Boston USA – Carbon Free Report

GHP Comment:  This makes for great reading with some ideas and challenges.  Download the full report here…  Carbon-Free-Boston-Report-2019

CARBON FREE BOSTON REPORT IDENTIFIES PATHWAYS FOR CITY OF BOSTON TO ACHIEVE CARBON NEUTRALITY BY 2050

Research sponsored by Boston Green Ribbon Commission highlights urgent need for bold actions on city’s building stock, transportation network; provides analytic backbone for City of Boston’s Climate Action Plan Update

BOSTON, MA (January 29, 2019) – A new independent report released today by the Boston
Green Ribbon Commission identifies for the first time the specific and measurable steps the City
of Boston needs to take to meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Carbon Free
Boston outlines a set of bold and urgent actions required to innovate the city’s electricity and fuel
supplies, buildings, transportation and waste systems in response to global climate change as
demonstrated by recent extreme weather conditions locally and throughout the region.
The report, undertaken at the request of Mayor Martin J. Walsh, informs the City’s Climate
Action Plan update, which focuses on high-priority next steps to reduce carbon pollution and
create a healthy, thriving and resilient Boston. The Boston University Institute for Sustainable
Energy led Carbon Free Boston’s research and analysis.

The report found that to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, Boston must pursue three mutually-
reinforcing strategies in key sectors: 1) deepen energy efficiency while reducing demand, 2)
electrify as much possible, and 3) purchase 100 percent clean energy. “As we enter a new era of our City’s history, we’re planning for storms, climate change, and the environmental threats the next generation will face,” said Mayor Walsh. “We and our partners must be resilient and carbon neutral, from creating a Resilient Boston Harbor vision plan to moving forward with Community Choice Energy. I’m grateful for the partnership of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission and the experts at Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy. Their work will help us continue to lead, addressing the challenge of climate change.”

“Moving to carbon neutrality is an opportunity to advance Boston’s status as a national climate
leader and global hub of innovation while creating a cleaner, healthier, more equitable Boston for
all,” said John Cleveland, Executive Director of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission. “This
analysis demonstrates that we can reach our goal by 2050, but only through a coordinated and
concerted effort among the public and private sectors – and we have to start now.”
“Meeting the challenge to be carbon neutral will create new economic opportunities and growth
for the city of Boston,” said Mindy Lubber, CEO and President of Ceres and Chair of the Boston
Green Ribbon Commission Carbon Free Boston Working Group. “Implementing actions within
Carbon Free Boston will unlock new jobs in multiple industries and inspire new momentum
around green ideas and technology – giving the city a competitive edge as we work to build a
more equitable, sustainable future.”

“At Boston University we recognize the magnitude of the challenge of climate change,” said
Boston University President, Robert A. Brown. “We are moving aggressively to be carbon
neutral based on the Climate Action Plan our Trustees adopted in 2017. And we will continue to
work closely with the City of Boston to share knowledge, find solutions, and educate so that in
close partnership we can achieve our shared goals.”

The report includes a variety of policy pathways with an emphasis on the city’s building stock
and transportation systems, which together account for more than 90 percent of the city’s
greenhouse gas emissions. The report’s framework includes criteria to determine how strategies
burden or benefit socially vulnerable communities who face disproportionate risks due to climate
change. Report findings were broken out by Buildings, Transportation, Energy and Waste –
some highlights include:

Buildings:
● Approximately 86,000 buildings – both commercial and residential – will require
significant energy retrofits and thermal electrification. Boston’s building stock is old,
diverse, and energy-inefficient, making up 75 percent of total city emissions. Under a
baseline scenario, buildings constructed before 2018 will make up 93 percent of building
emissions in 2050.

● Retrofits must both reduce energy use and switch gas and oil systems to efficient electric
systems. These actions will save money over time, make buildings more resilient, and
create massive opportunities for entrepreneurship and workforce development.

● To achieve carbon neutrality, the City would need to consider the implementation of new
performance-based standards for new and existing buildings, while providing building
owners, building managers, and residents with educational, technical, and financial
assistance. Socially vulnerable populations will need support to benefit from efficiency
and renewable energy programs.

● The City has the opportunity to lead by example with its own 500 municipal buildings,
making its office buildings, schools, and community spaces ultra-efficient, comfortable,
and healthy.

Transportation:
● The Carbon Free Boston report underscores some of the key findings and
recommendations in Go Boston 2030 — the City’s long-term mobility plan.

● Nearly 70 percent of Boston’s transportation emissions come from personal household
vehicles, and more than 75 percent come from trips that start or end outside of Boston.

● The pathway to carbon neutrality in transportation has three elements: 1) shift people out
of automobiles to low- and zero-carbon modes such as public transit, biking, and
walking, 2) reduce the total number of automobile trips via land use planning that encourages denser development in transit rich areas, and 3) shift most automobiles, trucks, buses, and trains to zero-carbon electricity.

