January 29, 2013

Dear Boston Green Tourism Members,


The minutes from the January 16 meeting are below, with links to the presentations. See the other sections, too.  
Our next meeting will be March 6 at The Lenox Hotel.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------                                 Boston Green Tourism Meeting    

January 16, 2014


Location: The Fairmont Copley Plaza

Hosts: Bre Gaetze, Eric Ulvila, Rui Rego, Jessica Tardif, Dragana Kovacevic


Present: Bre Gaetze, Eric Ulvila, Rui Rego, Dragana Kovacevic , Jessica Tardif, Maureen Albright, Marcella MacKenzie,  Ryan Parker, Kaitlin Mailliot, Jennifer Dean, Michael Borey, Dan Buker, Nick Calias, Brandan Barber, Stacy Diamantini, Andrew Laliberte, Sandra Roque, Al Vaughn, Ed Dustin, Kevin Lubinger, Greg Sensosk, Jim Ruberti, Michelle Lee Guiney, Adam Mitchell, Jack Fellman, Gerri Weiner, Alex Alexandrovich, Hugh Lacey, Christine Cobuzzi, Barry Sanders, Dave Flanders,  Dan Ruben.  I missed several people.


The Fairmont Copley Plaza's Green Program

Bre Gaetze, Sustainability Team Co-Chair

Eric Ulvila, Director of Engineering


Power to Profit: Introduction to Combined Heat and Power

Barry Sanders, President and COO of American DG Energy


Note: If your property is on the "spot" grid, which covers part of Boston and a small part of Cambridge, it makes sense to hold off on CHP for now, because the maximum allowable size is probably too small for CHP to be economical. The size limit might increase in the near future. If it does, I will report it. 


If your property is not on the "spot" grid,  CHP could be economical now, and reduce your natural gas bills substantially. 


If CHP interests you, your NSTAR representative could tell you which part of the grid your property is on, and help you evaluate whether this technology would be cost effective and otherwise beneficial for your facility. 


The Environmental and Financial Benefits of a Sustainable Water Program

Dave Flanders, VP, Business Development, Vivreau USA


Best Practices for Organizing Waste Management Programs:
How to Reduce Costs and Benefit the Environment

Dan Ruben, Boston Green Tourism 


What is Your Hotel's Recycling Rate?           

I mentioned in my presentation that several Boston hotels have recycling rates above 40%. If your property falls far short of that figure, it is probably leaving a lot of money on the table, and I encourage you to reinvigorate your program.


Michelle Lee Guiney, Total Recycling Program Manager for Waste Management of New England, asked me to communicate this 3-slide presentation and a few statistics that might stimulate your facility to bolster your program: 

  • Typical hotel waste analyses show that 95% of materials are recyclable or compostable.
  • Food waste, cardboard, paper and plastics comprises 60% of MA's trash. 
  • The cost for trash disposal is usually at least twice the cost of recycling disposal.
  • 15 of the 23 active landfills in MA are projected to close by 2020 based on tonnage capacity. These closures will cause waste disposal prices to surge.
  • The MA waste bans prohibits single stream items in the trash; food waste will be added to the list this summer. 

If you do decide to reinvigorate your waste management program, I encourage you to read my presentation above; ask me to make it to your green team or managers (it's free); and ask your recycling hauler for their advice. For example, Michelle from Waste Management and Adam Mitchell from Save That Stuff are eager to help you if you have a contract with their companies.



[In light of rapidly escalating energy prices this winter, I asked World Energy to advise hotels about buying energy in this market. This is their article.]


What's Behind Rising Energy Costs in New England This Winter? What Can Hotels Do About Them?                                                                                         

Janet Loop, Market Director, World Energy Solutions, Inc.


Electricity prices have spiked across New England this winter, in some cases by more than 50 percent. What's worse is that this phenomenon could be with us every winter season through 2016.


Why is this happening? It's a direct result of three interconnected forces:

  1. High demand. Natural gas is the predominant fuel choice for New England's generating units. Over 60% of power in the region now being produced by natural gas.  
  2. Increased demand from the residential sector. Today, over half of the households in Massachusetts rely on natural gas as their primary energy source for home heating.  Residential users get first priority over businesses on the pipelines in winter.
  3. Lack of supply caused by natural-gas pipeline constraints. New England is at the end of the two pipelines delivering natural gas from Canada and Texas. We are not likely to see relief until at least November 2016.

Combine these three factors with weather events, such as the polar vortex and winter storm Janus, and you have New England experiencing some of the highest prices in the nation this winter.


What can your hotel do to navigate winter-pricing volatility? First, know that electricity prices will probably continue to spike during the winter months for the next few years. Given this fact, you may want to pursue fixed-price contracts, which provide additional budget certainty.


Second, continue to take advantage of energy efficiency opportunities. As the cost per kWh goes up, the payback period for energy efficiency projects goes down. If you want to purchase renewable energy, look to leverage online auctions to help your hotel extract the best price.


Third, be proactive. Get ahead of expiring contracts so you can maximize your choices and flexibility in the market, instead of waiting and becoming a "market taker."


Finally, if your power contract is expiring in 2014, consider going out longer than twelve months. Rates currently are pricing better for 2-3 year contracts than they are for one year, which may take some of the sting out of future winter prices.   


Local Food Trade Show at Northeastern                                                            

It's now popular to feature food from Massachusetts and other New England states, but sourcing it can be a challenge. The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts' 3rd Local Food Trade Show can make this process easier. This event will take place on March 4 at Northeastern University, 8:30am-1:30pm.

The show is designed to facilitate connections and trade between wholesale buyers and producers of locally grown food. It will include expert panel seminars and open floor trading. You will be able to meet up to 50 farmers and producers who grow and make some on New England's finest foods. Visit the show's website to register and see the list of exhibitors


Please share this opportunity with your property's chefs.

Webinar: Safer Alternatives for Janitorial Cleaning  
This session will be held on Thursday March 27 from 11:00 to noon. 
"Join Heidi Wilcox, TURI's Laboratory and Field Technical Specialist, and Rex Morrison, from Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools, to learn about safer, less costly processes for janitorial cleaning. Replacing toxic cleaning substances with safer alternatives can often be a highly visible initiative that impacts the health and safety of every employee in your facility. This webinar will  provide information on practical techniques and some of the products that the TURI Lab has tested."

You can register here


There's Much to Consider When Seeking Out Sustainable Seafood 

Glenn Hasek, Green Lodging News, January 22.


This is a terrific article about how to purchase sustainable seafood. It quotes New England Aquarium's Elizabeth Fitzsimonds, who spoke at our December meeting.


"The hospitality industry can play a significant role in driving demand for more sustainable fish. Given that most people eat their seafood at restaurants, there is a platform to introduce fish that people do not know as much about--redfish, hake, and Atlantic pollock."


Bee is for Boston

Cassie Martin, BU News Service, December 5 


This article is about beekeeping in downtown Boston, and features The Fairmont Copley Plaza. Jessica Tardiff, Fairmont Copley's sales manager and beekeeper is quoted and pictured tending the hotel's hives. The Seaport Hotel and Taj Boston beehives are also mentioned.  


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


March 6:       The Lenox Hotel

April 17

June 5

July 24

September 18

October 30

December 4


See you March 6 at The Lenox!