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Hospitality News

Green Hotel Webinar Series

Dear Colleague,

Join hoteliers and other professionals in this six-session webinar series. It’s designed to help you cut your property’s operating costs, attract customers and improve environmental performance.

Participants will learn how U.S. hotels reduce energy, water, waste and toxins; and get recognized for doing so. Each session will have three expert speakers.

Those who attend all six sessions will be acknowledged with a Certificate of Completion.

The webinars are funded by the U.S. EPA. They are organized by Dan Ruben of Boston Green Tourism and Peter Cooke of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

Sign up for as many sessions as you can!

View the webinars here!


EPA Launches WaterSense H2Otel Challenge to Encourage Water Savings

Posted: February 5, 2014

National awareness campaign helps hotels save water and money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today launched WaterSense H2Otel Challenge as a way for agency partners and other organizations to encourage hotels to use best management practices that will save water and money, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

“Hotels that reduce their water use will not only help their community save precious resources, but can gain a competitive edge in today’s green marketplace,” said Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “Since 2006, WaterSense has helped Americans save more than 487 billion gallons of water, and now we’re building on that success to help hotels take their sustainability efforts to the next level.”

From New York City’s Times Square to the Las Vegas strip, hotels across the country will take a pledge to “ACT”—assess, change, and track their water use in the following ways:

• Assess water use and savings opportunities throughout the hotel.
• Change products and processes to more water-efficient models and methods.
• Track water reduction progress before and after incorporating best management practices.

Caesars Entertainment is the first company to sign up for the H2Otel Challenge.

“At Caesars Entertainment’s resorts throughout the country, we know that sustaining our local water supply is as important as providing the best entertainment experience we can to our guests. Over the last few years we successfully implemented several water saving projects, such as adding low-flow showerheads and sink aerators at our Las Vegas resorts. We are excited to participate in the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge and to identify where we can make even greater improvement to our operations,” said Eric Dominguez, Corporate Director of Engineering, Utilities and Environmental Affairs for Caesars Entertainment.

“Here in Las Vegas, the hospitality industry is critical to our local economy. Fortunately, our hotel and resort industry has long been a valuable partner in our successful efforts to improve water efficiency in the hospitality sector”, said Doug Bennett, Conservation Manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. “We are excited that some of our largest resorts will share their knowledge and participate in the H2Otel Challenge.”

By tackling projects throughout their properties, hotels can find ways to improve their water efficiency and performance while providing the highest quality experience for guests. To help hotels make operational changes and meet growing customer demand for green lodging, EPA will initiate a series of educational webinars on February 13, 2014 and provide free tools based on the online guide, WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities. WaterSense will also offer outreach materials for hotels to publicize their efforts and celebrate their successes with guests and employees.

For more information about the challenge, visit the WaterSense website at www.epa.gov/watersense/challenge.


Alternative Utility Services Announces No-cost Benchmarking Services for All Its Contracted Energy Clients

Posted: January 22, 2014
Source: Hotel News Resource.com

As energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinances expand, Alternative Utility Services is offering benchmarking services at no-cost to its contracted commercial energy clients.

Alternative Utility Services (AUS), a national energy and sustainability consulting firm, has announced it is offering energy benchmarking services to all of its contracted commercial energy clients, at no cost. This free benchmarking service from AUS is of significant importance in cities with benchmarking and disclosure ordinances.

Several cities and two states currently have ordinances requiring building owners to track and report their properties’ energy use. The list includes California, Washington State, Washington DC, Austin, Portland, Boston, New York City, Boulder, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. Chicago’s benchmarking ordinance has been placed on hold at least until September and may be added to the list.

Benchmarking provides important baseline data to assess a building’s energy use. The information gathered is used to establish future goals for projects to improve energy efficiency such as demand response, automated energy management systems and lighting upgrades. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, buildings that are benchmarked consistently, over time save an average of 7% in energy.

“The laws and compliance requirements vary from one city to the other,” said Fritz Kreiss, President of Alternative Utility Services. “By offering no-cost benchmarking service to our contracted clients, we ensure their building performance reports are completed on time with accuracy, avoiding any penalties on account of poor or inaccurate performance reports.”

Alternative Utility Services, Inc., was established 1993. It is a licensed energy consulting company providing energy brokerage and aggregation services nationwide. AUS provides a wide range of professional procurement and consulting services including electric, gas, residential, reverse auction, demand response, auditing, and benchmarking. 800-392-4287 www.ausenergy.com

Contact:
David Johnson
Greenleaf Media Group
750 Veterans Pkwy.; Suite #104
Lake Geneva, WI. 53174
(262) 248-0938


Light ’em up

Posted on December 19, 2013
Source: Reno News & Review Green Guide
By:

Peppermill saves electricity by changing to LED lights

With its own geothermal power plant on site powering all heat and space, the Peppermill Resort had already cut its energy bills down quite a bit—about $1.8 million a year. But they’re always looking for more ways to save, and they recently cut down their electricity bill by an estimated $130, 539 a year by switching their parking lot lights from 1,000-watt metal-halides to 188-watt LEDs.

These savings come from switching both of the Peppermill properties—the Reno Peppermill Resort and the Western Village in Sparks—to LED-lighted parking lots.

“In August of this year, we put in these new units. We’re already seeing about a 90 percent energy reduction at Western Village because they have meters that are dedicated to the lights,” said executive director of facilities at the Peppermill, Dean Parker.

The project switched out 406 lights on the two properties combined and each new LED cost $775, totaling $314,650. It also received a rebate from NV Energy’s Sure Bet Incentive Program of $92,000. This rebate amount was determined by the reduction of energy use when Peppermill switched to the LED lighting units. Because of this and the expected savings, Parker said that Peppermill expects a return on their investment in 1.7 years.

