Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
- What is Green Seal?
Founded 20 years ago, Green Seal is a national non-profit organization that develops environmental standards and then certifies products and services that meet those standards. Check out their website at www.GreenSeal.org.
- Why all the fuss about the certification?
Getting this coveted certification is no easy task, as evidenced by the small number of hotels nationwide that have it. Green Seal created an unbiased standard for the lodging industry, known as GS-33, which encompasses almost 30 environmentally responsible components required by a hotel – recycling, energy conversation, water conservation, socially responsible purchasing, to name a few. Meeting these requirements means our hotels are substantially reducing our environmental impact and practicing sustainable leadership.
- What's really involved in earning Green Seal certification?
Although we are celebrating our Green Seal Silver Certification, we are serious and committed in our ongoing goal towards sustainable, eco-friendly and socially responsible practices. Here is just a summary of the criteria we must meet in order to receive this prestigious certification. (You can also read a full overview of the GS-33 requirements at Green Seal's web site (pdf)).
Waste Minimization, Reuse and Recycling
- Recycling in public and administrative areas, with recycling containers clearly marked.
- Amenities (soap, shampoo, etc.) are packaged in recyclable materials and unused portions are donated to charity.
- Hotel uses double-sided copying.
- Products are purchased in bulk, such as concentrated cleaning products.
Energy Efficiency, Conservation and Management
- In-room, office, and heating/air conditioning equipment is either already energy-efficient, or on schedule to be replaced with energy-efficient equipment.
- Indoor lighting is energy-efficient, where compatible. (Historic, display and specialty lighting may be exempt.)
- Systems and appliances are on a preventative maintenance schedule.
- Energy-efficient windows are used as windows are replaced.
- Programmable on/off timers and/or sensors are used for lighting and HVAC in low traffic and low occupancy areas.
Management of Fresh Water Resources
- Showerheads, faucets and aerators use low-flow, water-conserving fixtures or retrofits.
- Exterior landscaping uses local plants and watering is scheduled to retain maximum water.
- Sidewalks are swept or washed with "graywater" – waste water from laundry or bathing.
- Towel and/or linen reuse option is available for guests.
Waste Water Management
- Chlorinated chemicals are used only where there is no less toxic alternative.
- Automatic dishwashing detergent is biodegradable and does not contain NTA, a harmful water softener, or chlorine bleach.
- Laundry detergents and cleaning products are non-phosphate, nontoxic and biodegradable, and used in concentrated liquid or powder form.
- Organic insecticides, fertilizers and biocides (used for pesticides and antimicrobials) are being researched.
- Hazardous substances are being replaced with less hazardous alternatives.
- Chemical storage and mixing areas have appropriate space, plumbing and ventilation.
- Storage containers are clearly marked and property uses spill containment measures.
- Architectural paint does not contain heavy metals or toxic organic substances.
Environmentally and Socially Sensitive Purchasing Policy
- Hotel has established an environmental purchasing policy led by a steering committee.
- Printing and writing papers contain a minimum of 30% postconsumer material content or tree-free fiber content; coated paper contains a minimum of 10% postconsumer material content or tree-free fiber content.
- Toilet tissue is made from at least 20% recycled fibers; facial tissue from at least 10% recycled fibers; and napkins and paper towels from at least 40% recycled fibers.
- Durable goods are of sufficient quality to allow reuse, refinishing and/or reupholstering.
- Products such as paints and cleaning products meet Green Seal's low VOC guidelines. (VOCs are volatile organic compounds, and can result in air pollution.)
- Preference is given to suppliers who provide reusable packaging and shipping pallets.
- Preference is given to environmentally responsible service suppliers.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Most people in the United States celebrate the 4th of July, but do you know exactly why the holiday is so important to our country? Imagine how you would feel if someone older than you (maybe an older sister or brother) kept telling you what to do all of the time and kept taking more and more of your allowance. That is how the colonists felt in the years leading up to 1776. Great Britain kept trying to make the colonists follow more rules and pay higher taxes. People started getting mad and began making plans to be able to make their own rules. They no longer wanted Great Britain to be able to tell them what to do, so they decided to tell Great Britain that they were becoming an independent country. (To be independent means to take care of yourself, making your own rules and providing for your own needs.)
The Congress met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and they appointed a committee (a group of people working together to do a specific job) to write a formal document that would tell Great Britain that the Americans had decided to govern themselves. The committee asked Thomas Jefferson to write a draft (first try) of the document, so he worked for days, in absolute secret, until he had written a document that he thought said everything important that the committee had discussed. On June 28, 1776, the committee met to read Jefferson's "fair" copy (he put his best ideas together and wrote them neatly.) They revised (made some changes) the document and declared their independence on July 2, 1776. They officially adopted it (made it theirs) on July 4, 1776. That is why we call it "Independence Day." Congress ordered that all members must sign the Declaration of Independence and they all began signing the "official" copy on August 2, 1776. In January of the next year, Congress sent signed copies to all of the states.
The Declaration of Independence is more than just a piece of paper. It is a symbol of our country's independence and commitment to certain ideas. A symbol is something that stands for something else. Most people can look at a certain little "swoosh" and know that it stands for "Nike." Well, the signers of the Declaration of Independence wanted the citizens of the United States to have a document that spelled out what was important to our leaders and citizens. They wanted us to be able to look at the Declaration of Independence and immediately think of the goals we should always be working for, and about the people who have fought so hard to make these ideas possible. The people who signed the Declaration risked being hanged for treason by the leaders in Great Britain. They had to be very brave to sign something that would be considered a crime! So every time we look at the Declaration of Independence, we should think about all of the effort and ideas that went into the document, and about the courage it took for these people to stand up for what they knew was right -- independence!