December 12, 2013

Dear Boston Green Tourism Members,


The minutes from the December meeting are below, with links to the presentations. See the other sections, too.   
Our next meeting will be January 16 at The Fairmont Copley Plaza.


Boston Green Tourism Meeting

December 5, 2013


Location: Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel

Host: Richard Wallace


Present: Richard Wallace, Marcella MacKenzie, Fabienne Eliacin, Leo Larosa, Kevin Lubinger, Bill Scherer, David McKenzie, Cameron Ritzenthaler, Alex Alexandrovich, Hugh Lacey, Jeff Mann, Rob Guillemin, Steve Burrington, Elizabeth Fitzsimons, Heather Tausig, Scott Milne, Dan Ruben.



Variable Drive Retrofit for Domestic Water Booster

Richard Wallace, Director of Engineering, Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel


This project cut the hotel's energy use by 80,000 kWh's per year, with an ROI of only one year. The new unit is much quieter than the old one.


Have Your Fish, and Eat It, Too: Sustainable Seafood and the Role of the Hospitality Industry

Elizabeth Fitzsimons, Outreach Coordinator, Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium   


The New England Aquarium's sustainable seafood programs aim to protect the world's ocean resources by raising public awareness and working with industry to advance sustainable practices within wild-capture fisheries and aquaculture. Because most US seafood is consumed in restaurants, the hospitality industry has a unique opportunity to engage the public. The Aquarium helps chefs and restaurants leverage this opportunity and promote sustainable seafood by providing programs, education, sourcing information and staff training designed for the hospitality industry. 


Advanced Conservation Strategies for Hotels

Scott Milne, President/CEO, National Energy Technology LLC 


Mr. Milne described several energy efficiency strategies, including an updated room energy management system, ozone laundry, new LED tube lights, several ways to improve walk-in refrigerator efficiency and more.


Innovative Strategies for Financing Energy and Water Efficiency Projects 

Stephen Burrington, Principal, Renew Energy Partners LLC 


Hotels are now more commonly using financing methods that allow them to acquire energy efficiency and renewable energy equipment without owning or maintaining it, and with no capital expense or risk.



Coming Soon: Energy Storage Systems that Enable Hotels to Cut Their Bills                     

Hotel electricity bills are based on two components: 

  • energy charges, which are based on total kWh's during the billing period, and 
  • demand charges that are based on use during the peak time of the billing period. 

Mostly, BGT has focused on strategies to reduce total kWH's. But new strategies are coming to market that help hotels reduce their demand during peak periods. These approaches can also cut electricity bills significantly. 


Two companies, Stem  and Solar City,offer such an approach. They enable hotels to reduce electricity demand automatically, without any impact on their operations.


The companies use energy storage batteries and algorithm-based software to automatically store energy in the batteries during off hours, and discharge it back into the hotel when demand charges are high.


I discussed the Stem system in a newsletter several months ago. Recently, this young California company completed a successful trial at two San Francisco InterContinental hotels. The hotels were so impressed with Stem's system and its impact on their bills that they acquired many more of their battery storage units. 


Hotels acquire Stem's batteries and software using a power purchase agreement (PPA), which stipulates that Stem installs their batteries and software for free. Hotels pay Stem a monthly fee paid out of their utility bill savings--and keep the difference. Thus, the properties save money beginning the first month after installation.


A Stem representative told me that the company is still focused on California, and won't be ready to enter the Northeast U.S. market for at least six to nine months. In the meantime, we should keep an eye out for companies that offer similar products.


In a related development, SolarCity announced last week that beginning in mid-2014, they will offer an energy storage product to Massachusetts businesses that buy their solar panels. Just like the Stem product, the energy from the panels will be stored for use during peak demand periods. 


There are important ancillary benefits to the Stem and SolarCity storage systems. For one, they provide backup power that can be used during power outages. Also, they enable more hotels to enroll in utility-based demand response programs. Demand response programs pay businesses to be ready to cut their energy use from the grid during potential brownout periods--usually several hours per year during times of peak usage. The Stem and SolarCity energy storage systems enable the hotels to enroll without having to change their operations at all.


Since battery and software systems do not reduce a hotel's total energy use, but shift energy in and out of hotel batteries, do they benefit the environment? I think the answer is, "yes." During peak periods, electric utilities call upon some of the area's dirtiest power plants to go on-line to meet the extreme demand. By reducing demand during peak periods, businesses help keep these dirtier power plants from firing up. Also, cutting demand at peak hours reduces New England's need to build more power plants and transmission lines. 


I believe that battery storage systems have a bright future. It's worthwhile to keep an eye out for them.


A Greener Holiday Tree                                                                                                       

Sherri Scheck-Merril, Hotels, December 6.


The author recommends renting potted trees, which can be returned for re-planting.


The Furniture Trust   

This non-profit organization, founded by Boston business leaders, organizes the transfer of unwanted office furniture and provides it to local schools and charities. They take items like casegoods, seating, files, conference tables, reception furniture, lamps and rugs. When hotels have unwanted items like these, The Furniture Trust is one of several organizations that can find a new home for them. IRN is another. 

The following BGT meetings will be 2:30 to 4:00. Please mark them in your calendar!


January 16:   The Fairmont Copley Plaza

March 6:       The Lenox Hotel

April 17

June 5

July 24

September 18

October 30

December 4


See you January 16 at The Fairmont Copley Plaza!