● An expanded and more efficient network of transit, walking, and biking will reduce
pollution while providing large public health, social equity, and livable city benefits.

● The City can advance vehicle electrification through restricting internal combustion
engine vehicles, electrifying its own fleet, supporting MBTA bus and train electrification,
providing public charging infrastructure and requiring that new private development does
likewise, and offering equitable monetary incentives for electric vehicle adoption.

● Building off its recent adjustments to parking fines and its piloting of performance
pricing at parking meters, the City can pursue other policies that reduce congestion, such
as its proposed update to the Commonwealth's TNC (transportation network company)
regulations. In addition, it will be important to continue the focus on policies that expand
the allocation of dedicated road space to transit, bikes, and pedestrians, as has been done
recently on Washington Street, Massachusetts Avenue, and other corridors.

Energy:
● Each pathway in Carbon Free Boston assumes an 80 percent clean electricity grid by
2050 as required by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Standard, a 2017 set of regulations
put in place by the Commonwealth’s Department of Environmental Protection.

● Carbon Free Boston evaluated a variety of options for the City to bridge the gap to 100
percent clean energy procurement, including local clean energy purchasing, a power
purchase agreement outside the region, renewable energy certificates, and municipal
aggregation – several of which the City is already pursuing.

● District energy systems can provide various cost and resiliency benefits but will need to
be powered by clean energy sources going forward. The generation of renewable
methane gas from the city’s food waste could drive emissions reductions in district
energy systems.

● To manage the transition to clean energy, the City is in a position to engage numerous
business and utility partners, energy and climate experts in academia and NGOs,
community leaders, and state government. Collaborative decision-making will ensure that
every person in Boston has equal and affordable access to fully carbon-neutral energy.

Waste:
● The City is in the final stages of a Zero Waste Boston planning initiative that will lay out
strategies to reach zero-waste goals.

● Zero waste policies will dramatically reduce the emissions associated with waste, making
the goals of Zero Waste Boston complementary to the goals of Carbon Free Boston.

● A broad and comprehensive diversion plan is required to succeed; reducing emissions
from waste comes from buying less and generating less waste while increasing recycling
and composting.

● The City can lead by example by implementing zero waste strategies for its operations.
The report also lays out options to address Boston’s residual emissions – those the City is unable
to reduce directly – through carbon offsets. Offsets can also be used to achieve early emissions
reductions and promote atmospheric carbon removal.

The Carbon Free Boston project team included Arup, Cambridge Systematics, All Aces, the
Applied Economics Clinic, and Lion Advisors for Community and Environment. The research
was supported through more than a dozen contributions from the public, private and
philanthropic sectors. A full list of funders can be found on page two of the report.
To inform the report’s findings, the Green Ribbon Commission formed a strategic Working
Group of its members, as well as a project Steering Committee and, in concert with Boston
University, five Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs), including one focused on social equity. For
the buildings, transportation, waste, and energy sectors, the TAGs included representatives from
various agencies in the City, energy utilities that serve the City, relevant agencies from the
Commonwealth, energy consulting firms, developers, real estate firms, non-governmental
organizations, and academia. These groups were comprised of about 90 individuals from 50
organizations. The Social Equity Advisory Group provided guidance and feedback on the
integration of social equity into the technical analysis. The technical and social equity reports
will be published and available in March 2019.

Irish business leaders view sustainability as ‘nice-to-have’ rather than critical to success

 

Sustainability is viewed by the majority of Irish business leaders as a growing priority for an expanding enterprise – yet less than half are actively adopting environmentally-friendly approaches.According to new research, commissioned by Ricoh Europe, of 2,550 business leaders across 24 countries, Irish respondents actually rank lower than their European peers.Just 45pc – based on responses from 100 business leaders here – see EU and global environmental regulations as an enabler of success, compared to the European average of 56pc.

Furthermore, despite 59pc of Irish respondents believing that sustainability will become an increasingly important factor for the firm’s success going forward, almost the same amount (60pc) stated it was nice-to-have rather than critical.

The survey revealed that businesses in Turkey, Spain, Italy and Switzerland scored highest in terms of achieving success from being more focused on the environment.

Ricoh Ireland MD Gary Hopwood said that it very disappointing that Irish business leaders are not focusing on more sustainable business strategies and processes.

“Not only is it detrimental to the planet, but it is also naïve considering that care for the environment is now increasingly important for prospective customers and employees. It can be the deciding factor for people when choosing a provider to partner with or a company to work for,” he said.

“As well as potentially jeopardising company growth, regulations have also been introduced to ensure that organisations are prioritising sustainability and lowering their carbon footprint.

“By not doing so, Irish business leaders are impacting on Ireland’s ability to adhere to requirements, such as those set out by the Paris Agreement, and companies will increasingly be penalised for not complying with environmental law.”

The benefits of company culture on the organisation is also a bit of a blind spot for Irish business leaders, as just 57pc of respondents, lower than the European average, saw this as an enabler of success.

