members share ideas

The Greenporter Hotel's Cleaning

At The Greenporter Hotel, Greenport, NY, (4-year Partner Member) Deborah Pitorino, owner, said her all-encompassing green cleaning program is derived from a personal commitment to sustainability. "It all began when I wanted to stop using chemicals in the restaurant kitchen," she said. As a result, the property created its own house-blended organic cleaning solution for floors, surfaces and windows derived from melting down partially-used organic amenity soaps, and mixing them with a blend of natural essential oils known to have antibacterial properties such as eucalyptus and lavender.

The process not only enables the hotel to recycle all of its soaps, but also provides significant savings by cutting down on purchasing. "Customers also really like the way the hotel smells because our cleaner is really fragrant." Pittonino said.

In addition, the property began recycling older linens such as sheets and towels that have been pulled out of rotation into cleaning rags. "Torn sheets work great for windows and towels for the rest of the property," Pittorino said.

Staffers were recently trained to clean rooms using minimal electricity, water and cleansers; and more and more guests are also opting to reuse towels and sheets during their stay.

The Greenpoter's efforts don't stop at housekeeping. The property used leftover materials from a renovation to build a small greenhouse to grow herbs and vegetables for its restaurant, Cuvee Bistro. In addition, the hotel gets a nominal fee for used cooking oil.

Shipping and packaging is another area that got a second look by The Greenporter. The hotel recently committed to baking its own pastries for guest breakfasts, buying local wines for the restaurant, acquiring dry goods in bulk and using only local produce. Other measures include using a thermos instead of a hot plate to keep coffee warm, and using "to-go" containers made from recycled materials.

Pittorino said it has become easier to find and buy green products for her hotel in the last few years. She has also found that mainstream hotel suppliers are offering more green products than ever.

GRAND HYATT DENVER'S GREENING

5-year Partner Member Grand Hyatt Denver's Green Team is charged with consistently seeking improvements in operations. The team recently addressed guestroom cleaning processing. Staffers were retrained to clean rooms "in the most efficient way possible," using not only environmentally-friendly cleaners, but also a minimum amount of water, electricity and linens. The property also recently spent more than $1 million upgrading its laundry facilities with high-efficiency machines.

The property retrofitted all bulbs in guestroom lamps with fluorescents, installed light sensors in offices, restrooms and associate work areas, recaulked the building for better energy control and installed low-flow showerheads, sinks and toilets.

The hotel also offers discounted passes for mass transit to staff to cut down on single-person commuting. Items such as retired blankets are donated to local shelters. "We don’t just want to be a green hotel. We want to be a good citizen, and believe it pays to do so," says Brian Smith, executive assistant manager, rooms division. McMullen, Shanon, "Hotels take holistic approach to green cleaning strategies," HotelMangement.net, April 9, 2012, p. 28-30.

RELATIONSHIP WITH A GREEN NON-PROFIT

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Most communities are home to at least one organization whose mission is simply to champion the "green cause," says Rob LeVine, General Manager of Antlers at Vail Condominiums & Conference Center. In Vail, Colorado, it is the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability (EVAS, eaglevalleyalliance.org). 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, assuming we have space available. We also offer our conference space to them at no charge for any of those events for which it works, again on a space-available basis," continues Rob.

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.

Contact Info: Rob LeVine, General Manager, Antlers at Vail, Dir 970/790-5200, C 970/331-9594, antlersvail.com

Windermere Manor Catches the Buzz

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Neil Kellock, General Manager of at London, Ontario, Canada, and part of the University of Western Ontario's hospitality services, heard about bee hives on the roof a urban hotel, and began to investigate. As a result, he 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. Kellock decided he wanted to share what he was learning, and so chose to locate the hives on the ground where visitors could see them. The bees are taking an active educational role at the university. They're doing a lot of tours, and have had a number of school classes visit.

Kellock has 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's shift to produce more food on site. Kellock is a firm believer in the locavore (local food) movement, and is now using the manor's produce in its restaurant.

The flavour 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, 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," said Kellock.

Each hive is named for a section of the university: Research Park, Great Hall, Windermere Hotel, etc. Kellock was proud the Windermere Cafe hive has been the most productive so far. The university administration hive is the slowest. "Too many meetings," quipped Kellock.

The first Summer of having the bee hives proved to be a great success, we harvested approx 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, as well as adding a special viewing hive, where one wall of the hive is see-through allowing us to show what's going 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's wax produced in our hives to utilize as furniture polish in the hotel.

Source: Wallace, Janis, "Catching the buzz," The London Free Press, May 31, 2010

TALLMAN HOTEL INSTALLS ELECTRIC CHARGING STATION

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Tallman Hotel, Upper Lake, CA, recently installed an electric car charging station in its downtown parking lot, taking another step in its commitment to sustainability. The idea first developed when they heard about a car-charging system offered by AeroVironment, Inc. The equipment was purchased for about $1,500 and installed at a cost of $1,000. Prices ranged up to $4,000 for the charging station from companies General Manager Travis Lipscomb contacted. Because they chose to install the station in the parking lot rather than on a wall, installation meant digging a trench, laying a pipe for the wiring and pouring a small slab for the station.

