May 4, 2012

Dear Boston Green Tourism Members,


The minutes from the April 26 BGT meeting are below, with links to the presentations. See the other two sections, too.



Boston Green Tourism Meeting


April 26, 2012


Location: Omni Parker House  

Host: Casey Gilman, John Murtha                                        


Present: Casey Gilman, Scot Hopps, Megan Falkenberry, Kelly Smith, Bob Burke, Keith Alexander, Dan Buker, Erica Mattison, Fabienne Eliacin, Tom Ostberg, Larry Whitman, Gerri Weiner, Emre Schveeighoffer, Juan Rivera, Matthew Gardner, Claire Connolly, Lori Van Dam, Dan Ruben.



Omni Parker House: Green Team Initiatives and Accomplishments

Casey Gilman, Green Team Leader


Practical Sustainability: Engaging Employees and Customers

Matthew Gardner, Director, Sustainserv

Mr. Gardner discussed how to gain staff input and cooperation; and how to communicate your program to your customers.  


Motors Used for Refrigeration and HVAC: How to Identify Retrofits with Great ROI's

Emre Schveighoffer, President, National Resource Management, Inc.

This presentation helps hoteliers cut their energy bills by understanding how to maintain motors and when to replace them.  


What You Need to Know about Eco-Friendly Livery

Lori Van Dam, President, PlanetTran

PlanetTran enables your environmentally-concerned guests to start and end their visit in a greener way.  



Commercial Food Waste to be Banned in Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is preparing new regulations that will disallow businesses, including hotels, to discard food waste in the trash, starting in 2014 (Commercial food waste to be banned: Later, rule may extend to homes, David Abel, The Boston Globe, Mary 4.) Their intention is to preserve landfill space and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 


Some BGT hotels already comply with the anticipated regulations by diverting their waste to licensed composting facilities. They use one of several haulers that have trucks dedicated to this purpose. 


Others have found it difficult to divert their food waste because of space constraints in their kitchens and loading docks, or other logistical issues.    


The article implied that diverting food waste would reduce businesses' costs. In my experience, food waste diversion costs about the same as discarding food in the trash.


At least several BGT hotels use on-site organic waste decomposers that break down food waste into liquids and send it down the drain. We saw one such machine, the Bio-Green 360 at the Seaport Hotel at one of our meeting last summer.


I asked a Massachusetts DEP official (John Fischer, Branch Chief, Waste Planning and Commercial Waste Reduction) whether these units will be acceptable under the new regulations. He would not make a commitment, but thinks that, "they would be [probably be] allowed, as the waste ban would be a ban on disposal of the food waste as solid waste. And, in some cases, those systems might be a good option for facilities to comply with the ban."


As we get closer to implementing these regulations, I will keep you up-to-date and help hotels find the best alternatives for compliance.



Breaking Down the Barriers to the Success of your Green Program: A new report ( Breaking Down Barriers to Energy Efficiency: Findings from EDF Climate Corps 2011, Jake Hiller, Victoria Mills, Emily Reyna) analyzes organizational barriers that keep energy efficiency programs from being fully successful, and offers solutions for overcoming these barriers. The solutions can be applied to other aspects of green programs besides energy efficiency, too.


According to an article introducing the report, it, "offers effective ways to motivate employees, create accountability for success... ensure funding for financially attractive projects," and more.


I copied some of the reports' conclusions, below. While these conclusions seem obvious, I know that many hotels would benefit by incorporating them.


"Some common barriers cited by participating companies, along with best practices for overcoming them include: 


Barrier #1: Lack of clear accountability

One of the most common challenges cited by companies was lack of clear accountability for energy performance. Without that function written into a senior manager's job description, many companies are unable to perform critical functions like setting energy strategy, identifying and prioritizing energy-saving investments, leveraging internal capital, and tracking actual energy savings.


Success Story: Distributed accountability at AT&T

AT&T hired John Schinter in 2009 to serve as the company's Executive Director of Energy. Schinter quickly realized the need to engage facility managers to meet the company's carbon and energy goals, and designed a system of distributed accountability for energy performance across the company, setting clear metrics and targets, establishing reporting mechanisms, and rewarding success. The results have been impressive, with AT&T realizing $44 million in annualized energy savings in 2010. 


Barrier #2: Lack of comprehensive energy data 

Many companies struggle to collect and aggregate the energy data needed to build a strong business case for energy investments. Key challenges include ensuring that data is collected with sufficient frequency, specificity, and consistency to effectively identify opportunities and verify savings after projects are completed. 


Success Story: Centralized data collection at Shorenstein 

Shorenstein has deployed electrical meters in all of the buildings it manages. Shorenstein's energy management team utilizes real-time metering and 15-minute historical data to perform daily evaluations of energy use from its entire building portfolio. The  data are centrally collected and reviewed by Shorenstein's chief engineers and its engineering managers.."


 New England Energy Efficiency Conference


New England Energy Efficiency Conference & Expo: This annual conference, hosted by NSTAR & National Grid, will be held on June 1 at the Intercontinental Boston Hotel. I highly recommend it. It presents an opportunity to learn about the latest technology and techniques for reducing energy use, and to meet recommended vendors. Look here for more information and to register. The cost is $125 per participant.  


June 7

August 2

September 20: Boston Marriott Copley Place  

November 1: Hostelling International Boston

December 6