As submitted to Hotel & Motel Management;
published in revised form in the March 3, 2008 issue
Boston Green Tourism’s Members Top the Hotel Energy Efficiency Market
By Stuart Brodsky and Anna Stark, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ENERGY STAR
These days, it seems like everyone is looking to benefit from the excitement surrounding “green.” Butwhat does going “green” really mean – especially for the hospitality industry? One organization, BostonGreen Tourism (BGT), has started to answer that question, and has helped its city deliver on a promise tothe environment.BGT’s Lodging Committee seeks to advance the use of environmental best practices among hotels in theGreater Boston area, and to promote these hotels to meeting planners and tourists. To support thismission, BGT provides members with educational seminars, current information on green hotel practices,networking opportunities, and assistance in publicizing environmental achievements. The organization’ssuccess has put Boston on the top of the list for hotels that have earned the ENERGY STAR
for superiorenergy performance.The association’s Executive Director, Dan Ruben, evaluated an array of green certification programs onthe market. Understanding that energy efficiency and carbon performance comprise the most importantaspects of a hotel’s environmental footprint, Mr. Ruben selected the Environmental Protection Agency’s(EPA) ENERGY STAR rating system as a core element of BGT’s program. Working with the EPA, BGTdeveloped a series of web conferences for its members. Topics included EPA’s energy performance ratingsystem (the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager); operations and management best practices to improveenergy performance; and communication strategies and tools to help hoteliers gain support for theirenergy management programs. According to Mr. Ruben, this collaborative relationship with ENERGYSTAR helped BGT deliver “incredible tools” to its members that are “relevant to a broad set of hotels, not just the largest properties”.Over the past two years, the partnership between Boston Green Tourism and ENERGY STAR hasprovided clear benefits to BGT member hotels. The seven BGT member properties to most recently earnthe ENERGY STAR represent almost 1.5 million square feet of space and include the Comfort Inn &Suites Boston/Airport, Hyatt Harborside Hotel, Hyatt Regency Boston, Irving House at Harvard, JurysBoston Hotel, Lenox Hotel, and Royal Sonesta Hotel Cambridge. Taken together, these seven hotelsperform 28 percent better in terms of energy use intensity and emit 5,780 fewer tons of carbon dioxidethan the industry average. These avoided carbon emissions equate to the annual electricity use of 695homes, or to removing almost 1,000 cars from the road for a year.While these energy savings come from a broad array of hotels – from the 16,500 square foot, 44 roomIrving House to the nearly 500,000 square foot, 500 room Hyatt Regency Boston – all of these propertieshave achieved and maintained energy performance placing them in the top 25% of hotels nationwide. Tocelebrate this achievement, the hotels were recognized at an October event sponsored by BGT, andfeaturing EPA Region One Administrator Robert Varney. Looking ahead, Boston Green Tourism willcontinue to promote ENERGY STAR tools and resources to new and existing members. “We expect thatby the end of 2008, BGT will be celebrating six or seven more ENERGY STAR hotels” said Mr. Ruben.