July 9, 2012

Dear Boston Green Tourism Members,


Our next Boston Green Tourism meeting will be Thursday August 2 from 2:30 to 4:00.



Hostelling International Boston Opens New Green Property   

Hostelling International Boston just opened its innovative and

beautiful downtown property, located where the Theater District and Chinatown meet. By doubling the number of beds compared to their old facility, they have expanded Boston's budget accommodations, thereby addressing a critical need. The hostel is well-designed to satisfy international travelers young and old, and to foster interaction between people of different cultures.


At the Grand Opening Celebration, Mayor Menino and the Hostelling International speakers discussed the property's green attributes. HI-Boston clearly uses them as a selling point that distinguishes their property.


Indeed, HI-Boston is green from top to bottom. It will be the first LEED certified hotel in Boston and only the second in Massachusetts! The hostel expects to receive LEED-Gold recognition. See this flyer (after you open it, right-click and hit "Rotate Clockwise") which lists many of their green features.   


I will mention only a few of the ones that struck me. The facility is a model of reuse. They kept many of the elements of their 19th century building, they make extensive use of reclaimed wood and their dining room chairs are made from recycled Coke bottles.


HI-Boston buys wind power credits to offset 100% of their electricity use. The elevator batteries re-charge, like hybrid cars, making them 50% more energy efficient. The property's roof is white, reflecting heat and cutting the facility's cooling bills.


The hostel encourages sustainable transportation in several ways. They promote mass transit by highlighting subway lines and stations on their walls; they have a bicycle storage room and they direct guests to the nearby Hubway station; and they publicize Walk Boston tours.

To me, the most impressive part of HI-Boston's green program is the way that they use it to attract and educate guests. HI-Boston is a model of internal green marketing. Signs explaining the building's green characteristics and practices are ubiquitous.The hostel staff are conversant about their green program, and clearly proud of it.  


You have to see the hostel for yourself! They will host our November 1 meeting, and give us a green tour. If you can't wait that long, contact them for your own tour.


Congratulations to the HI-Boston staff, including Bob Sylvia, Deborah Ruhe, Susan Stendahl, Kelly Smith and Iain Baker.     


Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative to be Used in RFP's 

The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) created a methodology called HCMI 1.0, which enables hotels to "measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions...on a meeting room and guest room basis." It was developed under the guidance of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), who formed a working group to oversee this effort. Twenty-three hotel companies participated, including Fairmont, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Marriott and Starwood.


HCMI 1.0, "provides hotels with [their] carbon footprint per occupied room...and per area of meeting space. This information can then be used to calculate the carbon footprint of a specific client's use of the hotel (i.e. number of room nights and usage of meeting rooms). These are the measures...the industry will find most useful, particularly for hotels completing Request for Proposals (RFPs) from potential clients."


Meeting planners and corporate travel planners will begin to request this information in either 2013 or 2014.


In the last newsletter, I wrote about a similar initiative--the City of Boston will require commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet to report their Energy Star Portfolio Manager score. While the purpose behind the two programs is the same, they have different in origins and methodologies. HCMI 1.0 is international, while Portfolio Manager is intended for U.S. properties. Also, HCMI 1.0 requires hotels to gather more information, such as occupancy and fuel used by hotel vehicles. Hotels that outsource their laundry will need to get energy information from their contractor.  


I encourage you to get your facility's HCMI score-even though it is a lengthy process. I attached the methodology, the Practical Guide which helps hoteliers complete this calculation.


If you want me to send you a blank calculation spreadsheet and a sample calculation spreadsheet, please contact me. (This newsletter does not enable me to attach Excel spreadsheets.) Or, you can  write to info@hotelcarboninitiative.org and ask for them. 


Hotel Guests Can Rent a Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle, and Plan Greener Trips 

The InterContinental San Francisco Hotel enables its guests to rent a Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicle from Zipcar. I could see why this option would appeal to techno-files and guests who want to learn about this exciting technology. It has also garnered favorable media attention for the hotel. 


ICSF's Alternative Transportation micro-site (click on this link and then " Alternative Transportation micro site") helps guests plan their "green trip" by mass transit, walking, bicycle, motorcycle or car.


ICSF also offers a carbon footprint calculator, which guests or meeting planners can use. You can find it by clicking on "Carbon Foot Print," at the bottom of the webpage. 


New MA Incentive for Solar Hot Water   

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center announced a $10 million program that will provide businesses and residents with incentives to purchase a solar hot water (solar thermal) system. It will run from 2012 to 2016.


Solar thermal is usually a more logical choice than solar electricity for tall urban hotels with a modest amount of sunny roof space, because it has a greater impact on facilities' total energy use. Irving House at Harvard has a solar thermal system that has cut their natural gas use by over 25%. At least several other MA hotels and many New England properties have them--including the Cliff House Resort & Spa in Ogunquit Maine.


Will the new incentives make solar thermal financially feasible for your facility? Inquire to find out! For more information, see this announcement: MassCEC Announces New Multi-Year Incentive Program for Solar Hot Water, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, July 2, 2012.  


Best Western Introduces New Cleaning Technologies For Hotels:   

Program Empowers Best Western's Housekeeping To Set New Standard For Customer Care With The Use of UV Wands, Black Lights And Clean Remotes, Best Western International Press Release, May 31.   


I think you will find both the article and the 2-minute video to be interesting. Will UV wands and black lights become common disinfection tools for hotel housekeeping departments? The next two articles explore this subject, too.


Visions of Lab Coats, Sherlock Holmes & Magnifying Glasses, Glenn Hasek Green Lodging News, June 8.  


More on Best Western's I Care Clean Program, Glenn Hasek, Green Lodging New, June 15.


August 2

September 20: Boston Marriott Copley Place  

November 1: Hostelling International Boston

December 6