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Weekly News Roundup from the Sustainability Sector

On August 11, 2011 Kana Hotel Group in Tupelo, MS proudly announced their decision to join the growing ranks of Green Hotels. Their Hampton Inn and Suites Tupelo/Barnes Crossing location will have its grand opening later this month. The site incorporates a long list of eco-friendly and energy management systems.The property includes LED lighting with censor controls, tankless water heaters, an ozone laundry system, heat and exhaust air recovery systems, reflective roofing, as well as dual flush toilets, faucets, showerheads and aerators.

The next day, August 12, 2011, another Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell-Downtown in Miami, FL declared that they have obtained their LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. There will be many green elements utilized at this property, among them; energy management systems, accommodations for recharging electric cars, xeriscaping as well as a 36,000 gallon cistern to collect rainwater, dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets, a reuse program for linens and towels, as well as an ozone laundry system.

Also on August 12, 2011: the first New York hotel to attain Silver EarthCheck Certification is The Pierre, a Taj Hotel. Taj Hotel Resorts and Palaces, while maintaining high-quality luxury, is also dedicated to Green Hotels. This lodging will offer organic mattresses, energy-efficient windows and will recycle 100 percent of their glass, paper and plastic. They also pledge to use products that are sustainable in biodegradable containers and to use 85 percent of their food from organic, locally-obtained sources.Taj Hotels will also be striving to institute more sustainability in the future. They are currently researching the use of biodegradable chemicals, electricity that uses natural gas and they plan to create an herb garden.

Joel Miller and Cori Benefiel, owners of Ravine, a restaurant in Oxford, MS recently received the Oxford/Lafayette County University of Mississippi Sustainable Business award, although they say they’ve been living and operating sustainably for several years. They were pleased to accept the award in hopes that it will highlight eco-friendly businesses, especially in the restaurant/hospitality industry and show that Green Hotels have tangible benefits that also improve the bottom line. They have a real passion for green living and it seems they actually ‘think’ green’. Never just a fad with the owners of Ravine, their mission was clear from the beginning, starting with an existing structure, a former Bed & Breakfast. As they renovated they salvaged, recycled and reused everything they could. They even bought recycled kitchen equipment. And they have made their residence upstairs, above the restaurant.

Besides growing organic vegetables for food as well as flowers to decorate with and composting vegetable waste matter to feed the plants, they also hang bird and bat houses around the property for natural mosquito control. Anything they don’t grow is sourced locally and any surplus is donated somewhere in the nearby area: food scraps for farmers to feed livestock, excess menu items to churches and local charities. Ravine is associated and involved with several area charities. Joel and Cori even drive to Memphis to recycle their glass, since Oxford doesn’t have a facility for glass recycling.

Besides the fact that eco-friendly restaurants and organic gardening are great for the environment, research shows that these practices also cut down on business operating costs and quite often the benefits even increase with time. Sustainable Conservation and Zero Waste Alliance, as well as Cornell School of Hotel Administration have done extensive studies that prove this and that are available at their websites.


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