Sure Bet is an incentive program throughout the state that provides assistance to NV Energy commercial customers “to do energy retrofits to their existing commercial buildings and/or their commercial buildings that are in construction,” according to NV Energy’s program manager for energy efficiency and conservation, Adam Grant. The incentives are given out for a variety of different reasons in this program, one of which is for switching to LED lighting. This program is meant to help both the commercial customers and the environment.

“We want customers to save energy,” Grant said. “We want them to learn to lower bills. We want them to be stewards to the environment. And it shows the customers opportunities to do this for their businesses.”

Parker did all of the research for the switch prior to going to the owners of the Peppermill with feasibility worksheets that included all the data about each property’s energy usage and the costs and expected savings of the LED lights. He said that it was a simple decision after looking at the numbers, especially with how quickly they expected a return on the initial investment. Even without the rebate from NV Energy, the company would have expected a return on their investment in 2.5 years. And the company considers anything under three years a strong investment, according to Parker.

Peppermill has done several things in the past that have helped reduce its overall costs as well as its environmental impact. The casino’s geothermal plant on site is huge. The Peppermill also uses artificial turf, saving over one million gallons of water a year. It has an Aqua Recycle System that recycles up to 83 percent of the laundry’s gray water, and it encourages guests to reuse towels and linens in the hotel.


EPA and USDA Join Together To Help Americans Reduce Wasted Food

 WASHINGTON – Today EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe joined U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce the launch of a challenge that asks farmers, processors, manufacturers, retailers, communities and government agencies to reduce wasted food. The U.S. Food Waste Challenge builds upon the success of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge to help more Americans do their part to reduce food waste.

“Food waste is the single largest type of waste entering our landfills — Americans throw away up to 40 percent of their food. Addressing this issue helps to combat hunger and save money, while also combating climate change. Food waste in landfills decomposes to create potent greenhouse gases and by reducing this waste we can in turn reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “I’m proud that EPA is joining with USDA today to announce the U.S. Food Waste Challenge. With the help of partners across the country, we can ensure that our nation’s food goes to our families and those in need – not the landfill.”

“The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Not only could this food be going to folks who need it – we also have an opportunity to reduce the amount of food that ends up in America’s landfills. By joining together with EPA and businesses from around the country, we have an opportunity to better educate folks about the problem of food waste and begin to address this problem across the nation.”

Americans send more food to landfills and incinerators than any other single municipal solid waste (MSW) – 35 million tons– even more than paper and plastic.  When wasted food is sent to landfills, it decomposes and becomes a source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In addition, the production and transportation of food has a number of environmental impacts; by reducing wasted food our society helps conserve energy and reduces environmental impacts.

In 2010, EPA began challenging organizations along the food lifecycle to adopt more sustainable practices through its National Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) program’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC).  EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge provides direct technical assistance, a tracking system, and recognition to help support and motivate organizations to reduce their food waste.  Through the simple act of measuring food that is wasted, organizations can immediately identify simple changes that lead to big reductions More than 200 organizations are now participating in the Food Recovery Challenge.

More on the U.S. Food Waste Challenge: www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/index.htm

More on the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program and Food Recovery Challenge:  http://www.epa.gov/smm/foodrecovery/


Low Flow Dishwashing Sprayers Help Restaurants’ Bottom Line

Source: Energy Manager Today.com by Linda Hardesty

A quick and inexpensive way for restaurants to save water and the energy needed to heat water is to install new pre-rinse spray valves in their dishwashing areas, according to the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), a group affiliated with the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships & Extension.

Restaurants, as a sector, are one of the heavier users of energy per square foot compared to other commercial businesses. Some of that energy is used to heat water for cleaning dishes and washing hands in busy kitchens.

Most commercial kitchens use a pre-rinse spray valve to clean off the food waste before the dishes go into the washing machine. But older pre-rinse spray valves typically use three gallons a minute, versus the newer models that use 1.28 gallons a minute or less. This difference can result in energy and water savings, depending on how often and how long the sprayers are used.

“We’ve estimated that a commercial kitchen switching to an efficient sprayer could save around $400 a year,” said Alexis Troschinetz, CERTs Behavior Change and Metrics Coordinator.

CERTs has partnered with some vendors to offer reduced prices through August 2013 on pre-rinse spray valves and faucet aerators.

CERTs is a Minnesota organization with a mission to empower communities to adopt energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technologies and practices for their homes, businesses, and local institutions.


What Lower Calories Can Do For Your Wealth

Source: The Motley Fool.com By – February 19, 2013

Nate is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network — entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

An interesting report came out recently. It was by the Hudson Institute Obesity Solutions Initiative, and it dealt with how restaurants can bring lower-calorie meals to their customers. Interesting reading if you’re into that sort of thing.

But the most interesting part of the report concerns the study on how restaurants do better when they begin offering healthier, lower calorie meals on their menus. The research – which surprised me – shows that when restaurants offer healthier items they actual see better sales and traffic. Again, color me surprised. If you’ve been following along you’ll know that I’ve managed to lose more than 100 pounds in the last year or so, and I largely got that way by eating fast food and other low-health food choices.

I’m cheered that the research shows that, by offering more healthier choices, chain restaurants can do better for their customers and themselves. It’s counter to the oft-made portrayal of American’s and lazy couch potatoes slathering gravy all over everything.

Anyway, I thought I’d use the report as a springboard to get my readers thinking about investing in restaurants. It appears, from the report, that restaurants with more healthy options grew their sales at a 5.5% rate, while stores that did not saw their sales decline by a similar amount. Those are good numbers to have. If an investor is aware of them it makes choosing which restaurants to invest in a much easier proposition.

McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD)

I know it seems silly to mention McDonald’s in a column on healthy investing, but the chain has been making an effort in that direction with its new ‘Favorites Under 400′ low calorie menu. While I can’t say that everything on the menu is healthy, the fact that the firm is making the effort indicated good things for the future, according to the Hudson report. The company has seen some bad news recently, but overseas growth seems to be taking off, with margins in Europe growing 5%. Shares are up more than 10% since November, and the company also raised its dividend 10% during that time. I think that it’s a buy.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI)

Olive Garden is owned by Darden Restaurants, which also owns Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Capital Grille, and several other chains and franchises. Looking at the nutritional info for Olive Garden, I don’t see a lot to build confidence. Only two entrees qualify as ‘healthy’ under the terms of the study (fewer than 500 calories), and we shouldn’t even discuss the never-ending pasta bowls. The stock floated between $50 and $55 most of the year before it took a tumble in December on bad earnings expecations. In December the chain announced diluted net earnings. On the other hand, the EPS is still positive and the dividend is now a stratospheric $4.24. Only buy if you really want the dividend, but otherwise avoid.

Wendy’s (NASDAQ: WEN)

Wendy’s is another chain that’s not going to win any awards, looking at the nutritional information.  Heck, the single burger breaks the study’s 500 calorie requirement on its own. To eat healthy at Wendy’s one would need to either eat all sides or just stick to salads. That’s not why people go to a burger place. Over the last 12 months the stock dropped about 15% and has subsequently recovered, meaning there’s been no profit for investors who held for a year. However, there’s still a fourth quarter EBITDA increase of 19% and a 3.2% dividend to take in, I suppose. But, like Darden above, I’d avoid it.

Outback Steakhouse (NASDAQ: BLMN)

I love Outback. Not to eat, but for the goofy ticker. Bloomin’! Ha! The chain just made it’s initial public offering in August and has done well in the markets by gaining 40% since its debut. I wouldn’t have believed it but, if you avoid the steaks, there are some healthy choices at Outback; the fish and and grilled chicken look especially good. So this gets them a gold star for healthy eating, at least as far as menu choices go. The stock has, as I mentioned, done well so far and a P/E of 30+ shows that I’m not the only one who thinks it’ll go higher. I’d rate that one a buy.

Brinker International (NYSE: EAT)

Brinkers owns both Chili’s and Maggiano’s Little Italy. Chili’s is mentioned in the Hudson report, so let’s take a peek at it. Chili’s offers a ‘Guiltless Grill’ menu, but a lot of the items on it wouldn’t qualify by the terms of the study. Still, choosing properly, it can be done. The restaurant’s salads make the cut and so does the shrimp combos.  Meanwhile, the firm’s stock has had a happy year, climbing from $27.45 to $33.69, and the dividend is 2.37%, so it’s got both good performance and a decent attempt at healthy menu options going for it. I’ll give it a qualified buy based on the menu, because while it has healthy options, when it’s bad it’s terrible.

I’m not actually advising you to use anything here as a guide for eating healthy or weight loss. See a doctor, that’s not my job. But I did want to take the time to show you how just being aware of various trends and reports can help you better evaluate the companies into which you consider putting your money. Read the original report (warning: PDF) from the Hudson Institute and make up your own mind. I know it enlightened me a bit.


WSSA Pesticide Stewardship Series: Always Be Diligent Concerning Personal Protective Equipment

Source: Environmental Expert.com

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/WSSA2013/03/prweb10488320.htm

This month pesticide safety educators, health professionals and other experts from around the U.S. will explore how to motivate pesticide handlers to use best practices concerning personal protective equipment (PPE). The discussion is part of a Pesticide PPE Seminar Series sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

PPE includes apparel and devices worn to protect the body from contact with pesticides or pesticide residues, including aprons, chemical-resistant suits, coveralls, footwear, gloves, headgear, protective eyewear and respirators.

“The PPE specified on a pesticide label is essential to protecting those who handle a pesticide,” notes Dean Herzfeld, Ph.D., coordinator of Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education, University of Minnesota. “But unfortunately, proper selection, use, cleaning, maintenance and storage of PPE are not practiced by everyone. It is critical that the pesticide product label and any applicable PPE user instructions and government regulations be followed diligently.”

Here are some fundamental principles concerning the use of personal protective equipment.

1) Any product that contains a pesticide – including baits, aerosols, fertilizers, seed, organic pesticides, “natural” products, etc. – must be handled using the required PPE in the correct way. If you don’t have the PPE required by the pesticide label, don’t apply the pesticide.

2) The required PPE can vary for different pesticide products and for different formulations of the same product. Follow the PPE section on every product carefully, even if the brand name is the same.

3) The required PPE may be different for different tasks, such as mixing, loading, application, repair, cleanup and/or early entry into a treated area.

4) PPE requirements can change at any time due to new research and/or regulatory requirements, so read the entire label every time you purchase a pesticide. The same applies to any instructions that accompany the PPE; read them carefully, even if you purchased the same brand and model before.

5) Correct selection of PPE is critical. For example, a “water-resistant” material is different than a “chemical-resistant” material. Chemical-resistant aprons, coveralls, eye protection, footwear, gloves and headgear are not equally resistant to all pesticides, under all conditions, and for the same length of time.

6) Pesticide labels will usually list “examples” of suitable glove types. Use one of the examples listed unless you are willing to do the research to ensure other types meet the same chemical-resistance requirements. Never wear canvas, leather, cotton or other fabric gloves unless specified on the pesticide product label.

7) Wear sleeves outside the gloves if spraying below the shoulders and inside the gloves if spraying overhead. If spraying both overhead and below the shoulders, duct tape can be used to temporarily seal the area where the gloves meet the sleeves. Always wear pant legs outside your footwear. Exposed footwear should be cleaned after each day’s use and should never be worn indoors.

