AH&LA Names 'Green Guidelines Challenge' Winners

From a group of more than 400 entrants, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has named the Hilton Americas-Houston in Houston, Texas, the winner of its Green Guidelines Challenge, it announced last week.

AH&LA announced its Green Guidelines Challenge on Earth Day, when it urged hoteliers across the country to adopt its "11 Minimum Green Guidelines," then measure and improve their green business operations using an online tool to track their occupancy statistics, monetary and energy expenditures, and return on investment from specific green practices.

As the challenge winner, the Hilton Americas-Houston—the first Green Seal hotel in the state of Texas—received a certificate of achievement and a green prize package from HD Supply and Audubon International. Certificates of achievement also were awarded to four runners-up, including the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, Colo.; the Doubletree Hotel Burlington in South Burlington, Vt.; the Embassy Suites Chevy Chase Pavilion in Washington, D.C.; and the Westin Seattle in Seattle.

"The industry's positive response to the AH&LA Green Guidelines, launched a year ago, has been just tremendous," said AH&LA Chairman Joe Martin, owner of Stillwater Hospitality in Stillwater, Okla. "With so many worthy participants, we had a lot of factors to consider, but these properties stood out for their innovation, impressive results and maverick approach."

Among all Green Guidelines Challenge participants:

• 90 percent replaced incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps wherever possible.
• 87 percent implemented a towel and/or linen reuse program.
• 84.5 percent are regularly monitoring their electric, gas, water and waste usage.
• 83.5 percent implemented a recycling program.
• 75.5 percent have formed an environmental committee.
• 75.5 percent installed 2.5-gallons-per-minute or less showerheads in all guest room baths.

Collectively, challenge participants have reduced annual CO2 emissions by 39,200 metric tons—the equivalent of taking 7,000 cars off the road for one year—and saved $5.6 million per year.