Well-being, Prosperity and Conservation is the theme for this year’s Green Hospitality Conference and Tradeshow taking place at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Convention Center (fka Peabody Orlando) on December 17-18. This national forum will deliver ground-breaking information about Green Meetings, Green Lodging and Green Interiors critical to the hospitality industry .
Four outstanding organizations who focus on sustainability, the American Green Lodging and Hospitality Association, the Florida Caribbean Green Meeting Industry Council, the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality Green Voice and the University of Florida TREEO Center have partnered to bring together many of the country’s leading authorities in sustainable meetings and hospitality for this exceptional event. Learn more by going www.greenlodgingconference.org.
If you’re interested in promoting your organizations GREEN products and services at one of the county’s largest and best Green Hospitality Conferences and Tradeshows? Don’t miss this great opportunity to be a vendor at this year’s event! Go to the conference website and click on the Tradeshow tab or call Carol Hinton at 352-392-9570 ext 209.
Green Hospitality Conference and Tradeshow
December 17-18, 2013
Peabody Orlando Florida
This year, AGLHA is once again partnering with the Green Meeting Industry Council, Florida/Caribbean Chapter, the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality and the University of Florida’s TREEO Center to put on another great event. See www.greenlodgingconference.org.
The following session topics are proposed for the Green Lodging track of this year’s conference:
Each session will be 90 minutes long and hosted by a moderator who will lead a short panel discussion after three 20 minute presentations. If you are interested in being considered as one of these presenters, please send us an outline of your presentation. NO marketing presentations will be considered for these sessions. Those organizations wishing to promote their sustainable goods and services to the hospitality community may be interested in securing a booth at this year’s conference Tradeshow. No compensation or travel assistance will be provided to those selected as a presenter; however, registrations cost for this event may be waived.
I encourage you to contact me at Peter.firstname.lastname@example.org with your outlines .
The University of Florida Training, Research and Education for Environmental Occupations (UF TREEO) with the assistance of AGLHA is developing an online professional development certificate in Sustainable Hospitality Management. After completing 3-5 courses with an 80% passing score, this certification would prepare hospitality professionals with an introduction to, and a working knowledge of sustainable hospitality management. If you are interested in learning more and completing a short survey, please go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RSJQMRR and provide your honest responses to the 6 questions provided. Your feedback is highly appreciated.
While conducting an onsite assessment in Central Florida, I found myself walking into a hotel room on the 8th floor of a 4 star property that had a horrible foul odor. Unbelievably, it smelled like a combination of rotting meat and cat urine. It was so bad that my partner assisting me with the assessment had to leave the room; her eyes tearing and trying to keep down her lunch as she darted for the door.
Accompanying us on this assessment were the hotel‘s General Manager and the Chief Engineer, both in suits. Earlier, when we first walked into this otherwise immaculate room, I looked up and noticed that both gentlemen had turned a bit pale, their jaws dropped and mouths open. Without saying a word, their faces said it all, ‘Oh no, not this room.’ It was a surprise to all of us because the assessment to this point had been going so smoothly. Everything looked great. The recycling was in place, they had plenty of high efficiency lighting, green cleaners were being used throughout the hotel and each room we previously assessed had everything needed that would allow us to conclude that this property was on its way to being considered sustainable. So what happened? I asked the GM “what’s the story with this room?” He replied “We’re not sure. We’ve been dealing with this smell for the past few months.” I asked “So this room has been out of service for that long?” To my amazement the Chief Engineer answered “No, not really. Every opportunity when the room is vacant, we place an ozonator in it to kill the odor.”