8) If a respirator is required, use the exact type specified on the label and make sure it is certified by NIOSH. Whether you are required to use a respirator or choose to do so, an initial medical evaluation is strongly advised, even if not required by law. Certain respirators require a tight seal to the face and must be fit tested by a trained person before the first use, annually, and when there are significant changes in weight or facial features. In addition, conduct a seal check before every use, according to PPE instructions. Replace respirator filters, canisters, cartridges, etc. according to the PPE instructions and whenever there is equipment damage, breathing resistance, odor, taste, irritation or soiling.

9) Remove PPE as soon as you complete tasks where you were exposed to the pesticide. Wash your gloves with soap and water, even if they are disposable, and then remove other PPE while still wearing the gloves. Then wash the gloves again with soap and water before removing them.

10) If your PPE is reusable, follow the specified cleaning and maintenance instructions. Before and after every use, check for any type of deterioration or damage to components, seams, etc. and dispose of the PPE properly if it is no longer usable. Never reuse any type of disposable (one-time use) PPE.

11) Wash regular work clothes that have been exposed to pesticides as soon as possible to ensure maximum pesticide residue removal. Wash them separately from other laundry using detergent and hot water.

12) Follow the manufacturer’s storage instructions for both reusable and disposable PPE. Keep PPE in its sealed package until use, and never store with pesticides or personal clothing. Most PPE must be protected from chemicals, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive humidity and moisture, or the specified shelf-life will be reduced.

13) Dispose of PPE carefully to avoid contamination to yourself, others or the environment. Properly cleaned PPE can be disposed of as regular garbage, while PPE that is contaminated with a pesticide must be disposed of according to directions on the pesticide product label and in compliance with all federal, state and local regulations. In the absence of specific label directions or government regulations, dispose of contaminated PPE as household hazardous waste, which can be taken to an appropriate waste collection event or disposal site.

14) Sometimes PPE is uncomfortable, particularly when working in hot weather. However, hot weather is never a good excuse for not using the required PPE. Attempt to work outdoors during the coolest periods of the day. Take all necessary steps to avoid heat stress, including frequent rest breaks in shaded areas and drinking plenty of water (not caffeinated drinks). Don’t work alone. Know the signs of heat stress and how to treat it. Any circumstances that cause PPE discomfort and/or reduce protection must be resolved in a way that does not cause a health hazard.

15) If an accident results in exposure to the pesticide, follow the first aid instructions on the label. The proper first aid varies depending on the product and type of exposure, so it is critical that the label is always immediately available to the pesticide user as required by law. Follow the first aid instructions immediately after exposure, even if you do not have any symptoms.

“If you still have questions after reading both the pesticide product label and the PPE instructions, call the pesticide product manufacturer, the PPE manufacturer, your Cooperative Extension Service or your state’s Pesticide Safety Education Program,” says Herzfeld. “Your personal safety is of the utmost importance and is an essential part of proper and safe pesticide use.”

This is the seventh in a series on pesticide stewardship sponsored by the Weed Science Society of America. Next month: Protecting Your Workers.

About the Weed Science Society of America

The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Weed Science Society of America promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, fosters awareness of weeds and their impact on managed and natural ecosystems, and promotes cooperation among weed science organizations across the nation and around the world. For more information, visit http://www.wssa.net.


Maryland university surpasses 50% recycling landmark

Source: Waste & Recycling News.com

Salisbury University, located on the eastern shore of Maryland, recycled more than 50% of its campus waste last year.

The university’s program, which was launched in 1980 according to its website, has grown to include items ranging from cooking grease to carpet. SU recently partnered with a Delaware-based composting facility to recycle its food waste, helping to boost the campus’s diversion rate by more than 23% since 2011, Ocean City, Md.-based The Dispatch reported.

SU food waste is sent to a facility operated by Blue Hen Organics where it is composted and sold to area farmers. Along with 304 tons of food waste, the amount of glass, aluminum and cardboard recycled by the university has also increased since 2011, due in part to additional collection points and a recycling competition, according to the article.

Kevin Mann, SU’s physical plant director, told the news agency he hopes to implement single-stream recycling at the university.

“We are pushing our market, trying to go single stream,” he told reporters. “…We are hoping that soon, SU will have nothing going to the landfill.”


Military Base Saves $300,000 with Composting

Source: Environmental Leader.com

The US military composted 670 tons of food waste at its Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., in 2012, diverting the food from landfills and saving $300,000 in disposal costs, the base’s official newspaper The Northwest Guardian reports.

Revenue and savings from the program support the base’s recycling as well as its programs for family, morale, welfare and recreation.

The food waste, which is collected from Army and Air Force Exchange Service restaurants, unit dining facilities, child care centers, and other facilities, is delivered to the JBLM Earthworks composting facility several times a week. The JBLM Lewis Main Commissary alone recycled 261,760 pounds of food waste last year, saving $21,062 in disposal costs.

The composting facility is part of the JBLM’s six-year-old program, which converts about 4,000 tons of organic waste into a high-quality soil amendment product annually, reusing it in on- and off-base projects. The base added food waste to the composting operation four years ago.

The Army says composting food waste has significantly boosted its effort to achieve its net zero waste by 2020 program goal.

Although the majority of the soil enhancement materials stay on base, JBLM sells some of the compost to Washington state businesses for storm water control, landscaping and construction projects.

JBLM is the first military base to obtain US Composting Council Seal of Testing Assurance certification. A USCC STA program manager says this means the compost has passed the highest level of EPA standards for metals and pathogens.

In February, Washington, DC mayor Vincent Gray announced a sustainability plan for the district that includes, among other measures, establishing facilities to accept residential and commercial compost, sending zero solid waste to landfills, and reducing total waste generation by 15 percent by 2032.

