Meeting News - November 10, 2008 - (Page 24)

Green Beat Edited by Terri Hardin terri.hardin@nielsen.com A Pioneer, Florida’s Green Lodging Program Is Growing Eco-Leader In 2004, Florida, through its environmental protection department, launched a voluntary conservation program for hotels known as Green Lodging, aimed at reducing energy use, water use, and waste output while improving indoor air quality. This past June, Florida’s legislature raised the bar by mandating that all state agencies use Green Lodging properties for their meetings and conferences whenever possible. Since then, the number of participating hotels has nearly doubled—hitting 300 this month—and the program’s manager, Peter Goren, races to keep up. we started doing this four years ago. Back then, there weren’t good choices for fluorescent lightbulbs. They tended to be white and cold. They now have better options and LED ment project in one of the four categories. Hotels must advance to Two Palms to remain in the program. The Three Palm designation is optional. They propose a project, just like for Two Palms. They’re eligible after maintaining their Two Palm designation for three years. We just completed an assessment for our first potential Three Palm property, the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, in Bonita Springs. Q Are certain types of hotels more likely to participate in Green Lodging? Q What impact can meeting planners have by selecting an eco-friendly property? A A More and more organizations are asking for green meetings. If you utilize a green lodge, you’re that much further into the process. Many hotels tell us that demand has just exploded. One property says that almost half of its customers want the Green Lodging designation. What will guests notice when they visit a Green Lodging hotel? Our smallest property is a two-bedroom bed and breakfast, and the largest is the AllStar Resorts at Disney World, which has 6,000 rooms. In the beginning, we tended to have more high-end places and more B&Bs. Now, especially with the state business, there are more midsize and two- and three-star hotels. What benefits do participating hotels report? Q Q A Recycling will hit you in the face when you walk in the door. Properties are supposed to recycle all materials that are readily recyclable in that community. If it’s being done in the community, they need to do it. . . In some places, guests will notice CFLs (compact fluorescent lightbulbs). The towel and linen reuse programs are also very visible (through signage that encourages guests to opt out of daily replacements). At least 12 other states now have some form of green hotel program. What makes Florida’s different? We were the first state to develop one. California was a close second. Other states took our criteria and improved on them. Now, we’re taking those improvements and expanding them ourselves. Technology has changed since 24 MeetingNews November 10, 2008 bulbs, which didn’t even exist then. There’s been an explosion in the availability of green cleaners and better water-saving fixtures. The old low-flow showerheads used to be a trickle—you could hardly get the shampoo out of your hair. Now, they use less water but have much better pressure. Two come to mind: First, many of these facilities are seeing tremendous savings in energy, water, and waste, with relatively short payback periods for relatively large investments in infrastructure. The other point is that housekeeping departments have told us how pleased they are with green cleaners (which are non-toxic, biodegradable, non-corrosive, and low in volatile organic compounds). It’s easier on their respiratory systems, on their eyes, and on their hands. A Q Q Are some properties greener than others? Q Could the program eventually expand to include other types of properties, like golf courses or restaurants? Right now, we really need to stay focused on the lodging industry. If you want to do something right, you can’t spread too thin. H —Interview conducted by Brad Crawford A We have One Palm, Two Palm, and Three Palm designations. For One Palm, they have to meet minimum criteria in the four categories of water, waste, energy, and clean air. For Two Palms, they must continuously meet their One Palm criteria for one year, track their utility costs for progress, and complete an improve- A A For more information on the Green Lodging Program, go to www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging. www.meetingnews.com http://www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging http://www.meetingnews.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - November 10, 2008

Meeting News - November 10, 2008
MN Exclusive Research
Green & Social Responsibility: The Year that Was in Meetings
Incentive Special: Recovering from AIG
Perspectives
What's Up @ MeetingNews.com
Letters to the Editor
Inside the Meetings Industry
South Africa Supplement
Newsmaker Q&A
People Making News
Hotels & Resorts
Starwood Hopes E-Portal is Small Meeting Utopia
Intercontinental O'Hare Puts Art at Forefront
Convention Centers
Dallas and Philadelphia Move on Their Projects
CVBs
Jacksonville Markets to Medical, Cultural Groups
International
Jamaica's Rose Hall Area Blossoms with Resorts
EIBTM Puts Together an Ambitious Program
Transportation & Services
Meeting News South
Technology
Green Beat
Destination Insider
Fort Lauderdale
Cleveland
Incentive Report
Mexico
MN Webcast Report
Ad Index
Live from the Forum

Meeting News - November 10, 2008

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