However, in terms of recognising the power of technology in improving productivity, 53pc of those surveyed view it as a key factor, similar to other European business leaders.

Still, half (51pc) admitted the technology being used is acting as a barrier to achieving full potential within the firm and 60pc believed more advanced equipment or systems would help improve operations.

“Irish business leaders are neglecting a number of key factors that drive business growth and success,” said Mr Hopwood.

“Company culture and environmentally-friendly processes have become as important as the skills of employees and technologies in the workplace.

“The mentality towards change is also an issue and, when coupled with concerns around technology, has the potential to cause serious problems in years to come – that is if organisations survive.”

Source – The Irish Independent

 

 

 

Hilton Challenges Its Hospitality Teams to Step Up Soap Recycling

GHP Comment:  GHP is the Irish Clean the World Partner – contact us to make sure your waste soaps and bathroom toiletries don’t go to landfill – but for a great cause.

Hilton is ramping up its soap-collecting efforts around the world, with a goal of recycling 1 million bars for Clean the World to distribute on Global Handwashing Day (October 15).

Travelers — did you ever wonder what happens to those barely used hotel soap bars? The good news is that they don’t need to be thrown away. An NGO called Clean the World has been partnering with hotel chains around the world — including CaesarsHilton and Marriott — and airlines including United to collect them, turn them into brand-new bars of soap and distribute them to people in need. Hilton was its first partner, and over the last 10 years they have worked to collect more than 7 million bars of soap and turned them into new ones, which are helping reduce hygiene-related illnesses for people in need around the world.

Hilton is now stepping it up a notch and challenging its Hilton Garden InnHampton by HiltonEmbassy SuitesHomewood Suites and Home2 Suites teams to recycle 1 million bars of soap this year — the goal is for Clean the World to distribute the new bars on Global Handwashing Day(October 15). Hilton formally launches the challenge today, for Global Recycling Day, and will announce the initiative on Wednesday at the Hunter Hotel Conference.

We caught up with Bill Duncan, Global Head of Hilton’s All Suites and Focused Service brands; and Shawn Seipler, founder, Chairman and CEO of the Clean the World Foundation, to learn more about this initiative and its impacts.

How did Clean the World come about? How does soap recycling work?

Shawn Seipler: As a frequent business traveler, I started to wonder what happened to partially used soap and toiletries in hotels. Learning most of it was discarded was an “a-ha” moment.

From this realization, Clean the World was born with a mission to both save lives and protect the environment by providing recycled soap and other hygienic products to families in need. Over the last decade, we have led a global hygiene revolution, which has resulted in a 60 percent reduction in the rate of children under the age of five dying due to hygiene-related illnesses. This effort has also diverted millions of tons of waste from landfills.

The soap is made from discarded bars collected from hotels around the world, which are then crushed, sanitized and cut into new soap. It is an environmentally and hygienically safe recycling process and ensures that all bars of soap recycled and distributed around the world are safe and will not harm the end user due to disease or pathogens that can be transmitted in the absence of proper re-purposing. The soap goes through a strict process where its surface is cleaned; and then the soap is sterilized, ground and pressed into brand-new bars.

After the soap has gone through this rigorous sterilization process, Clean the World’s foundation either distributes the soap bars to individuals in need or adds them to hygiene kits along with shampoo, a toothbrush and a towel as part of its WASH (water, sanitization and hygiene) education and emergency relief efforts.

How big of a program is this? Last year, Hilton volunteers packed 110,000 recycled soap hygiene kits. What do you anticipate this year?

SS: Since 2009, we have distributed more than 48 million bars of soap to over 127 countries. We currently work with 8,000 hospitality partners to recycle soap and bottled amenities discarded by hotel guests. The partnership with Hilton is particularly special because Hampton Inn Orlando-International Airport was the first hotel to collect soap for Clean the World. When the All Suites brands adopted soap recycling as a brand standard in 2016, Hilton became the first hotel company in the industry to make a commitment of this kind to our global hygiene revolution. They’ve now doubled down, making soap recycling a brand standard for Hampton by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn.

Bill Duncan: As Shawn mentioned, our brands certainly have an impactful partnership with Clean the World, and we have become leaders in the global hygiene revolution by educating and engaging our hotel teams and guests to eradicate preventable hygiene-related illnesses.

We’re proud of the impact Hilton has had to date through our soap recycling partnership with Clean the World, which includes diverting more than 2 million pounds of waste from landfills into recycled materials and contributing to the distribution of more than 7.6 million bars of recycled soap. We know there is more work to be done to eradicate hygiene-related illnesses and reduce waste.

Sadly, hygiene-related diseases (diarrheal and pneumonia) account for 1 in 4 child deaths worldwide and 2.3 billion people around the world still lack basic sanitation. This is why we are launching our Clean the World Challenge. We’re asking hotel owners and team members at Hampton by HiltonHilton Garden InnEmbassy Suites by HiltonHomewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton across the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to collect bars of soap left behind by guests, to be recycled into 1 million bars of new soap by Global Handwashing Day on October 15.