The world wastes up to 2 billion metric tons of food each year, according to a January report by the UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

A report published the same month by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation says an income stream of $1.5 billion could be generated annually for municipalities and investors by separately collecting household food waste in the UK and processing it in line with circular principles, to generate biogas and return nutrients to agricultural soils. An additional profit of $1.90 to $2 per hectoliter of beer could be created in Brazil by selling brewers’ spent grains to farmers in the fish and livestock sectors, the report said.


Dear Colleague,

Join hoteliers and other professionals in this six-session webinar series. It’s designed to help you cut your property’s operating costs, attract customers and improve environmental performance.

Participants will learn how U.S. hotels reduce energy, water, waste and toxins; and get recognized for doing so. Each session will have three expert speakers.

Those who attend all six sessions will be acknowledged with a Certificate of Completion.

The webinars are funded by the U.S. EPA. They are organized by Dan Ruben of Boston Green Tourism and Peter Cooke of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

Sign up for as many sessions as you can!

View the webinars here!

Posted: February 5, 2014

National awareness campaign helps hotels save water and money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today launched WaterSense H2Otel Challenge as a way for agency partners and other organizations to encourage hotels to use best management practices that will save water and money, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

“Hotels that reduce their water use will not only help their community save precious resources, but can gain a competitive edge in today’s green marketplace,” said Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “Since 2006, WaterSense has helped Americans save more than 487 billion gallons of water, and now we’re building on that success to help hotels take their sustainability efforts to the next level.”

From New York City’s Times Square to the Las Vegas strip, hotels across the country will take a pledge to “ACT”—assess, change, and track their water use in the following ways:

• Assess water use and savings opportunities throughout the hotel.
• Change products and processes to more water-efficient models and methods.
• Track water reduction progress before and after incorporating best management practices.

Caesars Entertainment is the first company to sign up for the H2Otel Challenge.

“At Caesars Entertainment’s resorts throughout the country, we know that sustaining our local water supply is as important as providing the best entertainment experience we can to our guests. Over the last few years we successfully implemented several water saving projects, such as adding low-flow showerheads and sink aerators at our Las Vegas resorts. We are excited to participate in the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge and to identify where we can make even greater improvement to our operations,” said Eric Dominguez, Corporate Director of Engineering, Utilities and Environmental Affairs for Caesars Entertainment.

“Here in Las Vegas, the hospitality industry is critical to our local economy. Fortunately, our hotel and resort industry has long been a valuable partner in our successful efforts to improve water efficiency in the hospitality sector”, said Doug Bennett, Conservation Manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. “We are excited that some of our largest resorts will share their knowledge and participate in the H2Otel Challenge.”

By tackling projects throughout their properties, hotels can find ways to improve their water efficiency and performance while providing the highest quality experience for guests. To help hotels make operational changes and meet growing customer demand for green lodging, EPA will initiate a series of educational webinars on February 13, 2014 and provide free tools based on the online guide, WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities. WaterSense will also offer outreach materials for hotels to publicize their efforts and celebrate their successes with guests and employees.

For more information about the challenge, visit the WaterSense website at www.epa.gov/watersense/challenge.

Posted: January 22, 2014
Source: Hotel News Resource.com

As energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinances expand, Alternative Utility Services is offering benchmarking services at no-cost to its contracted commercial energy clients.

Alternative Utility Services (AUS), a national energy and sustainability consulting firm, has announced it is offering energy benchmarking services to all of its contracted commercial energy clients, at no cost. This free benchmarking service from AUS is of significant importance in cities with benchmarking and disclosure ordinances.

Several cities and two states currently have ordinances requiring building owners to track and report their properties’ energy use. The list includes California, Washington State, Washington DC, Austin, Portland, Boston, New York City, Boulder, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Minneapolis. Chicago’s benchmarking ordinance has been placed on hold at least until September and may be added to the list.

Benchmarking provides important baseline data to assess a building’s energy use. The information gathered is used to establish future goals for projects to improve energy efficiency such as demand response, automated energy management systems and lighting upgrades. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, buildings that are benchmarked consistently, over time save an average of 7% in energy.

“The laws and compliance requirements vary from one city to the other,” said Fritz Kreiss, President of Alternative Utility Services. “By offering no-cost benchmarking service to our contracted clients, we ensure their building performance reports are completed on time with accuracy, avoiding any penalties on account of poor or inaccurate performance reports.”

Alternative Utility Services, Inc., was established 1993. It is a licensed energy consulting company providing energy brokerage and aggregation services nationwide. AUS provides a wide range of professional procurement and consulting services including electric, gas, residential, reverse auction, demand response, auditing, and benchmarking. 800-392-4287 www.ausenergy.com

Contact:
David Johnson
Greenleaf Media Group
750 Veterans Pkwy.; Suite #104
Lake Geneva, WI. 53174
(262) 248-0938

Posted on December 19, 2013
Source: Reno News & Review Green Guide
By:

Peppermill saves electricity by changing to LED lights

With its own geothermal power plant on site powering all heat and space, the Peppermill Resort had already cut its energy bills down quite a bit—about $1.8 million a year. But they’re always looking for more ways to save, and they recently cut down their electricity bill by an estimated $130, 539 a year by switching their parking lot lights from 1,000-watt metal-halides to 188-watt LEDs.

These savings come from switching both of the Peppermill properties—the Reno Peppermill Resort and the Western Village in Sparks—to LED-lighted parking lots.

“In August of this year, we put in these new units. We’re already seeing about a 90 percent energy reduction at Western Village because they have meters that are dedicated to the lights,” said executive director of facilities at the Peppermill, Dean Parker.

The project switched out 406 lights on the two properties combined and each new LED cost $775, totaling $314,650. It also received a rebate from NV Energy’s Sure Bet Incentive Program of $92,000. This rebate amount was determined by the reduction of energy use when Peppermill switched to the LED lighting units. Because of this and the expected savings, Parker said that Peppermill expects a return on their investment in 1.7 years.