My search began. I looked closely at the ceiling, paying particular attention to the area where the ceiling met the wall. The GM asked what I was looking for. I explained that I was looking for signs of moisture and mold. I said, “Even though I’ve never experienced smelling any room this bad, I suspect the odor is being caused by mold.” Next, I got down on my hands and knees and proceeded to crawl the perimeter of the room as best I could, feeling the carpet along the way for moisture. I got about a third of the way around the room when there was a knock at the door. The GM opened the door and my partner asked the three of us to come out in the hall to take a look at what she had found. The room was at the end of the hallway, and between the stairwell and the door of the room stood the icemaker, positioned directly on top of a floor made of what appeared to be medium sized terracotta tiles. On the floor, just to the right of the icemaker and barely visible, was what appeared to be a small puddle of water. With a smirk on her face, my partner suggested we look under the icemaker. We looked at each other, and jockeyed for the best view as we got down on our knees. It was a bit dark under the machine, so I pulled out my flashlight and shined it underneath. What we saw immediately gave us the answer to what was causing that disgusting odor in the room. A clear flexible hose which was draining the machine was not properly positioned in the floor drain as it should have been, but was lying up against the wall. You could clearly see that the area directly around the floor drain was dry while the water coming out of the hose was not increasing the size of the puddle. So where was the water going? It appeared to be wicking under the wall that was adjoining the room in question. I got up, went back into the room and stood in front the wall that was on the other side of the icemaker. I bent down in front of an electrical receptacle and took a whiff. Not the smartest thing to do. The source of the odor was clearly behind that wall. The Engineer pulled a multi-tool out of his pocket, opened it up to a flathead screwdriver and began unscrewing the plate of the receptacle. The plate dropped to the floor revealing a black cottony material inside. It was mold, and lots of it.
So how did this happen? Maybe the drain hose got knocked out when someone from housekeeping was cleaning the dust from under the icemaker or maybe someone from Engineering forgot to properly position the hose the last time the unit’s filter was replaced. In either case, this seemingly small mistake set off a chain of events that would cause this property a great deal of aggravation and money. But what were the environmental costs and how much did this incident set back the property’s sustainable efforts?
Understandably, the property was very tight-lipped about the extent of the damage and the cost to repair it. However, I later learned that the water made its way down to the first floor, and the repairs were highly disruptive and quite costly. Most likely, many parts of the hotel, including the HVAC systems became contaminated with mold spores which under the right conditions could have caused mold to the growth and spread. According to the Mayo Clinic, millions suffer from Chronic Sinusitis, most likely caused by allergies to molds and fungus. How did this impact the long-term indoor environmental quality of the hotel and the health of the guest and the associates that work there? And how did the ozone used to deodorize the room affect the property’s indoor air quality while in use? Did the chemical cleaners used to kill the mold during the repairs give off VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or other gases that may have affected human health and safety? Did any of the conditions such as the odors generated by this event cause a loss in customer satisfaction?
What were some other possible environmental impacts? Undoubtedly, a great deal of solid waste was generated in the course of ripping out the drywall and insulation, cleaning supporting structures and rebuilding the damaged walls. How much additional energy and water was consumed as a result of this mishap.
Each day across this country, the hospitality industry consumes as much water as 1.6 million families consume in a year; they generate garbage each day equal to what 4 million families generate each year; and they account for greenhouse gas equivalent to that produced by almost 4 M vehicles. I’m certain the industry can do better and consume less. Why, because I’ve been involved with the assessment of hundreds of properties and seen the tremendous amount of resources and money wasted each day because many in the industry are still not vigilant when it comes to preventative maintenance or looking for the most basic opportunities to save. Many hoteliers are still unable or unwilling to include in their daily routines the task of looking to prevent needles energy and water consumption, minimize solid and hazardous waste and stop the degradation of indoor environmental quality.
Here’s the good news. When a property takes the time and makes that extra effort to involve its management and associates in looking for opportunities to prevent waste and become more efficient, the property becomes more environmentally, socially and financially sustainable.
Welcome to AGLHA!
So you want to make a difference! Here’s your chance. AGLHA is a grass roots organization, propelled by concerned professionals and colleagues that are focused on doing the right thing for the environment, while also making the lodging and hospitality industry more socially and economically sustainable.
We’re not interested in selling “green” products or promoting individual companies that provide environmentally friendly goods and services. We are interested in providing the industry with unbiased information on just about everything from ways to efficiently manage your solid and hazardous waste to how to conduct a full facility assessment.
Because we are a young organization, much of the technical assistance and training we hope to offer will take time to develop. Your interest and involvement in AGLHA will help us grow. I encourage you to regularly check our website for new tools and information.
All of us can contribute to the success in supporting sustainable hospitality practices. In the next few months, membership and supporting opportunities will be opening. I hope you’ll join us! In the meantime, please feel free to contact me at Wende.Blumberg.AGLHA@gmail.com or our President, Peter Goren at Peter.Goren.AGLHA@gmail.com .