How do you identify where there is a real need for this soap and get it there?

SS: Clean the World has soap-recycling centers in Orlando, Las VegasCanadaHong Kong, the Netherlands and Punta Cana [Dominican Republic]; and distributes recycled soap around the world in areas where there is a high risk of hygiene-related illness. This is done through NGO partnerships with organizations such as World VisionPartners in HealthHarvest Time InternationalChildren InternationalSamaritan’s Purse and Helping Hands for Relief and Development. In order to ensure that lasting health benefits and behavioral change in hygiene habits are truly achieved, we distribute primarily to partners who provide on-going, evidence-based educational programs focused on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene). These partners must have the ability to track and share the outcomes of the provision of Clean the World soap in combination with the WASH educational programs they conduct. We also distribute hygiene kits domestically through emergency response and community engagement programming.

How did Hilton’s partnership with Clean the World come about?

BD: At Hilton, we are always looking for ways to have a positive impact in the communities where we serve millions of guests each year. The partnership with Clean the World was a natural fit for Hilton. Clean the World’s mission aligns with Hilton’s Travel with Purpose initiative, our corporate responsibility strategy. By 2030, we promise to cut our environmental footprint in halfto help protect the planet and double our social investment to drive positive change in communities. Hilton was the first hospitality brand to collect soap for the Clean the World Foundation. As part of our broader goals, Hilton has committed to send zero soap to landfills by 2030.

Serby Castro, a housekeeper at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Lake Buena Vista South in Orlando, took a personal interest in the Clean the World program, encouraging recycling at her hotel and even getting involved in an educational effort to increase engagement across the Hilton enterprise. Clean the World recently recognized Serby by renaming its soap recycling center in Punta Cana in her honor. This is just one of the many examples of our team members bringing Travel with Purpose and our 2030 goals to life at our properties around the world.

US Study find people want to travel more responsibly

TORONTO—More than 79 percent of American travelers hope to become more ethically-conscious in their future adventures, according to new research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Exodus Travels.

GHP Comment:  Tourism businesses that adopt a sustainable approach to their business win by lowering costs and win by  attracting and retaining customers

As a leading adventure tour operator that has been committed to low impact tourism and elevating local communities for the past 45 years, Exodus decided to dig into how much the average traveler values responsible tourism practices in today’s world, so they commissioned OnePoll to survey 2,000 Americans (who have been outside of North America and the Caribbean in last three years), to get to the heart of the matter.

“We really just wanted to know more about how Americans are traveling,” says Robin Brooks, Exodus Travels’ Marketing Manager. “Over the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of indications that responsible travel was becoming more important to our travelers, but this survey shows that it’s more than just a trend—people really care about the impact they’re making on the planet.”

The data indicated that ethical travel is indeed on the rise; 78 percent of respondents consider themselves more ethically-conscious than they were 10 years ago. And while more than 91 percent of travelers surveyed reported that “ethical” travel was important to them, 39 percent are still feeling “travel guilt” over their past experiences abroad, particularly if they consisted of unethical practices such as swimming with dolphins or posing for photographs with captive wildlife.

Most Travelers Concerned About Where Dollars Spent

Those surveyed reported that a combination of personal research, heightened concern for the environment, social media, news coverage and watching documentaries like Blackfish made them more conscientious about their behavior as travelers. As a result, 74 percent of respondents said they’re concerned about where their tourist dollars are being spent, and 67 percent of respondents have committed to spending an average of six hours researching locations, businesses and attractions before booking.

What’s more, the average respondent stated they’d now pay 33 percent more if it meant their trip was guaranteed to have ethical components, such as learning about the destination’s culture and language from a local host, buying souvenirs from local artisans, supporting female-run businesses and having responsible tourism and wildlife policies.

With so much to consider, travelers continue to turn to tour operators, in part due to their ability to initiate actions that reduce waste, bolster communities and stimulate economies in-destination on a large scale.

The Clout of Tour Operators

“Tour operators have incredible clout when it comes to influencing hotels, parks and attractions to be more ethically-conscious,” says Tom Harari, Senior Manager: Responsible Tourism, Product & Commercial for Exodus. “Because they consistently bring customers to their partners on the ground every year, they have the power and resources to encourage—and assist in—the development of more responsible practices, whether that’s using less plastic or hiring more women in management positions.”

In addition to caring more about how they travel and with whom, the survey showed that travelers also value gender equality while abroad. While 72 percent of respondents stated they’d be more likely to travel with a company that supported women’s rights, more than 77 percent felt that encouraging women to become tour leaders and guides—presently a male-dominated role—was instrumental to reducing gender inequality.

“Women already make up a huge portion of the tourism workforce—especially in developing countries, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be given the same career opportunities as men,” says Robin Brooks, Exodus Travels’ Marketing Manager. “The fact that travelers are seeking out businesses that actively work to help create leadership opportunities for women is not only heartening—it shows that the status quo in tourism is changing for the better.”

