In October 2005, The Inn & Conference Center, University of Maryland University College was the first conference center and hotel in North America to be granted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. This year, the hotel is relaunching its recycling program and adding a composting initiative.

The main efforts have been focused on the back of the house, where associates separate trash, compostable food waste, and commingled recycling (paper, cardboard, glass, metal, and plastic).

In addition, the conference center has signed on with Envirelation LLC, an organics composting company. On an average day, the hotel sends 1,000 pounds of organic matter to be composted off-site.

Venu Updates:

Greenovations

Kalahari Resorts

Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and Sandusky, Ohio

News: Kalahari Resorts, famous for their waterparks, have added the AquaRecycle system, a process that will reuse 70 percent of the resorts' laundry water.

Specs: 740-room hotel in Wisconsin, 884-room hotel in Ohio

Timeline: Installation was complete in Ohio and Wisconsin by the end of June.

Extra: The system is expected to conserve 26 million gallons of drinking water per year.

Element Lexington

Lexington, Mass.

News: Starwood's first Element hotel opens this month. The company announced in April that all Element hotels must pursue LEED certification. It is the first hotel brand to commit to certification.

Specs: 123 guest rooms, about 800 square feet of meeting space

Extra: More than 20 Element hotels will open by the end of 2009, including properties in New York, Chicago, Orlando, and Las Vegas. The Lexington site was a working laboratory to test the latest in green construction. Even the “Do Not Disturb” signs got a makeover: The paper tag is now an environmentally friendly magnet.

Hilton Americas-Houston

Houston

News: The hotel is adding more green practices to earn Green Seal certification. Towel and linen reuse, nondisposable serviceware, and energy-efficient lighting are part of the effort.

Specs: Connected to the George R. Brown Convention Center, the hotel has 1,203 guest rooms and 91,500 square feet of meeting space.

Extra: According to www.greenseal.org, Green Seal “is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to safeguarding the environment and transforming the marketplace by promoting the manufacture, purchase, and use of environmentally responsible products and services.”

Emory Conference Center Hotel

Atlanta

News: The hotel, which began a conference center expansion in March, is now using single-stream recycling, in which all recyclable items are gathered in one bin. Sorting is done at an off-site processing center.

Specs: 198-room hotel, 26,000 square feet of meeting space

Extra: ECCH is the only Green Seal-certified hotel in Georgia. The conference center expansion will be certified LEED Silver; the existing building will work toward LEED certification.

Sandpearl Resort

Clearwater Beach, Fla.

News: The resort has been designated a Florida Green Lodging facility by the Florida DEP.

Specs: 253 guest rooms; 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including a 5,200-square-foot ballroom, four meeting rooms, and two boardrooms

InterContinental Chicago

Chicago

News: The historic hotel is converting into a sustainable facility. The first step is purchasing “Green Sustainable Energy Credits” (essentially carbon offsets) to supply 50 percent of its annual energy consumption. The facility is working toward LEED certification.

Specs: 792 guest rooms; more than 40,000 square feet of meeting space

Extra: The facility will install solar thermal panels to heat hotel water this summer. Chefs are using local organic meat and produce; leftovers are being donated to composting sites and local farms.

News Makers:

  • Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Orlando, Fla., has promoted Leslie Menichini to the new position of vice president of sales and marketing for Rosen Hotels & Resorts Convention Hotels. She will remain director of sales and marketing at Rosen Shingle Creek.

  • Tulalip Resort Casino, north of Seattle, has appointed Tracy Banfield, Sam Samuelson, and Donna Cappa national sales managers for its new hotel, spa, and meeting and conference facilities, opening in August.