Travis said they chose AeroVironment's station partially for price, but also because of the company's long history and their far-reaching goals. Founded in 1971, the company created the first solar plane. In 1988 their solar Sunraycer set a new speed record for solar-powered land vehicles by exceeding 75 mph.

In the 2 weeks the system has been in service, it's been used by at least three different car owners who have charged their vehicles multiple times. They are unable to monitor the energy cost of the station, but because the maximum power is 9,600 watts, they know the cost is little more than the cost to dry a load of clothes. Whether for the restaurant or for the hotel, management fully believes the charging station will bring business to the property.

"This is yet another example of the leadership of Lynne and Bernie Butcher, owners of the hotel," said District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing. "They have consistently demonstrated leadership in energy efficiency and renewables, and this is the next step for them. We're very excited to see them do this, and it's a good example of a business that is innovative and forward-thinking."

Travis said they are the first charging station in Northern California, and are already on Nissan's electric charging stations map online and well as on Nissan Leaf's GPS system, which is on all Leaf automobiles, the new all-electric vehicle. If you have questions for Travis, he'd be pleased to speak with you at 707/275-2244 or respond sent to e-mails to gm@tallmanhotel.com.

LED CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SAVE!

By Angie and Tim Allen, A. G. Thomson House Historic Bed and Breakfast Inn, Duluth, MN, thomsonhouse.biz

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This past holiday season, we converted our exterior lighting from incandescent holiday lights to energy-efficient LED lights. We anticipated savings in energy use and cost, but what we experienced was more than we had hoped for. At the A. G. Thomson House, we strictly adhere to our Green Policy. The policy is posted on our website, and reminders appear around the inn. We have already replaced standard bulbs with CFL and LED bulbs where feasible. Up until this year our holiday lights had been an exception. So, we decided to bring our holiday lighting in line with the rest of our practices.

We purchased strings of C-9 LED lights to replace the incandescent C-9 bulbs we had used to illuminate the roof lines of all three of the buildings on our property. For those not familiar with C-9 bulbs, they are the big chandelier-type bulb. This change required purchasing 20 strings of 35 bulbs, each costing about $15 at the local home improvement store (Menards). The lights cost about $300 total to purchase.

The packaging makes bold claims about the lights being 99% more energy efficient than standard bulbs. We were skeptical about the stated savings. According to the packaging each string uses just 2.4 watts (compared to 245 watts with standard C-9 bulbs). When you do the math for 20 strings, you can see the potential for huge savings in energy consumption over the duration of the holiday lighting season. We had the lights on timers and left them on for 12 hours each day for about 6 weeks.

To our delight, the holiday season electricity use dropped by over 2,500 kWh (over 32% less total usage than last year) during the 45 days our holiday lights were in use. This resulted in a savings of approximately $250 in energy costs! We had hoped the savings in electricity cost would pay for the purchase of new LED lights in three or four years, and were pleasantly surprised that they nearly paid for themselves the very first year!

Another advantage of LED lights is the ability to string numerous light sets end-to-end. The packaging claims you can string 87 sets together. While we clearly didn't need to do that, stringing many sets together results in fewer extension cords, timers, etc. A further advantage is the fact that the bulbs are cool to the touch, and as a result, last much longer than standard incandescent bulbs. The packaging also claims the bulbs have 25,000 hours of life (versus about 990 hours for incandescent bulbs). While we don't yet know if we'll see that kind of lifespan from the bulbs, we do know that not a single one of the 700 bulbs has burned out!

The simple fact that bulbs are not always burning out is worth the investment. Typically Tim needed to climb a 40-foot ladder several times each holiday season to replace bulbs along the third-floor roof line of the inn. Because of the LED bulbs' extended life, he didn't need to do that even once! That fact alone has value that it is difficult to put a price on. Absolutely no one wants to climb a ladder on a cold Northern Minnesota winter day.

We have found the LED bulbs to be equal in appearance to incandescent C-9 bulbs. Feedback from guests was entirely positive. Frequently guests commented about the curb appeal of the inn's exterior lighting. We were thrilled that our holiday decorating was even featured in "Lake Superior Magazine."

This change in lighting is in keeping with our overall green policy and practices. Our plan is to convert our interior lighting to LED bulbs for the next holiday season. We have found once again that the "green" alternative can also be a cost-effective solution.

USING WOOD FOR HEAT SAVES

PARTNER MEMBER Crystal Springs Motel, Charles P. Kinsman, crystalspringsmotel.com

Beginning in December 2004 we installed a Central Boiler outdoor wood furnace to be used for heating our motel plus all of our hot water usage. This was to be used in place of natural gas which had been our fuel previously. Our intent was to use only dead or storm damaged trees on our property that were already down and not to cut down good trees still standing, and we stuck to it. I am happy to report that since that time we have used less than 1% (one percent) of what the average commercial natural gas customer uses measured in ccf's each month! We'll continue to save money for many years.