Irish shoppers more interested in sustainable packaging than global counterparts

Irish Times:  Peter Hamilton – 13 March 2019

GHP Observation:  Consumers are making sustainability choices – are tourism providers reacting to this by demonstrating and promoting their own sustainability actions – in general – NO. 

Irish consumers are more concerned about product packaging than their global counterparts, a survey from financial services firm PwC has found.

It said 52 per cent of shoppers in the Republic avoid the use of plastics while just 41 per cent of global shoppers show the same concern.

Similar to global trends, four out of 10 Irish consumers are happy to pay a premium for sustainably produced products, while 68 per cent are willing to pay a premium for locally produced food.

PwC’s survey was carried out in autumn and winter 2018 among 1,005 Irish online consumers and 21,480 consumers globally.

See more at www.irishtimes.com

Green Awards 2019 – Winners

Hotel Doolin wins Medium Sized Organisation of the Year again – well done guys

Croke Park won the Tourism and Entertainment Award

Full list of winners here

(We would urge all GHP Certified members to apply for one of these awards for 2020)

A number of other Tourism & Hospitality business were shortlisted;

– Brooklodge & Macreddin Village
– The Convention Centre, Dublin
– Burren Ecotourism Network
– Poppies Cafe
– Vagabond Tours
– Iveagh Garden Hotel
– Airfield Estate
– Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel
– Citywest Hotel

 

 

 

 

Ireland falls short in renewable energy use

More than 10% of Ireland’s total energy came from renewable sources in 2017

 

The Renewable Energy in Ireland 2019 report provides a detailed analysis of Ireland’s progress towards the 2020 renewable energy targets.“We need to accelerate the pace of change. Collectively and individually, we need to take greater advantage of the renewable resources available to us here in Ireland,” that is according to Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI.

The report is clear that Ireland will not meet these renewables targets, despite a strong performance in renewable electricity. In 2017, 30% of electricity was generated from renewable sources, largely due to increased generation from wind, which accounted for 84% of all renewable electricity.

“While reducing the carbon intensity of electricity is critical to meeting Ireland’s climate change objectives, it is simply not enough on its own. We need to make progress in all areas of energy use and rapidly increase the adoption of renewables across heating and transport, if we are serious about reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions,” added Gannon.

“We are performing well in renewable electricity. The latest data shows that Ireland has the third highest share of wind-generated electricity out the 28 EU countries.

“There has been a large increase in the use renewable heat in the residential sector, due to the growing adoption of air-source heat-pumps. The adoption of district heating systems and sustainable bioenergy for direct use can also make strong contributions to reducing emissions from heating.  A transition to a largely electrified passenger fleet, along with the consideration of alternative fuels such as biogas and hydrogen for commercial, public transport and freight are necessary in decarbonising our transport system.”

“It is clear that we need to step up our ambition. The window for opportunity is closing and we must respond urgently. The all of government Climate Plan will be published shortly. This will show a range of actions across sectors of society with clear timelines. Our focus will be on implementation and lifting Ireland’s ambition,” Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Ireland has committed to a target of 16% of total energy from renewable sources by 2020. The report shows that 10.6% of energy consumed in Ireland in 2017 came from renewables, with the remainder coming from carbon intensive fossil fuels.

Transport represents the single largest sector of energy use, but the lowest share of renewables. In 2017, 97% of transport energy was from oil-based products. The vast majority of renewable energy in transport came from bioenergy, with renewable electricity accounting for approximately just 1%. Urban rail services have traditionally been the biggest users of electricity for transport – however, the number of electric cars on the roads is increasing, albeit from a low base.

To coincide with the publication of the Renewable Energy in Ireland report, the SEAI has released the findings of research which examined the sustainability of using biomass fuels to produce renewable energy in Ireland. The research, which was commissioned by the SEAI and undertaken by Byrne Ó Cléirigh and Ecofys, found that Ireland is in a position to supply sustainable biomass to the energy sector, but only if suitable sources of biomass are used.

Biomass sources with low lifecycle emissions and sustainable land‐use management and governance, such as biogas from wet animal manure, biomass from Irish forest residues and by-products of the wood industry, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While biogas from grass silage produced under current cultivation practices, wood pellets imported from outside the EU and from Irish grown short rotation coppice willow all have greater potential for increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Commenting on the findings of the report Gannon said: “To be sustainable, bioenergy must reduce greenhouse gas emissions and there are actions that can improve the sustainability of bioenergy. For example, with regard to wood derived fuel, only those parts of a tree that are unsuitable for timber products should be used to generate energy.

“Using timber for building construction and to make everyday products locks the carbon away for many crucial decades and is by far the best use of this valuable resource. Policymakers must take care to ensure that changing the use of land to produce biomass fuel doesn’t have unintended negative consequences elsewhere.”

