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer with an environmental group. Your volunteer work helping in an office, making telephone calls from home or as a nature guide or mentor will be most welcome by non-profits. Your volunteer work in any capacity will reduce the expenses of the non-profit, give you great satisfaction and MAKE A DIFFERENCE! You—ll know you're doing some good with your time and your special talents. Your work with local, national or international groups will be welcomed with open arms. Choose an area of environmental work in which you are most interested and feel passionate about—the seashore? turtles? a forest? teaching a class? taking a group on a nature walk? Whatever works best for you.

Next, decide how much time you have to volunteer. Is it an hour or so each week or each month? Or, is it one day a year for a beach cleanup or to help with a bird count?

If you—d like to work with a local group, pull out your phone book and look under “Environmental, Conservation & Ecological Organizations.” Call a few and/or go to their web sites to look for volunteer opportunities. Another resource when looking for local environment groups is at

You—ll enjoy the work, you—ll make new friends with your same interests and you—ll truly, personally be helping protect our environment. For state or national groups, another choice is to go to GHA'sGuidelines and Ideas “Environmental Groups of Interest” section and to the web. You—ll love the work and the feeling of satisfaction, and Mother Nature will love you!

For longer term volunteering, one choice is to contact the Student Conservation Association which organizes Americans of all ages (but mostly young) in national parks and forests with the hope that they will choose careers in conservation. Internships from 12 weeks to a year are available in all 50 states. Call 603/543-1700 and check out their web site at for further information.

Learn something new about the environment. Study birds for a month. Go on an educational wildlife or nature trip. Take an environmental class at a local museum, library, center or university. Read and study a (used?) book with an environmental bent. Rachel Carson'sSilent Spring is always good, if you haven'talready read it. Commit to a new ecological project at your hotel with your new knowledge. Visitors would love to see a bulletin board of all the ecological opportunities in your area. Perhaps your studies could include putting together such a bulletin board and keeping it updated.

Teach others about nature. Help start a teaching program at your hotel about birds in the area, your waterfront, the stars, etc. Set up a hands-on display about nature in your area of interest in the lobby. Lead a nature walk in a nearby nature area for anyone who wants to go. Take your children, grandchildren, neighbor children, anyone else or just get up and go by yourself to a park, a waterfront, nearby woods, to a nature preserve or just to someone'svegetable garden. Visit a turtle research facility, goat farm or any farm. Look more closely at leaves, insects, birds and animals. Study them. Use binoculars, or not, for birdwatching. Use a jeweler'sloop or a magnifying glass to examine a bug more closely. Give nature books, bird feeders or related items as gifts. Of course, you can always call a few hospitality associates/friends and tell them about GHA. You, the people you involve and the group you help will remember these nature-related events for many years. Some of them may even be turned onto environmental hobbies and work.

I—ll still be picking up at least one piece of litter every day, but for 2002 I resolve to learn more about the turtles that live in our oceans—how they can be protected both when the female lays her eggs and when the babies race to the ocean shortly after hatching—and how I can help. Julie Crone, GHA'sExecutive Assistant, and her two 14-year-old foster daughters will be out on Galveston Island'sbeach helping with their annual cleanu