ORGANIC COTTON SHEETS DRY QUICKER!

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Victoria Schomer, PARTNER MEMBER Asheville Green Cottage, says, "I've discovered that organic cotton sheets hold less water and dry faster than bamboo sheets . . . interesting energy savings thing."

MADDEN'S RECYCLES!

Madden's on Gull Lake, Randy Lee, Manager, 218/829-2811, maddens.com, 3Aug2010

PARTNER MEMBER Madden's on Gull Lake, Brainerd, MN, retains a full time employee and vehicle specifically designated for daily pick up and transference of recyclables from all resort areas…from offices to kitchens, from recycling containers on each tee box on the golf courses to guest room recycle bags. Since 2008, the first full year of our Green Program the following savings have been realized: • A 52% decrease in gas usage • A 15% decrease in electrical usage • A 29% in garbage disposal • A 135% INCREASE in recycled materials . . . nearly 86 tons.

NO. 1 NEWSLETTER

Partner Member EcoLodge Rendez-Vous
Publishes First Newsletter

eco news This GHA Partner Member, EcoLodge Rendez-Vous, Saba, Netherlands Antilles, has published their first Internet-distributed newsletter. It is full-color, guaranteed virus-free and its two pages are full of interesting news of the property. Watercolor classes along with a jewelry-making workshop (using local natural materials) are discussed. Cuisine prepared at the restaurant, such as almond crusted snapper, coconut curried shrimp and Mom's Apple Pie sound appealing enough to make anyone want to visit. Read and/or print the complete newsletter by clicking on the icon to the right.

Consider a newsletter that reaches out to guests interested in the environment (said to be 80% of the public) about your property!

econews 2 Comments or congratulations can be sent to the EcoLodge at info@ecolodge-saba.com

VENDORS NOTIFIED OF "GREEN" PURCHASING POLICY

vendors Partner Member Cottonwood Cove's LetterNotifies Vendors, Suppliers and Contractors ofTheir Green Procurement and Packaging Policy Tom Burnside, General Manager at Cottonwood Cove Resorts & Marinas, has sent a letter to all vendors, suppliers and contractors advising them that his property is committed to purchasing environmentally preferred "Green" products and services. He encourages all vendors/contractors to seek out and secure environmentally preferred products/practices and he commits to giving preference to those vendors/contractors who are successful in that endeavor.

The icon to the right is clickable so that you can read and/or print the letter.

If you'd like to know more or just want to congratulate Cottonwood Cove Resorts & Marinas on their "Green" Purchasing letter, contact Tom Burnside at 702/297-1464 or click here to email us.

CHECK STUB MARKETING

four pts Four Points Sheraton, Rochester New York Pitches Meeting Space on Check Stub Many properties send GHA checks that use a full 8.5x11 sheet of paper. One-third of the sheet is the check, one-third is the check stub and one third is most often blank. The Accounting and Sales Departments at the Four Point Sheraton Rochester has gotten together to make super use of the blank one-third of the check paper. The 3" strip of paper pitches "Meetings Made Easy" with pricing on two packages of meeting rooms for January and February. See their clever, smart, useful check strip, and consider how this idea can be used at your property to seek business from vendors and contractors.

The icon to the right is clickable so that you can read and/or print the notice.

SUPER PRESS RELEASE!

Partner Member The Houstonian Expands Community Outreach

houston The Houstonian's exciting environmental program is announced to the world with their September 7, 1998 press release. The Houstonian's committment to the community is clear with their efforts such as participating in the Texas Recycles Day and the Children's Envir-Olympics Day as well as sponsoring a "Rerun Your Running Shoes" event in November. Read the complete press release by clicking on the icons to the right.

We encourage all members to produce press releases at least once a year providing information on your environmental program.

houston If you'd like to know more or just want to congratulate The Houstonian on their super press release, contact Laura Terrell, Director of Purchasing and Environmental Efforts at 800/528-1234, 713/685-6716 or buygreen@houstonian.com

GREAT NEWSLETTER!

Charter Member Best Western Wayside Inn's
Newsletter Welcomes Guests

bwrev Best Western Wayside Inn is located in beautiful Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada. Their strength is the beauty of the countryside. Their fresh and warmly-written newsletter is a great read (whether it's placed in a guestroom, handed out at the front desk/dining room or mailed out to clients). The quarterly two-page communication is packed with indoor and outdoor activities. It's printed two-sided (well, of course) on 8-1/2"x11" white stock. The format is professionally done.

The icons to the right are clickable so that you can read or print the newsletter.

bwrev If you'd like to know more or just want to congratulate Best Western Wayside Inn on their great newsletter, contact Bobbi Fox, CHA, General Manager at 800/528-1234, 800/663-5307 BC&AB; only, 250/837-6161 or email us