“The development of Irish sources of renewable energy, can create local jobs and encourage inward investment. Renewable energy is essential to support the transition to a sustainable economy – one that is not wedded to the use of imported fossil fuels,” concluded Gannon.

To view the Renewable Energy in Ireland 2019 report – Click Here

To view the Renewable Energy in Ireland 2019 infographic – Click Here

To view Sustainability Criteria Options and Impacts for Irish Bioenergy Resources – Click Here

 

The Green Hotel Revolution in the USA  

Dan Ruben

In 2005, I co-founded Boston Green Tourism, to help Boston hotels reduce energy and water use, enhance indoor air quality and improve waste management. I didn’t realize then that our job would become easier, because the hotel sector was on the cusp of a green revolution.

The scope of recently introduced, environmentally-smart innovation is astounding.

Here are some of the green products and practices that have emerged or flowered in the last 13 years. Which ones have your hotel incorporated?

Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Since 2005, LED lighting was introduced, and it now dominates the hotel lighting market.

Today’s building management systems and guestroom energy management systems would be unrecognizable in 2005. They now have highly advanced sensors and analytic capabilities that enable facility managers to control HVAC and lighting, and detect equipment problems. We’re still in an early stage of the smart building revolution.

Motors are much more energy efficient now, because of the widespread use of EC motors and variable speed drives. Heat transfer technology, like energy recovery ventilation, is deployed more often, too. So is combined heat and power (CHP) technology which sharply reduces the energy needed to provide space heat and hot water.

Almost all energy-consuming equipment is far more efficient than it was in 2005. Boilers, chillers, elevators and refrigerators are a few examples. Ventilation technology has greatly improved, saving energy and improving comfort. New ventilation controls promise much greater savings in the coming years.

Today, many hotels purchase electricity generated by wind turbines and solar panels. Others buy carbon offsets or encourage their guests to do so. More than a few hotels generate their own solar power.

Electric utility demand charges have become a prominent component of many hotel bills, prompting some properties to shave their electricity use during periods of peak demand. For example, hotels in several states charge powerful batteries when electricity is cheap and release the power from them when electricity use is peaking. This practice will soon be widespread.

Water Efficiency

Low flow water fixtures are now ubiquitous, thanks to improved technology and water conservation regulations.

New laundry equipment and dishwashers have dramatically cut hotel water use.

Modern dishwashers use only a fraction of the water and energy than their predecessors.

Liquid pool covers now reduce evaporation losses from swimming pools.

Waste Management

In 2005, high-end hotels shunned recycling bins, because they were unattractive. Today, elegant recycling bins are placed in the fanciest properties.

Refillable amenity dispensers are now attractive, too, and have gained a significant foothold. And, it’s now common to recycle or donate unused amenities.

The food waste reduction movement blossomed several years ago. Hotel chefs use new and effective techniques to identify food products that are over-purchased and under-consumed.

This year, citizen and government concern about single-use plastics has reached a tipping point. Hotel chains have responded with plans to reduce or eliminate them.

In recent years, five U.S. states and several big cities have enacted food waste recycling laws. Hotels comply with them by diverting their food waste to compost or anaerobic digestion facilities or by bio-digesting it.

This year, citizen and government concern about single-use plastics has reached a tipping point. Hotel chains have responded with plans to reduce or eliminate them.

Many hotels now have elaborate donation programs that provide furniture, clothing, linens and food to needy people.

Today, it’s more common for hotels to plan their renovations to assure that construction and demolition goods get reused or recycled.

Toxics Use Reduction

In 2005, the indoor hotel environment was less healthy than it is today. Now, green cleaning products and equipment are common. Hotels offer allergy-friendly rooms.

Integrated pest management practices have reduced pesticide use. Hotels can now control bed bugs with non-toxic methods.

Today, new furniture and other building products off-gas less than they did in 2005.

Products containing mercury, like old thermostats and fluorescent bulbs, are on the way out.

Transportation

Over 1 million electric vehicles have been sold in the United States, and hotels have installed charging stations to accommodate them.

Hotel guests have greater access to bicycles, thanks to bike-sharing and bike rental programs.

Food

In response to popular demand, hotels now offer more locally-grown and harvested food, and vegetarian and vegan dishes. Some hotel chefs put sustainable seafood on the menu, too.

In 2005, who predicted that hotels would house beehives?

Resilience

Stronger storms, sea level rise and extreme wildfires have increased property damage worldwide. There’s now a growing recognition that hotels must do more to protect their properties and help communities respond to weather emergencies.

Of course, the green hotel revolution won’t end in 2018. It will continue to be spurred by economics, advances in technology and the urgent need to address climate change. I have no doubt that we’ll soon see “net zero” hotels—properties that don’t use fossil fuel at all.

How will you participate in the green hotel revolution?

Dan Ruben is the Director of Boston Green Tourism. He has organized over 100 green hotel workshops in Boston and throughout the United States.

