Reducing Costs and Attracting Customers Through Water and Energy Conservation, Waste Reduction, and Toxics Use Reduction
OTA hosted a conference in Marlborough, Massachusetts on water conservation and other greening opportunities for the hospitality industry. The conference, Saving Money Through Greening Hospitality: Reducing Costs and Attracting Customers Through Water and Energy Conservation, Waste Reduction, and Toxics Use Reduction, featured speakers from the hospitality industry, experts in water conservation, and government officials. Nancy Stevens, the mayor of Marlborough, welcomed forty attendees from the hospitality sector and other interested parties.
Dan Cook, a water conservation expert, pointed out that water conservation investments typically have rapid paybacks, immediate reduction in operating expenses, and often save on energy as well as water. He described technologies that save energy, water, and chemicals, such as low-flow shower heads; the "Dolphin" nonchemical cooling tower maintenance system that uses an electric field to prevent the precipitation of minerals that cause scale build-up; ozonating washers that reduce the need for laundry soap, heat, and water; steam trap repair; pool covers, and simple rainwater capture for landscape irrigation.
Other speakers included Glenn Hasek of the industry newsletter Green Lodging News who gave a presentation on many new certifications of environmental responsibility that hotels can receive, including 17 new state green hotel programs. Both Dan Ruben of Boston Green Tourism and Tedd Saunders of the Lenox Hotels spoke about the rise of consumer interest in green hotels and the commercial benefits of meeting that challenge. In particular, Ruben noted that there are now 405 hotels rated as efficient under the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star program and that several major chains have announced environmental initiatives, such as LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Starwood's ELEMENT hotels. Several speakers also noted that meeting planners are asking for environmental information in their Requests for Proposals, and some government agencies, including the EPA, require staff to stay in green hotels.
While the profusion of certifications and standards has created confusion about what constitutes a "green" hotel, each speaker was clear about the advantages of greening operations: for example, Energy Star buildings use 35% less energy than comparable buildings, the Hyatt Regency Boston reduced electricity use from 12.3 million kwh/yr to 7.5 million kwh/yr, and the Westin Copley Place reduced water use by 22.5 million gallons in 2008 alone. The manager of the Marlborough Marriott stated that the energy and water audits arranged by OTA identified many options for savings, such as low-flow fittings, lighting, and space and water heating.
A lot of the information presented is also applicable to large commercial facilities. The conference brochure, which includes the agenda and the presentations are posted below.
Water Conservation In Massachusetts - EEA file size 2MB
The Bottom Line of Green is Black - Ecological Solutions file size 1MB