Sure Bet is an incentive program throughout the state that provides assistance to NV Energy commercial customers “to do energy retrofits to their existing commercial buildings and/or their commercial buildings that are in construction,” according to NV Energy’s program manager for energy efficiency and conservation, Adam Grant. The incentives are given out for a variety of different reasons in this program, one of which is for switching to LED lighting. This program is meant to help both the commercial customers and the environment.

“We want customers to save energy,” Grant said. “We want them to learn to lower bills. We want them to be stewards to the environment. And it shows the customers opportunities to do this for their businesses.”

Parker did all of the research for the switch prior to going to the owners of the Peppermill with feasibility worksheets that included all the data about each property’s energy usage and the costs and expected savings of the LED lights. He said that it was a simple decision after looking at the numbers, especially with how quickly they expected a return on the initial investment. Even without the rebate from NV Energy, the company would have expected a return on their investment in 2.5 years. And the company considers anything under three years a strong investment, according to Parker.

Peppermill has done several things in the past that have helped reduce its overall costs as well as its environmental impact. The casino’s geothermal plant on site is huge. The Peppermill also uses artificial turf, saving over one million gallons of water a year. It has an Aqua Recycle System that recycles up to 83 percent of the laundry’s gray water, and it encourages guests to reuse towels and linens in the hotel.

 WASHINGTON – Today EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe joined U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce the launch of a challenge that asks farmers, processors, manufacturers, retailers, communities and government agencies to reduce wasted food. The U.S. Food Waste Challenge builds upon the success of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge to help more Americans do their part to reduce food waste.

“Food waste is the single largest type of waste entering our landfills — Americans throw away up to 40 percent of their food. Addressing this issue helps to combat hunger and save money, while also combating climate change. Food waste in landfills decomposes to create potent greenhouse gases and by reducing this waste we can in turn reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “I’m proud that EPA is joining with USDA today to announce the U.S. Food Waste Challenge. With the help of partners across the country, we can ensure that our nation’s food goes to our families and those in need – not the landfill.”

“The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on earth, but too much of this food goes to waste,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Not only could this food be going to folks who need it – we also have an opportunity to reduce the amount of food that ends up in America’s landfills. By joining together with EPA and businesses from around the country, we have an opportunity to better educate folks about the problem of food waste and begin to address this problem across the nation.”

Americans send more food to landfills and incinerators than any other single municipal solid waste (MSW) – 35 million tons– even more than paper and plastic.  When wasted food is sent to landfills, it decomposes and becomes a source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In addition, the production and transportation of food has a number of environmental impacts; by reducing wasted food our society helps conserve energy and reduces environmental impacts.

In 2010, EPA began challenging organizations along the food lifecycle to adopt more sustainable practices through its National Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) program’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC).  EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge provides direct technical assistance, a tracking system, and recognition to help support and motivate organizations to reduce their food waste.  Through the simple act of measuring food that is wasted, organizations can immediately identify simple changes that lead to big reductions More than 200 organizations are now participating in the Food Recovery Challenge.

More on the U.S. Food Waste Challenge: www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/index.htm

More on the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program and Food Recovery Challenge:  http://www.epa.gov/smm/foodrecovery/

Source: Energy Manager Today.com by Linda Hardesty

A quick and inexpensive way for restaurants to save water and the energy needed to heat water is to install new pre-rinse spray valves in their dishwashing areas, according to the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), a group affiliated with the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships & Extension.

Restaurants, as a sector, are one of the heavier users of energy per square foot compared to other commercial businesses. Some of that energy is used to heat water for cleaning dishes and washing hands in busy kitchens.

Most commercial kitchens use a pre-rinse spray valve to clean off the food waste before the dishes go into the washing machine. But older pre-rinse spray valves typically use three gallons a minute, versus the newer models that use 1.28 gallons a minute or less. This difference can result in energy and water savings, depending on how often and how long the sprayers are used.

“We’ve estimated that a commercial kitchen switching to an efficient sprayer could save around $400 a year,” said Alexis Troschinetz, CERTs Behavior Change and Metrics Coordinator.

CERTs has partnered with some vendors to offer reduced prices through August 2013 on pre-rinse spray valves and faucet aerators.

CERTs is a Minnesota organization with a mission to empower communities to adopt energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy technologies and practices for their homes, businesses, and local institutions.

Source: The Motley Fool.com By – February 19, 2013

Nate is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network — entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

An interesting report came out recently. It was by the Hudson Institute Obesity Solutions Initiative, and it dealt with how restaurants can bring lower-calorie meals to their customers. Interesting reading if you’re into that sort of thing.

But the most interesting part of the report concerns the study on how restaurants do better when they begin offering healthier, lower calorie meals on their menus. The research – which surprised me – shows that when restaurants offer healthier items they actual see better sales and traffic. Again, color me surprised. If you’ve been following along you’ll know that I’ve managed to lose more than 100 pounds in the last year or so, and I largely got that way by eating fast food and other low-health food choices.

I’m cheered that the research shows that, by offering more healthier choices, chain restaurants can do better for their customers and themselves. It’s counter to the oft-made portrayal of American’s and lazy couch potatoes slathering gravy all over everything.

Anyway, I thought I’d use the report as a springboard to get my readers thinking about investing in restaurants. It appears, from the report, that restaurants with more healthy options grew their sales at a 5.5% rate, while stores that did not saw their sales decline by a similar amount. Those are good numbers to have. If an investor is aware of them it makes choosing which restaurants to invest in a much easier proposition.

McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD)

I know it seems silly to mention McDonald’s in a column on healthy investing, but the chain has been making an effort in that direction with its new ‘Favorites Under 400′ low calorie menu. While I can’t say that everything on the menu is healthy, the fact that the firm is making the effort indicated good things for the future, according to the Hudson report. The company has seen some bad news recently, but overseas growth seems to be taking off, with margins in Europe growing 5%. Shares are up more than 10% since November, and the company also raised its dividend 10% during that time. I think that it’s a buy.

Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI)

Olive Garden is owned by Darden Restaurants, which also owns Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Capital Grille, and several other chains and franchises. Looking at the nutritional info for Olive Garden, I don’t see a lot to build confidence. Only two entrees qualify as ‘healthy’ under the terms of the study (fewer than 500 calories), and we shouldn’t even discuss the never-ending pasta bowls. The stock floated between $50 and $55 most of the year before it took a tumble in December on bad earnings expecations. In December the chain announced diluted net earnings. On the other hand, the EPS is still positive and the dividend is now a stratospheric $4.24. Only buy if you really want the dividend, but otherwise avoid.

Wendy’s (NASDAQ: WEN)

Wendy’s is another chain that’s not going to win any awards, looking at the nutritional information.  Heck, the single burger breaks the study’s 500 calorie requirement on its own. To eat healthy at Wendy’s one would need to either eat all sides or just stick to salads. That’s not why people go to a burger place. Over the last 12 months the stock dropped about 15% and has subsequently recovered, meaning there’s been no profit for investors who held for a year. However, there’s still a fourth quarter EBITDA increase of 19% and a 3.2% dividend to take in, I suppose. But, like Darden above, I’d avoid it.

Outback Steakhouse (NASDAQ: BLMN)

I love Outback. Not to eat, but for the goofy ticker. Bloomin’! Ha! The chain just made it’s initial public offering in August and has done well in the markets by gaining 40% since its debut. I wouldn’t have believed it but, if you avoid the steaks, there are some healthy choices at Outback; the fish and and grilled chicken look especially good. So this gets them a gold star for healthy eating, at least as far as menu choices go. The stock has, as I mentioned, done well so far and a P/E of 30+ shows that I’m not the only one who thinks it’ll go higher. I’d rate that one a buy.

Brinker International (NYSE: EAT)

Brinkers owns both Chili’s and Maggiano’s Little Italy. Chili’s is mentioned in the Hudson report, so let’s take a peek at it. Chili’s offers a ‘Guiltless Grill’ menu, but a lot of the items on it wouldn’t qualify by the terms of the study. Still, choosing properly, it can be done. The restaurant’s salads make the cut and so does the shrimp combos.  Meanwhile, the firm’s stock has had a happy year, climbing from $27.45 to $33.69, and the dividend is 2.37%, so it’s got both good performance and a decent attempt at healthy menu options going for it. I’ll give it a qualified buy based on the menu, because while it has healthy options, when it’s bad it’s terrible.

I’m not actually advising you to use anything here as a guide for eating healthy or weight loss. See a doctor, that’s not my job. But I did want to take the time to show you how just being aware of various trends and reports can help you better evaluate the companies into which you consider putting your money. Read the original report (warning: PDF) from the Hudson Institute and make up your own mind. I know it enlightened me a bit.

Source: Environmental Expert.com

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/WSSA2013/03/prweb10488320.htm

This month pesticide safety educators, health professionals and other experts from around the U.S. will explore how to motivate pesticide handlers to use best practices concerning personal protective equipment (PPE). The discussion is part of a Pesticide PPE Seminar Series sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

PPE includes apparel and devices worn to protect the body from contact with pesticides or pesticide residues, including aprons, chemical-resistant suits, coveralls, footwear, gloves, headgear, protective eyewear and respirators.

“The PPE specified on a pesticide label is essential to protecting those who handle a pesticide,” notes Dean Herzfeld, Ph.D., coordinator of Pesticide Safety and Environmental Education, University of Minnesota. “But unfortunately, proper selection, use, cleaning, maintenance and storage of PPE are not practiced by everyone. It is critical that the pesticide product label and any applicable PPE user instructions and government regulations be followed diligently.”

Here are some fundamental principles concerning the use of personal protective equipment.

1) Any product that contains a pesticide – including baits, aerosols, fertilizers, seed, organic pesticides, “natural” products, etc. – must be handled using the required PPE in the correct way. If you don’t have the PPE required by the pesticide label, don’t apply the pesticide.

2) The required PPE can vary for different pesticide products and for different formulations of the same product. Follow the PPE section on every product carefully, even if the brand name is the same.

3) The required PPE may be different for different tasks, such as mixing, loading, application, repair, cleanup and/or early entry into a treated area.

4) PPE requirements can change at any time due to new research and/or regulatory requirements, so read the entire label every time you purchase a pesticide. The same applies to any instructions that accompany the PPE; read them carefully, even if you purchased the same brand and model before.

5) Correct selection of PPE is critical. For example, a “water-resistant” material is different than a “chemical-resistant” material. Chemical-resistant aprons, coveralls, eye protection, footwear, gloves and headgear are not equally resistant to all pesticides, under all conditions, and for the same length of time.

6) Pesticide labels will usually list “examples” of suitable glove types. Use one of the examples listed unless you are willing to do the research to ensure other types meet the same chemical-resistance requirements. Never wear canvas, leather, cotton or other fabric gloves unless specified on the pesticide product label.

7) Wear sleeves outside the gloves if spraying below the shoulders and inside the gloves if spraying overhead. If spraying both overhead and below the shoulders, duct tape can be used to temporarily seal the area where the gloves meet the sleeves. Always wear pant legs outside your footwear. Exposed footwear should be cleaned after each day’s use and should never be worn indoors.

8) If a respirator is required, use the exact type specified on the label and make sure it is certified by NIOSH. Whether you are required to use a respirator or choose to do so, an initial medical evaluation is strongly advised, even if not required by law. Certain respirators require a tight seal to the face and must be fit tested by a trained person before the first use, annually, and when there are significant changes in weight or facial features. In addition, conduct a seal check before every use, according to PPE instructions. Replace respirator filters, canisters, cartridges, etc. according to the PPE instructions and whenever there is equipment damage, breathing resistance, odor, taste, irritation or soiling.