Worlds First Vegan Hotel Room

GHP Comment:  More and more hotels are recognising that the “One-fits-all” concept is not what modern guests want.  Hotels need to be flexible, innovative and listen to what guests want – deliver and succeed, fail to deliver and be in the also-ran category.   This Vegan room is but the tip of the iceberg – what about allergen free rooms? with the rising level of allergies worldwide, what about non-toxic rooms – low VOC and using smart, chemical free, cleaning products.  These customers are not wild and wacky and odd – they are your every day customer now – when will hotels really start engaging? 

Worlds First Vegan Hotel Room

It looks like your typical hip hotel room, with rich fabrics and finishes, Edison bulbs, and tropical prints. But unlike most hotel rooms, this suite at the Hilton London Bankside, created by experience design studio Bompas & Parr (B&P), is completely vegan, from the furnishings to the room service.

Now, eating vegan isn’t easy, but it’s only when you start to read labels that you really learn how difficult it can be. Take McDonald’s fries. They appear to be simple potatoes, but in reality, they are flavored with beef fat. (Delicious, delicious beef fat.) So to truly be vegan, you have to be constantly vigilant inside an industrial food complex that subsidizes animal products instead of veggies.

[Photo: courtesy Hilton Bankside]

Interior design isn’t much different in this regard. The furnishings industry is loaded with leathers, feathers, and wool–not to mention curveballs like latex paints and foams–and none of this could be used in the world’s first vegan hotel suite, which uses only sustainable, plant-based components.“The main challenge was searching for interesting materials that were not only vegan, but sustainable and environmentally friendly,” says studio cofounder Sam Bompas. “We focused on what is important to vegan culture, steering away from synthetic materials and focusing on botanical formed, future materials.” In other words, B&P couldn’t do what much of the fashion industry did years ago by embracing plastics instead: releasing pleather jackets and handbags and rebranding them“vegan leather.”

[Photo: courtesy Hilton Bankside]

What B&P discovered through its materials search, however, was “inspiring,” according to Bompas. Of course the designers used wood everywhere, from plank flooring to the desk, TV stand, bed frame, and headboard. They also realized that carpets could be cotton instead of more traditional wool. Pillows could be stuffed with buckwheat, millet hulls, kapok (a “silk” that comes from trees), or bamboo fibers. And furniture, such as stools, could be upholstered in Piñatex–what the team came to dub their “hero material”–a breathable, leathery material created from the pineapple leaf.From a design standpoint, B&P didn’t want to use Piñatex as a leather alternative–the textile equivalent to Beyond Meat–but to celebrate the product in its own right as a luxurious fabric that was proudly sourced from fruit. “We took inspiration from the geometry of the pineapple when designing the bespoke mirrors and magazine display,” Bompas says.

[Photo: courtesy Hilton Bankside]

Not everything worked out, though, even on the scale of a single, bespoke hotel room. “We were keen to use Soysilk, a silk-like fiber that is made from soybean residue. Rather than using valuable resources, it repurposed waste from the soybean,” says Bompas. “Though not a new material, there are limited suppliers, mostly concentrated in the U.S., and we were not able to secure any.”

Given that veganism is on the rise in food, it seems natural to assume that, with the proper awareness–and product options on the market–it could be on the rise in home furnishings, too. In fact, even though it’s far from the cheapest option, natural wood flooring still outsells vinyl and tile alternatives in housing. As far as I’m concerned, let’s bring on the pineapples next.

War Against Waste Heats Up – Government Review Commences

Minister Bruton Starts Single Use Plastic Bottle Review

Review into how best to achieve 90% collection target commissioned

Examination of Irish Deposit and Return Scheme included

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Minister Richard Bruton T.D. is today (Monday the 28th of January) announcing a review which will consider how we can deliver a 90% collection target for single use plastic bottles in Ireland. This review will also examine the possibility of introducing a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) and how this might operate in an Irish context.

Plastic waste makes a major contribution to the chronic problem of pollution, damaging our cities, countryside and oceans.

Minister Bruton is committed to significantly increasing our overall plastic recycling rate to 55% by 2030. For single use plastic drinks bottles, the government are committing to a collection rate of 90% by 2029.

The review will consider what is the best model to achieve this ambitious 90% target. The analysis will look at the current Irish waste collection system, international best practice in this area and how Ireland can bridge the gap from the targets already being achieved to the new, higher target. Once the review has been completed and an approach agreed,the Minister will announce the actions which need to be taken.

Launching the review, Minister Bruton said,

“On average, every person generates approximately 58kg of plastic waste per year. Plastic waste makes a major contribution to the chronic problem of pollution, damaging our cities, countryside and oceans.

“If we are serious about making Ireland a leader in responding to climate change, we must tackle our plastic waste. We must stretch ourselves and commit to more ambitious plastic collection targets, if we are to put ourselves on a more sustainable path.

“Today, I am am announcing a review to look at how we can achieve a 90% collection rate for single use plastic bottles. The introduction of a Deposit and Return Scheme, is one option the review will look at. I want to learn from international best practice in this area. Once the review has been completed, I will move quickly to set out the actions we must take in this area.”

Notes to Editor

The government have consistently exceeded the current EU plastic recycling target of 22.5%, with the most up to date figures showing that we recycled 36% of plastics in 2016.

Terms of Reference for Review

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment is commissioning an analysis report into how Ireland could achieve the proposed 90% collection target for beverage containers in Ireland, including the potential to implement a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) and how this might operate in an Irish context. This requires an understanding of the existing waste collection system in Ireland for beverage containers that could be included in a DRS, the identification of key stakeholders, and what model could work best in an Irish context.

A cost benefit analysis of implementing alternative, complementary collection models is required, and a clear understanding of how best to achieve a higher collection rate for beverage containers with consideration to any likely impact on the existing waste collection system. This can include any impact on existing kerbside collection and management of public authority waste infrastructure such as litter bins.

Existing Policy and regulatory framework:

It is important to recognise that the study which the Department is commissioning is in the context of:

i) The EU Circular Economy Action Plan which includes the Single Use Plastics (SUP) proposal currently under discussion at EU level. This is a high priority which is intended to be agreed within the next 6 months at EU level. This will potentially see a new collection rate of 90% for certain waste materials namely, beverage containers (including caps and lids) which are a primary target for improved collection rates under the SUP proposal; and

ii) The Circular Economy Legislative Package (CELP) which includes revisions to the Packaging Directive among other directives will see overall packaging recycling targets increase to 65% by 2025, with material specific targets for plastic and aluminium of 50% by 2025. These, in turn, will increase to 55% by 2030 for plastic and 60% by 2030 for aluminium. The CELP transposition date is July 2020. Any policy developments in relation to waste packaging will be within the legal context of the CELP and complementary to the SUP proposal.

​​

Format:

A desktop study of how Ireland can deliver on the new collection target proposed for beverage containers outlined above.

The Study should address the following:

1. ‘No change’ – identify what is currently being achieved in the existing collection system for beverage containers to inform the following; e.g. how could the higher targets be achieved by continuing with the existing kerbside collection system, extended producer responsibility (Repak) and self-compliers?

2. ‘Deposit and Return Scheme’ e.g. if a DRS is to be implemented what would the costs and benefits of this be?

size of containers to be included in the scheme
level of deposit to effect change
use of deposit or other means to incentivise behaviour change
public perception; will it be used, or will it be viewed as another tax
potential fraud risks and cross border issues
ownership model; financial or operational – by whom
financial requirements to maintain a scheme – source of income
best practices e.g. use Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) or alternatives?
If using RVMs then;

– how many per head of population

– location

– urban vs rural

– ownership of the RVMs

– collection / haulage

– processing after collection; do we expect indigenous capacity or will this material be exported?
impact on existing kerbside collection including the likelihood of increased costs for households
what recovery and recycling rates could be achieved
timeframes for implementation
requirement for legislation
enforcement bodies
3. Other identified model(s) that could be implemented, complementary to the existing kerbside collection. This should be confined to realistic, cost effective models that could include other extended producer responsibility initiatives.

The study deliverables should demonstrate/evaluate the following:-

​Taking account of the existing elements of the Irish system, and looking at what other EU member states are doing to deliver better outcomes, and the elements which give them the higher performance; provide analysis for how Ireland can reach a plastic bottle collecting rate of 90% by providing the following;

An understanding the current waste collection and recycling system in Ireland, including Extended Producer Responsibility initiatives (Repak, also self-compliers) and existing kerbside collection and management of local authority waste bin infrastructure, for beverage containers.
A snapshot of other EU member states DRS or other systems achieving higher value outcomes for beverage containers (based on existing studies and any emerging information)
What other collection systems are in place, what materials are targeted and what capture rates and recycling rates are these systems achieving
If DRS, was it implemented before kerbside collection for the same materials and what is the impact on the existing system
and identifying what the most effective existing models in other EU MS look like, cost and achieve
Identify alternative models in place
How is it implemented e.g. what model is in place
Is the system producer led and how was buy in from the stakeholder achieved
Are DRS systems as operated in other MS capturing better quality materials
Do DRS result in less litter and reduced litter management costs
Model – financial or operational, how are these implemented and managed
Best practice from the models used
Identify challenges around fraud, cross-border and non-compliance
Analysis for national context
How can Ireland best bridge the gap from current capture rates to future targets
What models could be implemented to achieve this
Operational or financial business model
Key stakeholders and ownership
Locations, required infrastructure and costs
Impact of implementing DRS (or any other identified model) on existing kerbside collection in Ireland
Could a DRS be introduced to complement the existing collection model and what would be the overall benefits in terms of increased capture and
Recycling rates of targeted materials in addition to showing what benefit, if any, it could bring to the overall plastic packaging recycling rates

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