9) Remove PPE as soon as you complete tasks where you were exposed to the pesticide. Wash your gloves with soap and water, even if they are disposable, and then remove other PPE while still wearing the gloves. Then wash the gloves again with soap and water before removing them.

10) If your PPE is reusable, follow the specified cleaning and maintenance instructions. Before and after every use, check for any type of deterioration or damage to components, seams, etc. and dispose of the PPE properly if it is no longer usable. Never reuse any type of disposable (one-time use) PPE.

11) Wash regular work clothes that have been exposed to pesticides as soon as possible to ensure maximum pesticide residue removal. Wash them separately from other laundry using detergent and hot water.

12) Follow the manufacturer’s storage instructions for both reusable and disposable PPE. Keep PPE in its sealed package until use, and never store with pesticides or personal clothing. Most PPE must be protected from chemicals, sunlight, extreme temperatures, excessive humidity and moisture, or the specified shelf-life will be reduced.

13) Dispose of PPE carefully to avoid contamination to yourself, others or the environment. Properly cleaned PPE can be disposed of as regular garbage, while PPE that is contaminated with a pesticide must be disposed of according to directions on the pesticide product label and in compliance with all federal, state and local regulations. In the absence of specific label directions or government regulations, dispose of contaminated PPE as household hazardous waste, which can be taken to an appropriate waste collection event or disposal site.

14) Sometimes PPE is uncomfortable, particularly when working in hot weather. However, hot weather is never a good excuse for not using the required PPE. Attempt to work outdoors during the coolest periods of the day. Take all necessary steps to avoid heat stress, including frequent rest breaks in shaded areas and drinking plenty of water (not caffeinated drinks). Don’t work alone. Know the signs of heat stress and how to treat it. Any circumstances that cause PPE discomfort and/or reduce protection must be resolved in a way that does not cause a health hazard.

15) If an accident results in exposure to the pesticide, follow the first aid instructions on the label. The proper first aid varies depending on the product and type of exposure, so it is critical that the label is always immediately available to the pesticide user as required by law. Follow the first aid instructions immediately after exposure, even if you do not have any symptoms.

“If you still have questions after reading both the pesticide product label and the PPE instructions, call the pesticide product manufacturer, the PPE manufacturer, your Cooperative Extension Service or your state’s Pesticide Safety Education Program,” says Herzfeld. “Your personal safety is of the utmost importance and is an essential part of proper and safe pesticide use.”

This is the seventh in a series on pesticide stewardship sponsored by the Weed Science Society of America. Next month: Protecting Your Workers.

About the Weed Science Society of America

The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Weed Science Society of America promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, fosters awareness of weeds and their impact on managed and natural ecosystems, and promotes cooperation among weed science organizations across the nation and around the world. For more information, visit http://www.wssa.net.

Source: Waste & Recycling News.com

Salisbury University, located on the eastern shore of Maryland, recycled more than 50% of its campus waste last year.

The university’s program, which was launched in 1980 according to its website, has grown to include items ranging from cooking grease to carpet. SU recently partnered with a Delaware-based composting facility to recycle its food waste, helping to boost the campus’s diversion rate by more than 23% since 2011, Ocean City, Md.-based The Dispatch reported.

SU food waste is sent to a facility operated by Blue Hen Organics where it is composted and sold to area farmers. Along with 304 tons of food waste, the amount of glass, aluminum and cardboard recycled by the university has also increased since 2011, due in part to additional collection points and a recycling competition, according to the article.

Kevin Mann, SU’s physical plant director, told the news agency he hopes to implement single-stream recycling at the university.

“We are pushing our market, trying to go single stream,” he told reporters. “…We are hoping that soon, SU will have nothing going to the landfill.”

Source: Environmental Leader.com

The US military composted 670 tons of food waste at its Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., in 2012, diverting the food from landfills and saving $300,000 in disposal costs, the base’s official newspaper The Northwest Guardian reports.

Revenue and savings from the program support the base’s recycling as well as its programs for family, morale, welfare and recreation.

The food waste, which is collected from Army and Air Force Exchange Service restaurants, unit dining facilities, child care centers, and other facilities, is delivered to the JBLM Earthworks composting facility several times a week. The JBLM Lewis Main Commissary alone recycled 261,760 pounds of food waste last year, saving $21,062 in disposal costs.

The composting facility is part of the JBLM’s six-year-old program, which converts about 4,000 tons of organic waste into a high-quality soil amendment product annually, reusing it in on- and off-base projects. The base added food waste to the composting operation four years ago.

The Army says composting food waste has significantly boosted its effort to achieve its net zero waste by 2020 program goal.

Although the majority of the soil enhancement materials stay on base, JBLM sells some of the compost to Washington state businesses for storm water control, landscaping and construction projects.

JBLM is the first military base to obtain US Composting Council Seal of Testing Assurance certification. A USCC STA program manager says this means the compost has passed the highest level of EPA standards for metals and pathogens.

In February, Washington, DC mayor Vincent Gray announced a sustainability plan for the district that includes, among other measures, establishing facilities to accept residential and commercial compost, sending zero solid waste to landfills, and reducing total waste generation by 15 percent by 2032.

The world wastes up to 2 billion metric tons of food each year, according to a January report by the UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

A report published the same month by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation says an income stream of $1.5 billion could be generated annually for municipalities and investors by separately collecting household food waste in the UK and processing it in line with circular principles, to generate biogas and return nutrients to agricultural soils. An additional profit of $1.90 to $2 per hectoliter of beer could be created in Brazil by selling brewers’ spent grains to farmers in the fish and livestock sectors, the report said.